We spent 4 days in Ho Chi Minh, formerly called Saigon. However, frankly speaking, in all of my travels, this is the first time that I have witnessed a heavy traffic due to the packed lines of motorcycles.
But if you really want to soak up local life and culture, the best way to do is to walk! Most of the museums, tourist sights and markets are walking distance from one another. Though we didn’t really walk because majority of my family preferred the comfort of riding in a bus.
First stop: War Remnants Museum
We always like to start our first day of vacation with a city tour before anything else! The bus took us to the War Remnants Museum which had exhibits relating to the Vietnam War (called the American War in Vietnam).
“Attention for duty, sir!” Right outside the museum stood the relics of war. American tanks choppers, planes that was captured after the war ended scattered throughout the ground.
This room was telling a story from the side of the Vietnamese. They claimed that after gaining independence from France, the US installed a puppet government that acted as an agent. The fight for true independence by the Vietnamese against the puppet government resulted in a war we called the “Vietnam war.” It was amazing ‘coz I never knew all these things if it weren’t for my smart dad!
There was even this one room that showed all the photographs of atrocities commited during the war. It was hard to look at. In this war, I’ve read that no one was spared, not even kids. They had to shoot kids down because those kids would shoot them without hesitation if they didn’t.
Next stop: Thien Hau Temple
We stopped by at Thien Hau temple which is Chinese style temple located in the Street of Nguyen Trai in Ho Chi Minh.
What made me took this picture is their unique incense sticks in a spiral form hanging from the ceiling. Haha.
Took a picture of this just because I kinda like it. Haha. What do you call these pink stuff anyway?
Next stop: Reunification Palace
This is the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam war.
Next stop: Handicraft Factory
The Handicraft Factory is one of the most popular handicraft works in Vietnam. And I think the reason why this factory is unique compared to all the other factories is that most of the handicrafts are made by handicapped or people with disabilities.
I love this finish product portraying 6 women with their famous hat. It reminds me of my 6 beautiful sisters!
Next stop: Saigon Notre Dame Basilica
This was a cathedral which was established by French colonists.
This is the rear view
The front view
After our city tour ended in the late afternoon, we decided to have dinner in the city and spend the rest of the night walking and enjoying the streets of Ho Chi Minh.
We woke up quite early, ate breakfast at our hotel and headed off to the Cu Chi tunnel. It was a long 2 hours tedious ride from the city to the tunnel. Everyone was excited especially me.
It was a rainy day so we bought raincoats. I love the colored raincoats!
Part of the tour was to watch a short film about the Vietnam War.
During the Vietnam War, these huge underground network of tunnels were used as a base, hiding spot, supply routes, and hospitals for the Viet Cong.
These traps are set up for Americans during the war.
After the guide explained all the weapons and techniques they used to kill each other, it was time for us to go into the real tunnel where the Vietcong soldiers lived for months.
We entered the tunnel and crawled through 20 meters, which was much more exhausting than I thought it would be. Haha. The tunnels were only a meter tall, it’s not good for claustrophobic. Good thing, there were at least 4 exits along the tunnel to allow people to go out if they feel uncomfortable. I can’t imagine using those tunnels everyday for shelter and a method of transportation.
Third Day: Cao Dai Temple
A visit to Cao Dai temple is one of the popular tours on offer in Ho Chi Minh. It’s more than a 2-hour ride from the city.
Before entering the temple, we were asked to leave our footwear. Pardon my ugly feet! Hahaha
A Cao Dai priest on his way to the entrance.
Fourth Day: “Laag”
We spent our last day visiting shops, buying souvenirs and eating at small restaurants. After the strolling in the streets, we decided to take a walk in this beautiful big park.
Have you been to Ho Chi Minh? Let me know what’s your favorite part of the tour!