After all of our travelling in Vietnam (the past three blogposts took place in 9 days), we had one day left to explore Ho Chi Min City (also called Saigon). So we made the most of it!
Saigon is very modern, and reminded us a bit of other big Asian cities, though it still has a vibe of its own. There is, a bit awkwardly, one huge, modernly designed skyscraper in the middle of Saigon, and we went to the top to overview this colorful city!
The building resembles a lotus petal and is by far the highest building in the city!
However, earlier that day we already explored the rest of Saigon. One impressive site we went to was the War Museum, which is a three-storey building filled with photographs from the Vietnam War. Pretty explicit photographs, not for weak stomachs (for instance a soldier holding up a dead body that’s completely shot to pieces…). An intense museum, but with some beautiful examples of black and white war photography as well! Outside there were some tanks, planes and guns on display.
Another museum we visited was the Museum of Fine Arts, which was located in a beautiful old French mansion (remember, before the war with the Americans, the French were controlling Vietnam). The French colonial architecture is still visible in the city and makes for a very interesting mix in styles!
Another very interesting spot in Saigon is the Palace of Reunification. On April 30th 1975, the North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates here and thus the war was ended. The building is exactly how it was back then, so the 60/70-ies style is very present! It felt like walking in an old James Bond movie.
The gameroom :-)Underground was a bunker, with little rooms with chairs, old telephones and maps of Vietnam on the walls. And a shooting range!
Complete with escape helicopter on the roof :-) The atmosphere of the palace was like going back in time!
Saigon, however very different, also has many similarities with Hanoi. The street vendors are here also, as well as the mysterious atmosphere and hidden streets and backalleys.
And religion also plays a big role here in all its diversity. There was a big church (the Notre Dame) in the middle of the city with a beautiful neon Maria:
There were golden temples, set up by the Cambodian Khmer:
And then there was this beautiful hidden temple, the Emperor Jade Pagoda, tucked in between building and not visible from the streets. This temple had many different rooms, each with a different god to worship, and there were many people praying there while burning incense.
I think it was built in a former house or something, with all the rooms and stairs and stuff lying around. A very mysterious but beautiful place!
And with this we concluded our 10-day trip through colorful Vietnam.
It was an amazing trip!! I think it was for us the most inspiring place we have ever been to. The diversity, the colors, the smells, it was like walking around in a completely different world. Also the people were so nice! I loved Hanoi in the north because of its absurd Old Quarters and its beautiful nature around Halong Bay and Ninh Binh, but also love Saigon with its mix of old and new and interesting war history, plus ofcourse the bustling world of the Mekong Delta. Amazing!!!