Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Weekend Trip to Ho Chi Minh City

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bustling Ho Chi Minh City

I have just returned from a short trip to Vietnam's bustling largest city Ho Chi Minh City (abbreviations HCMC). Although there were lots to see and do in this metropolitan city, I only stayed for 3 days. Due to the language problem, I lacked the adventurous spirit to explore the city. But I was lucky on two occasions to find a couple of Vietnamese who speak Chinese. :)

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a pagoda

Together with several friends, my husband and I took the earliest JetStar flight and arrived in HCMC before 9am. We were famished upon arrival because we had not eaten anything since we woke up at 5 am to catch our flight, we had Vietnamese brunch at Batalis Restaurant right inside the Historical Museum.

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Historical Museum

Travelling through the city on the way to our first destination, I noticed motorbikes are the most common transport within the city, followed by buses, taxis and bicycles.

The next two days, we tried taking taxis which usually have trip meters, but it is better to agree on the trip price before taking a long trip. I didn't dare to take the public buses as I can't read nor speak Vietnamese. :P

Traffic congestion is a growing problem in HCMC.

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Shopping mall

3 days were too short a time to enjoy what HCMC could offer. On two consecutive days, we had to travel long distances to explore the famous Cu Chi Tunnels and tour the Mekong Delta which were far from the city.

I didn't go shopping, not even to the popular Ben Thanh night market. The tour guide warned us about the cunning thieves at the night market.  After an exhausting day of sightseeing, I was too tired to fight off thieves so I returned to the hotel for an early night's rest.
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our cosy hotel room

We checked into the Windsor Plaza Hotel. As it is located in the Chinese district, their main guests are Chinese or Asian.

Buffet breakfast (from 6.30 am to 9 am) was included in our room package. There were both Western and Asian cuisines to choose from. I loved the omelette and noodle stations. The breads were delicious, I went for the French loaves. :D

There is a lovely terrace with a tiny pool with fantastic views of the city on the rooftop (25th floor) of the hotel. It was breezy to sit there in the evening and count the stars.

The hotel was far from the city centre and there weren't many interesting sites around the hotel. Fortunately there is a shuttle bus that makes hourly trips to 4 popular tourist sites.
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city view from the roof terrace

I kept getting confused when using the Vietnamese dong, there are so many zeroes on the notes. LOL

My friends liked the feeling of being "millionaires" in HCMC because every hundred Singapore dollars were exchanged for 1.6 million Vietnamese dong. :D







18 comments:

  1. Oh, u went holiday, no wonder didn't see any new updates from you, hehe...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, went to Vietnam. :)
      I had a post in draft but it didn't publish, grrr......

      Delete
  2. I wonder if the traffic is as scary as in Hanoi. It took me some time to cross the road in Hanoi on my first visit but I got used to it after that.

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    Replies
    1. The traffic in front of my hotel was not heavy. I crossed the road to buy some beverages at a mini mart. It took a while to get used to crossing the roads in HCMC because the vehicles were left-hand drive. :P

      Delete
  3. How come I have no problem communicating in Hanoi? A lot of them can speak English, well not perfect English but I could understand them.

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    Replies
    1. I have no problem communicating with the hotel staff but when I go to a spa and small cafes, the staff couldn't speak English. The taxi drivers understand little English too. :(

      Delete
  4. Yes 3 days is definitely too short to visit all the places in HCMC. I have yet to visit this city. Think I will visit it soon! Wanna compare it with Hanoi which I love! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not used to the Vietnamese food. Before I went to Vietnam, I have only limited knowledge of their cuisine, Pho and Vietnamese rice rolls. :P

      Delete
  5. What a lovely trip.

    Just 3 days? Then you must return and spend more time there! ;)

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    Replies
    1. It was an amazing but tough trip for me. Too much travelling and too rushed. I went without googling about the country and didn't know what to expect. haha....

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  6. Thanks for well showing!


    ALOHA from Honolulu
    ComfortSpiral

    =^..^= <3

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  7. Bojio LOL but i've always wanted to go vietnam la, maybe end of this year, do we need visa to enter the country ???

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    Replies
    1. No need visa for Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand to enter Vietnam.

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  8. Was this your first trip to Vietnam? I've been -- but to the north: Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. It's said that Hanoi's more picturesque but that Ho Chi Minh City has the better food.

    Had an easier time going around in Hanoi than I expected (I walked A LOT because I didn't want to deal with the bargaining/rip off taxi, etc. hassle), so now am open to exploring other parts of Vietnam. :)

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    Replies
    1. It was my first trip to Vietnam. Friends who have been to Hanoi recommended it too. I better read your post about Hanoi before planning a trip there. :).

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