timistravels

My job allows me to visit a lot of Alaska on a yearly basis. I wanted to capture the trips in one location!

Ho Chi Minh City/ Saigon; In some ways just another big city

on January 6, 2020

12/18-12/22

We flew to HCMC / Saigon arriving late in the afternoon. Took a Grab to our super nice apartment ($25/night) and simply walked around the area for dinner. Also found a pharmacy to get some medication because I was getting really sick (throat/sinus).

First full morning we took “Grab” into the city on the days we were in HCMC as we were out near airport in a more residential area. It was only 2-3 miles but took upwards of 30-45 minutes to get back and forth. Typically it took about $2-$4 for the ride.

I’d say if we had it to do over we would have stayed here less days and the rural areas more days. The city is just that a city. It is loud, it has a lot of eye pollution and just not that much worth seeing after a few days. We even took a day off and sat by the roof top pool at our apartment building.

In HCMC we visited:

1.    Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. It was under renovation so we could only see it from the area that was outside the gates. It was built in from 1863-1880 by the French colonists. About 10-15% of the population practices Catholicism.IMG_3324.jpg

2.    Saigon Central Post Office. It too was built by the French and was built between 1886-1891. It is directly across the street from the Basilica. It seemed much more like a building in Europe than something in Asia, even though the hallways are full of trinkets from this region.IMG_3326.jpg

OVTW7701.JPG3.    Gia Long Palace now the HCMC Museum. This is an overlooked museum by a lot of visitors (or so it seemed). Unlike the Independence Palace or the War Remnants Museum the foot traffic here is less. It actually is quite informative and covers a lot of the history of Saigon and how it’s growth to what is now a modern city.   The ground have a lot of greenery and some war remnants, such as fighter planes, anti aircraft gun, canons etc. There is a special charge for wedding parties to enter and indeed there was one in there during our time, we guess is it a great place for photos!  IMG_3332.jpgIMG_3334.jpg

4.    Ben Thanh Market is in District 1 and the most popular market in HCMC. It has been around since 1914 (and some of the trinkets may be that old too J). If you want something you can get it here. It is huge and when it closes down later in the day the streets take over and become the market.

5.    Ben Thanh Street Market was near the market mentioned above. It was such a nice relief with options to eat. It was a nice balance between street food and restaurant food. It caters to tourists and that’s okay! We had Vietnamese food, Indian food and Thai food, all were good. It was a bit more pricy than street food, but not bad at all. We stopped here 2 times and enjoyed the food both times.  IMG_3457.jpg

6.    Rex Hotel Roof Bar was where we had the most expensive drinks on the entire trip. I almost chocked when I saw the cost, but reminded myself it was about the experience NOT the bill! The drinks were okay and it was fun to sit atop the room of this historical hotel and look over the plaza. The hotel was built in 1927 for the French of course and was originally a car dealership and garage. It became a hotel in the late 50’s early 60’s. The hotel became most famous during the wary when it hosted the daily American news updates and the war correspondents stayed there. The rooftop bar was a favorite hangout for the correspondents.IMG_3349.jpgSNRO0632.JPGIMG_3456.jpg


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