Saigon, the biggest city of Vietnam, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh in 1976. North and South Vietnam was reunited in 1975 after the victory Vietnam and the name of their national leader who died in 1969 was given to the city in 1976.
There is a chaos of a traffic in Saigon, just like Hanoi. Motorcycles are very widespread in the city.
First we have seen the Presidental Palace that is located on a broad garden.
After that, we went to the Notre Dam Cathedral that was built in 1880. This cathedral had been built just like the Notre Dam in Paris by French. It is only closed at luch hours and weekends. Other than that, it is open at all times.
Right across the cathedral, there is a post office built by French. As soon as you enter, you can see a giant poster of Ho Chi Minh. The post office still works and it is very impressive.
Rex Hotel is one of the oldest and most centralized hotels of Saigon. Especially watching the city from its terrace is quite enjoyable. The most crowded area of the city is also here. Motorcycle armies are the most interesting thing while watching the city from the top. The traffic lanes are mixed up but we still did not see any accidents. I believe they have created an order of disorder.
We sat at the terrace of Rex Hotel and drank something along with the live music. After that, we headed to the Opera building that is close to Rex Hotel.
We watched the musical “Viet Soul” in the opera building. The show is arranged very nicely. The music, the dance and the unity of all the artist with the scene. It is really worth watching. Not only tourists, but local people watch the shows too. Inside of the building is also as fascinating as the outside of it.
We went on a boat tour with dinner, at night hours. With the lightings on the boats, they look like fishes. So the other boats look like lightened up fishes rather than boats when you sail along with them. The food was sea food dominated. The taste and serving was both magnificent. The magician shows along with the food made our night unforgettable.
The next morning, we went to the War Remnants Museum. This museum really displays the pain and suffering of the war. In the garden of the museum, tanks, helicopters and jets of American army are displayed. Inside, there are war photographs and some videos. And there is another section that displays the photos of the people that died.
Vietnamese settled in Saigon 400 years ago. Sans that came from Indonesia with boats in 13-14 AC attacked Cambodia and Vietnam and killed many Vietnamese. Sans represent the Indonesian, Hindu and Muslim community.
Vietnamese took their land back in 16th century. They first settled in the Middle Vietnam, city of Hue, and they proceeded up to Mekong Delta. In time, they kept spreading in their zone and stopped the invasion of Sans.
The biggest mosque in the city is the Central Mosque. It was built in 1935. Especially on Fridays, it is very crowded.
After that, we went to a souvenir shop. We have seen the egg shell paintings we saw in Ha Long Bay before. This store is also a government supported shop that handicapped people work and create their art. We watched the making of nacre and egg shell paintings. We bought one of the paintings because we liked these paintings with lacquer finish.
There were many construction work going on in the city. The women that worked in construction took our attention. They were troweling the floor. There are many women that work in road constructions, carrying soil mixture in handcarts, installing ceramic tiles.
Family is a very important concept in Vietnam. Average marriage age is 30-35 for men and 25-30 for women. In the countryside, it is 25-30 for men and 20-25 for women. They are more advanced from Turkish society in this matter. People live together before getting married in the cities. But not in the countryside.
We had our dinner in a restaurant in a hotel rich area. We ate cactus as a barbecue for the first time here. An interesting flavor. We ended the night with an enjoyable dinner along with the local instruments and music.