July 21, 2014

SAIGON'S FRENCH INSPIRED CENTRAL POST OFFICE

Ho Chi Minh's Central Post Office  serves as a reminder  of France  to the Vietnamese. This building was constructed between 1886 and 1891  when the French colonized the country. It was designed was by no less than Gustave Eiffel, the same man behind the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty. 
 
This 19th century of mix Renaissance and french gothic architectural design have  a arched windows , vaulted ceilings with pillars in green and gold and wooden shutters. The interior features antique telephone boxes that dates back to the colonial period and marble floors. On its two wings are booths selling anything from postcards, lacquerware and all sort of souvenirs.  
the intricate interior design
 
 
  There are  two maps painted on the walls  these  are the region of Saigon in 1892 and the telegraph lines or postal routes from Vietnam to Cambodia. A picture hanging on the farther end is the picture   of Ho CHi Mihn , a political leader of Vietnam. 
 
Although it is oldest the building in  French colonial building in Saigon ,it is still used as post office,(of course!).  At times it  gets too busy  from its usual day to day  function  notwithstanding  the throng of tourists that come here to have a look at one of the most intricate post office of South East Asia.   
 
 
 
The central post office is located in District 1 a street away from the Notre Dame Cathedral, which incidentally is also a French inspired building. It is open from seven in the morning to eight in the evening. 







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July 16, 2014

REUNIFICATION PALACE:A GLIMPSE AT VIETNAM'S WAR HISTORY

A visit to Ho Chi Mihn would not be complete without a tour to  the Reunification Palace. 
side entrance for tourists
 This historical edifice has been a witnessed to Vietnam's struggle during  the war against French and American forces.  It's immense significance to the Vietnamese  was when a Vietnamese military tank crashed the gates thus ending the war in April 30, 1975. 
roof deck heliport
 
Built in July 1 1962 and  completed  on October 31, 1966, this was used to be the President's Palace in the country's southern part. Above all, it   was also the same  site of the Nordom Palace before it was destroyed  by a bomb.
 the President's Office
 
 
Inside the sprawling compound are military tanks and helicopter in the roof deck's heliport. The five level building features a casino, war room, telecommunications centre,dining rooms complete with cutlery's,   board rooms, bedrooms and entertainment room. The Palace is also a repository of antique furniture and all sorts of gadgets.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Visit to the Palace starts at 7:00 to 11:30 in the morning and 1:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon. Entrance fee is VND20,000 or $1 (approximate). Guided tours are also available in multiple languages.






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July 14, 2014

HOW TO VOTE FOR VIGAN FOR NEW7WONDERS- CITIES OF THE WORLD

For a start, Vigan is a city in the northern part of the Philippines. The city is very famous for its cobbled stone streets and centuries old Spanish houses. These  are also the very  same reason why Vigan is in the List of UN Historical Sites.

Just this month, July 7 to be exact, Vigan added another feather to its cap by making  it to the top 21 cities vying for the New 7 Wonder Cities. On December 2013 there were more than a thousand nominees from  around the globe. It was trimmed down to 300 cities in October 7, 2013. From these qualified cities only the top 77 cities
But, it is still a long way before Vigan could be named as one of the New 7 Wonder City. From the more than a thousand cities nominated  all over the globe in December 2012,it was trimmed down to 300  in October 7, 2013 for the qualification round. Of the 300 qualified cities, only the  top 77 were shortlisted for the next phase. It was  last year on the 21th day of October when the 28 Official Finalist were announced.

 
The votation for the  three - phased-finals are spread over for more than a year. First of these phases is from  October 21,2013 to  July 7,2014. Only 21 cities will qualify for the second round  that which  already started in July 7,2014  until  October 7, 2014.  The third phase for the top 14 finalist  will be from October 7 2014 through December 7, 2014. The New7Wonder Cities will be announced also on the 7th of December of this year. 

To help Vigan on its quest to be one of the New7Wonders-Cities of the World just  follow any of the  procedures below:

1.Log on  to www.new7wonders.com/en/cities or www.n7w.com and click Vigan.

2. National SMS
      Text VIGAN and send to 29290777

3.  International Phone Voting:
     Call any of the phone numbers below and follow the instruction. Press 21 for Vigan  when prompt for the code.
     +881821611990
     +881921611990
    +8821622774600
    +8821622776600
    +88216101688
    +34902735471
    +447589975201
    +447559121023
(Note: this phone numbers are taken from www.new7wonders.com)



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June 11, 2014

MUI NE: VIETNAM'S RESORT CAPITAL

Mui Ne is dubbed as the Resort Capital of Vietnam because of its  15 km strips of beach resorts. Most of these beach side accommodations  can be found at Ham Tien also  known as  Nguyen Ding Chieu.
 
 
 
From Ho Chi Mihn, it is a five(5) hour bus ride. Most bus  departs from Pham Ngu Lao St. in Ho Chi Mihn and arrives at   Nha Trang. But before reaching its final destination it will make a stop over in Pan Thiet and from here its a short drive to Mui Ne. 
 
 
 
There two types of buses, one is the sleeper bus and the other is the ordinary bus. I had the chance to experience both type of buses. Going to Mui Ne I took the very comfortable double deck bed sleeper bus. Included in the  ticket price is a complimentary blanket, a bottle of water and a plastic bag for shoes. Back to Ho Chi Mihn , I took the ordinary bus. Its  just like any other bus with air condition and seat  that can(hardly) be reclined. My hotel, Pandanus Resort, did the reservation for my return transportation. Part of their service is fetching their passengers in their respective hotels. 
 
 

Aside from the beach resorts, Mui Ne is famous for the following:

1. Fairy stream or locally known as Suoi Tien - this is their own version of the  grand canyon. Its an ankle deep  river characterize by reddish sand and rock boulders. 

2. Red Sand Dunes  also know as Doi Cat  - it sand is actually color orange. The dunes are good for sliding using plastic slides sold by children along the highway.
3. Fishing Village or fish market - this is where local fishermen dumped their catch of the day. Scattered all over the place are   clams riddled of shells.

4. Mui Ne Market or more known as Lang Chai Mui Ne - is the town's public market where everything from meat, poultry , vegetables to fresh flowers and small furniture are sold. 
notice the apple's  leaves... yes, its plastic
 
boiled banana

Having had the most number of beach resorts in Vietnam, water sports activities are also available to all tourists like kite surfing,windsurfing,water sports, sailing, jet ski and kayaking.


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