My First Solo Summer Trip 2006

wow, I am so happy that all exams are done. Now, I am free and I want to spend time traveling in HCMC.

I made a plan for this trip 1 month ago. Mainly I am visiting museums, pagodas, and churches here. Some of my friends here, Saigon citizens, say that I am so crazy because these places are so bored to them.

Anyway, I still go and my plan is COOL


26th June 2006

That was the first time I saw one area in HCMC being cut power. The entire area was covered by darkness and the atmosphere was so dump and quiet.

We had late dinner in Banh Khot Vung Tau – another kind of Vietnamese pancake. They are smaller than banh xeo and have a white color. People use it with fresh vegetable and in the middle of the pancake; they put one very small pork or shrimp. Well, we ordered 2 dishes of this pancake. Then, we drunk fruit juice on the pavement-somewhere near my friend’s house.

So tired because of a long trip!

27th June 2006

The Southeast Vietnam army zone Museum

It takes me nearly 5 minutes from my friend’s house to here.

Size of the museum is smaller than that of 9th military zone in my city – Cantho. There is a big yard in front of the museum displaying memoir board of provinces belonging to Southeast Viet Nam. The main house is a 2storey building with French structure, I think.

There are 2 big rooms in the ground. One is for painting collection and one is for war remnants, both in French and American war but just focus on Southeast area.

In the painting collection room, there are hundreds of painting with various size, materials and color. Sorry that they didn’t allow me to take any photos in that museum. I don’t know why. I remember that one of my American friends told me that in foreign countries, people also don’t allow to take photos in museums. However, I tried to persuade a lady working there that I was doing my thesis about museums in HCMC, so that I really needed to take one photo. Finally, she agreed and I chose my most favorite painting. That was a tore-paper pasted together to make a complete painting. That is a picture of Goddess of War.

In the 2nd room, that are remnants such as weapons, maps, etc. I don’t like observing those things. I just want to see photos taken by journalists at that time. All those photos are so precious to me and others.

Anyway, this museum is similar with my city’s museum, just differs about the geographic conditions, campaigns but the same purpose: fight against the enemy.

In the afternoon, my brother (one of my friends who I consider him my elder brother) and I had lunch in a WiFi café in more than 3 hrs. I really like this style, using laptop and wireless application and finishing our business in a café shop. COOL!

It rained too much and we couldn’t go anywhere. Long time no seeing such a big and long-time rain

War Remnants Museum

Entrance fee: 2000vnd (only for Vietnamese)

Today I saw lots of things about war. Scene was boring. Weather was cold and it was raining and wind was strong.

This museum is a small building surrounded by a big yard full of helicopters, tanks and heavy weapon as well. Yeap, weapon again! Paying 2000vnd was too cheap to me to learn much things that people in the war suffered. Kinda interesting to know.

There are 8 areas in the museum

1.Facts of history

2.Vestige of war

3.REQUIEM photo collection

4.VN – war and peace

5. Photo collection of Ishikawa Bungo

6.Weapon in the aggressive war in VN

7.Prison system (models and replica)

8.International support to VN

9.War-Peace painting collection of children in VN

(section 1 and section 9 are in one big hall in the center of the museum)

Following the instruction, I didn’t know whether or not they displayed sentences in the Independence Delivery of USA on purpose. Next, there were chains of photographs about war, especially American – Vietnamese war. Mainly, they are about massacre in the Central of VN – My Son. They again show various kinds of gun, knife, and weapon in general. Damn, I HATE all of them. I felt as if my heart had been cut into pieces. US soldiers used those weapons to kill my people, innocent ones. They just killed women, children and the older who they had thought to be VC. By the way, those weapons were very heavy. How could the soldiers carry?

There is a story of an American soldier hung on the wall talking about what he had did in a small village when his boss had asked him to conduct “Search and Destroy” campaign with his fellows. He shot women and children who were unarmed. Then, do you know what did he do? He was not a human. He opened a little girl’s abdomen (I am not sure about this word, but his action looked like people kill a buffalo and get everything inside the buffalo out). I don’t know why he did that. One shoot could kill the young girl. He didn’t need to do that. Maybe he was very cruel; maybe he was haunted by terrible things in the war.

One more TERRIBLE thing I saw was that another American soldier took a part of a bomb-attacked Vietnamese soldier’s body and smiled happily. Oh my god, I have no idea with such a guy.

Actually, ½ of photo collection there was seen by Nathalie and I when we visited the war book exhibition in Cantho Library last year. Yet, my feeling is the same…I’m afraid of such horrible guys.

