Today, we got off the river and headed to Saigon. I can say that there is a night and day difference between the north (Hanoi) and the south (Saigon). Saigon has far less pollution, crumbling infrastructure, and is clearly much more modern and easy going than cities in the north. I hate to say it, but Saigon was a delight to enter this morning. Lots to say in this post as there is so many things to do…
We first visited the former Presidential Palace…lots of history here.
It is now called the Independence Palace or Museum. This is where the (previous) government rules, lived and held meetings before it fell in 1975.
Here are the first tanks that the VietCong/Communists used to shut down and overturn the government.
By crashing through the gates (since they were not skilled and knew what to do when they were fighting in the city and not in the jungles)
This is the famous plane that was stolen (from the US) and dropped two bombs on the palace in 1974 that marked the end of the South Vietnam government.
We also stopped by and checked out the famous post office that is still in use today. Lots original artwork and décor from a long time ago…a large painting of Uncle Ho Chi Minh hung over everyone.
I have to say that you see A LOT of propaganda art, messages and statues in Saigon than you do in the north.
And, right before lunch, we took a few pictures of the oldest Chinese pagoda in Saigon. It was pretty impressive with its woodwork as the temple is supposedly over 200 years old.
A nice, (free) historical artifact worth visiting if in the area.
In the afternoon, we visited the War Remnants Museum in Saigon.
In some ways, it is a lot about propaganda…
But it truly told the story and the sad history of the Vietnam War.
It is mostly a photo museum of the history of the war and the soldier’s activities on both sides as captured by journalists.
There was some nice exhibits of all the weapons used in the war and some of the captured US aircraft.
As you can tell above, Agent Orange was the primary topic. Out of respect, I did not take nor will I show the pictures of the war. Many were too horrible or graphic to even describe. War is horrible and there is two sides to every story. The Vietnam War was something I hope we never see again.
In closing for today, here is a stern warning from our hotel: don’t you dare bring in any of the DURIAN fruit…it smells like French cheese and offends some people. $200 fine for local fruit in the room!