After a four hour flight to Singapore, a four hour layover, and a two hour flight, I finally arrived in Ho Chi Minh City! My Airbnb host Andrew gave great detail on how to arrive to his apartment and I made it safe and sound with no hassles. The apartment was so spacious and modern and I instantly became obsessed with it. In addition, Andrew was a great host and provided a map and itinerary of what I should do on my first day there.
On Day 1, I walked all around Saigon. The city is bustling with cars, buses, and mopeds zipping through the streets with no cares for the traffic light. I was a little scared at first since everyone kind of just drives but quickly got over that. Saigon still has a French vibe with all the cafes lining the streets and all the architecture in District 1.
I visited the Norte Dame Basilica and Post office first. Both very beautiful and reminiscent of western architecture. Afterwards, I walked down the street to the Opera House, which once again has a western vibe to it. It's really amazing seeing French architecture in an Asian city! The streets around these monuments are filled with it. Finally, I went to City Hall. The area is very nice and walkable. However, the heat does get killer!
My next destination was a bit somber however. The War Rements Museum is a museum dedicated to the Vietnam-American War. I remember learning about the Vietnam War in high school but obviously from the American's POV. The museum is from the Vietnamese POV and is extremely eye opening. Shown throughout the museum are the different weapons and tactics used on both sides. What affected me the most was seeing pictures of children affected decades after from a result of Agent Orange used by the America. Although these children weren't alive for the war, the affects of Agent Orange resulted in birth defects rendering many handicapped. It was truly a sad thing to see but extremely informative and worth it at the same time.
My final stop of the night was Benh Tenh Market, a night market selling different foods, clothing, and other items. This market reminded me a lot of Ladies Market except a lot cheaper. Actually every thing in HCMC is cheap! I only spent about 85 USD for three days and that includes the two tours. Anyway, this market just has a lot of cheap food (bahn mi is life) and other trinkets.
The following two days I did day tours that took you outside of the city. On Day 2, I took a day tour to the Cao Dai Temple and the Cu Chi Tunnels. The Cao Dai Temple is a temple dedicated to the religion Caidaism which was created in 1926. The temple is so colorful and breathtaking! And it's just so interesting that this religion was created in the 1900s.
After, we headed onwards to the Cu Chi Temples, where some of the Vietnam-American War took place. It's absolutely fascinating seeing the small tunnels and traps made and used in the war. The tunnels were tiny and were apparently made bigger for tourists. In addition to that, there is little oxygen in tunnels so they had to crawl through these tiny tunnels while having barely enough oxygen and almost no light. Truly amazing.
Finally, my last day in Vietnam was spent on the Mekong Delta. We went on boats to the different islands to see how coconut paper and candies are made while going through smaller boats down the canals. It was interesting seeing all the little islands and canals. Although the Mekong Delta is pretty dirty, nevertheless it's a great river to visit!
My three days in HCMC were incredible! As I said before, I spent only 85 USD throughout the trip and still have some Dong leftover. It's truly an amazing country and I hope to return and visit Central and Northern Vietnam!
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