Sometime in March earlier this year (2015), Pandamopi and I travelled to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Viet Nam. It was a good short trip to recharge and to explore something new. We have a passion to discover new place with new environment, culture and of course food!
The weather was pretty hot, but the city planning was good. We stayed in 3 star hotel — Blue Diamond Hotel which was in a good location. It is pretty near to Ben Thanh Market. We walked most of the time and skipped public transports as we are big believers in walking. Walking is the best way to explore and enjoy the city.
One of my favorite museum in HCMC is HCM Fine Art Museum – -Bảo tàng Mỹ Thuật TpHCM, located at 97 Phó Đức Chính Nguyễn Thái Bình, Hồ Chí Minh Vietnam.
The architecture of this museum is unique. This delightful building which so harmoniously combines oriental and western architecture was designe by the French architect, Rivera, in 1929. It was completed in 1934 for the son of a successful emigrant named Hua Bon Hoa, from Fujian in China. The building was both home and place of business for Tang Huon Hua Bon Hoa, the eldest son, who as head of the family had continued the successfulness of his father’s loan and building development company.
In many ways, it is a truly appealing structure because of its cross cultural inheritance of the Chinese and French development of the large family Town House. Opening onto the and overlooking an internal courtyard from various large and small sheltered porticos and windos, it has the liveability of a large town house, but is not wihout a level of the grandiose, with its external front and rear covered entrances which are spectacular without being too grand.
As a whole the building soards gracefully to its fully vaulted eaves which provides a fine basis for its many ceramic tiled roofs which cap and accentuate the stepping in and out of the walls and porches. The overhanging eaves with its basis in Asis, provides both shade and shelter from thepial sun and downpour events which are so muchart of this City of Saigon.
The blue and yellow render finish of the building captures the liveliness of the period when Saigon was emerging as a modern Asian city of the twentieth century and when the street address was 97 Rue d’Alsace Lorraine, and when this new building’s three floors were surmounted by an elevator, the first in the city, whose wire grill doors opened on to wide, airy and well lit randah like hallways, off which the many rooms of the house opened r look the pleasant and sizeable interior courtyard.
In many ways, still in original pristine condition, this heritage building deserves to be occupied by the Fine Arts Museum Department which it has done since 1986 and which will assure that it remains a City Icon.
Reference : Signage in front of the musuem.
Something worth mentioning in Viet nam is the typology of seatings in cafe or local street stalls. It is of low levels — the furnitures are remarkably cute due to its size. The tables and stools are small, making it an interesting sight. Vietnamese are generally very friendly and laid back. We especially love local food like pho, bun cha and cafe sua da (vietnamese iced coffee — it is addictively delicious).