05 May 2012


Limited Days + Tight Budget = DIY City Tour. That's a travel formula that works for Hubby and me. We say no to tour packages. And yes to research, long walks and the possibility of getting lost (part of the adventure!).

I'm sharing five of the city spots we got to see during a long weekend in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. All these are located within District 1 (where our budget hotel was also situated). We would have wanted to explore the city more but due to time and budget constraints, we stayed in one district. The perks of that decision: we got to enjoy leisurely walks and long delicious meals.

(1) The Reunification Palace
135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

It was the presidential home and work place when Vietnam was divided into North and South. Today, the palace marks the end of the war, just like the fall of the Berlin Wall, as the North Vietnamese tank crashed its gates in April 1975.

It's now a museum. Open daily. 7:30-11:30am; 1-5pm.
Entrance fee: VND 20,000 per head (that's less than Php50)

The Reunification Palace's facade

Inside the Reunification Palace. Very '70s.

(2) The Notre Dame Cathedral
No. 1 Cong turong Cong xa Paris Street. 
A mere 5-minute walk from the Reunification Palace.

Built from 1863-1880, it's over one thousand five hundred years old!

We're charmed by the cathedral's French colonial beauty.

(3) The Central Post Office
2 Paris Commune Street, District 1
Right beside the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Me to Hubby upon reaching the entrance: "We're in Paris!" 

It's one of the oldest buildings in HCMC, built between 1886 and 1891. But the more interesting tidbit for me: It was designed by Gustave Eiffel of the Eiffel Tower. Wow. 

It looks more like a 20th century railway station in Europe than a post office in Asia. Agree?

The phone booths bring you back in time.

Such pretty tiles.
(Those are my "super sulit sa lakad" black ballet flats. Very comfortable pair from Zara.)

Viet Comm. Post, pay phone, cell phone. 

(4) The Saigon Opera House
Along Le Loi Avenue
Around three blocks away from the Central Post Office

Lovely French Colonial architecture.

(5) Ho Chi Minh City Hall
86 Leh Thanh Ton Street
A block away from the Opera House.

Another charming French Colonial building.

In front of the City Hall is the very pretty Ho Chi Minh garden square.

Eavesdrop on a conversation from this date:

  • My photography-enthusiast Hubby to Me: Gumagaling ka ng kumuha ah. 
  • Me: *kilig* I have the best mentor kasi. *kiss*

Yes, our marriage's motto is "Love your own." And I'm unabashedly cheesy. Hehe.

Anyway, we'd love to go back to HCMC for a tour of the Mekong Delta, Saigon River and the Cu Chi Tunnels naman. God-willing...

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