Vietnam – Day 1 – Ho Chi Minh City

After some much-needed sleep I woke up at around 5:00am. The hotel I was staying at provided a complimentary set breakfast, which started at 7:00am. I hung out in the hotel room until it was time for breakfast. For breakfast I had some Pho. After breakfast I started my adventure around the city.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0232019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 026

The first stop was Ben Thanh Market, a massive market that’s been around since the early 17th century. The market was destroyed by fire in 1870 and was rebuilt to become Saigon’s largest market. The market was moved in 1912 and renamed to it’s current name, and the building was renovated in 1985.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 012019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 022019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 052019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 09

The second stop was the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, also known as Gia Long Palace. This building has a very rich history dating back to 1885.Construction of Gia Long Palace was constructed between 1885 and 1890. Gia Long Palace was designed by the French architect Alfred Foulhoux. The palace spans two floors and was building using classical Baroque architecture with a blend of European and Oriental influences. The building was essentially symmetrical with a winding staircase in the middle of the building. Interestingly the building was built with three deep underground tunnels which lead from the palace to other parts of the city so that government officials could escape in the event of a coup. The building was intended to house the Museum of Commercial Trade, which showcased products and goods of Southern Vietnam, but it was not used as intended and was instead used as the residence of the Governor of Cochinchina. In 1945, control of the palace changed hands many times. It started on March 9th when French governor Ernest Hoeffel was arrested, and the Japanese took over the palace and used it for the residence of Japanese Governor Yoshio Minoda. On August 14th the Japanese handed over the palace to its puppet Empire of Vietnam government to be used as a residence. A mere 11 days later on August 25th the Viet Minh seized the property. The building then became the headquarters of the Provisional Administrative Committee of Southern Vietnam, which was later renamed the “People’s Committee of Southern Vietnam”. On September 10th the British occupied the palace and made it the Allied Mission headquarters, thus evicting the “People’s Committee”. About a month later on October 5th the building was then again occupied by the French; first as a temporary headquarters of the High Commission for the French Republic in Indochina, then as the official headquarters of the Commissioner of the French Republic in Southern Vietnam.

On June 2nd 1948 the French handed control of the building to the Provisional Government of the State of Vietnam, which established its headquarters there. It was later on used as the Palace of the Premier. On January 9th 1950 a massive protest with over 6000 students and teachers demanding the release of students arrested for advocating Vietnamese independence occurred in front of the building. Over 150 people were arrested, 30 injured, and 1 killed. From 1954 to 1966 the palace was used as a residence for numerous government officials, and was renamed to Gia Long Palace by Bao Dai. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Vietnam utilized the palace from October 31st 1966 to April 30th 1975, when the Fall of Saigon occurred, ending the Vietnam War. On August 12th 1978 the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee ordered that the building be used as the Ho Chi Minh City Revolutionary Museum, a propaganda museum, later being renamed on December 13th 1999 to its current name of Ho Chi Minh City Museum.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 122019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 132019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 142019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 152019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 162019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 182019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 202019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 212019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 232019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 262019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 272019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 332019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 34

The third stop was the People’s Committee Building, also known as Ho Chi Minh City Hall. The building was built between 1902 and 1908 in a French colonial style. It was renamed in 1975 to Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. While I was there a group a graduating school children were getting their group photo taken.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 38.jpg2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 335

The fourth stop was the City Opera House. I just took a photo of the outside, as the inside was being used for graduating children. The building was opened in 1900 and shaped very similar to the Opera Garnier in Paris, with 800 seats to entertain the French. The Opera House was damaged during World War 2, and because of the criticism of the fascade and high costs of organizing performances the government tried to turn the theatre into a concert hall. Decorations, engravings, and statues were removed, and the building wasn’t restored until 1955. After the Fall of Saigon in 1975, the building was restored again to its original function as a theatre, and the façade wasn’t restored until 1998, on the 300th anniversary of the founding of Saigon.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 392019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 40

I then stopped by the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre to purchase a ticket for the 5:00pm showing; more on that later. The cost of the ticket was 200000 dong ($11.40 CDN).

