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. :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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