Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
since visiting the towering Pagodas was not on our itinerary, i decided early the next day to wake up early and visit at least one of Vietnam's Buddhist pagoda. checked in the internet and chose to visit just one, since Ho Chi Minh is a quite a big city to explore all the other pagodas.
Pagodas are towers which represents a house of worship for Buddhist and Taoist but according to wikipedia, in Vietnam it is a more generic term referring to a place of worship as a whole. this city alone has seven pagodas.it took me quite some time to choose one and ended up with Vinh Ngiem Pagoda which is under the third district of Ho Chi Minh just along the highway of Nam Ky Khoi Nghia. i had to do it alone since my travel buddies Nadz and Melissa decided to take more sleeping hours."bring me to Vinh Ngiem Pagoda" while pointing at the temple in the map of Ho Chi Minh trying to negotiate with a motorbike driver outside of our hotel in De Tham street. we agreed at 100,000Vietnam Dong roughly at 225Php two way and immediately handed me a helmet.
thinking that he already knew the place, i started to take photos along the way but to my surprise, he brought me to Ben Thanh market and i brought out the map again and this time pointing at the street that goes to the Pagoda. then he nodded.just about 20minutes we reached Vinh Ngiem Pagoda, which is actually the first Pagoda in Vietnam to be built in Vietnamese traditional architecture. unaware that it was actually the birthday of Buddha during that time and so a tent was laid out in front of the temple with people offering flowers and incense.
we went up the main area and with the driver who was now so aggressive in bringing me around the temple after seeing my camera. he even seemed more excited than i am. not much difference from the Buddhist temples in the Philippines only that this has a pagoda.
had the chance to enter and politely took some photos since it was not prohibited. i felt fulfilled as i can't leave Vietnam without visiting a pagoda. signaled my driver that i am ready to go back to the hotel but he was trying to tell me something while doing some hand sign which looked like he's bringing me to another one or maybe he meant something else. that comes on my next post.island: Greater Asia
temple historical background: 3.5
temple structure: 3.5
Sunday, September 26, 2010
the ladies will definitely love this place as bags, clothes and shoes are among the most popular. souvenir items like those small key chains, figurines, paintings, and the popular Vietnam shirt printed with a star. you can buy the items using their currency Vietnam Dong or US Dollars, language barrier is not a problem in the market as the phrase "how much?" is well understood here and you get a reply from the calculator. easy right? beyond shopping, food tripping comes as a bonus after a night of bargain. the most popular of which i would recommend too is Hai Lua which occupies about five to eight stalls. in short, you won't miss seeing it. they have a wide range of Vietnamese food and it is beyond the popular Phos.
how to get there: from the backpacker's district of De Tham, just walk along Pham Ngu Lao until you reach the bus center and it's just across your left or walk along Le Lai until you reach the Tran Nguyen Han circle.
best time to go there: 6:00pm onwards for great bargain.
island: Greater Asia
market area: 3.0
Thursday, September 23, 2010
built 35years ago as a memoriam to the American-Vietnam war. it is composed of a block type structure, a replica of a prison camp and an area displaying some of the war equipments. some of the thematic rooms on the top floors has air condition system while the ground floor is open.
musuem area: 3.5
Monday, September 20, 2010
 Saigon Central Post Office
one of my favorite stop after a day walk around Ho Chi Minh is the old post office which now remains as one of its landmark and was designed by the French engineer Gustave Eiffel.
it has retained some of its old phone booths with some shops inside. maps, murals and beautiful pillars makes it more attractive. Vietnam stamps are still available around this area where can buy for your collection.it is just across the Notre Dame Cathedral in Cong xa Paris street in Ho Chi Minh. Bun Bo Thanh Noi Hue
from the cathedral just walk straight along Pham Ngoc Thach and when you reach the circular plaza, find this small food shop along Tran Cao Van street. you can easily miss out this place as it occupies a small entrance like majority of the shops arond Ho Chi Minh.
it's here where one can find a really good variety of Vietnam Pho. including its crabilicious Pho, which is basically a pho with crab rolled meats. you'll find the owner of the shop so excited to welcome you when he learns that you're a foreigner.
the waitress won't understand your order as the menu are written in Vietnamese language. so what's the best thing to do when you're there? go to the kitchen and from there point the one that they're cooking and say that's what you want. i'm sure it's something good. that makes it more exciting to eat.
 Cong Truong Quoc Te Roundabout
just right next to Bun Bo Thanh food shop is this circular man-made water park which transforms into a decorative structure on special occasions. an irregular pathway leads you to its center which has a long ladder.few steps more along Pham Ngoc Thach brings you to a modern look of Ho Chi Minh. that makes a somehow tiring yet a worth walk around Ho Chi Minh.
Monday, September 13, 2010
i will also be visiting Hokkaido, Nagoya and Osaka in the coming days and so i won't be able to drop by your blogs. the Vietnam series continues for the meantime while i'll be away for this trip.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
island: Greater Asia