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Hello Saigon!

large_938978_14286951709029.jpgOr Ho Chi Minh city as it is now called. Both names are still used, so it doesn't really matter. It was a long drive from Dalat, so i was glad to be there. We walked around, went to the Ben Thahn Market and on towards the opera building. We picked out a nice restaurant for dinner, and did some window shopping afterwards. We would be here for another day so plenty of time.

The next day, while a lot went to the Mekong Delta, we decided to stay in Saigon. We visited the Jade Emperor Pagoda to start with. There was not tourst in sight (which i liked). It is a small square with 2 ponds, one for turtles and one for fish. Then there is the main temple hall, which is beautifully decorated. It was very busy when we were there.

Next we went to the Zoo & Botanical gardens.large_938978_14286951821246.jpg The zoo is nice, and because of the shade it was nice walking around there. It's not the worst zoo i've seen, the hippo cages were small and that was a bit sad but most of the animals had decent looking cages. And they're still constructing and improving, which is good. The zoo is pretty big, and there are a few places where you can sit down and get a drink. You don't see much tourists there, a lot of local people and kids on schooltrips. You can get food there but it is mostly Vietnamese and it didn't look very well to our opiion so we skipped that. The botanical gardens were smaller then expected, but very nice. There is also a part where they grow orchids and bonsaitrees. We spent most of the morning in the zoo and the gardens. There was also a butterfly garden but it was unfortunately closed when we were there.large_938978_14286952129305.jpg

After the zoo we wwent looking for a place to eat. In the end we ended up in Vincom Centre, the big Shopping mall.It was a good place to eat, plenty of choice and there was airconditioning. After that we went back to Ben Thahn Market to see if we could find anything nice. It is a very big market and you can spend some time there. After that we took a walk back to the hotel. We went back to the mall for dinner, because there was a good hotpot restaurant. It was very funny to do, and of course delicious as well. We walked passed the opera building and the big community building, and decided to get a drink at Highlands coffee. The coffeetastes really good there, but i guess that's obviuos if you see how busy it is in there. There was some sort of night market near the (now closed) ben than market so we dwindled there for a bit, before we went back.large_938978_14286956046668.jpg

The next, and last day, we went to the War remnants Museum. It leaves quite an impression to see how many wars this country has seen. There is an entire floor dedicated to the effect of agent orange, seriously i think my stomach twisted a couple of times seeing the pictures that were hanging there. But also a lot of pictures about the war itself, the soldiers, and of course weaponry, bombs and stuff like that. There are also pictures of My Lai and other places. Outside were big tanks, and several planes.

Next was a short photostop at the Reunification Palace, which was first named the Governours Palace and used by the French Governor before WW II. It was the home of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.large_938978_14286952256326.jpg When peace was negotiated between North and South Vietnam it happened in this building, that's when it got the name of Reunification Palace.

After that we went to the Notre Dame Cathedral and the post office which is right across the street from the cathedral. It's nice to see, the cathedral has bueatiful glass in lead windows, other that that it has a simple interieur. The post office is nice to see as well.

After that it was time to go pack our suitcases. We would be leaving to the airport soon after.

All together i had a wonderful vacation in Vietnam, but it reminded me a bit of Thailand. And a bit of China when i went to the Mausoleum (it has a bit of the same layout as Mao's Mausoleum) and Halong Bay. The traffic is horrific, as it is everywhere in Asia, but they don't even stop for traffic lights (Saigon excluded). So it's scarier then most places. It was a great experience, but i don't think i'm ever going back.

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Vietnam

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