I Miss SAIGON- Day 1

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Free airfare, anyone? Why not?! 

My parents and I applied for a Cebu Pacific Citibank Credit Card last year and along with the card we were given free one-way ticket to any destination via Cebu Pacific. We decided to go to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam since we all haven't been there.

inside the Reunification Palace

We arrived in HCM city midnight of May 31- Reserved a superior room at Beautiful Saigon Hotel which is at the backpackers area of the city.

Beautiful Saigon Hotel- Superior Room $50 per night
I booked this hotel for 2 reasons- 1) PC with Wifi inside each room 2) bath tub. The breakfast was hearty (not a buffet setup but the meals are satisfying.)

Address: 62 Bui Vien St., Dist.1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone: (84.8) 38 364 852 – 38 379 415
Fax: (84.8) 38 368 538
E-mail: reservations@beautifulsaigonhotel.com

Day 1 was spent mostly by walking around the sunny city. 

1. Saigon Notre Dame Basilica
The cathedral was established by french colonists and was constructed between 1863 and 1880.

Saigon Notre Dame Basilica
Saigon Notre Dame Basilica's door
AddressBến Nghé, Quận 1, Ho Chi Minh City 

2. Saigon Post Office
It is just across the basilica, notable because it was designed and constructed by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel (of the Eiffel Tower)

Saigon Post Office
Address: 2 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

3. Reunification Palace or Independence Palace 
It once became the presidential palace in southern Vietnam. Now, the Vietnamese government is preserving it & is open to public.

Reunification Palace- 30.000 Dong for the entrance fee + english speaking guide.
Upper left- conference hall. Upper right- banquet hall
Lower left- dining area. Lower right- map area
Upper left- president's office. Upper right- president's office
Lower left- carpet since 1975. Lower right- gifts & collections of the president

Upper left- movie viewing. Upper right- movie viewing. Lower left- library
Lower right- helipad, notice the 2 red circles?
Address: 135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

4. War Remnants Museum
It contains exhibits about the American-Vietnam war and is said to be the most important museum in Saigon. Ticket costs 15,000 Dong.

War Remnants Museum

US Airforce helicopters & fighters

During the Vietnam War...

3M Vietnamese were killed (among them were 2M civilians)
2M were injured
300,00 were missing

Agent Orange Aftermath Room

Address: 28 Võ Văn Tần, phường 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

After all the endless walking, we went back to our hotel and prepped for the evening event - 
Water Puppet Show + Cyclo ride + Bonsai Dinner Cruise tour = $53

5. Golden Water Puppet Show
The shows are performed in a waist-deep pool, a large rod supports the puppet under the water who are hidden behind a screen, to control them. 

Voice talents/orchestra are at left side of the stage, they speak Vietnamese, so we didn't get to understand what they're saying but the puppets' actions are self explanatory.

BRAVO to the puppeteers! 
43, No8, Ward 16, Go Vap Dist., HCM City, Vietnam

6. Cyclo Ride!
Rode a cyclo from the Water Puppet show to River Cruise. Such a fun & unique experience!

Tip: If you are planning to ride a cyclo, ask your hotel reception or travel agency in doing so, I have a friend who got scammed by the locals.

7. Bonsai River Cruise
The entertainers of the Bonsai Cruise are Filipinos! We are a bit early so we had a chance of taking pictures with them.

With our fellow kababayans

Our Yummy Dinner
It was a fun night! A lot of singing & dancing but sadly, we didn't get to take pictures of them because its prohibited (I'm not sure why). Some of the dance numbers are local Pinoy dances, like tinikling. They even invited tourists to join them while dancing with bamboo sticks.


Our 2nd day in Saigon---> I Miss Saigon- Day 2
Our 3rd day in Saigon---> I Miss Saigon- Day 3 

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