Summer Hollybobs – Ho Chi Minh City part 1

It was sad to leave Hanoi behind as we had such a nice time there. However, on to Ho Chi Minh City…

We stayed 4 nights in the Riverside Hotel which is in the main hotel area downtown. Not to be confused with the much bigger and classier Renaissance Riverside Hotel which is next door. First impressions weren’t great as our room’s windows were boarded up! We quickly decided that we wanted to upgrade and managed to change to a much bigger room with a view of the river. Happy days.

Hotel sorted, we were off into Ho Chi Minh City. Much more modern than Hanoi, HCMC is a nice mix of the modern and traditional. There are some spectacular sky-scrapers, in particular the Bitexco Financial Tower dominates the skyline. As well as containing a shopping mall and whatever financy places it has, there is an observation deck on the 49th floor and restaurants on the two floors above it. The view was great and we had a pretty nice (but expensive) meal there on our last night.

Another architectural highlight was the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, which is a very pretty red-brick church.

On our first full day there, we visited the War Remnants Museum which had a number of galleries highlighting war-time atrocities committed by the US during the war. In particular, the sections on the Mai Lai massacre and agent orange were very affecting.

We also went to the Cho Ben Thanh Market. This place was a wonderland of tiny stalls crammed together selling all kinds of clothing, souvenirs, food, etc. If I lived in HCMC I would definitely come here to fill up with things for my apartment! As it was, we got a few souvenirs, some clothes for Mariko and a watch for me.

The food in HCMC was outstanding with many very pleasant restaurants all over the place. There were a surprising number of Japanese restaurants as well. Prices weren’t too bad either. HCMC would be a very easy place to live I think.

All in all, we were very impressed with HCMC and would definitely be interested in coming here to live at some point in the future. We were here for four days in total with a couple of days spent out of the city on tours. More info on those to come…

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