Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), Vietnam

If you right click on any "landscape, or horizontal" photo and select "view image", a larger picture will most likely be seen. Then click on "back", to return to the photo-album.

Arrival at Tan Son Nhut Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Note that it is rather crowded. Laura (Major Martinsek) flew in and out of Vietnam a multitude of times in the 1960's as a flight nurse in the US Air Force, so it was déja vu all over again for her. The chief Air Force bases at the time were located in Tan Son Nhat, Cam Rhan  Bay, and Da Nang. Robert (Capt Roskoski) cared for Air Force personnel air evacuated from Vietnam while serving as a resident at Wilford Hall US Air Force Hospital in San Antonio, TX in 1966-67. This is his first trip to Vietnam.

View of Ho Chi Minh City from Vietnam Air Flight 600. The tallest building in the city is the Bitexco Financial Tower shown left of the "needle." The Bitexco Tower contains 68 stories and is 861 ft.tall. It is the 124th tallest building in the world. The Tower was meant to be shaped like a lotus bulb; however, others think it looks like a CD rack with a tambourine shoved into it, which is visible on its left side. That tambourine is actually the Saigon Skydeck on the 48th floor with a helipad on its roof. 

A view of the Saigon River downstream from the Renaissance Hotel. The Renaissance hotel was recommended by a member of the WBBM radio/TV mobile unit (Chicago) who also recommended hotels in Saigon and Bangkok. 

An upstream view of the Saigon River from the hotel. 

View of the hotel from the Saigon River

View of the Bitexco Financial Tower from the street

 A student on a motor scooter posing for the photographer Motor scooters abound in Ho Chi Minh City
A traveler with a statue near the hotel A southern view of the Bitexco Financial Center Tower
Shopping in the Saigon Center in Ho Chi Minh City More shopping
View of the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House In front of the Thong Nhat Conference Hall

View of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City. This church was built in 1877 with bricks shipped from Marseilles. I'm (Bob) sure glad that my high school French teacher (Miss Wilcox) taught us about the geography of France. 

In front of the War Remnants Museum. Despite being once known as the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes, this is the most popular museum in HCM City for Western tourists.

Photos from the War Remnants Museum

Breakfast at the Renaissance Hotel begins with a great strawberry smoothie. Traditional Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, and western breakfast dishes are served. The skillful chef in the background folds her omelets into thirds by the quick action of her wrist without using a spatula. 

A traveler in one of the many splendid parks in Ho Chi Minh City on a Saturday morning.

The same traveler in the same park, but on a Sunday morning when it was much more crowded.

A street vendor selling ice cream Video games in a shopping arcade

Relaxing at Bud's Ice Cream of San Francisco after a rigorous day of touring

At work on this photo journal after a rigorous day of touring. 

Everyone here drives a motor scooter. The ratio of scooters to cars in the streets is greater than 10 to 1.

This South Asian beer costs the equivalent of $0.75; this is competitive with the price of beer at the Asheville Tourists (Class A baseball team) thirsty Thursday beer nights.

The ratio of scooters to cars here is 45 to zero

A traveler at outside of the Ben Thanh Market; the clock above is one of the iconic symbols of HCM City.

Inside the Ben Thanh Market; although there are many people inside, it isn't as crowded as the Chatuchak Market in Bangkok on a Saturday morning.

Outside of the Saigon Central Post Office. This building, which is adjacent to the Notre Dame Basilica, was designed by Gustav Eiffel and built in the early 20th century.

A little respite after a rigorous day of touring taken again at Bud's Ice Cream of San Francisco

A traveler outside of the Ho Chi Minh Museum next to the Saigon River and a quarter mile south of the Renaissance Hotel. This museum covers the history of Vietnam from the August Revolution of 1945 until the fall of Saigon in 1975. Regardless, the country is racing pell-mell toward a market economy.

A traveler next to a statue of Nguyen Tat Thanh on the grounds of the HCM Museum.

A traveler next to water lilies on the grounds of the HCM Museum
View of the Renaissance Hotel from the HCM Museum View of the HCM Museum from the hotel

A hotpot dinner at a restaurant near the hotel on Saturday 6:30 PM 23 June 2012. The time corresponds to 7:30 AM (23 June 2012) in Hendersonville, NC (eastern daylight savings time). The hotpot is on the center of the table.

The Atrium Lounge in the Renaissance Hotel. This view is from the 16th floor and the Lounge is on the 5th floor. This view can disorient one and cause dizziness so don't look too long.

View of the Reunification Palace. The original French-built and occupied palace at this site was bombed when occupied by South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1962. He ordered a new palace, which is shown above, that was completed in 1966.This building was occupied by South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu, until his hasty departure in 1975. 

A meeting room on the ground floor.
View from a balcony from the rear of the building View of the War Room
Tour Guide A garden in the President's residential portion of the Palace
The ballroom on the 4th floor A Chinese-build North Vietnamese tank on the grounds of the palace
A room in the President's residence

Many green-uniformed tourist agents are found in HCM City. They frequently help tourists cross streets where there are no traffic lights where autos and motor scooters travel with abandon.

Shopping in the Diamond Plaza Department Store. We don't think the Chris Christy above has run for political office in contrast to the Governor of New Jersey (Chris Christie).

Like Saigon and Bangkok, HCM City has many small shops such as this Silk Boutique. Although we found a Miko store in Shanghai, we were unable to find one in Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City. 

Purchasing stamps inside the Saigon Central Post Office Outside of a store in the Vincom shopping complex

Ginger chicken, shrimp with lemon grass, rice, and Tiger beer for dinner. Note that the traveler in this photo is wearing dark horned-rim glasses made famous by Hans Krebs and Fritz Lipmann.

The leading imported beer in Shanghai, Bangkok, and Saigon is Heinekins. Here we see that the locals add ice cubes to their beer.

Dining on Pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, at a restaurant named Pho24

At the Tan Son Nhat Airport waiting for Vietnam Airlines Flight 773 to Sydney Australia.

View of Ho Chi Minh City from Flight 773 HCM City to Sydney, Australia

Created 21 June 2012 (updated 27 June 2012)

Robert Roskoski Jr. Laura Roskoski