Friday, February 25, 2011

In Saigon, Day 1

I arrived in Saigon 30 minutes past midnight (1:30am in the Philippines) and found my targeted guesthouses to be fullybooked. Luckily someone took the liberty of finding me a room for a 4USD tip. I ended up at the rooftop room of Nga Hoang Hotel in Pham Ngu Lao St., District 1. It cost me 10USD for each night of stay.

Despite the lack of sleep, I rose from bed early to see Saigon in broad daylight. I started with the native pho as my breakfast and started walking around noontime. The humidity in Vietnam is manageable. Huge crowd riding a motorbike is everywhere. It's crazy but it's cute.

I followed the map I researched and my journey started at Ben Thanh Market, then Vincom Plaza, Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace, Xa Loi Temple, City Culture Park and forgotten to drop by the War Remnants Museum.

Walking is so fun, notwithstanding sweats, because you have the chance to observe the culture, the activities of the day, the unpublished attractions. I happened to notice the Saigon Cinema, a buddhist temple at a corner near that cinema, a hindu temple and more, particularly the cheering squad rehearsals at the City Culture Park.

See below the captured moments I have had in Saigon during my first day.

Remember that reminder. Okay?

A view of settlements from my window.

The early morning pho.

The only hostel available for the night, thus I booked it for 2 more nights.

The view (just an arc of 2-39 park) at the nearest corner from the hostel.

Streets are always packed with motorcycle riders, residents and aliens alike.

A site from the rotonda where the famous shopping centers (Ben Thanh Market and Saigon Tax Center) stand.

The intricate (with french-touch not -kiss) architecture of their city hall.

The only shopping mall I found to have western fastfood, the Popeyes. A relief from viet's pho foods.

The chance to take a clear view of and pose at the Notre Dame Cathedral.

At the Reunification Palace

Inside the auditorium of the Reunification Palace

You have to pay an entrance fee of 30,000VND to pass the towering steel gates around the Reunification Palace.

A chance to sit and relax for a while. I just don't know what the label says. That's actually what I am trying to capture in the photo.

My first view of a pagoda in Saigon. Interesting the Xa Loi Temple is!

That's a monument/icon made of evelasting flowers (exclude me).

A hindu temple so hidden along Tru'ong Dinh Street.
At night, sipping a saigon beer is refreshing. That was after I dined at the nearest KFC.
VNDs left after one day of being a millionaire

Their parks are so relaxing; perturbed only by street vendors insisting to sell coco fruit juice and a shineboy so persistent to shine my rubber shoes.

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