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Step 48/48: Vietnam -
Thanh pho Ho Ch...
About Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh
Price: 10 $
Traveling time: 6 hoursFrom Phnom Penh, many companies do the journey. Mekong Express is the best, with OK films, not-so-shitty music, food and one single stop.
Tips & Tricks
- Phở (pronounced like the French "feu"), rice noodle soup, is best eaten at 5am
- Many travellers think bad of Vietnamese. Bullshit. SMILING is your passport.
Things to see
Alternatively between French, Japanese and Vietnamese hands, it has changed names on various occasions, from Norodom Palace, Governor’s Palace, Independence Palace, Reunification Palace, highlighing the country’s history. In its current form dates in 1962, after bombing, démolition and reconstruction by a Vietnamese architect. There’s a bar on the top floor.
The War Remnants Museum displays the war crimes committed by the US army, with newspaper clippings, propaganda posters, US apparels, weapons tanks and planes. There’s a whole section on the Agent Orange and chemical bombs and a section reproducing cells and the tiger cages. We regret it takes a very anti-American side, unlike the Japanese Peace Memorial in Hiroshima.
Red-bricked Notre-Dame is a cathedral built by the French in the 19th century with materials coming from the Metropole. The cathedral has been given the status of basilica by the Vatican in the 60’s. Masses are held in Vietnamese and a few words in English and French.
Now this monument looks like it’s come from France on its whole directly. Its functions have moved in the chaotic 20th century’s history and is indeed a beautiful building.
Built in a typical French architecture at the beginning of the 20th century, it’s not possible to visit the Inside but it’s still probably on of the most famous buildings in Vietnam.
Opposite the Notre-Dame cathedral/basilica, this colonial building from the beginning of the 20th century has been built by the French as the main Post office and still holds the same function today. Its roof structure is owed to Gustave Eiffel and the atmosphere is funny enough.
Cho Ben Thanh is an indoor market in District 1, opposite the bus station where you'll be able to buy ANYTHING you need. From souvenir "iPho" t-shirts, posters of Tintin in Vietnam (??) and other counterfeit paraphernalia to foodstuffs, indeed it's just a funny place to wander about for a few minutes before tiptoeing and starting to suffocate. Argh
For 10$, you can go to the 49th-floor 360° observation deck, just below the balcony-like helipad that gives the tower its very particular shape. The tower is around 260 meters high.
It's all you expect from a pub. Good atmosphere, beer, pub food, darts and pool. Plus half a dozen screens showing various sport matches.
Not to sleep, let's be straight, but there's a roof-top bar with awesome views and it's NOT the most expensive beer in town. So.
OK, so it's not your cuisine hotspot, but open 24/7, it is the best option to fill up your stomach with something good and warm after drinking a fair deal. There are other 24/7 Pho chains.
Staying at a local's place is always the best way to discover a city in-depth, without wasting too much time on useless venues and sticking to the essential. And it's a big, big + when it's a friend!