A 6 hour bus journey through the green rolling mountains of Vietnam’s central forest that once homed tigers and elephants was leading towards the historic Ho Chi Minh City formally known as Saigon. Expecting somewhat of another Hanoi HCMC is a city that is thriving economically and driving Vietnam forward. Towering sky- scrapers and high octane commerce shows how capitalism is progressing in Vietnam. Bigger than big 5.58 million residents live in this bustling city through its narrow winding streets and its wide open neon lit roads being up as early as 5am every morning for their routinely exercising in the central parks. Mainly badminton and yoga many of the men partake in Jianzi kicking a shuttlecock like spring with feathers about with a fashion of ease.
It’s an easy city to navigate so long as you use the local features to know your surroundings but when shopping ignore the shop keepers who offer over inflated prices purely because they think you are a “rich tourist” as you will be able to barter much cheaper prices else where.
Two of HCMC’s major tourist stops are:
Built in 1966 serving as South Vietnam’s Presidential Palace it is now known as Reunification Palace. As the Communist’s tanks crashed through the gates on the morning of April 30th 1975 it’s a place of momentous historic occasion. The building still looks the same as it did that day and at $1.50 its worth a visit. However you may as well be looking around a friend’s house as its nothing special- just carpets and chairs. The one thing that did make it a little interesting was the downstairs bunker that would protect those in charge from 5 ton of bombs. But at least you can say you have been and I think that’s what visiting a place like this is all about.
War Remnants Museum
A fantastic tourist attraction at the heart of HCMC. It documents the devastation caused by the French and the Americans during their consecutive wars. It is a must stop for any tourist to discover the real atrocities that the Vietnamese had endured during these horrific times. But more so it also brings to home the barbaric acts and strategies the Americans used on completely innocent people (complete villages wiped out)- of which those involved have been charged with war crimes and genocide.
How the Americans got away with what they did without the World interfering and stopping them is appalling and it has left Vietnam with major scars in its society.
On display is the retired artillery and an array of photographs documenting the tragedies Vietnam has endured. However the tone of the museum is slightly colored in propaganda but this is irrelevant as the museum speaks for itself.
There is much more to see throughout HCMC if you get out and explore and its similar to any other major city in the world with everything on offer with regards to food- fashion and lifestyle. It is a great city and one of the most attractive for a tourist to visit in the whole of South East Asia. Just enjoy it in its growth and get carried along for the ride as you see what you may discover for yourself in this treasure trove of a place.