Ho Chi Minh City Touring and Sightseeing.
There are several places of particular interest to visit whilst in Saigon and all of them are quite easy to reach either by wandering about on foot or you can hire a motorbike taxi or a real taxi.[ Click the thumbnails for a larger photo, use the back button to return to this page ]
Around Saigon's streets there are all sorts of old buildings to look at - and the shops sell all manner of items including one which fascinated us that had thousands of steel bolts, nuts and washes all piled up on the pavement. The waterfront along the Saigon River was a particular favourite place to go too as it was a little away
from the bustle - you can sit there and watch the river traffic particularly including the heavily laden rice barges trundling by. Parts of the walkways and also along the canal are in a bit of a mess as they are being built around making access very restricted in places - there are some nice stilt houses around though. Around the city there are various gardens to enjoy.
Reunification Hall (or The Independence Palace) in Ho Chi Minh City.
The original building on this site was the Norodom Palace which was built in 1871. It was the residence of the French Governor General of Indo-China and constructed as a huge colonial mansion set in beautiful
gardens and grounds.
Following the departure of the French invaders in 1954 Ngo Dinh Diem took over the building to use as his palace. However after extensive damage in 1962 the building was pulled down and subsequently re-built in 1966 as the Independence Palace. After the defeat of the South Vietnamese in 1975 the building was yet again re-named this time as the Reunification Hall. The former grandeur of the building has been replaced by a huge white concrete building unfortunately. The Hall is open daily 07:30 - 11:30 and 13:00 - 16:00 and there is a small entrance fee. The rooms inside are pretty much the same as they were
in the 1960s with banqueting rooms, conference areas and reception rooms and in the basement is the former command centre and combat staff rooms. Here there are displayed old communication equipment and a variety of huge wall maps.
Just to the west of the Reunification Hall are the Van Hoa Park municipal gardens - these are quite extensive with lots of shady trees and plenty of flower beds etc. - just right for a quiet sit and cold drink after a bit of hot sightseeing.
Visiting The Jade Emperor Pagoda - also known locaally as The Tortoise Pagoda in Saigon.
Built by the Cantonese community in 1909, the Pagoda is situated at 73 Mai Thi Luu Street in District 3 - it is a little hard to find in the narrow Saigon streets so just ask if necessary. The Temple is in honour of the King of All Heaven Ngoc Huang
which means "Jade Emperor". Entry is through a shaded courtyard which has seating areas and is full of shrines and has a turtle shelter which is quite rare in Vietnam. The Temple consists of several pagodas some of which are quite small and full of burning incense. The statue of the Jade Emperor is located in the main sanctuary and is protected by two very impressive giant demon guards made of paper mache.
Looking round Le Van Duyet Temple in Saigon.
The Temple is located on Dinh Tien Hoang Street and is dedicated to General Le Van Duyet (1763-1831) who was a peasant who through his military capability rose to become a Marshall in the Nguyen Dynasty and eventually became viceroy of part of southern Vietnam. This
is a fine example of a temple dedicated to a national hero rather than to a deity or religion. Entering through the main gate the Temple is set in shaded gardens - the tombs of the general and his wife are in two unmarked mounds which
are surrounded with pots containing burning incense - he is still THE main hero to many South Vietnamese. A courtyard leads to the Temple the outside of which is decorated with mosaics and is beautifully carved.
Our items about Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam - things to do and see there.
- Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Travel and Touring Guide
- Ways of getting to Saigon in Vietnam - buses, flights, car and driver, where to stay, getting around.
- Visiting Cu Chi Tunnels
- Visiting Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam on a half day trip, looking at booby traps used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.
- Mekong Delta Touring and Travel Guide for Vietnam
- Touring the Mekong Delta Vietnam, Mekong River boat trips, fishing villages, restaurants, hotels, getting around the Mekong.
- Vietnam and Mekong Delta Touring Guide
- Our Vietnam Home Page - this contains all of our topics about touring in Vietnam and The Mekong Delta.
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