Ho Chi Minh City’s China Town is a crazy place. Streets are packed with Saigon’s famous motorbikes, vendors selling everything from safety pins to knock-offs of designer handbags, locals wolfing down soups at street-food stalls, and little kids playing games.
Then there are the pagodas. I’m an atheist but these Buddist houses of worship have long been a source of fascination for me. For someone with a borderline obsession with pagodas, Saigon’s Chinatown is the place to be.
The most famous one, Emperor Jade Pagoda, is crowded but there are at least three others in the vicinity. All of them have glossy doors with intricate paintings, lacquered artefacts, and overwhelming idols. But it is the heavy air, laden with the fragrance and smoke of incense sticks that enamoured me. All pagodas in this area have spiral incense sticks lining the ceiling and they make a pretty spectacular picture. Take a look :-
Spiral Incense Sticks in Ho Chi Minh City – notice the ends turning to ash?
Magical incense sticks at a pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Then there are wishing papers – brightly coloured slips of paper stuck on a wall by worshippers visiting the pagoda just before New Year. This wall is amazing – it hugs onto the hopes of thousands of people for 2014
Brightly-coloured wishing papers in a pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I couldn’t tear myself away from them
Guess what makes visiting China Town even more fun? Having an outfit inspired by Asian culture. I wore a statement dress with a tribal motif (a huge tiger!) on it and paired it with a tasselled kimono. The kimono is the most iconic traditional garment in South East Asia. But traditional kimonos are crafted out of heavy silks. This tasselled number from River Island makes the look wearable in summer and is perfect for channeling the bohemian vibe.
Add to that retro Lennon inspired sunglasses, a hat, and a chunky necklace and you get an outfit that takes inspiration from all corners of the globe. Fashion forecasters call might call this the haute-hippy look but to me it’s just what makes me happiest 🙂
One of the many pagodas in Ho Chi Minh’s China Town
The busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City
Travel Fashion in Vietnam
Lacquered ceilings, doors, and furnishings inside Pagodas
What to pack for Vietnam? A tasselled kimono of course!!
Travel Fashion in Vietnam
Does travelling to new places inspire you as well? What do you pack for travels to far-away lands? 🙂
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