Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh is the largest city in Vietnam by population.I’m kinda excited and grateful to explore Ho Chi Minh City again after 6 years. It’s my second time here in Ho Chi Minh and now I’m with my almost 2 year old daughter and with my mom. The first time was with my hubby celebrating our 1st year anniversary. Check it out here.
We organized a retreat for our small group in church. A total of ten people joined this time!
From the airport we rode a blue bus #152 for 5,000 Dong per adult. Your luggage will also be counted as one passenger as it occupies a space. From Ben Thanh Market where they dropped us, we walked around 15 minutes to reach the hotel we booked. It was a great time to start looking around and to take photos. See the woman on the left? It’s not uncommon in Vietnam to see seller in their nice traditional Vietnamese hats under the sun selling different things from food to drinks to little toys. Felt sad for the older women who need to carry this to from place to place where they can get more customers. You can see how hard working they are just by walking around.
We booked our whole stay of 4nights 5 days in Della Boutique Hotel.
You know you are in Vietnam when you see an avalanche of motorbikes coming near your bus. Even though I grew up and used to the traffic situation in Philippines, nothing comes near to chaos of traffic in Vietnam. Motorcycles will not let you pass through easily even though you have a toddler and a stroller and a luggage with you. Be careful and show them your hands while crossing any roads.
We reached our hotel around 12noon and we couldn’t do early check in so we just let them store our bags first so we can get our first lunch. Unfortunately it’s raining and we end up eating in this cantonese restaurant just around our hotel.
Day 2: Notre-Dame Cathedral and Central Post office , Bitexco Tower
After attending Church we go for lunch and our friends brought us to this Vietnamese Cuisine Restaurant. The food are awesome!!
I love the fact that almost all the dishes they serve in Vietnam come with green vegetables, mostly basil and lettuce. This practice of viet cuisine not just in nice restaurants but also with little cheap stalls. It’s incredible. Talk about healthy eh?
After lunch, we decided to go on with our itinerary. We passed by independence Palace. We decided not to go inside. We walk straight to Cathedral / post office area. its 5-10 minutes walk.
It’s quite cool that this post office with a rustic charm is still operational until today. You can still send letters / post cards anywhere in the world.
Inside the post office, you can buy souvenirs like t-shirts, paintings, post cards etc. After comparing prices from other souvenir shops, their prices here is reasonable after comparing it to few markets in HCM.
Me with my lovely family.
The cathedral and the post office is just adjacent to each other. After exploring these two popular attraction, we decided to go back to our hotel , rest for an hour and go out again to go up to the highest tower in HCM- Bitexco Financial tower.
Though it was only opened in 2010, CNNrankednit as #5 most iconic building in the world.
We went up to 48th floor and this is the view:) it was a bit cloudy so didn’t have a lot of nice photos.
We purposely went up around 5:30pm so we can catch sunset and also the night view of HCM:)
Day 3: Culture Park, War Museum, Russian Market and Big C
Today we visited a very nice Park in HCM- Culture Park. We also had our breakfast there and had our morning devotional (praying and singing).
As you know, Vietnamese loves little chairs and little tables for their informal dining. Usually you will fin them in the sides of the roads or in the middle of park.
Found this while walking around the park. Lotus is a very important flower in Vietnam. It is their national flower. Lotus symbolises divine beauty and purity. From muddy water, the flower emerges above with beauty and dignity.
After that we went to War Remnant Museum. It’s my second time here so I didn’t really look through and read this time. I know that the stories of war can get easily on me. So I said pass this time round.
Just to give you an overview according to my limited knowledge and understanding, Vietnam went on a war with US because US tried to stop them from spreading communism around South East Asia. The war was also known in Vietnam as Resistance War Against America. The war started in 1955 and ended in 1975 with 966,000 – 3.8 million people killed. In this museum you will see photographs with detailed description of victims both soldiers and civilians.
my mom seriously learning about the war.
For the parents who plan to visit there, they have this huge play room full of toys and activities that your toddler can enjoy. You can leave them there if you are comfortable but I didn’t.
At night we visited Russian Market. If you are into apparel, hats, clothes and bags this place is for you. Since Vietnam is home for clothing factories, they sell wide range of branded items here. Too bad we didn’t have a long time coz we reached 7pm, it’s like 30minutes before they close. I managed to get a really nice branded dress cost me only 20ringgit or 200 pesos.
After that we went straight to Big C supermarket where you can get all your local stuffs like instant nooodles, instant coffee etc. If you need a post-holiday stash from places You visited, this one is a must!It’s so fun to shop here!
Day 4: Mui Nei
It’s 5 hours away from HCM. I will write about this side trip in a separate post.
It’s becuase the place is really awesome! Will come back here.
Day 5: Ben Tanh Market and Cafes
We woke up early to go to Ben Thanh Market. This market is one big dome full of stalls selling everything. Crafts, coffee, clothes, herbs, home decorations etc. They even have breakfast stalls inside selling bowls of noodles and coffee and other Viet delicacies. This is our last day and it means last shopping day! we go inside the market and started asking prices and buying keychains, decor and even fabric.
After shopping quite a lot, I realised that there was this section in the outer circle part of the Ben Thanh Market. I checked the price of the fix price shops and to my dismay, its 3-5x lower than those I got inside. I want to cry. I learned a very expensive mistake. But good thing is that I managed to share it with my travel buddies and we stop haggling and just go with fix price stalls. Even though you haggle inside, they still will double or triple the price so its better not to if you want stress free shopping.
Another tip would be, even in the fixed price shops, you need to compare their prices so you can get the best deal around.
Mom and Summer shopping around BTM.
Went here for breakfast. Nice Pho Bho for our last day!
Here’s the inside. Its quite cool inside. They also give free cold tea drinks. Its common for restaurants here to serve cold Jasmine tea and its free of charge. reminds me of japan where they serve free Green tea too.
So there maybe few reasons why hate this country but these (unfriendly (tired) taxi drivers, scammers and bad traffic) doesn’t stop me from wanting to go back one day . heres three reasons I will go back to Ho Chi minh will be:
- Coffee with an egg – I love Vietnams ice coffee. it is to die for. Even though i bought a lot of 3-1 viet coffee home, honestly it doesn’t come close to the real thing in there. So my friend who is working in Vietnam introduce us this kind of coffee– with an egg inside. should try this seriously. It tasted like cream brule but its in liquid form. Genius! Check it here: Luu Gia Cafe and Food
- Shopping – are you someone who love branded and quality items but not much budget? then vietnam is for you!
- Pho Bho– I can eat this everyday when I’m in Vietnam.
Thank for dropping by! Hope I inspire you in anyway!