Ho Chi Minh: Part 2

21 April 2014

For our second day, we booked a private city tour via the Indochina Odyssey Tours. I actually wanted to go with XO Tours, but my husband was concerned that going on a motorbike wouldn't be safe. It was just as well since it was so hot that the air conditioned car ended up being the better option. The tour was from 9 AM to 5:30 PM and cost us USD 142 for two people.

Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception

Also known as the Notre Dame Cathedral, it has been around since 1880. The red bricks were imported from France along with the colored glass windows.

There's a corner in the church where people put up a plaque to give thanks if their prayers were answered. After a quick scan of the area, the oldest dated tablet I found was from 1922.

It's also a popular spot for newlyweds even if they didn't have the ceremony at the church. That morning we saw at least three couples having their wedding photos taken.

Saigon Central Post Office

Located next to the Notre-Dame Basilica, it was designed and constructed by Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer who also built the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The red structure used to house phone booths, but have now been filled with ATM machines.

If you go further inside the post office, you'll see Mr. Duong Van Ngo - the last public letter writer in Saigon. He has been translating letters in English, French and Vietnamese for almost 70 years. I asked him to translate a note for me on a postcard that I sent to Earl. When I asked him how much I should pay him, he waived me off saying that none was needed. I gave him VND 10,000 anyway as token which he accepted.

War Remnants Museum

Basically, this museum is all about the horrors the Americans inflicted upon the Vietnamese people. It is divided into different sections, one of which is dedicated to the effects of Agent Orange. As many have pointed out, it is a one-sided story as told by the victors.

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