They also show photo collection of dioxin victims. Well, I don’t know how I react when I meet those people. I know that feeling pity for them is not what they really expect from us. We need to do something but what? Surely I can’t understand completely what they are suffering now. They are innocent at all.

I don’t know my decision of visiting museums in HCMC is good or not but I am sure that I won’t regret for what I have observed so far. For sure, I HATE WAR and so do my friends.

Anyway, I still had a funny thing to share that most of us (foreign tourists and me) followed a wrong way. Instead of following arrows, we went an opposite way, haha. And, I seldom saw many domestic tourists there. Also, Asian tourists were so noisy. They commented, laughed, chatted, etc.

28th June, 2006

Reunification Palace

Entrance fee: 15000vnd (for Vietnamese)

In the morning

Thi let me off in the main gate of Reunification Palace after a good breakfast with chicken and rice noodle soup in Ky Dong street.

Well, the first thing I did was to wander in the yard of the Palace. Wow! Really large full of green grass and big trees (its area is 12ha)

There are lots of mosquitoes in the yard, especially in a café shop. I still bite though I had applied medicine. However, tour guides of that place are very nice and helpful. They helped me a lot to understand more the history of the building as well as a brief review about American-Vietnamese war. In addition, security guides there are so nice. They don’t wear a cold and serious face but they are always ready to help the tourists if they get lost.

I really like this palace although everything has changed a little bit since I came here – more than 10 years. I also wonder how wonderful the White House in USA is and when I will go there to observe it, haha.

In this place, quantity of domestic and foreign tourists seems to be the same but the domestic tourists seem noisy and annoying people. They also have a lot of stereotypes about the Southerner.

(well, I took lots of photos of this place but the internet doesnt allow me to upload all. I feel sorry about that. I will upload the rest when I am back home.)

I was so lucky on that day because I was a lonely tourist but I followed a group of Northerners visiting the Palace and they hired a tour guide. So, I could have the tour guide without paying anything, haha 🙂

In the afternoon, I wandered to find an internet service to write on my website but my God I couldnt find anything. I dont know why in such a big and modern city finding a good internet cafe with a reasonable price is so difficult for me. Maybe I am not Saigon citizen.


Sitting alone under a tree shadow in a small park near Parkson shopping center. Lots of shops, high buildings, offices and hotels in this area of District 1. at that time I was finding an Internet service. I asked a girl sitting next to me and she had no idea. I don’t know why in such a big and modern district finding one internet service is so difficult to me. More and more employees of the offices, shopping centers, etc came to the park, had luch and chatted with their friends in the breaktime.

Actually I don’t dare to take my camera out and take photos when I wander in District 1. it is not too dangerous but I don’t wanna loose my only wonderful and useful camera. That’s why I don’t have many photos of streets and buildings in District 1. I don’t know how foreigners can do that… maybe they are strong enough to fight against the stealer, haha!

I wandered the main area of District 1 instead and had luch in the roof of a shopping mall. It was very COOL


Sitting alone on the roof of Tax Trade Center and enjoying US$2 fruit juice. Wasteful ?!?

Okie, there I had 2 very funny stories. First, when I went around shops in TAX to ‘kill my free time’, a young girl (maybe the same age with mine) invited me to come her shop. I just replied “no, thanks” and didn’t give her my very lovely smile. Yet, her co-worker said to her right behind my back that I was a red-neck and those goods were not for me, a poor girl. Hey, how could they do that? Maybe they didn’t attend a customer service class. Sonly, that shop will loose customers, even be closed because of their badly behavior to the customers. After hearing them, I also looked at myself and found nothing wrong. T-shirt and short jeans are normal.

Second, after finishing my meal in the coffee bar on the roof of TAX, I went to a lacquered product shop, of course, window-shopping again. A lady in one shop stepped out and invited me to come in English. Oh man! It was “come in and view our products please”. So surprised! She thought that I was a Japanese girl, haha! Unbelievable that in the same place people thought differently.

Ho Chi Minh City Museum

entrance fee: 2000vnd (for Vietnamese, but 15000vnd for foreigners)


I walked to HCMC’s Museum at 65 Ly Tu Trong St., District 1

An usher there thought, yeap again, I was a foreign tourist and asked me to pay $1 for the entrance fee. Luckily, he changed his mind and asked me again who I was. Yeap at that time, I just paid 2000vnd. Oh man, looking like a foreigner sometimes is not helpful, sometimes annoying.

The museum is a French style building. There are many beautiful settings inside and outside the museum so that there are lots of couples coming there to take wedding photo collection. Hmmm…everyday!