After purchasing my ticket, I went to the War Remnants Museum. On my way to the museum I met a couple that was also from Canada and we chatted on the way to the museum. The girl had just had her phone stolen out of her hands while she was sitting for dinner the previous evening, so she warned me to be a bit vigilant. The War Remnants museum was built in 1975 and contains exhibits related to the Vietnam War and the first Indochina War involving the French. Just a word of warning that some of the following images may be disturbing to some viewers.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 452019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 462019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 472019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 482019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 492019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 502019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 3282019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0282019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0292019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0302019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0312019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0322019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0332019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0342019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0352019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0362019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0372019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0382019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0392019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0402019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0412019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0422019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0432019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0442019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0452019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0462019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 047

I was starting to get hungry so I searched out some food on Google Maps. I settled for Saigon Sakura Japanese Restaurant. On my way to the restaurant I snapped a few quick photographs of Independence Palace. Independence Palace, also known as Reunification Place, was built between 1962 and 1966. It was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30th 1975, when a North Vietnamese army tank crashed through the gates.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 51

For lunch I had some sushi rolls, but not too many as they were phenomenally expensive; even more expensive than at home. After enjoying the delicious lunch, I walked to the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon and the Saigon Central Post Office. Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon was built between 1863 and 1880 by the French in a Romanesque style. The Saigon Central Post Office was built between 1886 and 1891 in Gothic, Renaissance and French style. Inside the Saigon Central Post office there are two painted maps that were created just after the post office was built. One is a map of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia titled “Lignes telegraphiques du Sud Vietnam et Cambodge 1892”, which roughly translates to “Telegraphic lines of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia 1892”. The second map of greater Saigon is titled “Saigon et ses environs 1892”, which roughly translates to “Saigon and its surroundings 1892”.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 522019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 532019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 562019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 572019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 582019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 60

It was getting quite hot out at this point in time and I was still a bit jet lagged, so I walked back to the hotel to rest for a few hours. On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a Circle K convenience store to get a few beers to enjoy in the hotel room later on. By the time I got back to the hotel it was about 2:30pm. I relaxed until roughly 4:30pm and then walked to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre. The show was extremely well done and in Vietnamese, but I didn’t need to understand Vietnamese to understand what was going on.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 652019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 682019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 692019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 712019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 72

After the show I walked to Nha Hang Dong Pho, and had a Hue style clear both with pork knuckle. It was honestly not very good, despite the good reviews online. I was getting tired so I walked back to the hotel. On the way back it started raining, but not too hard.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 053.JPG

Check back tomorrow when I explore more of Ho Chi Minh City, and explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, before jet setting off to Hoi An / Da Nang.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

A Tribute to Notre-Dame

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Paris, France in March 2018. One of Paris’s most iconic landmarks is Notre-Dame. Sadly yesterday, on April 15th 2019 Notre Dame caught on fire, presumably from the construction activity that was taking place. I wanted to take this time to showcase the beauty of this wonderful building in its former glory and dive into the history of the cathedral.

The construction of Notre-Dame started in 1163 and wasn’t completed until 1345, a whole 182 years later! The cathedral is sacred to the Virgin Mary and was considered to be one of the first examples of French Gothic architecture style. The construction of the cathedral utilized an innovated technique of rib vault and flying buttresses to support the roof. This would later on lead to the quick spreading of the fire as the majority of the roof was constructed of wood. The cathedral featured beautiful rose windows and a beautifully sculpted interior.

Construction was started under guidance of Bishop Maurice de Sully and was completed in its first iteration in 1345. In the 1790’s Notre-Dame suffered from vandalism and neglect during the French Revolution, with much of its religious imagery being damaged or destroyed.

