Day 14 February 19 Ho Chi Minh City (Disembarkation)
Another early morning as we board our bus from the boat at 8AM. The crew is there to see us off.
I had woken with a sore throat so was rather lethargic.
Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many.
Once aboard the bus it is a fifteen minute drive to the heart of Saigon. It is New Year's Day so it is very quiet.
This morning, enjoy a WALKING TOUR of the city’s famous and historic landmarks as you stroll through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat) past the Rex Hotel.
Ho Chi Minh Square
The Continental, NOT the Inter-Continental. Graham Greene was along-term guest in room 214, who conceived the work The Quiet American about the aftermath of the French Colonial period.
Many locals were dressed in traditional costumes for the holiday.
Every building is decorated for the New Year.
Central Post Office - it looks like a train station but has never been one. It is right across the street from the cathedral and just in front of our hotel.
The shops in the post office were open.
This girl was playing Auld Lang Syne.
Notre Dame Cathedral
REUNIFICATION PALACE (formerly the Presidential Palace) built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Ho Chi Minh City. It was designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ and was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates.
WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM
I was starting to feel feverish so I din't get my usual enthusiasm for this.
For lunch, participate in a hands-on VIETNAMESE COOKING CLASS. Head into the classroom and learn how to prepare different local dishes and the techniques necessary to recreate them once you return home. Last but not least, sample your delicious creations!
Still not feeling great and the room felt very hot to me but it was fun. We donned our chef's hat and apron. I will post the food and techniques we learned in another post.
Finally we could check in at 2PM. INTERCONTINENTAL ASIANA SAIGON
Corner Ha Ba Trung St and Le Duan Blvd Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
InterContinental Asiana Saigon is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. The hotel features spacious rooms with separate bath and shower, a full service spa, outdoor pool, and a fitness center. Other amenties include three restaurants, a lounge, and a bar.
The hotel is stunning. Our room and more photos of hotel to come.
Walk in shower in the corner.
The afternoon is at your leisure to explore this lively city.
We took a nice nap and then headed out around 6PM for a drink at the Rex.
There were lots of festivities out on the street.
Across from the Rex.
Rex is a luxury 5 stars hotel heritage dating back to early 20th century when it was originally opened as a French garage. For over 80 years, the Rex has been as a landmark, as well as a witness of the ups and downs of the city’s history. It was a hangout for journalists, CIA and military during the Vietnamese war.
This photo is from their website.
It was decorated for the holidays.
We went up to the rooftop bar and eight of the people from the boat were waiting for a table. We said hello and walked to a table for two.
Strolling back to the hotel.
You take your life into your hands crossing the street.
The post office at night. We had been warned over and over again to be careful about pickpockets. So John took just some cash in his pocket. When he was taking this picture with his cell a woman tapped me and pointed to a %50 bill on the ground indicating that John had dropped it. I picked it up and thanked her, told John and we thanked her again.
Turns out one of our group had her purse snatched in from of the hotel, but she didn't have much in it.