Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Southern Vietnam – Saigon

Majority of Malaysian tourists who visit Vietnam head to the northern part of the country. Apparently, Halong Bay in northern Vietnam is the top draw.

I have never been to northern Vietnam, but have been on business trips to its south. I feel that southern Vietnam has been overlooked by the tourists. Here, I would like to share with you my experience in southern Vietnam and photos taken there.

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is the gateway to southern Vietnam. The largest city in this country was formerly known as Saigon. After South Vietnam was conquered by the Communists in 1975, Saigon was renamed HCMC. Somehow, the city’s airport is still coded SGN.

Vietnam was formerly a French colony, and it’s in Saigon that the French influence is the strongest. One of the legacies of the French is the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral, shown below…

This picture was taken inside HCMC’s post office, yet another French-era building. The map shows southern Vietnam in early 20th century…

HCMC’s theater

This is Rex Hotel, where journalists who covered Vietnam War stayed. The journalists returned in 2005 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon

Coming up next: Cu Chi Tunnels


  1. So you have been to Vietnam too? Wow! The picture of the Notre Dama Cethedral is amazing. I didn't know French influence is so strong there. Well, I have learnt another thing today. :)

  2. Nice architechture with nostalgic feel....

  3. ya, unique architectures!

  4. I have never been to Vietnam. Would like to visit one day.

    Beautiful cathedral. The French influence is still evident and it's good to see that the buildings are still intact and not demolished. Heard that they also have their baguettes like the French do.

  5. Tekkaus
    The French influence is what make me love the city.

    Grass, Wenn
    Yes, very nice architecture.

    Mei Ting
    Vietnamese French loaf is my favorite 'Vietnamese food'. Cheap and tasty ;)

  6. The notre dame in Hanoi looks old and lack of maintenance. But this one exudes elegance. I too love cities with colonial heritage.

  7. 我还未去过越南,不过去过的朋友都说环境很肮脏,你认为呢?

  8. I heard HCMC has undergone extensive changes the last ten years. Real estate has escalated in prices. Roadside foodstalls are still aplenty. When was the last time you were there?

    AirAsia has given people lots of opportunities for travel, don't you think?

  9. I have never been to Vietnam, but I read many nice stories about it. A good vacation choice!

  10. kyh
    Colonial heritage is exactly the reason I love HCMC!


    Yes, there were plenty of roadside food stalls. I last went there in 2005.

    Nice stories? I thought there are bad ones too...

  11. very western structures......

  12. Me never been to Vietnam too! Hope to go there some day! Oh, yeah, don;t mind going Halong Bay too then can compare with Guilin's Lijiang River.

  13. lurve da structure of da buildings...like a lil' france there :)

  14. 迷迭香
    French influence...

    I'm also thinking of Halong Bay...

    Nuh, not exactly a lil' France. There were not many French.

  15. It looks like... colonial France, rather than contemporary France.

    The architecture, the building etc. reminds of the pictures I have seen of French Algeria.

  16. 去過河內

  17. Zhu
    Of course the architectures look like colonial France. Vietnam won the independence war in 1954.


  18. I know ;)

    But some former colonies were rebuilt with the country's own style... not all countries like or want to keep the colonizers' city planning and buildings.

    Take Shanghai for example, little is left from the former concession around the Bund.

  19. Zhu
    I haven't been to Shanghai, but am said about your account of the Bund.