Sunday, July 26, 2009

Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon River Cruise

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Once the tour bus reached HCMC, I dropped at the 100++ years old Central Post Office located in the heart of the city. It was constructed between 1886 and 1891, designed by Gustave Eiffel who also designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The architectural design of this Central Post Office represents the French colonial style and it’s the biggest post office in Vietnam.

The elegant interior is considered to be the most interesting feature of this building. The vaulted and shining interior with its glass canopy, huge ceilings and a giant portrait of Ho Chi Minh has enough to impress you. Stamps and souvenirs are sold from the counters within the post office.

Opposite the Post Office, it’s the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was constructed between 1863 and 1880 by the French. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters. The materials used in its construction were imported from France.

In front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, it’s the statue of Virgin Mary on the scenic Paris Square.

Inside the cathedral

Stain glass windows

Peddler outside the Notre Dame Cathedral

A common sight of street peddler on the busy street

As we walked back to the Downtown, we bumped into Saigon Opera House (Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theater). This building hosts more than just opera; it's also home to classical recitals, pop concerts and dance.

The City Hall in HCMC is called by many names. The City Hall was called the Town Hall till 1954. In between 1954 and 1975 it was renamed the City Hall of Saigon. Since 1975 the charming cream and yellow French Colonial building has been called the HCMC People’s Committee Building. Since this is a working government building, no one other than civil servants and cleaners are allowed in. It’s not open to public.

Then we walked back to our nearby hotel, refreshed ourselves for a dinner cruise on Saigon River. The tour bus picked us up at 6.30pm and transfer to Dang Pier which is 1km away from the hotel. We entered the boat for a 2 hours magnificent and memorable dining and entertainment spectacle along the Saigon River. Not many people paying attention to her singing. They should hire a younger pretty singer and able to sing in multiple languages.

One of the cruising ships

A female captain welcomed us onboard.

The dinner started at 7.30pm before the boat start cruising at 8.30pm. We were served with several traditional dishes such as soup, seafood hotpot, fried shrimp, fish and suckling pig. What a stingy portion for 4 people.

On the upper deck, you can relax at the bar and enjoy a more panoramic view of the city lights.

Ohh, I’m boarded on a Saigon Ship

A close snapshot with the female captain. Please sail me to the moon with you ;-)

After one hour cruising on the Saigon River, the ship docked back at the pier. A well balanced dessert will end this unforgettable evening on the waterways, before getting back and saying goodbye to the captain.


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