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Joe and Sarah's Adventures

Ho Chi Minh City Part 2- The Sights

VIETNAM | Friday, 15 June 2012 | Views [891]

Since we spent so much time in Ho Chi Minh (our first week) and it's so huge we thought it deserved a little more space. We stayed in a number of different hotels in the Dong Khoi and Pham Ngu Lao neighborhoods- both in the center of the city or "Old Saigon". Pham Ngu Lao is the backpacker's district, so there are streets full of cheap hostels, restaurants, big rowdy bars, and little travel agencies. We've been tending to pay a little more to stay in higher end places (rooms here can go for as little as $5 a night). For anywhere from $15-25 we can get a nice clean room, private bathroom with shower, air-conditioning, wifi, and breakfast included (usually a mix of western and asian food with coffee and/or fresh juice).

Joe eating pho for breakfast at the hotel

Getting out and about in HCMC is easy and fun as long as you get over the knots in your stomach every time you have to cross a road. We were within walking distance to many of the sights- the Reunification Palace (South Vietnam's Presidential Palace where Communist tanks burst into the gates the day Saigon surrendered to the north in 1975), the War Remnants Museum which displays exhibits on the atrocities of the Vietnam War (with a very anti-American tone), the Notre Dame Cathedral (not nearly as interesting, big, or beautiful as the one in Paris), the huge Ben Thanh Market, any number of Hindu and Buddhist temples, and even some mosques.

War Remnants Museum
War Remnants Museum Grounds

Nortre Dame Cathedral- Vietnam
Notre Dame Cathedral- Vietnam style

Ben Thanh Night Market
Ben Thanh Night Market

We also took a taxi out to Cholon or Chinatown, which houses another large market, and numerous beautiful pagodas that we strolled around. Hanging from the ceilings in some of them are coils of incense that we'd seen men making out on the streets-- they light one end of the coil and it slowly burns up-- creating not only that somber temple smell but also a very beautiful effect.

Coils of incense

Rainbow over mosque
Rainbow over a mosque in Cholon

Overall we've liked Ho Chi Minh- there is definitely something for everyone here- but we're looking for something a little more relaxing to slow down a bit before we take off exploring the rest of this country/region.

Tags: ho chi minh, vietnam

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