Vietnam is a wonderful place to visit over the winter holidays, especially if you are looking for some good food, good weather, and beautiful sights. A few friends of mine and I booked a week-long guided tour of Vietnam (2 days in Ho Chi Minh City / 3 in the Mekong Delta) and couldn’t have been happier with our choice. Immediately upon our arrival in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Bao, our amazing tour guide took us to the Reunification Palace.
The palace was very nice, but the bunker was the most interesting part, especially since they still had some furniture, equipment, and maps used during the American War in Vietnam. After visiting the palace, we were whisked away to briefly see the Notre Dame Cathedral (it was closing) and then popped in to the Old Post Office.
We then went to the Ben Tanh Market and tried some market food which included Spring Rolls (with shrimp and pork) and Bloating Fern-shaped cake with pork baloney. We had some free time to do a bit of shopping before our 5 course welcome dinner. After dinner, we headed to our stunning hotel (Silverland Central Hotel and Spa), checked in, and were on our own to explore the outdoor portion of Ben Tanh Market.
The next morning, we met up with Bao and set off of for the Cu Chi tunnels to see the tunnel system used in the American War in Vietnam. It took us 1.5hrs to get there and we arrived just in time to avoid the heavy crowds. I found it very interesting to see things ‘a bit’ from the Vietnamese point of view. I was quite impressed by the tunnel system, the traps they built, and their ability to re-purpose all sorts of things they obtained after attacking US troops (shoes, bombs, etc.). I have never been a fan of war, so some parts (mainly the traps) were a bit difficult to see-but I knew what I was getting into.
I absolutely must go back there and spend some time shooting photos and looking around-the place was very crowded and full of inpatient visitors.
After leaving the tunnels, we headed off on another 1.5hr drive to the Holy See of the Cao Dai religion. We arrived just in time to go inside and were able to catch a glimpse of the daily ceremony. We shot a few pictures and left quickly for lunch (to beat the crowds). I absolutely must go back there and spend some time shooting photos and looking around-the place was very crowded and full of inpatient visitors.
On our way back to the hotel, we took in the sights of the foreigner street (bars, hostels, and brothels) and stopped off to have a beer and people-watch. It was our last night in HCMC, and we took advantage of the gorgeous views of the city from the 8th floor bar. The next day, we headed off to the Mekong Delta to continue our adventures with Bao.
We had an amazing time in HCMC – if you get the opportunity to visit, try to see as much as you can, eat as much as you can, and soak up all the history. Read more about my trip on http://theneverendingwanderlus….
Written and photographed by Lindsay Mickles