We said goodbye to Singapore and took the short flight to Ho Chi Minh. We arrived at our hotel The Aragon Central, which was centrally placed in district 1. We are back to the chaos of traffic which is so different from Singapore.
Now this hotel, as quite a few do in this part of the world, have rooms with no windows. I specifically chose a room with a window. Now I didn’t think it would be the best view but wasn’t expecting the view we got which was the corridor outside the lift. Yes it did have a window but not an external one! Definitely not what you’d expect, and definitely not one to recommend.
We arrived around 7.30pm so dumped our bags and went in search of food. We found a Street food market which was similar to that in Singapore but much livelier with lots of different choices for food from, Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, BBQ, Mexican and even oysters. Nice and cheap at £6 for a meal and a beer each.
Thinking about our next stop we had booked some train tickets online for our journey on Monday 13th March so off we went in search of the train station to collect our tickets. Not far I’m told, 35 minutes later. Good exercise, we are getting plenty of that with all the walking.
We were having a quick 10 minute sit down at the train station before we ventured off to the Reunification Palace and were approached by three students. The young girl asked us if we were taking a train and where to. Now the pronounciation is not the same as it looks to us we realised so we showed her the ticket to Huy Tao. They had been given an assignment to travel on the train for 30 minutes with some foreigners to help with their English. They were disappointed that we weren’t travelling that day (Saturday 11th March). We had a chat with them and off they went. As we left the station, the students came running after us a they wanted a picture of us and a selfie which with our celebrity status (refer to previous blogs in Myanmar) we were happy to oblige.
We arrived at the Palace, at the wrong entrance, something that seems to be becoming a pattern, we did this is Mandalay. We passed a guy carrying drinks and he thought Ian might like to carry it to show how heavy it was and that the guy was strong, he kept showing us his muscles. I don’t think this will be his new career.
The Reunification Palace was previously the palace of the South Vietnamese President. There was a group of people standing together near the entrance which we realised had a tour guide giving the history and in English, so we hung onto their tails. The Palace was host to meetings with various US officials during the Vietnam war. The war finished when a tank was driven through the front gates in 1975.
Games in the Park
On our way back to the hotel we walked through the park which was a hive of activity. There were several groups “Shuttlecock Kicking”. They wear special shoes to kick with. If you look closely at the photo below you can just see the shuttlecock. Also saw a group performing Tai Chi, or something similar.
The museum was built around photos from war journalists. Some of the photos are harrowing and a real reminder of the horrors of war.