May 31, 2014

Vietnam : Ho Chi Minh City

Continuation from here...

After checking in at the hostel and resting for a while, we were ready to rock Ho Chi Minh City. Weee!

The hostel staff was so friendly she handed us a copy of the city's map and pointed the must go places. It was already 4 pm then so we quickly went out. Luckily most of the tourist spots are a short walk away from each other. *saves taxi fare*

We decided to walk to the farthest attractions first, the Reunification Palace. Only to find it was closed for the day. -_- So kesian.

Formerly known as Independence Palace, it was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The palace is remembered as a marked end to the war, when a North Vietnamese tank crashed its gates on April 30, 1975.

Reunification Palace
Opens daily from 7.30 am ~ 11 am , 1 pm ~ 4 pm

 Entrance fee is VND 30,000
From there, we walked to the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica. It was constructed between 1863 and 1880 by the French during their colonial occupation of Vietnam. I read that all its materials were directly imported from France. Woww!!

The basilica is really beautiful. The French influence is very dominant in the city and this basilica is one of the buildings worth looking at if you like architecture.

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
 Entrance is free (but only opens for the mass)

Crossing over the road brought us to the Saigon Central Post Office. This is another beautiful French colonial building which gives you a sample of old Saigon. Built between 1886 and 1891, the building was designed by the renowned French architect Gustave Eiffel. Yeah.. the same man who designed the Eiffel Tower.

This is a working post office so you can send your postcards or parcels hasil shoppingan here. haha..

There are gift shops at both sides of the entrance so you can shop for souvenir here (but I found them a bit more expensive if compared to Ben Thanh Market).

Also, these telephone booths with clocks over them showing the time in different cities of the world. Interesting!

Who would have thought visiting a post office would be fun?

Saigon Central Post Office
Opens daily from 8 am until 5 pm
 Entrance is free

Walking towards Ben Thanh Market, we passed by Revolutionary Museum. This large grey building was built around 1885 and has played a number of roles; a museum, a palace, an administrative office and a supreme court. Finally in 1978 it was re-launched as the Revolutionary Museum and subsequently renamed the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City in 1999.

The museum was already closed when we reached there so we just took pictures from the outside. There's a collection of tank, plane and helicopter, relics from the war in the 60's.

Museum of Ho Chi Minh City
Opens daily from 8 am until 5 pm
 Entrance is VND 15,000

Saw Bitexco Financial Tower on the way. The building has a Sky Deck where visitors can enjoy 360 degrees views across the bustling city and the Saigon river below.

Bitexco Financial Tower Sky Deck
Opens daily from 9.30 am until 9.30 pm
 Entrance is VND 200,000

Wanted to go there but my friend wasn't interested. Next trip la perhaps as I foresee myself coming here again for shopping. hahaha...

Shortly after, we reached the busy area of Ben Thanh Market. So busy I tell ya! So many cars and motorcycles I risked my life crossing the busy road to get this view.

*hardworking blogger

Got this photo from the roundabout facing the market.

Anyway, the roundabout itself has an attraction. There's a statue of a 15th-century warrior Tran Nguyen Han in the middle of the roundabout. So I killed two birds with one stone la. haha..

Like a gangsta, we then crossed the road to the market. I said gangsta cos we so selamba crossed the road and forced all the cars and motorcycles to slow down and gave way to us. Win!

I guess Ben Thanh Market is on everybody's itinerary whenever one is in Ho Chi Minh City. I went to the market and its surrounding area everyday we were there so I'll make a separate post about it la.

That night we walked to Hard Rock Café at Kumho Asiana Plaza to fulfill my shot glass collection and bought some souvenirs. It's not that far from Ben Thanh area, just about 1.5 km so we decided to walk. Ambik angin malam katanya.. hehe..

Got what we wanted, we walked back and passed by Saigon Opera House, another example of French Colonial architecture.

It's a theatre so you might want to check out here for any performances.

Night life in Ho Chi Minh City...

Rex Hotel, a famous luxury and business hotel in the city

Nearby is the magnificent office of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee.

Completed in 1908 by the French, the former Hotel de Ville's design is based on the Paris original.

statue of Ho Chi Minh

It's so beautiful!

I loved Ho Chi Minh City already. So many beautiful buildings. Maybe I don't have to go to France after this. ;p

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