Went away on a short 4D3N trip to Ho Chi Minh City with mum. I’ve been wanting to visit Vietnam for a while now, and I had great plans of a 2-week north-to-south (or vice versa) backpacking trip. As we know, things don’t always work out the way we want them to. I’ll definitely be back for Hanoi & Halong Bay at some point!
# Day 1
Arrived at the airport in the early afternoon and we were picked up by our local guide who brought us to our hotel (Golden Central Hotel). It was clean, comfortable, and a convenient walk to the shopping area. There was also free wifi provided.
Headed out for lunch at Pho 24 which was recommended by the guide. Initially we thought it was just a local eatery, but as we walked around town we realised there were other branches around too. The soup base tasted quite different from what I was used to, but still yum!
Did our own city tour after that and ended up doing a fair bit of walking. From top to bottom: Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Opera House, motorcycles galore, roadside eating. Did you know there are 5.5 million motorcycles in the city? That’s more than Singapore’s population!
Ended the day by having dinner at Ben Thanh Market. Initially we thought the stalls were not open yet because they weren’t lit up, but when we walked past the food stall the waitress beckoned us in, so we decided to eat and do some shopping later should the stalls open before we went back to the hotel. I ordered sugar cane juice, and was told that I needed to wait 5 minutes. I was fine with that; I thought perhaps the person making it had stepped away for a bit. We were waiting for our food in semi-darkness, and then suddenly there was light! Haha. Either there was a power cut or the electricity only comes on at a certain time. It was as though the street came to life then.
# Day 2
Went on a half day tour to Cu Chi Tunnels. They are a network of interconnecting underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong, who lived in these tunnels and used them as a means of getting from one place to another without being seen.
Visited the War Remnants Museum in the arvo, which was an apt continuation of the day’s activities. I was somehow reminded of Hiroshima, but because I wasn’t familiar with the history it was a bit more difficult to appreciate the exhibits. Still, some of the pictures really tugged at my emotional heartstrings.
# Day 3
Day tour to the Mekong Delta: Visited a local house and learnt about local traditions. Tasted some local fruits while enjoying local music. Saw coconut candy being made. Saw people taste raw honey (I was too scared to stick my finger in there! :S). Elephant fish for lunch.
Then we walked around Ben Thanh Market again, without much yield. There really wasn’t much to buy, other than your touristy souvenirs and fake T-shirts/bags.
# Day 4
We were taking the arvo flight, which left us the morning free to visit Ben Thanh Market yet again. Mum bought a few things here and there, but I didn’t want to buy anything useless so I passed on some of the pretty handicrafts. Walked down one of the shopping streets but didn’t have anything to buy either.
That concludes our short trip and here I am, back in Melbourne, back to work. But I’ve had quite an easy start given that I worked 4 nights and now have a week off, can’t complain. Looking forward to my leave at the end of May, hopefully plans for US or Europe work out!