Thursday, October 18, 2007

Saigon, 14-17 Oct 07 - City Area

Sunday, 14 Oct 2007, by Jet Star 07.25-08.25 AM, flew from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, alone. Bagio could not go with me because of his works. My 2 friends, Hung & Lan, flew with Tiger Airways in the afternoon. I did not take Tiger Airways, because the price is higher compare with Jet Star (different about S$100.00 and the timing, I prefer Jet Star).
I took airport taxi to downtown (cost U$5.00 plus toll VND5,000-equal to S$0.50 at the time I exchanged money).
We stayed at Inge Araki's house (Lan's sister) at Vietnam Golf & Country Club, about 30 minutes from HCM City.
From Saigon Centre, you can take a walk to see:

1. Reunification Palace (admission VND15,000/U$1.00).

Design as the home of former president Ngo Dinh Diem, the US-backed leader of Vietnam until his assassination in 1962. This building is the most notable for its symbolic role in the fall of Saigon in April 1975 when its gates were breached by North Vietnamese tanks.
2. Notre Dame Cathedral

The cathedral is closed to visitors except during Sunday services.
This neo-Romanesque cathedral was built between 1877-1883. The Romanesque towers is about 60m with a large white statue of the Virgin Mary. Located nearby the General/Municipal Post Office

3. Municipal Post Office (Buu Dien)

From outside and the view inside the post office. Sunday also open!!! Not only for tourist, but also open for postal business.
In the rear of the building, you can see the huge portrait of Uncle Ho (Chi Minh).

4. City Hall
Originally was a French Hotel constructed between 1902 and 1908. Is not open for public.

5. Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market was opened first in 1914. Crowded, narrow aisles and many pickpockets!
Selling T-Shirt, handicraft, aluminium wares, silk, bamboo, and lacquer. Also fresh and cooked local food. Surounding the markets, open air stalls will start the business when dawn. One of the best place to try the authentic local cuisine. Also can continue with your shopping for the souveniers in the night bazaar.
6. City Museums (Entrance fee: NVD15,000/U$1.00)
Display of Nature and Archaeology, Revolutionary struggle, The Economy, Ethnics, The Culture, and the history of foundation and development of the Country.

From one place to another, you can walk slowly while enjoying the traffic that terrible scary and nice old building. Also, do not forget to check the electricty wires along the road...

Further from Saigon Centre, you can go to Chinatown and visit Ben Thay Market, by taxi or try the ricksaw.


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