Thursday, March 15, 2018

2018 Grand World Voyage, Day 67, Phu My, Vietnam

Early day and sail-in into Phu My, Vietnam...  Ann, Cathy and I were excited to be here as we are leaving for a 6 day tour of Thailand, specifically Ayutthaya, the former capitol of Thailand and Bangkok and its surrounding area.. Our flight to Bangkok was in the late afternoon so our tour guide picked us up at 07:00 for a transfer from Phu My port to Ho Chi Minh City for a city tour and transfer to the airport. Once in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, we found today’s Ho Chi Minh City a bustling and vibrating economic center of the South. Over the past few centuries, Saigon was called the “Pearl of the Far East” and was an important trading center for Chinese, Japanese and Western merchants who travelled along the Saigon River. Today, our tour included strolling through the bustling Cholon (Chinatown), Thien Hau pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas of the Chinese in the area and colorful Ben Than Market, the Post office designed by Gustav Eiffel resembling a grand railway station and Notre Dame Cathedral inaugurated in 1880 as the spiritual and cultural crucible of the French presence in the Orient. The Cathedral is undergoing a major renovation and currently closed to tourists. We had a photo stop at the former Presidential Palace, renowned for its symbolic role in the fall of Saigon in 1975. We stopped for lunch, Wi-Fi and some shopping before leaving for the airport. We arrived at the airport early but the lines at check-in were long...the flight to Bangkok was great...we survived the one hour Immigration queue and our Thailand tour guide Vee and driver were waiting to take us to our hotel. I am very excited about this trip to Thailand, especially Ayutthaya, a place I have wanted to visit for a long time.....

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