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Are you searching for a place that provides thrilling adventure and peaceful relaxation? Nestled on the coast of the South China Sea, small, tropical Vietnam is a place of natural wonder and great human ingenuity. One city in particular is a highlighted destination for anyone interested in visiting this beautiful country. Ho Chi Minh City is the heartbeat of southern Vietnam. Its diverse districts sprawl for miles, making room for architectural creativity. Ho Chi Minh is a city of opportunity. Its fast paced growth has attracted businesses and travelers from all corners of the world to come and experience this city’s bursting energy. There are many ways to see and taste the culture and lifestyle of Ho Chi Minh. But one of the best views you can find is on the quiet rooftops of the residential buildings. Climbing to the roof of an apartment building as the sun begins to set shows a perspective of the city that can be found nowhere else. These rooftop views are one of the best ways to experience Ho Chi Minh City because they remove you from the business of the city, give you front row seats to the beauty of the sunset, allow you to observe Vietnamese culture from a bird’s eye perspective, and give you a place for peaceful reflection on what is being observed on the streets below.
The feeling of the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh can be thrilling, but nothing is as breathtaking as removing yourself from the throngs of people to give yourself time to relax and take in the beauty of the city. From the rooftops you can see the skyscrapers stretching on endlessly into the horizon. The streets wind playfully between the buildings with no seeming pattern to their design. Cars and motorbikes scurry to and fro like ants at a picnic. The noise of engines and honking horns and shouting market workers blends into one muffled hum. The whole city buzzes with life, and watching it from above brings a feeling of renewed energy and self-purpose.
Early evening is the best time to perch yourself on a rooftop to see the spectacular sunset. Watching the setting sun in Southeast Asia is one of the most vibrant color shows you can find anywhere on Earth. It is as if God Himself painted the sky, and He is just waiting for someone to look up and enjoy His creativity. As the sun dips behind the crooked skyline, the city lights begin to turn on. This is the time that you can experience the true character of Ho Chi Minh. The bright lights flash and dance as if every night is something to be celebrated. The sound of the city begins to change. The shops close, and the cars leave the streets making room for pedestrians looking for a fun night out. As the moon begins to rise, throngs of bats emerge from their dark hiding places. You can watch their silhouettes dive up and down through the air hunting their insect prey. It is a wonderful surprise to find such an incredible display of nature’s beauty found so far above the ground.
Watching the activity of the streets and markets from a rooftop gives you an opportunity to see Vietnamese culture from a birds-eye perspective. Vietnamese people have a habit of changing their behavior when a foreigner is in their midst. This behavior change, whether it is caused by of fear or curiosity, makes it difficult for a foreigner to really experience Vietnamese society. If you are visiting Vietnam as a guest, the best way to get a look at the true lifestyle of its people is to watch them undetected from above. You can watch the bartering negotiations going on between street merchants and their costumers. You can spot a young couple, perhaps nervously trying out their first date, walking slowly in front of the shop windows. You may get to see them gingerly begin to hold hands for the first time. It is interesting to see how differently people behave when they are unaware of the fact that they are being observed. Maybe you will see a child grab an apple off an unattended fruit cart and scamper away. Perhaps the child would not have acted as a thief if he knew he could be seen from a nearby rooftop. This heightened view of the city feels as if God has given you a peek into His perspective of the world. He can see everything going on at once, and He sees people’s integrity being tested as they go about their day without the knowledge that anyone can see what they are doing. From a rooftop view, you get a chance to see the world through God’s eyes.
The breathtaking view and relative quiet that you can find on a rooftop will provide time and space for you to relax and reflect on what you have observed about your Vietnamese experience. There is a sense of peace that comes from being so close to the open sky, and so far removed from the fast-paced world. Looking down and watching people go about their busy little lives makes much of life’s daily problems seem so petty and insignificant. Sitting at such a great height gives you an opportunity not only to step back and examine the vast city in front of you, but it also provides a chance for you to step back and examine the big picture of your own life. What about Vietnam contrasts your home culture? What changes to your life at home will you make now that you have experienced life outside your own society? Whatever deep questions may float through your mind, the tranquility of the view from a rooftop provides space for you to ponder in peace.
The beautiful country of Vietnam has much to offer its visitors. There are many ways to experience its breathtaking sights and unique cultural landscape. But sitting on a rooftop certainly provides a perspective of the country that you cannot find anywhere else. Withdrawing yourself from the constant noise and business of Ho Chi Minh’s streets gives you time to relax and reflect on the experiences you have had while immersing yourself in Vietnamese society. At the same time, you get a beautiful view of South East Asia’s sunset and city skylines. You also get to watch Vietnamese lifestyle going on all around you, without your foreign presence influencing it. What better way could there be to learn about a new culture? So next time you plan a trip to Ho Chi Minh City, find yourself a high rooftop to perch on and take a few moments to simply breathe in the beauty all around you.
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