Vietnam Diaries - Ho Chi Minh City

Tripoto
11th Jan 2020
Photo of Vietnam Diaries - Ho Chi Minh City by Krishnan T P

The thought of planning how to spend the New Year and my Birthday has led me to search for many places out of India, which are on budget as well as worth visiting. During my search I found a country that suites my wish - Vietnam. The place which is located to the South-East of Indochinese Peninsula has all the natural beauties and places to satisfy the travelers visiting the country.

Day 1

So I decided to visit Vietnam for my birthday and to start my first trip of the New Year 2020. I booked my flight tickets for 10th night with Scoot Airways. Got all my currency exchange and Visa work done before a week of my journey. I boarded the flight which has a stop at Singapore, and reached Ho Chi Minh (also known as 'Saigon') around 11th Jan - 02:30 Pm local time(Vietnam time is 1hr and 30 mins ahead of IST).

After completing all my Immigration formalities, I came out of airport around 04:00 PM. From Airport we can took bus to reach the city. Bus No. 109 (Air Conditioned) is the frequently available bus to reach the city. Currency Exchange at the airport cost us more than at the city. The bus fare is close to 20000 Vietnamese dong or 1 usd (Note: In city 1 usd = 23000 dong, while in airport 1 usd = 20000 dong).

I have reached the city around 05:00 Pm. Then I went to check in to my Hostel, which was little inside from the main road. So I have to waste some time in finding it. Finally I completed my check-in. As I felt so tired, i took a nap shortly after my bed was given to me.

Around 8 Pm, i left the hostel to see the night life of the city. Mostly all the shops remain closed except few Super markets. I got myself something to eat and I came back to my room. In the hostel after speaking with few peoples, who has been staying there for long told me to visit the Backpackers Street at the night time.The street is famous for it's local food, pubs, market, and spa's. Then i went to sleep, with the plan to explore city the next day.

I woke up around 9 AM, and got freshen up and had my breakfast before leaving to see some local places. The first place on the list was Independence palace (Reunification Palace). I went there only to find the palace has been and will be opening again around 02:00 Pm (Most places will be closed around 10- 11 Am and opened again 2 Pm).

Day 2

So I went to a park opposite to the palace. The place was quite silent and we can able to see quite a few people walking around the place. I sat for sometime as I have no idea about where to proceed next. So I asked for direction to one of the person who crossed me. The person was so helpful to offer me the direction to my next place and joined in exploring the places together.

We both together went to Bitexco financial tower, the highest building in Vietnam. Tourist were allowed to visit the tower till 49th floor. The tower also has a Heineken shop were we can buy or drink beer at the specified time. So we went to 49th floor, ignoring the access to Heineken shop. This floor offers the best aerial view of Saigon. We stayed there for 45 minutes and took pictures.

Then we went for a juice shop for having something as we walked for quite sometime. Then it started to drizzle a little, so we stayed there on the shop for 20 mins, till it stops drizzling. Then we decided to walk towards the Independence palace.

Bitexco Financial Tower

Photo of Bitexco Financial Tower, Hải Triều, Bến Nghé, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

We reached the Palace around 2 Pm, got our tickets and we entered the palace. The place doesn't look like a old remains of a palace, but instead it is well maintained and it depicts the culture of the President of South Vietnam. The president used this building to operate during Vietnam War. Each chamber still has the same format or arrangements that was done during those periods.

It consists of 4 floors and has several rooms for president and his family. Each room has a polished floor and ceiling. It also has a Helipad adjacent to the top floor. It has been used during president's emergency time. The first lady of Vietnam also has a room for herself to welcome guest. We spent around 2 hours visiting each and every floor of the palace.

Independence Palace

Photo of Independence Palace, Minsk, Belarus by Krishnan T P

One of the Chambers

Photo of Independence Palace, Minsk, Belarus by Krishnan T P

Chamber inside the palace

Photo of Independence Palace, Minsk, Belarus by Krishnan T P

Helipad on the top

Photo of Independence Palace, Minsk, Belarus by Krishnan T P

Then we started walking towards, War Remnants Museum. We have to walk a little of 1 Km to reach the place. We got ourselves the tickets for entering the museum. The feel which we got after the exhibits in museum was very sad. The country was so much affected due to war and its after effects. The situation the people of Vietnam has to withstand was so bad.

After visiting the first floor, we went to see the exhibits at the second floor. The pictures that depicts the incidents and aftermath effects of the usage of Agent Orange is so terrible. Peoples pictures that portrays the Agent Orange's effects on the future generation of those who got affected due to it. We saw some weapons displayed on the museum and came out of the place.

