Day 13: Ho Chi Minh (B)
The morning city tour will starts with well-known Ho Chi Minh City, under the name Saigon, it was the capital of the French colony of Cochin-china and later of the independent republic of South Vietnam from 1955–75. On 2 July 1976, Saigon was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City, name of Vietnamese communist revolutionary leader who was prime minister (1945–1955) and president (1945–1969) of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam).
Visit the former Presidential Palace (outside), other name is Reunification palace, you will get well-maintained and spacious grounds of this historic building is a prominent symbol of the country’s political history. During the 19th century, the Reunification Hall was the site of the Nonrandom Palace, former residence of the French governor general.
Then, you will visit the Notre Dame Cathedral in the center of Saigon which is established between 1863 and 1880 by French colonists. This is one of the most famous landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City, thanks to its special architecture, rich spirituality and oozing history. Located in the most crowded district of Saigon – District 1, the Cathedral is also in close proximity to Saigon Post Office and Reunification Palace. The impressive red bricks of the cathedral make it outstanding in the modern city that has been rapidly growing up. It was built by French colonists; thus, all the materials and decorations were imported from France. The outside of the buildings, for instance, was built totally of red bricks from Marseille without plastered or cemented. However, it still remains fresh orange-red color until today. The focusing point of the building is its two identical 58-metre bell towers in which each tower has 6 bronze bells that still ring loudly these days. The appearance of these 2 bell towers does increase the value of the cathedral’s unique architecture. When you visit the cathedral, don’t forget to spend time walking around the building to enjoy its fresh color as well as special architecture.
The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh is a beautifully preserved remnant of French colonial times and perhaps the grandest post office in all of Southeast Asia. Located next door to Notre Dame Cathedral, the two cultural sites can be visited together and offers visitors a chance to imagine life in Vietnam during the times of the Indochinese Empire. The building was designed by Alfred Foulhoux and features arched windows and wooden shutters, just as it would have in its heyday in the late 19th Century.
Then, you will visit Lacquerware factory fine art which is a producer and trader of wood carving, interior decoration items and other handicrafts ranging from vases, boxes, coasters, bowls, plates… to suites, cupboards, buffets, screens, pictures, decorative objects and those for sales promotion programs. Furthermore, custom-made products are our specialty and under taken by talented artists.
Thien Hau Pagoda is a gorgeous 19th-century temple is dedicated to the goddess Thien Hau, and always attracts a mix of worshippers and visitors who mingle beneath the large coils of incense suspended overhead. It is believed that Thien Hau can travel over the oceans on a mat and ride the clouds to save people in trouble on the high seas. There are intricate ceramic friezes above the roof line of the interior courtyard, while the protectors of the pagoda are said to be two land turtles that live here. Near the large braziers stand two miniature wooden structures in which a small figure of Thien Hau is paraded around nearby streets on the 23rd day of the third lunar month. On the main dais are three figures of Thien Hau, one behind the other, all flanked by two servants or guardians. To the right is a scale-model boat and on the far right is the Goddess Long Mau, Protector of Mothers and Newborns.
In the afternoon, you will visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels – an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the long struggle for independence. The tunnels of Cu Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi District of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. Cu Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong’s base of operations for the Tet Offensive in 1968. The tunnels were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped to counter the growing American military effort. Dinner on your own.