This tour will orient you to the rapidly modernizing Ho Chi Minh City, still commonly referred to as Saigon.
In this orientation, you will first visit the most interesting places in the city: The Jade Emperor Pagoda. Built in 1909, this pagoda is known for its statues of phantasmal divinities and grotesque heroes as well as the profusion of incense coils which burn for up to one month.
The next stop is War Remnant Museum. This visit is likely to jolt the senses; many of the photographs are grisly and shocking. In the yard of the museum, U.S. armored vehicles, artillery pieces, bombs and infantry weapons are displayed. This field program will provide a backdrop for considering how images of conflict are captured and conveyed, and for reflecting upon the ethics of telling war stories.
You will also visit the former Presidential Palace, where everything has been left much as it was on April 30, 1975, when North Vietnamese military tanks crashed through the front gates and overthrew the South Vietnamese government. In addition to touring the former palace rooms, you can view a video about the French and American wars.
Afterwards, we move downtown to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, famed for its grand French colonial architecture. From there, we take a walk down Dong Khoi Street – the former Catinat street – which is famous with colonial style buildings. Stop at a coffee shop then you have time for a discussion about your first impress of Vietnam before head back to Nha Rong port.
Be prepared to pack sun screen, a hat, comfortable walking shoes, and any other necessary equipment for walking outside.
Clothes should cover shoulders and knees for pagoda visit.