I wish I could spend more extra days in this city. I love Saigon Ho Chi Minh.. not because it made me feels like home, but it is better than my home city cuz it provides a FREE WIFI’s EVERYWHERE!!! I declared Ho Chi Minh city as an AWESOME WIFI CITY! It’s free, it’s fast and it is everywhere!!!! Unlike KL, everything is locked and password required and if it is not, the access point can’t be defined – forever!
If it was not because of the diarrhea, I might able to visit few places like Chu Chi Tunnel created by Viet Kong during the Vietnam war, experience cruising the Saigon river by hydrofoil to Vung Tau and Hard Rock cafe Saigon (although I remember HRC wasnt included inside UNESCO heritage recognition). What a waste.
We arrived to Ho Chi Minh (HCM) at 9.30pm, with full body sore due to 7 hours bumpy journey from Da Lat. We quickly find a cab to bring us to District 1 with a hope to find a good hotel with bath tub and good food. I cant be a good backpacker, even though I’ve tried. Blame it on my small bones which unable to deal with a cheap mattress. Hmm.
The city is divided by 10 districts ( I think so, because I only able to find 10 districts in the map) and of course, whatever marked as numero uno, is the best. Look at the map below, the one circled in red is District 1. If you are too lazy to google or do some researches about the city, just get a nice illustrated map, and try to find spot where lots of landmarks on it, i.e shopping mall, museum, parks and other famous buildings, and you’re done 🙂
–>Oppss, not done yet. You need to figure out which hotel is affordable though. We are very lucky cuz we able to find a 3 stars hotel among the 5 stars, offering good bed, service, view and location.
–>RiverSide Hotel. It located in between luxury Renaissance and Majestic hotel, facing the SaigonRiver!
–>With USD55 per night with breakfast, this floating restaurant just right across the street as well as a walkable distance to all the hot spots in the city!Thanks to Riverside Hotel, or else I cant imagine myself settled in B&B. I love Riverside Hotel!
–>This is all I wanted for my sore body!!!! Latex matress! Heaven!! heavennn!!!
–>It is a very cosy property with a bath tub, big TV and free press on service. Their full body massage is very cheap too. USD10 for 60 minutes. I almost got myself a manwhore massseur service in here until I screamed “NO! I want a lady masseuse! Send me a girl!”. I told my girlfriend about the incident and she said ” wow.. If I were there, I’d love to try that”. Hah.
–>So that night we were just walked around not more than 500 meter radius around our hotel and found a nice Japanese restaurant called “Miso” (miso soup, remember?). This –>restaurant only can be found in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Saigon. They still open at 11pm and we were the only customers who chose sushi over a supper.
Next day we strolled around the city right after brunch, started to fully utilized the map at our hands like a real tourist. So we head to the one of a “must see” spot – Saigon city hall
–>Ho Chi Minh City Hall or Hôtel de Ville de Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Head office – was built in 1902-1908 in a French colonial style for the then city of Saigon. It was renamed after 1975 as Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. –>Illuminated at night, the building is not opened to the public or for tourists. (source: wikipedia)
–>So, if you wonder how is uncle Ho looks a like, just take a look at the black statue right across the city hall. The city, Ho Chi Minh actually was named after his. I still preferred Saigon, sound very vietnamese and very the city. It doesnt sound grand when the city named after a man.. just imagine Kuala Lumpur change to Abu Bakar or New York to Will Smith or something… right?
–>The former capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, was renamed Hồ Chí Minh City on 1 May 1975 shortly after its capture which officially ended the war. Hồ Chí Minh’s embalmed body is on display in a granite mausoleum modeled after Lenin’s Tomb in Moscow. This is similar to other Communist leaders who have been similarly displayed before and since, including Mao Zedong, Kim Il-Sung, and for a time, Joseph Stalin, but the “honor” violated Hồ’s last wishes (as well as the three leaders mentioned above). Several months before his death, he wished to be cremated and his ashes buried in three urns on three different hilltops of Vietnam (the North, Central and South areas).He wrote, “Not only is cremation good from the point of view of hygiene but also it saves farmland.” The Hồ Chí Minh Museum in Hanoi is dedicated to his life and work. (source: wikipedia)
–>This is a typical view of Saigon city, where 70% of its peoples use bike and bicycle as their main transportation. You can see bicycle at the roundabout, at the main road, at the traffic lights..everywhere
Standard taxi in Saigon – Toyota Vios. So, it is good to be a Taxi driver in Saigon, at least you able to drive your gf / family around in auto Toyota Vios rather than bicycles and bikes.
