We had just a full day to explore Ho Chi Minh before we fly back to Manila. With no definite itinerary for the day, we decided to roam around the city mainly on foot. Culture enthusiasts as most in the group are, the theme for today’s walking tour is art and history.
Just several steps from our hotel was the Fine Arts Museum of Ho Chi Minh City. As it’s been mostly road trips and beach trips for me the past few years, I was definitely intrigued to see the beautiful art works of the people of Viet Nam.
I don’t remember feeling this much excitement seeing creations by people. Being that I am not artistic – at all – I was so amazed by the talent that the artists have. And, this experience definitely sparked my interest again in immersing myself in the art scene, especially in the Philippines.
We also went to the Reunification Palace, formerly known as the Independence Palace, and learned more about Viet Nam and its history. It seemed, though, that all these days of hard core backpacking (in our standards) were finally taking a toll on everyone that, ehem, some of us slept through the lectures. Oops!
For a country to have a museum dedicated to wars, for me, implied that they had a long history of armed struggle. It broke my heart when I saw the Agent Orange victims. I was pretty sure that we had discussed about this in class when I was still a student. But, seeing the pictures in the museum was a different story altogether. The disfigured bodies of the victims were heartbreaking. But, with some of them still holding big smiles on their faces provided hope.
Notre Dame Cathedral is a Catholic church and a core Cathedral of the city. Despite differences in religions, we all said a prayer of thanks for how wonderful the trip had been for us.
A few steps from the Cathedral is their post office, designed by Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower. It was the only place Angge requested that we visit, so here ya go. (Photo taken by and used with permission from Angel Zorilla)
We then decided to have the Vietnam fried pancakes, locally known as Banh Xeo. We didn’t know that it would be in such huge servings that most of us failed to finish what we ordered. But, all the same, it was delicious!
While waiting for Angge to get her eyeglasses fixed (it was sat on by Angel!), we saw this cute pink church, the Tan Dinh Church.
We then went back to the hostel to pick up our stuff and headed to the airport for our flight back to Manila.
The entire trip reminded me that there’s so much more outside of what I know that’s worth spending my time learning about. It also provided me with a renewed longing to visit more historical places in the Philippines. And, yes, after our backpacking trip to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Ho Chi Minh, I vowed to go around my country and go beyond the what I’m used to. After all, the places that I’d be visiting have their own stories to tell and I am committed to learning about them and sharing them with my family and friends.
- Backpacking Cambodia and Vietnam: Getting to Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Backpacking Cambodia and Vietnam: Chillin’ in Siem Reap
- Backpacking Cambodia and Vietnam: The Mishap in Angkor Wat
- Backpacking Cambodia and Vietnam: Quad ride around rural Siem Reap
- Backpacking Cambodia and Vietnam: Capping our day with wine and steak
- Backpacking Cambodia and Vietnam: Strolling around Phnom Penh
- Backpacking Cambodia and Vietnam: Genocide Museum
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