Inside War Museum

Photo of War Remnants Museum, Võ Văn Tần, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

War Scences

Photo of War Remnants Museum, Võ Văn Tần, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

Results of war

Photo of War Remnants Museum, Võ Văn Tần, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

Bullets used during war

Photo of War Remnants Museum, Võ Văn Tần, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

War time actions

Photo of War Remnants Museum, Võ Văn Tần, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

After visiting the museum it was almost close to 6 Pm. So we decided to have something as early dinner. We went to local hotel and got us respective foods. We eat the food and left for our hostel. After short refreshing we headed towards the backpacker street. We roam there for sometime and went to a shop for getting some drinks.

We spent around 1 hour on the place and returned to our respective hostels, as we were tried of walking the whole day. I had my dinner and went to sleep as i have a guided tour the next day.

Day 3

I woked up early around 6:30 AM for my tour. I reported at the travels office around 07:50 AM, to start my tour to Cu Chi tunnel and Cao Dai temple. I was group of 10 peoples from different countries like Japan, Philippines, Canada, Germany. Our tour guide Jack was very friendly and informative.

First we took a stop at a handicraft shop, where the people who suffered from various disease due to Agent Orange works on different handicraft products. The shop was very nice with several handicraft works by the peoples. We took around 30 minutes to visit the place and shop from there.

Then we moved towards Cao Dai temple which is a place of worship for people following Caodaism. The place was very vast as it has about 12 entrance gates. We entered the temple around 11.30 AM, as it was time for their noon prayer, we were not allowed to go near the main spot of worship of the temple. We stand around at a distance and saw the people worshiping the god. We spent around 1 hr and 30 minutes capturing the various prayer activities of the temple.

Outside view of temple

Photo of Cao Dai Temple, Hòa Thành District, Tây Ninh Province, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

Inside of temple

Photo of Cao Dai Temple, Hòa Thành District, Tây Ninh Province, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

We then went to a hotel for having our lunch. I had a noodles and we left for Cu Chi Tunnels, which we reached around 1:30 pm. The tunnels has been used by the south Vietnamese peoples for hiding themselves from the enemies attack during the Vietnam War. The tunnel was preserved with some lighting underground. The size of the tunnel was so small, as we have to do squats to get in and visit the tunnel and get out of it.

The place consists of many tools used by peoples to trap the enemies from attacking and to protect themselves. We had a nice evening snack and tea along the place. We visited the bomb preparation area, slipper making area, dining area used by the peoples of that time. We have some time to do shopping over there and we reported back to our cab around 05 pm.

We returned to our starting point around 7 pm. After refreshing i met my friend around 07:30 Pm, who by then got another friend from India. S0 we 3 again proceeded towards the backpacker street and got a nice rooftop restaurant for eating our dinner and spent evening in the fresh air, as the ground levels we're crowded with tourist peoples.

We dropped our new friend in the bus stand for reaching the airport, and then we went for some shopping as my friend has to travel to Cambodia very early next day. We went to our respective hostel after bidding my friend good bye and wishing luck for future travels.

Cu Chi Tunnels

Photo of Cu Chi Tunnels, Tỉnh lộ 15, Phú Hiệp, Phú Mỹ Hưng, Củ Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

Tunnels

Photo of Cu Chi Tunnels, Tỉnh lộ 15, Phú Hiệp, Phú Mỹ Hưng, Củ Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

Treating injured during war under tunnel

Photo of Cu Chi Tunnels, Tỉnh lộ 15, Phú Hiệp, Phú Mỹ Hưng, Củ Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

Evening snacks

Photo of Cu Chi Tunnels, Tỉnh lộ 15, Phú Hiệp, Phú Mỹ Hưng, Củ Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

Slipper making

Photo of Cu Chi Tunnels, Tỉnh lộ 15, Phú Hiệp, Phú Mỹ Hưng, Củ Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

Trap with nails

Photo of Cu Chi Tunnels, Tỉnh lộ 15, Phú Hiệp, Phú Mỹ Hưng, Củ Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P
Day 4

The next day I have to check out and asked the hostel manager for extending, but was not ready to reduce the price for a day. So i checked out of that hostel and checked in to another one. After check-in , I had my lunch and took some rest.

In the evening around 4 Pm, i went for visiting the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral. The Cathedral has some renovation work going on, so I can't able to enter inside of it. By clicking few pictures of surrounding places, I went to Saigon Post office. The post office has few shops where we can get souvenir.

While returning to my hostel, I saw many people decorating their places for welcoming Lunar New Year, which will fall on within a week time. Seeing people preparing for that was so awesome. There were flowers everywhere on the streets for decoration. I slept that might after having a good dinner and it was also my last day in Ho Chi Minh City.

Notre dame cathedral

Photo of notre dame cathedral saigon, Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P

Saigon post office

Photo of notre dame cathedral saigon, Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Krishnan T P
Day 5

The next day i Checked out of the hostel and went to airport for departing to my next destination of the trip. DA NANG.

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