Second day started off with a tour of the Ho Chi Minh complex. HCM to Vietnam is essentially what Lee Kuan Yew is to Singapore. He was the first President of Vietnam and founded the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, their “National Liberation Hero”.So he has a complex built in his name for all the Vietnamese to commemorate and remember him for what he has done. Hm, will Singapore someday build one for LKY too?
The first stop in the complex was the mausoleum, which houses Ho Chi Minh’s preserved and embalmed body. We had to line up in twos to enter the mausoleum, remove sunglasses etc, everything was very solemn and forced to be orderly. His body was kept in dim lighting to better preserve the body. And I remember my colleague mentioning that when he visited in 1999, the body was actually not in Vietnam as it was sent to Russia for touch-ups, since Russia is apparently the expert in this embalming industry. No pictures were allowed in the mausoleum so all I got was a picture of the outside.
Next is the Presidential Palace which was built by the French colonists. The Vietnamese government took over it in 1954 and offered it to HCM as his residence but he refused as he thought that it was too luxurious. In the end, he just used it to meet high-level diplomats.
All the government buildings built by the French are yellow with a red roof, as yellow was a colour only used by the king, and it was their way of exerting their authority.
We also saw his actual residence which was next to a koi pond/lake. A very humble abode.
He also lived in a house on stilts from 1958 till the day he passed away. Near the outside of the complex, there was also this super cool coconut tree growing from within a banyan tree, which was scientifically mind-blowing but photogenic-ally not very appealing.
Our next stop was the Hoan Kiem Lake, and on the way there we passed by super colourful Pasar Malam-like shops.
The lake has a bridge which led to a temple, which was when we realized that all the writings were in Chinese due to the Vietnamese language having Chinese characters roots, along with many other Asian languages.
The roads outside the lake are closed to allow pedestrian traffic, so I could properly enjoy and appreciate the atmosphere and the space.
Everything here looks like a thousand calories.
We walked through the old quarters for lunch, and man, Vietnamese traffic strikes again. The roads in the old quarters are extra narrow and there were so many scooters weaving around me, it’s amazing that nothing ran over my foot.
As usual, I was too busy eating to take any photos, but the menu was funny enough for me to snap one.
Beautifull girl? Emotion smoothie? Lol
Vietnamese is super famous for its coffee, and they have this egg coffee creation that’s apparently super yummy. So we decided to check out this cafe which was super hidden (store fronts are small because theyshops are supposedly taxed by the size of their store fronts).
The cafe has this super cool indoor nature concept, but it was so crowded that we didn’t stay thaat long. Since I don’t drink coffee, I decide to get iced egg chocolate. Which is milo powder mixed in beaten egg white and probably sugar and milk and stuff. It was surprisingly yummy, despite its suspicious look.
Whole fam was pretty tired so we went straight back to the hotel to nua. And then we went back to the same restaurant for dinner, the one we went to for our past 2 dinners.
Empty bowl of chicken pho
Yep, that’s pretty much a wrap for the whole trip. Off to the airport tomorrow and then back to Singapore. It was a pretty relaxing trip, not as packed as how my usual trips are, which is a good change. Had the time to actually enjoy the hotel room and get enough rest. Maybe one of the few holidays where I actually sleep before midnight constantly.