After 3 fabulous days in Hanoi and Halong Bay, we had an early checkout from our hotel to grab our flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). We reached Saigon around noon and had our reservations at the Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel close to the Ben Thanh Market. We checked into the hotel and started our exploration of the city on foot.
First stop was the Saigon Central Post Office. No trip to Saigon can be complete without a visit to this historical and still functioning post office. The post office is a well preserved remnant of the french colonial era and is one of the grandest post offices in southeast asia. We picked out a few postcards and sent them out to our families. Its a nice feel to cut away technology for the good old fashioned snail mail. Right across from the post office was the Notre Dame Basilica. The cathedral measures almost 60 meters in height and has a distinctive neo-romanesque feature including the all red brick facade, stained glass windows, two bell towers containing six bronze bells which continue to ring to this day. A few minutes walk from the cathedral and we reached the War Remnants Museum. This has to be one of the saddest experiences until now. The museum is a shocking reminder of the long and brutal Vietnam war. I cannot describe the feeling seeing the artillery, guns, etc. The museum showed grisly photos of victims that had suffered ‘Agent Orange’. As many as 4.8 million people were exposed to strong pesticide and chemical spray. The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs believed 500,000 children were born with birth defects. For once we kept the cameras inside and just walked in silence. The last thing we needed on our final night in Vietnam was some retail therapy and there can’t be any place better to do that than the Ben Thanh Night Market. The whole street comes alive with plenty of souvenirs and clothes. We bought a bunch of knick knacks for our friends and family. The good thing was the hotel was pretty close to the market so we didn’t have to worry about carrying all the stuff and walking. The next day was the highlight of Saigon for me.
Click on the links to see the detailed itinerary and images :
Day 1 : KL to Hanoi – Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo Prison, Hoan Kiem Lake, Thang Long Water Puppet Show
Day 2 &3 : Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on Paradise Cruises, Hanoi – Night Market, Food Tour
Day 5 : Cu Chi Tunnels – Ben Duoc, Saigon – KL