The challenge was 12 hours. We did it in 8. Because we’re badass. And how did we do it? Just take do a very simple walking tour in this order and you can’t go wrong:
- Mariamman Temple on D Truong Dinh
- Walk right around the park to hit D Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street; enter the Reunification Palace (15,000 dong = $0.90 USD)
- Walk back out and take a left until you hit D Nguyen Thi Minh Khai. Take a left and walk down until you hit D Le Qui Don. Turn right and you’ll hit the War Remnants Museum on your right (15,000 dong = $0.90 USD)
- Exit back out and walk north until you hit D Nam Ky Khoi Nghia. Turn right and walk down until you hit D Han Thuyen. Turn left and walk up until you hit the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post Office.
- Exit and walk westwards down D Dong Khoi until you hit D Dong Du. Turn left and the Saigon Central Mosque will be on your right.
- Take a cab to the Jade Emperor Pagoda. Don’t waste your time in finding it…it’s pretty hidden.
- If you still have the energy, take a cab to Cholon to see the rest of the pagodas!
Now we’re showered up and getting ready to meet my friend Van Nguyen and her brother, as they take us around the Saigon nightlife.
Some highlights of what we’ve seen. The photographs at the bottom are from the War Remnants Museum are pretty graphic and disturbing (don’t worry, there’s a warning before you hit it):
We found an oasis in a city of chaos: Saigon’s Central Mosque. I met a Bengali gentleman who talked about his son living in Jackson Heights of NYC also studying medicine. We exchanged information and I spoke to him a little bit in Hindi and bid farewell to him in Arabic.
After almost an hour of searching, we found the elusive Jade Emperor Pagoda:
In the middle of this we took a visit to the essential War Remnants Museum, which was extremely unsettling. I was really moved by the exhibits and could not leave without taking with me a few reminders of how fortunate we are for not having endured first-hand what it means to be a victim of War…
There were a few more disturbing exhibitions and photographs so if you’re interested, you can view the rest of the photographs here: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
– At time of posting in Ho Chi Minh, it was 91.4 °F – Humidity: 59% | Wind Speed: 9km/hr | Cloud Cover: few clouds