Everything in the museum is related to an ancient Saigon and Southern area in general. They are only replica, not real ones. Also, they display revolutions in the South and in the country as well.

29th June, 2006

Ho Chi Minh Fine Art Museum

Once again, I got lost. I am bad at remembering names of streets in HCMC. I came here in the afternoon around 2.30 pm. Finally, I found the museum, a 3 storey French structured building.

Entrance fee: 5000vnd (for Vietnamese) plus a information brouche

I couldnt take any photos because I am not allowed to do that.

I cant find enough words to describe all I saw in the museum. This is the most impressive museum I have visited so far. No more related-war stuff. No terrible and bloody photos in the war time. This place is for beautiful things. For Art. For everything related to art in Viet Nam ( especially in the South and in Mekong Delta)

That is a very old 3 storey building belonging to a Chinese businessman in the past.

There is a more than 100 year old elavator in the middle of the building.

In the ground, there is a REGULAR EXHIBITION. that time was photo collections of many photographers coming from Viet Nam and France. Potrait of Antoine d’Agata, Lam Duc Hien and Hoang Kim Dang
City (Urban photos) of Marie Filaire, Nicolas Pascarel, Christian Berger, Bui Huu Phuoc and Philipe Bordas.
Captured video clips of Ange Leccia

Well, I like the last one much, especially the video clip about the storm, lightening and thunder. It is very impressive. That exhibition in the museum was one of 3 exhitbition of this month in HCMC taken place in 3 different places: Fine Art Museum, War Remnant Museum and IDECAF. All are so great! I think I also have the right to hope that one day I will have my own photo galary in which I will display all photos taken during my trips, haha. Is it real?

In the 1st floor, there is CONTEMPORARY ART

there were lots of painting collections of experienced artists graduated from Indochina and Gia Dinh school. I dont understand much about asbtract painting so that when I saw a painting named “ Sitting woman”, I couldn’t recognise where the woman was in the painting. just colored lines. I dont like such a painting! aslo in this floor, rooms are devided into many different sections for different purposes

Traditional Bronze Fine Art Handicraft ( 7th – 19th century)

Western Fine Art

Art of Ancient Ceramics of theSouth Vietnam

Vietnamese Fine Art Bronze (19th – 20th century)

Vietnamese Ceramics (19th – early 20th century)

30th June, 2006

before I went to this museum I had to pay 8000vnd for zoo’s entrance fee because the museum is inside the zoo.

Museum of Vietnamese History in Ho Chi Minh city

entrance fee: 2000vnd (for Vietnamese)

I aslo couldnt take photos. There are lots of things I want to show but using words to describe I am afraid that I cant tell enough what I saw.

There are 16 rooms which are used for specific exhibition.

1. Primitive Period

2.Hung Kings Period

3.Period of struggle for Independence

4.Mummy at Cai Hamlet, District 5, Ho Chi Minh city

5. LY dynesty (from 11th to 13th century)

6.TRAN dynesty (from 13th to 14th century)

7.Sculpture of Cambodia (from 10th to 13th century)

8.LE dynesty (from 15th to 18th century)

9.TAY SON dynesty (18th century)

10.Ceramics of some Asian countries (from 7th to 19th century)

11.Cannons (from 18th to 19th century)

12.OC -EO culture (from 1st to 7th century)

13.The ancient culture in Southern provinces

14.Collection of Mr. Vuong Hong Sen

15.CHAMPA art (from 2nd to 17th century)

16.Ethnic culture in Southern Vietnam

By chance, I also observed a very wonderful exhibition in this museum. That is “The wooden antiques of the NGUYEN dynesty from the year of 1802” exhibition.

Ho Chi Minh city Zoo

this is a bad zoo I have ever known. poor animals there! I felt empty when I went around in the zoo. there were lots of couple in the morning in the zoo. Holding and kissing and caring. oh my God! I even couldnt find a good rock bench to sit down. really funny! 😀

1st July, 2006

today is a resting day. staying at home and sleeping like a rock as well as washing clothes, haha

2nd July, 2006

waiting for my friend to upload my journal but noone came. sleep again

in the evening my friend and her friend and I wandered in District 1. the weather was so COOL. I finally saw HCMC at night. Actually it is not so crowded.

