Temple of Literature & National University
You will see lots of these as you travel throughout Vietnam.After having lunch we took a cab to Temple of Literature. It was built in 11th century AD dedicated to Confucius. A few years later the site was expanded to house the first university of Vietnam. Hopeful candidates, in order to get accepted into the university, had to go through a multi-tiered process of clearing local, regional and national examinations. The names of the scholars who finally graduated are engraved on the tombstones above tortoise backs inside the university precinct. The university is now not functional. But we saw many student groups there. Apparently, if there are any important examinations, Vietnamese students come there to rub tortoise head for good luck.
The Independence Palace
A landmark in Ho Chi Minh, this is the place where South and North Vietnam reunited, ending the acrimonious wars and hostility. We didn’t explore much here as time was ticking away for booking tickets for the much awaited Water Puppet Show in advance.Day2:Mekong Delta
Hoa Lo Prison
Next we took a cab to Hoa Lo Prison. The prison was built in 1890s by the French colonialists to hold Vietnamese criminals. Later Vietnamese used the prison to house American prisoners of war. The prison is now a museum , with exhibits telling stories of the Vietnamese communists who were imprisoned, tortured and murdered by the French. Then there are pictures of American Prisoners of War showing how well they were treated by the Vietnamese. As per Vietnamese, due to the nice treatment meted out, the Americans POW used to refer to the prison as "Hanoi Hilton". You'll read a different version on the internet - that American POWs had to go through severe torture in Hoa Lo and they sarcastically coined the nickname "Hanoi Hilton".