Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon)
Following from my last post on visit to the Independence Palace, next to visit would be to Saigon Opera House, Central Post Office and Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica Saigon. They are situated at District 1, within a short walk away from each other. The visit at each place should last not more than 30 minutes each.
People’s Committee Building Square
While you make your way to the various places, do stop by the square in front of the People’s Committee Building, it is a great photo spot. It looks beautiful at night when the building and the grounds are lit up.
Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon Opera House)
The Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, better known as Saigon Opera House, located at the start of Le Loi Avenue, is an example of French Colonial architecture in Vietnam. Built in 1897 by French architect Eugène Ferret as the Opėra de Saigon, with the façade shaped like Petit Palais in Paris with 800 seats to entertain French colonists. After 1956, it was used as the home of the Lower House assembly of South Vietnam. It was not until 1975 that it was again used as a theatre, and restored in 1995. The Municipal Theatre is a smaller counterpart of the Hanoi Opera House. If your schedule allows, do go for a performance. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to go for any of the performances.
Saigon Central Post Office
Saigon Central Post Office is located at Cong Xa Paris Street. The building was constructed between 1886-1891 when Vietnam was part of French Indochina. It was designed by Alfred Foulhoux, counts with Gothic, Renaissance and French influences. The Post Office offers all kinds of traditional postal services like mailing, selling postcards and postal stamps. There is a stationery shop and foreign money exchange is also available.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, officially Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception is established by French colonists who initially named it Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saïgon, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters (190 feet).
The Caravelle Hotel
After visiting the above places and still have some time to spare, check out the iconic Saigon Rooftop Bar at The Caravelle Hotel, a popular spot among journalists in the 1960s, which has changed little since.
During the 1960s, the Caravelle was home to the Australian Embassy, the New Zealand Embassy, and the Saigon bureaus of NBC, ABC and CBS. Following the Fall of Saigon in 1975, the hotel was taken over and operated by the government and renamed the Doc Lap (Independence) Hotel. In 1998, the Caravelle name was relaunched.
Hope you find my sharing helpful. The brief historical facts on the places are reference from Wikipedia. This post is part of My Vietnam Travel Series, for more on my travel experience in Vietnam, check here.
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