We ate dishes of fresh fruit, but there were lots of fruit like that in my city

3rd July, 2006

today I am trying to update my website but internet speed is still slow so that I have juz uploaded some of my photos. It is raining now heavily and in a long time.

spending almost 4hrs in a wifi cafe with my friends.

went out for dinner, again with my friends. that was rice noodle soup and fish

then, had tea with my close friend in a Japanese style tea shop

and then, around 10p.m my friends invited me to go to a bar. well, this is the first time in my life!

to him, CHU bar is a nice bar in HCMC, not too crowded, not too naughty…yeap, I dont know! but to me it was very very noisy there. there is a small stage. only one female singer, 1 keyboard and 1 guitar player. they sang all songs in English, but I hardly understood them much.

girls, well, lots of beautiful girls there wearing heavy make-up and short skirt with blonde dying hair…

they looked naughty and I didnt like the way they start conversation with guys. I think they are call-girls. who knows!

I dont like going to bars after the first going there.

I feel foreigners look down Vietnamese young girls. and Vietnamese young girls also dont care about their values. I feel pity for them. how can they do that just as free stuff like meals, dancing, drinking, etc.

Damn, this is the real life… I dont have any rights to stop them… anyway, I dont like that lifestyle…

4th July, 2006

slept like a baby until 10a.m and stayed at home because it rained heavily and I had a stomach problem (I drunk lots of fat milk in the morning)

in the evening, I went out for dinner with Thi’s friends. We had a good time together.

we also went to karaoke. it was great because Thi’s friend is a dancing tutor. she is very nice to help me how to dance and maybe next week I will visit her class.

5th July, 2006

oop, again biking to District 1 and visiting museums. today I went with Thi’s relative. we went to the Southern Women Museum but nothing to see… people use this place for celebrating wedding. disappointed!

then, we went to IDECAF to enjoy the photograph exhibition… again disappointed! they are displaying some photos inside and outside the institute. around 16 big photos…

after that we intended to watch movie in Galaxy but we didnt because the price is so high. I dont have enough money! 50 000vnd (3-4 US$). so, we had lunch in Tax’s rooftop coffee.

then, we went to Ho Chi Minh’s Museum and met some Korean tourists. hardly to understand them because of their strange accent.

we also went to Ton Duc Thang’s Museum (other famous president in VN) but it was closed because there was a suddent meeting there…

going home with many different thinking in my mind

6th July, 2006

okie guys, I am in Phan Thiet city, Binh Thuan Province now. I am staying here 2 days and 1 night and also in Thi’s house.

her younger sister rode me around the small city and we had a special dinner together. this dish is very special. I cant upload photos now because of the internet, okie I am so SORRY about that again. out of my control

tomorrow hopefully I can buy train ticket to return to HCMC on time!

Phan Thiet train station is very quiet and boring. not busy, not gathering people like what I saw on TV. well, maybe it will be changed tomorrow morning

7th July, 2006

going to Vung Tau…the most terrible trip in this summer vacation

8th July, 2006

still in Vung Tau. sleeping and wandering along the beach alone… at least I could enjoy the fresh air there!

9th July, 2006

back to HCMC… to me it seemed that I had just returned from a remote area…

going out for late, very late dinner

10th July, 2006

my team won, Italy is the champion… so tired because I went to bed around 4.30a.m

11th July, 2006

staying in my bro’s house all day!

going out and drinking with friend coming back from Australia and from him, I know lots of things, funny things! 😀

12th July, 2006

one of my friend in CT went to HCMC, Dao. we had a fun time together

13th July

had a small party with Thy, her bro and my bro… fried chicken! I love it so much

14th July, 2006

i was in Thu Duc

15th July, 2006

back to HCMC in the afternoon

Thi and I went to her company and I helped her a little bit (very little) to translate something for her business. I was happy to help her. She is so kind to me!!!

16th July, 2006

in the morning, made call to Victoria and some other, but got through with Victoria

I departed at 3p.m and arrived at 7pm. so tired but fun

I had a wonderful trip full of bad and good memories!!! 🙂

my last words, haha, I am seriuos now

I intended to write everyday but the internet and computers here were so TERRIBLE! so, I update it lately. sorry for that.

at first, I really appreciate my friend: CHAU DO TRUONG THI (hehe, from the letters you can guess who she is) and her family for allowing me to stay in her house during my trip. I really thank her elder brother and her younger sister for their kindness.

Then, my best friend considered my elder brother, KENZ is a great guy…lenting me his laptop, taking me around HCMC…

Also, my close friend, BAZA, is an awesome girl… she was ready to lent me her bike without any condition and her bike was good enough for me to wander in some main districts in HCMC.

at last, I know that there are still lots of other people in this city helping me so much…


anyone of you comes to my city, you will be treated well. so, come and enjoy my peaceful city!


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