Ho Chi Minh City is named after a former President of Vietnam, considered one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. The city is the most populated city of Vietnam and has French colonial architecture everywhere. The French buildings stand out and you can see them behind the facades of the new construction.
War Remnants Museum
Having spent some time in the US, I was aware of the Vietnam War and its importance in US history. During this trip I understood the importance of the war for Vietnam. Out of the three books I read in preparation for our holiday, two were about this war. One was ‘Faith of Our Fathers‘ by John McCain and the other was ‘The Sorrow of War‘ by Bảo Nin. So I was eager to visit this museum. I’d recommend it to everyone. It gives context, and gory details about the war. There are photographs, army tanks and weaponry and even two foetuses inside a glass case (to show the impact of Agent Orange). If you had just one day in Ho Chi Minh City – I’d suggest working this into your itinerary.
Memorial to Thích Quảng Đức
Thích Quảng Đức was a Buddhist monk who set himself on fire to protest the oppression of the Buddhists in South Vietnam, in 1963. I’d read about this incident and seen the photo too, and a few days before our visit, I read that this happened in Ho Chi Minh City. So we had to go. This is a memorial not only to the monk, but a tribute to satya and ahimsa. It’s not very crowded, because I think many tourists aren’t aware of this part of Saigon’s history.
I love dining at historical/legendary/iconic spaces. I feel like you can really soak in the vibe, instead of just walking through it. It’s like Koshy’s or the Airlines Hotel in Bangalore. So when I heard that the Majestic Hotel was one of the oldest hotels and has the best view of the Saigon river, I decided we had to go. The food was good, but I really liked their Saigon-themed cocktails. I had a Happy Saigon.
Besides this we also at the 22z10 Bar, which had some great pizza. The walking street was also fun, but very loud, so if that’s not your thing, then you can avoid it. The egg coffee is great, but fills you up! Ho Chi Minh City’s local market is called Ben Thanh Market, and it’s a great place to pick up souvenirs.
We’re all set to fly out from Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow afternoon. But I’ve had a great time. We’ve stuck to District 1, but there’s so much to do here and we didn’t feel we missed anything.