Off to see Uncle Ho again. And perhaps work on my pho and banh mi fix. Throw in some Bun Bo and those barbecued meats and pancakes too. With those in mind, we took our late (and an hour delayed) flight into Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh where we’d cool our heels the first 2 nights. Maybe retrace our steps to those food adventures we remember to this day, squeezing them into our mini-tour of the very French-looking Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office plus the War Museum and Reunification Palace. The planned site visits are for the benefit of my first-time visitor grandson and my bff’s hubby. I don’t mind revisiting the Cathedral and I do admit I was completely charmed by the Central Post Office, but I’d likely enjoy a beer somewhere while they check out the Palace and Museum😁. Enough war history for me. Of course I can always go shopping for some Vietnamese coffee, a new suitcase, boho bags for my girls and dried jackfruit while the boys escape the summer temp in the air conditioned museum. Now, let’s hope the humidity doesn’t get me!

You’d forgive me for the lack of enthusiasm for this visit to this former capital. We’ve been here before (check out my previous blogs/click on highlighted items), both to the north and south, and we’re really just stopping over Saigon on our way to Central Vietnam where we plan to spend more holiday time. So there. Best that I reserve my excitement — and energy — for the former imperial capital of Hue, the sandy beaches of Da Nang, the ancient heritage town of Hoi An and the ruins at My Son.

It’s summer but the rainy season has set in. Thankfully, it rained while we’re in the van, when inside the Museum, or when we’re back in the hotel. Best of all, it rained while we dined in this fabulous place called The Chopsticks Saigon Restaurant. The restaurant was the former home of Tran Van Huong, who was President of Southern Vietnam before it was surrendered to the communist forces of North Vietnam in 1975. Mr. Huong was President for only a week, but he stayed in this villa much longer. The beautiful wrought iron gates and windows, the sweeping staircase, the elegance and charm of this lovely villa all add to the ambience. It also helps that the food is good, and the staff friendly. Can’t complain.

Ho Chi Minh is still called Saigon by most locals. I feel that 2 days here should be enough to check out the attractions before one is tempted to engage in retail therapy. As for me? I ended up joining the first-timers in visits to Notre Dame, the nearby Central Post Office, and the War Remnants Museum. I skipped the Palace and chose to shop instead for coffee, a new suitcase, boho bags and a few summer blouses. Later in the day, I tried the Nail Parlor and Spa next to our hotel. Not bad for Day 1. And oh yes, we went to Cu Chi Tunnels too but let me cover that in a separate blog. 😊

Here are a couple more shots from the resto’s website. Don’t miss this restaurant when in Ho Chi Minh.