Ho Chi Minh City

The city was named Ho Chi Minh in 1976 after reunification to honour their leader but is still often called Saigon. Its big, busy, full of motor bikes and chaotic. Learning to cross the road here is an art. Basically you have to keep your nerve and just go for it. They are quite good at missing you.

City Sights

The tourist  trail here is very different from Hue. You must visit Notre Dame cathedral, the War Remnants Museum and the post office.  Surprisingly the post office is quite interesting and very popular. Its built in the style of a railway station and is huge.

The War Museum

The War Remnants Museum was grim but a necessary visit. The room dedicated to Agent Orange is unforgettable. The Americans sprayed this herbicide over large areas of the countryside to remove foliage making it harder for the enemy to hide. Unfortunately this amounted to  chemical warfare. Four million Vietnamese were exposed to Dioxin  causing a long list of illnesses and birth defects. Its true many Americans were also affected but the Vietnamese story is heart breaking.

The Reunification Palace


The Independence or Reunification Palace was the presidential palace during the war. Its worth a visit to see the grandeur.


Out of Town

The Cu Chi tunnels are worth a visit. They are narrow and of course underground so no way I was going in but you are allowed to crawl along them. Nowadays they are a popular tourist attraction but during the war the connecting tunnels were used by the Viet Cong soldiers to hide in during the day. At night they would come out to fight or check on their crops. Unsurprisingly many of them died of malaria.

The Cao Dai Great Temple is a prime example of why you need to travel. You could not make this place up if you tried.

It was built in 1927 by spiritualist Ngo Vachieu who dreamed it up during a séance. Its very like a cathedral, you are allowed to watch the service from the balcony as the participants nod their heads and chant in time to a gong. They all wear white but the interior of the building is brightly painted. God in the image of a left eye is everywhere.

If you’re looking for a religion this just might be the one. They believe all religions have the same truth so they have picked the best bits of each and believe all humans should promote world peace.