Blogging has truly taken a back seat for me even though I did travel a fare bit in 2019! I am not even sure how much I can travel in 2020! January started on a bright note as I visited Sri Lanka but I end up saying no to a lot of trips these days. My daughter’s tennis practice gets impacted and I am getting more and more reluctant to let that happen. So, maybe 2020 would be a year when I travel a little less, but maybe I will write more.
I visited Vietnam in October 2019 when IndiGo launched a direct flight between Kolkata and Ho Chi Minh City. Here are some of the beautiful memories from that trip!
Independence Palace is also known as the Reunification Palace which is now a museum. It was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
The palace fell to the North Vietnam Army at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. It marked the end of the Vietnam War.
Talking of the war, I got an opportunity to visit the Cu Chi near the Ho Chi Minh City. It is an incredible system of tunnels dug by the locals to fight and protect during the Vietnam War.
Ben Thanh is an old market in Ho Chi Minh City. The market has a lot to offer, from fresh food to souvenirs, electronics, handicrafts etc but I would say try out the food stalls. It is here that I had the local condensed milk coffee for the first time!
A visit to Ho Chi Minh City is incomplete without a trip to the Saigon Central Post Office! The building was constructed when Vietnam was under the control of the French in the 19th century. Across the street is the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, but I went there it was under renovation. I was a little disappointed as I have seen the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and I curious about its namesake in Ho Chi Minh city. But my curiosity has to wait till I get another chance!
It was a first for me, going to an opera and it was absolutely mesmerizing. Bamboo Circus is an act by the local artists who combine music, dance and bamboo to present a show that will leave you spellbound! I highly recommend it.
In the above video you can catch a glimpse of what I actually saw in person, and I feel grateful that I got the opportunity.
We went on the dinner cruise on our very first night in the country. I was still recovering from the lack of sleep due to the flight the previous night. But the cruise is fun, my boat had live music, a magician and lots to eat and drink!
As i was part of a media group all my meals were organized and I always found vegetarian food on my table. But I ventured on my own a few times in search of egg coffee and I found that even small local cafes would have something for the vegetarian.
My hotel in Ho Chi Minh City was Vinpearl Luxury Landmark 81 and I stayed at the 53rd floor! It was a beautiful place to come back to every night after a wonderful day of exploration!
PS. I was invited by IndiGo on this trip!
It was pouring buckets while I stood on the tarmac of the Ho Chi Minh City’s International Airport, waiting the arrival of the IndiGo’s inaugural flight from Kolkata to Ho Chi Minh City! I was invited to the event in Vietnam by the IndiGo Airlines.
A few of us had the airport access to await the arrival right by the bay! The red fire engines that would give the water cannon salute were already in position. It was raining hard all the while.
I am worried about the vehicles constantly buzzing by, what if they obstruct my view just as the flight is about to park at the bay? What if I don’t get a single decent picture?
I had similiar feelings when I stood in the Amman Stadium a long time ago waiting the arrival of Pope Francis! I tell myself to breathe, an aircraft is a big thing, I cannot miss it just like that.
In a while the flight landed and disappeared on the runway. After watching for sometime, an officer in the know gave us the signal, the aircraft would be arriving at the parking bay soon.
I have my cell phone in one hand switched on to video and DSLR in another, with which I was shooting stills. I know it is a risk, I might end up with nothing in the end!
— Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) October 18, 2019
Soon, flight 6E 1363 was in the view and I started shooting like crazy! But way too soon the fire engines departed! The plane got attached to the aerobridge and things got back to normal.
It was time to head back to the main building of the airport, to join in the press conference! I quickly review the pics, frantically edit a few and make them live!
At the press conference I was able to interview (Instagram style) Mr. William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer of the IndiGo.
IndiGo has been launching a lot of new routes with lower fares. My sister and I were actually planning our annual trip to Hanoi this year. We found the best fares on IndiGo. But my sister had a family matter to take care of and we had to postpone that trip indefinitely.
It looks like I was slated to travel to Vietnam though, so here I am attending the arrival of the inaugural IndiGo Kolkata Ho Chi Minh City flight as a travel blogger. Some destinations are bound to happen and I am glad Vietnam happened to me!
I am Mridula Dwivedi, I love to travel! I started my travel blog in 2005. I have been going places since! For more details do check out my media kit! In another life I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur. I was a professor when I quit my job in 2015.
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