–>It was very hard to spot a Mc Donalds in here. so we settled in some fast food restaurant a-la Mc Donalds but with cheaper price called Lotteria
–>My addiction to a latte is forever incurable. I started to get headache without a coffee. They do have Starbucks and Coffeebean. But why settles with ordinary when you can have something from heaven?
–>I saw this cute signage and I immediately “awwww” over its cuteness.
I always love wings. Angel wings, fairy wings, chicken wings, sanitary pad with wings…
–>I dont need to describe how the latte taste, it’s already written “the world best coffee”
–>This one I got it from Lotteria. It was called “Squid balls in a coke”
–>Their fish burger tastes better than whatever fish burger we have in KL. And it came out exactly like what that had in menu pictures. Very juicy ok.
After our late lunch, we continued with our touristy mission
and we arrived at Notre Dame Cathedral. I read somewhere stated that there was a mother mary statue which shed a blood tears in here, but it was kept away.
Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica is a cathedral located in the downtown of Saigon, Vietnam. Established by French colonists, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters (190 feet).
All the original building materials were imported from France. Tiles have been carved with the words Guichard Carvin, Marseille StAndréFrance (perhaps stating the locality where the tiles were produced). Some tiles are carved with the words “Wang-Tai Saigon”. Many tiles have since been made in Saigon to replace the tiles that were damaged by the –>war. There are 56 glass squares supplied by the Lorin firm of Chartres province in France. The cathedral foundation was designed to bear ten times the weight of the cathedral. (Source: Wikipedia)
–>It was Sunday, so the church was full from morning until the evening. So we unable to walk in to see the interior of the building.was it resembles as those in real Notre Dame de Paris?
Rear view of the cathedral.
Next to it is a Saigon Central Post Office. It is a one huge post office and it is still operating. Well, I think all post offices in the world already has became some sort of museum after email/outlook/facebook/twitter has been introduced. There are ATMs, money changer and souvenir shops inside this building.
–>Saigon Central Post Office is a post office in the downtown Ho Chi Minh City, near Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, the city’s main church. The building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the early 20th century. It has a Gothic architectural style. It was designed and constructed by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel in harmony with the surrounding area. Today, the building is a tourist attraction. (Source:Wikipedia
–>This is for coins collectors
–>Bought few Vietnamese ladies for my friends as a gift…
We found this on our way back to the hotel. It’s Saigon Opera House. We really want to go in but apparently there is a theater was on play. It is very beautiful and grand inside but too bad..
The Saigon Opera House (An opera house in Ho Chi Minh City) is an example of French Colonial architecture in Vietnam. Built in 1897 by French architect Ferret Eugene, the 800 seat building was used as the home of the Lower House assembly of South Vietnam after 1956. It was not until 1975 that it was again used as a theatre, and restored in 1995. Saigon Opera House is a smaller counterpart of the Hanoi Opera House (built from 1901 to 1911, and shaped like the Opéra Garnier in Paris). The Saigon Opera House owes its specific characteristics to the work of architect Félix Olivier, while construction was under supervision of architects Ernest Guichard and Eugène Ferret in 1900. (Source:Wikipedia).
–>and oh, the trip wasnt complete if you didnt make your way to the shopping complex. Here you can expect whatever you may find in Starhill or Pavillion KL. They have all the branded boutique and stuff and oh.. since it is called “DiamondPlaza“, the diamond counters are at the entrance of the building. I first thought this building contained only diamond shop and counters. Nah, this is not for a tourist on her last day in the city. I was drooling over Agatha’s doggie earring, which costs around USD81 but I scared I will end up starve the next day. I only have enough money for a lunch/dinner plus taxi fare back to the airport tomorrow. Sad.
–>I find this statue kinda obscene.. like threesome or something like very sexual
oh, they have LV store which is bigger than what we have in Pavillion too =) So this make Saigon is better than KL. (Free WiFi + bigger LV store)
–>On the next day, our legs were totally numb. We were too tired for another sight seeing and very homesick. I missed Nasi Lemak and curry mee.
We left the city around 5pm, for our flight scheduled at 7.30pm
–>Oh well, cut the story short, we finally able to get on plane at 9.30pm
–>Thanks to the Ho Chi Minh, an awesome city of Free Wifi, I managed to kill my time by reading to other people’s blog and stuff