“ Good Morning Vietnam!”
Year 7 Class Trip 2019-2020
Day 1: Monday, 14 October 2019
At 5 a.m., all students that were participating in the Year 7 class trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, gathered at the Batam Centre Ferry terminal, sleepy-eyed, but excited about the adventure we were about to embark on together. After arriving at Changi Airport, our group checked-in to the national carrier of Vietnam, Vietnam Airlines. The flight was a pleasant two-hour trip where we landed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
We were greeted by our very friendly and knowledgeable tour guide, Tom. He had us board a very comfortable tourist bus and escorted us to our hotel which was located in historic District 1, a short walk from the scenic Saigon River. After showing us to our rooms at our hotel, we then boarded the bus for a short ride to a nice restaurant, where an authentic Vietnamese “welcome” dinner had been prepared for us. After having this delicious meal we returned to our hotel for a good night’s rest.
Day 2: Tuesday, 15 October 2019
After having a delicious breakfast buffet at our hotel, we headed out to visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. Most of our group found the tunnels, which were created during the Vietnam War with the Americans, ‘cool’, some also found them a little ‘scary’. After buying souvenirs from the Cu Chi Tunnels park we went for another delicious Vietnamese lunch at a quaint and scenic restaurant nearby. We then boarded our bus for a ‘special’ afternoon snack at the Cricket Farm! There we snacked on fried scorpions and crickets. We also learned that in the near future we all may need to start consuming more insects in our diet due to possible global food shortages. We then returned to our hotel to clean-up for a, (you guessed it!) delicious Vietnamese dinner.
Day 3 : Wednesday, 16 October 2019
On this day, we began to tour the city of Ho Chi Minh. First we went to Independence, also known as Reunification, built on the site of the former Norodom Palace ,which is a landmark in Saigon, Vietnam. It was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
The next stop was the War Remnants Museum. It contains exhibits relating to the Vietnam War and the First Indochina War. There were pictures of the victims of Agent Orange, a chemical used by the American military to kill foliage, that still affects the Vietnamese people to this day. That exhibit seemed to affect the group the most.
After the museum we had another delicious lunch, then we went to Notre Dame Cathedral which was a smaller replica of the famous one in Paris. Sadly, we could not enter Notre Dame Cathedral as it was under renovation, but we were able to pose for group photos outside. Just across the street we visited another famous landmark, Ho Chi Minh City Post Office, or the Saigon Central Post Office. The building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century.
After departing the Post Office, we visited the FITO Museum, an outstanding museum about Vietnamese medicine. We were able to see how traditional medicine in Vietnam has evolved over the years, with exhibits dating back to the stone age!
We then explored the famous Ben Thanh Market. Some were able to purchase souvenirs, using Vietnamese phrases for bargaining, taught to us by Tom, our tour guide.
Our last event for the day was the water puppet show, which was funny and very unique.
Day 4 : Thursday, 17 October 2019
This was to be our last day of exploring. We took a boat ride along the giant Mekong River in the river’s delta region. Our destination was Unicorn island where we learned about how coconut candy was made. We also learned about honeybees and the production of honey. After returning from the river boat excursion, we visited a beautiful and historic Buddhist temple known as Vinh Trang Pagoda. We then returned to our hotel to freshen-up for dinner aboard a luxurious cruise ship. We enjoyed delicious food with traditional dance and music. The cruise provided breathtaking views of the colourful night skyline of the city.
Day 5 : Friday, 18 October 2019
It was time to say goodbye to Vietnam. We all wished for more time to explore, but all good things must come to an end. After having a delicious buffet breakfast, Tom, our tour guide, escorted us back to the airport, where we said our goodbyes. We took the short flight back to Changi Airport and made the ferry crossing to rejoin our families. We could not wait to share our wonderful experiences with them.