The buzz in Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City (the new official name of Saigon) – the most vibrant of all cities in Vietnam!

My first glimpse was on New Year’s Eve , a day after I had moved to Hanoi. Souvik’s company had sponsored a program at HCMC, so we decided to ring in the new year there. Our friend, Anshu was visiting, and joined us in the celebrations.

One evening in the city was hardly worth anything, but I had to wait 5 months before I got back for a proper visit.

Did a little more of the conventional tourism thing the 2nd time round – in the heat and humidity of May. My modus operandi was to wander around with my GPS until it got too hot, then duck into a café to cool off, or dart into the hotel for a quick shower or snooze. Happily, everything was at a 10 minute distance by walk or motorbike.

One of the most striking features of the city – the Notre Dame Cathedral built by the French.

And right next to it is the Central Post Office. What’s great about that, you ask? Nothing much, except that it was designed by none other than Gustav Eiffel. And looks adorable!

The Reunification Palace was a bit of a disappointment for me, save for a few exhibits that made it worthwhile.

The other remarkable buildings in the area are better photographed – City Hall, Opera House – and looked dressed up all the year round.

One of the evenings Souvik and I went for a drink to the terrace of Rex Hotel. It was right here, many years ago, that the people watched the liberation army enter the city, making it a historical spot, with a great view!

The shopping in HCMC is predictably wonderful – from the Ben Thanh market to the big brands downtown. But the shop that completely caught my fancy was Non Son:

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