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What CNN's Saigon Guide Got Right

Earlier this month, CNN released its Insider Guide to HCMC, hitting all the usual highlights of our fair city, from Ben Thanh Market to the Reunification Palace. Here's what it got right and what we felt the folks at CNN could have added to their list:

Development

Praising Saigon's current hyperspeed pace of development, the American news outlet stuck to Saigon's more luxurious venues as it celebrated the city's rapid modernization over its more modest, mom-and-pop shops and French colonial history.

“Business towers, office blocks, glitzy shopping malls, high-end real estate developments, urban regeneration projects, visually stunning new bridges – you name it, this city has got it and is about to get much more,” the article reads. “While all the progress is sometimes mourned by old-timers, life is never slow when you're in the thick of it.”

Food and Drink

In the all-important realm of dining choices, CNN can't be blamed for sticking to must-mentions like Cuc Gach Quan and Pizza 4Ps – there's a reason, of course, that they're must-mention – however we were also pleased to see relative newbie Quan Ut Ut on the list. Local cuisine was a little underrepresented – we could have recommended a few solid streetside spots – but it makes sense that a more upscale guide would avoid street eats.

Sights

In the attractions department, this city guide played it a little safe; the only recommended sights to make it onto the list were Ben Thanh Market and the Reunification Palace. But with a little curiosity and the help of a xe ôm, there are plenty of interesting places to visit beyond the heart of downtown District 1. We happen to know of a pretty good book for just such an excursion.

All told, the Insider Guide wasn't bad but came off, in our opinion, as a little predictable, but perhaps it's better to keep Saigon's best places for ourselves.

[Photo by Flickr user Tom Phung]


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