In December 2014, I attended a wedding of my friend in Ho Chi Minh City. It was my first time in the city. Aside from time for a wedding with my friends, I had only one day to wander around its bustling streets. It was close to Christmas and the holiday spirit could be seen on the street. This reminded me of Lunar New Year in Hanoi and how the street is filled with energy.
On the street
Saigon Central Post Office is an interesting place to visit. It still functions as a post office as well as a tourist attraction. The architect is Gothic, influenced by French architecture. The phone booths were frequently used by locals and tourists when I was there.
I couldn’t miss this mass crossing of children in Noel costumes just outside the post office.
Life in Ho Chi Minh city is bustling and you will always see people checking their phone, calling someone, or rushing to somewhere. Maybe the only exceptions are pets.
I visited Independence Palace, a historic site from the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. A small observation was that the entertaining facility takes a significant amount of space in this palace. There are cinema, dancing floor (at the rooftop), etc.
In the bar
A trip to Saigon is incomplete without a visit to live music bar. In the evening, my friends and I went to a rock music club in Saigon and it was the highlight of the day. The band played the Rock cover of We Wish You A Merry Christmas, which was absolutely a thrill to listen to and sing along.
I really like the level of details on the stage, decorated with Christmas theme.
I saw these two men trying to erect a Christmas landscape just outside my house. As the Catholic population is quite significant in the city, Christmas is a big event and widely celebrated in many families. Almost everywhere I went, the landscape was decorated in red.
In Hanoi, a lot of things seems like from the past and it might take first-timers a while to notice its changing parts. Whereas, Ho Chi Minh city is adapting so quickly that you can see new buildings, imported products, etc everywhere and the only place that I saw its past was the few historic sites left. That is my first trip ever to the city so I think my understanding will change in the future.