More new Phuket photos…Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam…

Tuk tuks come in all shapes, sizes and colors in Thailand and are commonly used by tourists and locals as opposed to a more expensive car or van taxis.

Some vacation homes don’t have items we may need for preparing meals. We fully understand this when most tourists stay less than a week seldom preparing meals other than a light breakfast or a sandwich and a bag of chips for lunch.

Colorful water toys with a variety of beach equipment and gear at a shop near the beach.

Today, I wrote to the owner asking if a staff member could deliver a can opener, making it possible for us to make homemade ketchup to use with tonight’s dinner of lettuce wrapped bacon cheeseburgers, salad and veggies. We just received a reply and a can opener will be delivered soon.

We have all the ingredients, but needed the opener for a can of tomato sauce used in making the ketchup. (Store bought brands of ketchup are loaded with sugar and our recipe is not). 

Pillars at entrance to the pier.

If it was affordable to eat out every day it wouldn’t be much fun in this heat and humidity to be getting dressed to head out for dinner each evening. At this point, we shower in the morning, put on our swimsuits which we wear all day through dinner, rinsing them out at night before going to bed. 

Many types of boats are moored in Chalong Bay.

This way, we have almost no laundry other than the sweaty tee shirts, shorts and underwear we’ve worn when heading out. The thought of getting changed into street clothes to go to dinner isn’t particularly appealing right now. 

High speed and luxury boats anchored at the shoreline.

Once a week, using a washer we found in an outdoor closet, we do a small load hanging it indoors to dry on the rack with most items taking a few days to dry in the humidity. The house cleaners replace all the bath towels, hand towels and bedding twice a week, so there’s no need for us to wash anything more than our few personal items.

View of Chalong Bay in Phuket.

Overall, living in this house in Rawai, Phuket is relatively easy. Surely, if I was fully recovered, it would be considerably easier. Not feeling 100% makes the hot and humid weather more noticeable and the simplest of household tasks more challenging. Also it’s had a huge impact on my desire to get out sightseeing. Hopefully, soon, this will change as I continue to recover.

Back view of the popular lighthouse from Chalong Beach in Phuket.

We’re now at a point where we’ve almost completed posting the photos and stories of the tours we attended during the cruise/tour to Cambodia and Vietnam from July 8, 2016, to July 22, 2016. 

The Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City.

Tomorrow, we’ll include some remaining photos not necessarily related to one another, but worthy of sharing with our readers who’d like one final peek at the amazing cruise/tour that included a total of seven nights in three luxury hotels and seven nights aboard the Viking Mekong. (In addition to the three nights we’d booked on our own in Hanoi before the cruise/tour began).

Meeting room in the palace.

Today, we’ve included photos of one of the final tours we attended in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City (either name is acceptable to use). On July 21st we boarded the bus for the tour of the former Presidential Palace, now known and the Reunification Palace. 

View from upper level of palace toward the congested street.

Had I been looking for sites to visit in Saigon, this venue may not have been on my radar. But once inside the huge building, we were both fascinated. Tom, of course, as a history buff, always seems to enjoy visiting historical buildings where my interest may lie in the opportunity to take photos when possible.

The ambassador’s/dignitary’s room (pre 1975).

The Reunification Palace provided such an opportunity and thus, we couldn’t resist posting this last round of photos from this historic site. From this site, we gleaned the following information where those of you interested can find more details:

Tourists gathered at each of the room’s entryways.

“The iconic Reunification Palace made its name in global history when in 1975 a tank belonging to the North Vietnamese Army crashed through its main gate – thus signifying the end of the Vietnam War.

View through second story decorative stone pillars to the gardens below.

The palace is like a time capsule frozen in 1975 with two of the original tanks used in the capture of the palace parked in the grounds. Originally the site of the Nordom Palace also known as the Governor’s Palace its first role was as a home and workplace for the then French Governor of Cochinchina.

The Reunification Palace is a landmark not to be missed by any tourist visiting Ho Chi Minh City.Surrounded by lush tropical gardens, the palace hides secret rooms, antique furniture and a command bunker within its eerie corridors. The Reunification Palace is still in use to host occasions including APEC summits and national events of significant importance.

Reunification Palace Highlights                

Desks in the lowest level bunker.

The Reunification Palace is a five-story building with the basement housing a warren of tunnels, a war room and telecommunications centre.The war command room still has maps on its walls and period telecommunications equipment on display, whilst adjoining basement rooms feature war propaganda materials.

 Other areas of interest are the third floor featuring a card playing room, a fourth floor which once had a casino and was used for entertaining guests and a rooftop terrace with a heliport.

Old computer systems in bunker.

The Reunification Palace entered the world history books in 1975 when a Vietnamese Air Force pilot (who was also a communist spy) flew an aircraft over the palace with an attempt to bomb it. Although no real damage was caused this was a significant step towards the fall of Saigon and the ending of the Vietnamese War.

Communication equipment in bunker.

On 30th April in 1975 at 10:45 a North Vietnamese Army Tank rammed the main gates and entered the palace grounds before hanging its flag on the balcony to declare victory for the communist party and thus ending the Vietnam War. 

More radio equipment in bunker.

Meanwhile staff escaped from the rooftop minutes before the palace was overrun, known as Operation Frequent Wind this was part of history’s biggest ever helicopter evacuation and included the departure of General Thieu.”

We’ll be back with more tomorrow. Please stop by! Have a great day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 2, 2015:

In Port Douglas, we visited the Four Mile Beach. For more photos, please click here.