Day 3 – Ho Chi Minh City
Today was the last day proper I was in the city. I stayed for four nights in Ho Chi Minh, and I was happy with this. I felt it was just enough time to see the main sites, though there were others I could have visited if I’d had more time.
I had decided to visit the history museum (a general museum of Vietnamese history) and then go to city museum. The history museum was next the botanical gardens. I didn’t go into the gardens itself; not only did you have to pay and there was a massive queue for tickets, there was also a funfair in the gardens. But I did go into the history museum, and spent an hour or two pottering around, looking at the exhibits. It was further along than the cathedral, which I’d got pretty much familiar with, in terms of where it was, so I could navigate to the museum fairly easily.
As well as stone statues of Hindu deities, and a display of imperial costumes, sections on early Vietnamese periods, there was also an interesting section on the stone age. This is not usually something I dwell too much on. I’m no expect in this period, though it is sometimes interesting to see the development of areas from the prehistoric period onwards (in Hong Kong, the history museum there had good examples of this). But actually, here, it was a nice change, and refreshing to see, what little I do know about the period, in a different context.
I headed back to the city centre for lunch, after which I went to the city museum. This told the story of the city. I have to say that the building was rather impressive. The interior was not vast; but there were some interesting exhibitions, particularly on the area’s flora and fauna.
Then I decided to visit the Saigon River, which was at the bottom of a very long road. The road, which I wasn’t familiar with before, was basically a tourist hotspot. Literally, other than the tourist secruity and police, and shop owners trying to sell tourists their products, most people on the road seemed to be tourists of some sort.
I happened to stumble upon the end of the new year celebrations, and a street full of people taking photographs of flowers. I read later that this had been created before the new year, and that there had been performances and so on in the lead-up to Tet (Lunar New Year). When I saw it, however, it was the day after the last performance, and so it was being dismantled.
A pleasant end to my holiday in Vietnam. After this I returned to the hotel area, had food and packed, ready for the early start tomorrow.