In the 1800’s several events occurred; the cathedral was the site of the Coronation of Napoleon I as Emperor of France, the baptism of Henri, Count of Chambord, and the funerals of several presidents of the Third French Republic. The cathedral became famous in 1831 when Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame was published. A major restoration project occurred between 1844 and 1864. In 1963 the façade of the cathedral was cleaned, returning it to its former glory. Another cleaning and restoration project was carried out between 1991 and 2000.

After the fire occurred the French president Emmanuel Macron stated that Notre-Dame would be rebuild. The billionaires behind luxury giants LVMH Group, Kering and L’Oreal have pledged a combined total of over $550 million towards the resurrection of the beautiful Notre-Dame, and the Pinault family has pledged over $110 million as well.

2018-03-10 Paris 0052018-03-10 Paris 0062018-03-10 Paris 0072018-03-10 Paris 0092018-03-10 Paris 0112018-03-10 Paris 013

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

2018-03-10 – Paris Bound & Paris Day 1

Today I started out having breakfast with my father at the airport before catching an Air Canada flight to Vancouver, where I caught an Icelandair Flight to Reykjavik. The Icelandair flight was the best flight that I had ever been on because I saw a KP5 index Aurora Borealis! One of the flight crew members that wasn’t flying noticed me setting up my tripod and wedging it in between my business class seat and the aircraft wall and asked if they could take it into the cockpit to take some photographs of the Aurora from up front. I obliged and let them mess around with it for a bit. He came out after a while and talked with me for a bit and showed me the photos. The photos turned out fantastic! The flight was greeted in Reykjavik with a massive snow storm, which ended up delaying flights significantly, but more on that in a bit.

2018-03-09 Enroute to Reykjavik 072018-03-09 Enroute to Reykjavik 082018-03-09 Enroute to Reykjavik 092018-03-09 Enroute to Reykjavik 17_edited

The next flight, Reykjavik to Paris, was about an hour late arriving in from Paris, and then delayed a further 2 hours because the airport was temporarily shut down to the massive blizzard that rolled in. There was a group of women on the flight that became extremely hysterical and confrontational with the flight attendant, so I stepped in and helped to calm the situation by explaining in more detail how things work like checklists, de-icing, flight delays, etc. The flight crew was extremely thankful and gave me complimentary alcoholic beverages and food for the remainder of the flight and asked for my email address so that they could try to see if I could be upgraded on the return flight. To be honest I’m surprised the group of women didn’t get kicked off the plane; as I’m sure they would have if it was in America and Canada.

I landed three hours late at Paris Orly airport and took the OrlyBus and Metro to get to my hotel. I checked in, dropped off my stuff and went out exploring for a bit. I saw Notre Dame, Les Paris Royals, ate a delicious crepe from Breizh Cafe (highly recommended by google and trip advisor), the Louvre (outside only), some old Arcades (enclosed corridors with shops), and The Grand Rex, an Art Deco cinema built in 1932. The cinema has a capacity of 2800 seats, making it the largest in Europe in terms of seating capacity, and it also boasts the largest screen size in Paris, measuring at 300 metres squared.

2018-03-10 Paris 0012018-03-10 Paris 0022018-03-10 Paris 0032018-03-10 Paris 0052018-03-10 Paris 0062018-03-10 Paris 0072018-03-10 Paris 0092018-03-10 Paris 0112018-03-10 Paris 0132018-03-10 Paris 0152018-03-10 Paris 0162018-03-10 Paris 0172018-03-10 Paris 0762018-03-10 Paris 0772018-03-10 Paris 0782018-03-10 Paris 0812018-03-10 Paris 0822018-03-10 Paris 0832018-03-10 Paris 0842018-03-10 Paris 0852018-03-10 Paris 0862018-03-10 Paris 0882018-03-10 Paris 0892018-03-10 Paris 0922018-03-10 Paris 0952018-03-10 Paris 0962018-03-10 Paris 0972018-03-10 Paris 099

It was 8:00pm and I was completely exhausted so I went back to my hotel, emailed the flight crew from the first Icelandair flight a few Aurora pictures before heading to bed.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here