Before coming to Ho Chi Minh, all I new about this busy city is what I saw from Apocalypse Now (which wasn’t much). With a population of 9 million, this place is fully of energy and excitement. After getting off the bus, which was in the “tourist area,” we looked for a hotel. The first thing I noticed about this place is the motor cycles. There are a lot of them…4 million (according to Wikipedia). Crossing the road here is near suicidal. In Asia, motorcycles act more like bicycles, they drive on the sidewalks, they don’t really care what traffic light is and a lot get parked inside shops (including our hotel). This nice thing about the motorcycles is that they treat you like a big pothole in the road, they will do everything to avoid you, which is nice, but when you are facing 4 million coming at you at 45km/h you start to worry. Forget India, crossing the road here is way more dangerous. Other then crossing the road, this place is pretty cool.
Food here seems to be great value, breakfast was huge and meant we didn’t need to have lunch. With fully bellies, we headed to Reunification Palace. Reunification Palace was the presidential Palace from 1966 to 1975. A tank crashed through the front gates in April 1975, ending the Vietnam War. The place has been kept in wonderful shape, admission is cheap and your admission includes a guide. The first thing you notice is that the president had a pretty nice pad. You also realize that the 70’s were a pretty interesting time for interior design. Bright yellow furniture, olive greet carpet, and brown fixtures, this place makes you step back in time.
The really cool sights are in the basement though. As you walk down the steps you feel like you will turn the corner and Q from James Bond. I didn’t see him, but I did see a lot of old gear. Rooms were named by their function, the map room, the phone room, the war room. It was pretty cool.
Afterwards we headed to the War Remnants Museum, which was interesting and shows the brutality of the war.