Saigon in modern times

Ho Chi Minh city, otherwise locally known as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam by population. There is a constant buzz of construction, people, and cars humming throughout the city. Some of the most popular sites in Saigon are remnants of Vietnam’s history.

30740171_10204974493438202_117540601917865984_n

While in Saigon, I opted for a cyclotour in which I rode in the back of a rickshaw around the city. The Vietnam war museum was our first stop. It is extremely humbling to be faced with the horrors that took place during the Vietnam War. Vietnam is just getting back on its feet, but many cannot forget the war torn past. As a US citizen, I found it particularly important to learn about.

30709394_10204971359079845_1843047862024273920_n30706534_10204971363839964_2213917454810218496_n

Next stop was the Saigon Notre Dame Basilica. This church was built by the French when they occupied Vietnam. The design is based off the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. Although most Vietnamese people are Buddhist, around 1% of the population is Christian.

30707139_10204971367720061_8777309506724954112_n

Right across the street of the Notre Dame Basilica is the post office. This beautiful structure was also made by the French in the namesake style. As the tour guide explained, the invasion of the French was terrible but they did leave behind beautiful things.

30740514_10204971367520056_1087065246343888896_n

We also made a few stops at government buildings. City hall was also made in a similar style to the post office. The independence hall represents the final surrender of south Vietnam to north Vietnam in order to become a unified country.

30714915_10204971368840089_3343718712376033280_n30710966_10204971366840039_7566654124012339200_n

The final stop on the cyclotour was the Opera House. Conveniently, a woman was having a photo shoot in front of it, in the middle of the street. She looks beautiful but she was risking getting hit by a car. Not the most practical thing to be doing on a weekday.

30705873_10204971368760087_5099301171735035904_n

My food experience in Saigon was excellent. We were taken to Pho 2000, where Obama and Bill Clinton ate pho (on separate occasions). I ordered Obama’s exact order, beef pho and was not disappointed.

30728878_10204971369520106_8054903433536208896_n

But that was only lunch. For dinner, we went to the international food market. Vendors sold all different genres of food including Korean, American, Japanese, Italian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Mediterranean. I went for Korean/Japanese inspired fare.

30729235_10204971369720111_4690966802564382720_n

Slightly outside of Saigon is an important slice of Vietnamese history.  The Củ Chi tunnels have been preserved from the Vietnam War. These intricate tunnel system was used the Viet Cong. These soldiers built whole villages underneath the ground including kitchens, bathrooms, and planning rooms. Most entrances have been expanded for tourists to enter and crawl in. While sitting at one of the tables to rest, you can enjoy a bit of what the Viet Cong would eat: green tea and tapioca root with peanuts and salt. The tour explains all the tactics the Viet Cong  would use in war times. It is incredible how advanced their techniques were with little resources at their disposal.

31445026_10205006622281403_7313827249180901376_n31378776_10205006619561335_2344271047978647552_n

Saigon had a lot to offer for history buffs and foodies alike. This southern Vietnamese city should be a definite stop if in the area.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s