Vietnam | Ho Chi Minh City: The Real Adventure

We finally made it to our hotel. At this point, I was trying to get the sour taste out of my mouth. I didn’t want one experience to ruin Ho Chi Minh City for me (If you haven't read about our rocky start, click here). I was determined to fall in love with Vietnam.


After unloading our stuff into our room, we headed out to explore. First stop… Some food! I absolutely adore Pho so naturally that's where I suggested we eat. I definitely was not disappointed. For roughly $1.25 American I had a delicious bowl of Pho, spring rolls, and a Coke.

I adore Pho!
From there we headed to the Independence Palace (also known as the Reunification Palace). I honestly had no idea what this building was or if it was even still in use, but all the guidebooks and maps said to check this place out. The palace hasn't been used since it was bombed in the 70’s. All the decor is still from that time period. It was fairly neat to read about all the important meetings that took place in the palace. The one downfall was that it's a little confusing to get around. The obvious walkways are often closed with no signs directing you to the next floor.

Pretty impressive building!

After this, we strolled towards Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post Office. Whilst the Post Office may sound like an ordinary store, in Vietnam it's comparable to Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station. It is a gorgeous old building! I now appreciate why it is a tourist stop. It's incredibly busy with people around the world stopping to take in the beautiful building while mailing a letter or postcard to loved ones back home.

So many people from all over the world!

Unfortunately, Notre Dame Cathedral was closed so we were only able to see the facade of the building. It is quite similar to the one in France. This is when I learned of the strong French influence present in Vietnam.

Still beautiful, even from the outside

From there we went to the War Museum. I wasn't sure what I was expecting but I was not prepared emotionally or mentally for this. You're able to see the horrific ways POW were kept when the Americans were aiding Vietnamese troops. Seeing just how small the tiger cages were, how hot the cells crammed with people could get, and the various ways of torture was eye opening.

Tiger Cages

The museum details how America went from being allies with Vietnam to declaring war against them. I don't remember learning much about the Vietnam war in school, but I do remember an iconic photo of a little girl running naked down the street after a bomb was dropped in her village. This picture was on display at the museum along with countless, ruthless acts by American soldiers to innocent Vietnamese children. The images of Agent Orange and how this chemical transcends generations was heart breaking. It was very interesting learning about the war from the Vietnamese perspective.

Bomb fragments

Needing an emotional pick me up, we stopped at a cute little dessert cafe for a much needed tea and sweets. We continued walking around various shops and markets before concluding the day eating at an amazing rooftop Vietnamese BBQ joint.


So good!

Overall, Ho Chi Minh City impressed me. People were fairly friendly which was an improvement after our rude cab driver. What I was most pleased about were the number of Americans in Vietnam. I regularly encounter Germans and Aussies but very rarely do I meet Americans. Good on ya for expanding your horizons.

Keep an eye out for our next adventure to the Mekong Delta!



And until next time...
Stay Curious!

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