Nestled in a quiet, hidden little enclave in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, the Jade Emperor Pagoda offers a calming sanctuary from the bustle of the busy streets outside.
What is now known as Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City served as the home and office of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu during the Vietnam War.
Unsurprisingly, Vietnam takes its revolutionary foundations very much to heart. They’re shown off and commemorated in the national Revolution Museum in central Hanoi.
Modeled on the Hotel de Ville in Paris, Ho Chi Minh City Hall is the seat of Saigon’s city government.
Inside the Citadel walls was once lavish and opulent, with ornate gardens and intricate pagodas. But the Vietnam War was not kind to the Imperial City. Large parts of it are now nothing more than rubble.
Hue’s Dong Ba market (Cho Dong Ba)–like so many of the markets around the world in places people rely on markets for their day-to-day food and merchandise needs–is a bustling, crowded affair with things for sale crammed into every available space.
The Vietnam Military History Museum in central Hanoi celebrates the Vietnamese victories of the 20th century, first over the French and then the United States. And, of course, it presents a version sanctioned by the Vietnamese Communist Government.
Quan Thanh Temple in the Ba Dinh district of Hanoi next to the southeastern corner of West Lake is a Taoist temple that dates back to the 11th century.
I don’t usually have issues with claustrophobia, but this isn’t fun anymore. How people could live down here is beyond me.
Hoan Kiem Lake (also known as Sword Lake, Ho Guom, or Lake of the Returned Sword) is at the very heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and a cultural heart of the city. And it’s rather beautiful.
Despite it being a replica of what was once a thousand-year-old pagoda, the One Pillar Pagoda is today considered one of Vietnam’s most iconic Buddhist temples.
At 1400 years old, Tran Quoc Pagoda, in a picturesque spot on a small island in Hanoi’s West Lake, is the city’s oldest temple. And while small, it’s quite beautiful.
The War Remnants Museum presents an important but one-sided history of the appalling legacy of the decades of war that have ravaged Vietnam.
Even Uncle Ho needs a holiday. Even while he’s away on his annual autumn sojourn in Moscow, his mausoleum in downtown Hanoi still gets the royal treatment.
Hanoi has a lot of lakes. And as you’d expect from a bustling, industrialized city of several million people in a country with a decidedly mixed record of dealing with environmental challenges, most of those lakes are severely polluted. But the lakes provide a respite from the crushing traffic and incessant bustle in other parts of the city.
This is not a place of sweetness and light. Hoa Lo Prison, better known in the west as “the Hanoi Hilton,” was first a French colonial jail for Vietnamese political prisoners and later used during the Vietnam War for American pilots held as prisoners of war. And it’s a place with an especially grim history.
I’m standing right above the middle of the river, 25 feet above the water surface. And I don’t smell a thing. The Perfume River, it turns out, is only fragrant at a specific time of the year, in the autumn, when the flowers in the orchards up river lose their blossoms into the water.