HCMC offers a unique charm that all visitors from around the world should really experience even once in their lifetime. The city is a combination of old world and developing world as there are construction here and there but not neglecting the cultural locations.
Our flight for HCMC via Cebu Pacific is at 10:45pm Manila Time and it will take about 2 hours and 30minutes travel time. There is no time difference between Manila and HCMC. From Tan Son Nhat International Aiport, we took a cab to the city for US$10. The ride took 20minutes. Upon arriving at the hotel, there are still some people roaming around the streets and transport are still very much alive. We retired for the night to get ready for our first adventure.
Day 2 – Our hotel, Saigon Kiko Hotel, is located in the heart of the busy area Pham Ngu Lao Street. Only then that I realise that our hotel is just a mere walking distance from Cho Ben Tahn Market which will be discussed later on the following days. As soon as you are out of the hotel, there is much to see already. In front of our hotel, there is a park which you can roam around and take pictures. As we are walking around, we were offered to take a ride around the city via motocycles. This is something new for us so took the ride around the city.
We were first taken to the bay area.
After the bay area, we were taken to their famous historical post office and met some lovely people in traditional costumes. Inside the post office, it was indeed amazing. Be transported back in time with their old charm and feel of the office. You can also send a post card to yourself or to anyone you know for just US$1.
While riding, you can view the tallest building in HCMC, the Bitexco Financial Tower. There is an observatory in the building where you can opt to view all of HCMC.
After the post office, we were taken to a flea market but not much interesting. Though I did got this beautiful dress at a good deal for my costume collection.
We headed down to the City Hall where you can see the statue of Ho Chi Minh.
After our 2 hours ride, we went back to our previous location and decided to roam around the city. Ate street food and just chill. Went back to our hotel for tomorrow’s activity.
Day 3 – Our trip for today is a group tour. I booked this via Klook. We went to Mekong Delta whole day tour. Our meet up point is just 1 block away from our hotel so we walked into the location and waited until the tour begins. There is of course an english speaking guide who gave us a bit of information about what we are to expect with the place.
Fact: The Mekong Delta has 4 islands named after their 4 sacred animals – The Water Dragon, The Unicorn, The Wise Tortoise and the Noble Phoenix.
the first stop during the trip is at Vinh Trang Temple.
After the temple, we headed now to Mekong Delta. We rode a wooden boat and cruised along the river. Though the water is not clear, according to the guide, it’s not dirty. The color is due to the nutrients the river provides that most of the plantations in the area helps in bearing a sweet produce. Fruits to the main city are mostly coming from these areas. It’s a short ride to a pomelo plantation to where we had a lovely lunch!
After our lunch, we headed to the Coconut Kingdom and was shown how to make coconut candy, the main livelihood of the locals in the kingdom. We also get to try the product.
Afterwards, we went to small boats and took a ride to the honeybee plantation. The ride was either scary and calm as the boat is small and there are like 5 in the boat plus the boatman. We were handed local hats for the ride for a more local feel.
When we got to the honey farm, we were served with hot tea mixed with freshly harvested honey. While enjoying the tea, we were serenaded by local singers (singing traditional songs). According to the guide, the singers improvises their songs even right at that moment they were singing to us. Since I don’t understand them, I guess you’ll just have to appreciate how they use their musical instruments.
After the tour, we were taken back to the city, while enjoying the scenic route from the bus. We were taken to Cho Ben Tanh market where we went crazy into buying the you know….the North Face stuff.
This is also where I was able to try the authentic Vietnam Coffee – Iced.
Also, that day, Vietnam is competing with Uzbekistan for the Asian Cup. The V team lost the game but the feels in the streets is not reflecting the defeat. People are still celebrating, uplifting the spirits of locals that instead of getting sad about losing, they are celebrating the fact that team was able to play and compete internationally. These scenes kept our base camp alive and busy even at wee hours. I was just happy that our room can withstand the noise, otherwise we will have to be up all night!
Day 4 – We are early today as we are traveling to CAMBODIA! by bus. We made reservations for the bus the day before our trip and waited for the bus to come to our hotel. And this story is to be continued in my Cambodia content.
Random clicks from around the city:
….and a quote worth trying.
Visit HCMC soon! click here for the Cambodia content.