Ho Chi Min City – The History of Saigon, Vietnam

Ok here we go about Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). Again a 6 hr. bus ride from the capital of Cambodia. When I do these bus rides I always try to figure out which way the bus is going (North, South etc.), so I try to sit on the opposite side of where the sun rises so your not sitting on the sunny side for 3-4hours. Anyway that works about half the time. Hopefully the cloud cover will help you out.

The Cambodian Border

Got to the Cambodian exit border, no problem. Got off the bus to eat in-no-man’s-land as our driver’s helper referred to it. It’s between the exit Cambodian border and the entrance of the Vietnam border.

Ate, got back on the bus for about 150 yrs., got off the bus, luggage was unloaded, grabbed our bag and preceded to luggage check which consisted of someone screening the luggage and you walking thru the screener and if it beeped no one was there to wand you.

Someone was sitting there to stamp our passport books. Of course someone had the wrong visa date . Held us up for about 45 minutes. Really pretty laxed. Fine with me. Especially after going through those of the eastern block countries.

The Presidential Imperial Palace

All in all was a really nice bus ride, a lot of scenery through the small towns and the roads we pretty decent. Took a tour of the former Imperial Palace where the (former President of South Vietnam lived) is now called Re-unification Palace. Used now only for special events.

The Presidential (Imperial) Palace – Now known as Re-unification Palace.

A Battle of North vs. South

Saw similar tanks (North Vietnams that are permanently parked) that had the same numbers as those that broke through the gates April 30, 1975. Unfortunately one tank (#843) didn’t have enough speed when busting thorough the wrought iron gate and got stuck whereas the other tank (#390) had the speed and busted through the gate onto the palace grounds and the South Vietnamese flag was lowered and the North Vietnamese flag was raised.

Vietnam Tank
Similar tanks that broke down the gates to enter the Presidential (Imperial) Palace.

Went over to the American consulate and it is guarded. One guard had a rifle which you could see and another was in a guard shed. Saw a motor bike stop close to and entrance and immediately the guard stepped out blew a loud shrieking whistle and said something in a loud menacing voice the bikers nodded and took off. They even told us to keep moving when we were walking by it and stopped. Not that you could see anything, walls were so high. I think this is where all the evacuation flights took place along with the Imperial Palace in April, 1975.

Their Side of The Story

On the tour saw different types of weapons (both sides Vietnamese & American) used. Interesting to see that they weren’t that far from Saigon. Even Jeanette had to admit (I had already warned her) that everything would be slanted their [Vietnam] way, and it was. We’re both aware of it so it was no problem. Really saw it on the fighting fields up north when I was here 6 years ago.

We could hear gun shot as we were doing the tour. Eventually we made our way over to the firing range. You could fire a Russian (known as one of the most durable weapons in the world) AK47, an American M-16 or a 30 caliber machine gun.

Jeanette firing the M-16. She said the M-16 had more of a kick than the AK47.

We chose to fire 10 rounds (bullets) each from the AK47 and M-16. Each round cost $3.00 each, so (20×3=$60.00). I started out first with the M-16 and fired 5 rounds.


By the way we had ear muffs on….or what ever their called. Then it was her turn. The weapons are kind of mounted so you can’t swing them around. We’re shooting at bottles. She did good, just fired her 5 shots, and we did the same with the other weapon.

Isn’t She Precious

She made the mistake of removing her headset in between when someone else started firing. It’s loud and were outside. Another lady was with her husband and she fired 1 round and she quit. Said that was enough for her.

Jeanette wanted to know if we had and kind of headset when I served in Vietnam. One of my Vietnam buddies go after I told him about jeanette’s question “that’s precious”, he said. She said to me no wonder you have a hearing problem. Nope, Dr. says “you have selective hearing…you hear what you want to hear”.

The Party Street

Walking home from a play. These motor bikes are everywhere…streets and sidewalks.

Normally we may have to walk a short distance or take a tutt-tutt, but this hotel along with at least 5 others are within 50 yards of a major party street. Probaly not as loud as Pub Street, but just as crowed. Met different travellers from all over the world. They should put a big name across their street like Pub Street did.

Party Time!!!

Times change and as Jeanette mentioned you really don’t see a lot of old people. Where they at? I think I’m the only person in the whole country who has grey hair!

😎 Still lov’n the food!

XOXO – John

Sent Sunday, 1/21/18


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