Ho Chi Minh: Revisiting A City
This is part of my revisiting plan since I lost most of my travel photos the other time (read Travel Photos Gone: What To Do Next). I thought why not start with our next door neighbour, Ho Chi Minh City which was 7 hours away from Phnom Penh by bus. We had a long break during the Water Festival and this was a good time to go. The city was not quite I remembered it as there are more buildings and the town area had more traffic compared to my last visit. I’ll be posting more about that in the next few blog posts but meanwhile, here’s a summary of our travel plan to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 1: Arrived in Ho Chi Minh City.
4:00 pm – The Giant Ibis bus stops at Pham Ngu Lai street and we all decided to get down, grab our bags and hail a taxi in the heavy rain. The fare was VND 20,000 (equals to $1) to the Townhouse 50 hotel, a cozy place hidden in an alley.
6:00 pm – Decided to be adventurous and walked all the way to Benh Thanh market for dinner at Raja Osman restaurant. We had macaroni daging bakar, nasi goreng ikan masin and iced coffee for US $10 (for 2 people). There’s plenty of choices in this area but choose wisely as some of the food may not be as good as others.
Day 2: The Mekong Delta Tour.
9:00 am – Joined the Mekong Delta Tour (VND 800,000 or US $35 per person,) with 4 other travelers from our Hotel. We got into the van with 3 people from other hotels and chatted along the way.
12:00 pm – Arrived at the Vinh Trang Pagoda, an ancient southern architectural gem built in the 19th century. In the compound we saw a 3-tiered temple resembling the Angkor Wat, the sleeping Buddha, the standing Buddha and the sitting Buddha.
1:00 pm – Continued to the pier and jumped into a motorboat to the Floating Fish Farm the villagers cultivate freshwater fist & shrimps under their house.
1:30 pm – Our boat continued to the My Tho-Ben Tre (4 islands) which included the Unicorn Island, Turtle Island, Phoenix & Dragon Island. We stopped at one of the islands to watch a coconut candy making farm and for a group lunch. The tour ended with a visit to the Honey Bee Farm by horse cart and a sampan ride back to the pier where our van awaits.
6:00 pm – Walked to Ben Thanh for dinner at Aasiyah Restaurant where a paprik chicken rice and chicken fried rice cost about VND 190,000 or US $8). We went around the market to get a few t-shirts and tried the halal Vietnam coffee for US $1 per cup which was so good!
Day 3: Walking around the city.
10:00 am – Walked to the Reunification Palace and entered for VND 30,000 (US $1.50) per person. There was a lot of construction going on and we didn’t enjoy the whole tour as we couldn’t enter some parts of the building.
11:00 am – Across the palace was a lovely park where we went through to get to the Notre Dame Cathedral. It looked exactly like the one in Paris. We didn’t go inside as it was closed to the public but we did cross the road to the famous Post Office which brought us back in time.
12:30 pm – Walked to Dong Khoi street and met our friends at L’uisine Cafe hidden upstairs opposite the Cavalerre Hotel. The cafe had a French vibe and the aroma of fresh pastries was delicious.
2:00 pm – Took a taxi to Saigon Square, an indoor market selling clothes, fashion accessories and sports attire.
4:00 pm – Walked to Ben Thanh for a late lunch at Pho Halal shop and ordered Pho beef. It was cheaper compared to the ones back in Phnom Penh! On the way back to the hotel, we stopped by Baskin Robbins to cool ourselves down with a cotton candy ice cream.
Day 4: Touring the city on our own.
10:00 am – Visited the War Remnants Museum for VND 15,000 (or US $1) per person. We took photos of the military vehicles and went through the outdoor prison area to learn about the Vietnam war.
12:00 pm – Took a taxi to Saigon Square 3 and Saigon Square 1 to continue shopping for our families. We wanted to wind down with a massage and decided on visiting Jasmine Spa near Ben Thanh market. For US $7 we got an hour long head massage while lying down in the saloon chair. Visited a shop next door called Saigon Kitsch selling artistic Saigon souvenirs.
8:00 pm – Dropped by Trung Nguyen Coffee Shop (pronounced chung-wen) for iced drip coffee. I had to wait awhile until all the coffee filled the glass. It’s always nice to end the travel time with a good cup of coffee from the second best provider in the world.
Check out the map for all the places we visited in Ho Chi Minh City!
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.