WHAT TO DO IN GO VAP DISTRICT - SAIGON
After two weeks in the lovely District 9, feeling like home with our Vietnamese family, we were transferred to another school, to Go Vap district. They needed teachers urgently so we didn't have any other choice. It was very sad to leave District 9, it really felt like home; and we didn't have the same feeling in Go Vap, but we tried to make the most of our stay and explore the area during the weeks we were there.
Go Vap is far from the city centre, and its population has been growing significantly since the 80s. We stayed in Cityland, a residential area with french buildings, filled with spas and English schools. Luckily it's a bit apart from the main streets, so it's more quiet and there is no traffic.
|Our street in Cityland, Go Vap|
|Are we in Vietnam or France?|
|A football match in our street|
And here are some interesting places we found during our stay in Go Vap:
* Du Mien Garden Coffee.
A lovely garden to give yourself a nice pause and breath of fresh air. It's located on a very busy road, but once you are inside, it feels like being in heaven. Enjoy some fresh air from the running water of the little waterfall and fountains, and the oxygen from the plants.
You can enjoy a fresh juice while admiring the garden. And, like most of the places in Vietnam, they offer a complementary iced tea.
Worth visiting at night, when they turn on all the lights and it feels like 'Christmas Land'. The perfect place to take pictures if you like playing with light and color effects.
A chain with all types of vegan food: patés, chicken, beef, fish and seafood... Any kind of animal product you may think of, will be there in the vegan version. There are Au Lac shops all around Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam, a total of 57 selling points in the country. There are five shops in Go Vap district.
Another oasis amid a very noisy road. When you are inside it's hard to believe that there's a busy road right outside. The garden is very peaceful and quiet, like most of the temple gardens.
* Saint-Joseph church (Hanh Tong Tay).
Built in the 1920s, it's special because it follows the Byzantine architecture style and specifically the church of San Vitale di Ravenna (Italy), from the VI century. I recommend visiting this place for the peace and calm you will find, even if you are not religious. The church is gated and surrounded by walls, which makes the place more quiet and allows the visitors to relax. Walk though the garden or have a seat inside the church, you will feel the instant relaxation! The day I went there was a mass, so I sat down and enjoyed the religious chants in Vietnamese, the colorful lights of the stained glass and the fan.
|Trees surrounding the church|
|Photo from the main gate|
|The church at night|
Very interesting night market, much less touristic than others in Saigon. Some stands have fixed prices that you will see on a big sign, others don't have a set price and you can bargain. You will find mostly clothes, shoes and accessories of all kind. There is also a food court to have dinner and a fresh juice after the exhausting shopping. Be careful! There are a lot of motorbikes passing by even through the narrowest of shopping zones. And be careful with the pickpockets too.
It's the only floating temple in Saigon. It covers 2,000 square meters and it's only accessible by boat. We didn't have time to go, we just saw it from the river shore. But it looks really amazing!
* Second hand shops
We found a few second hand stores, that have mainly Japanese and corean clothes for inexpensive prices. Staying minimalist is hard when you find this kind of places! But we tried to resist and just bought a couple of things. On of these shops is called Midori Japan, in one of the main streets, the other cool one is the one on the picture above, Shop Si Ngân.
|Second hand shop by the local market area|
Go Vap is definitely an 'off the map' place, where you won't find any westerners/tourists at all. It's a good place to experience the Saigonese way of living and get to know a bit more the local culture.