Yazz I'm finally back from my Vietnam trip! It was pretty impromptu and I headed over there with Jonathan this time. This was a real treat for us as we haven't been on a holiday together since 2009 and it felt like our bromance has sparkled up again LOL
We took Airasia flights (RM300 return) and stayed at Walkabout Boutique Hotel in Ho Chi Minh (RM400 for 4 nights) which wasn't too exp if you think of overseas travel. One thing i loved is that the location of this hotel is smacked right in the middle of District 1 (one of the most popular places in Ho Chi Minh). It was only 5 minutes walk from Ben Than Market, 10 minutes walk to the City Square and 10 minutes to Bui Vien Street (Party street)
So anyway, without further to do, Here are the top 5 things on my list to do at Ho Chi Minh City:
1) Overdose on Pho & Vietnam Coffee
PRIORITIES RIGHT? As a coffee lover, Vietnam Coffee is one of the most "kao" stuff you can have. It is super strong and full with flavour and you can get it anywhere in the city. Do try their vietnam drip coffee and traditional coffee and their most famous brands would be such as Phuc Long and Trung Nguyen. a cup of coffee can range from 30K VND to 120K VND depending on location and brand
Pho as Vietnam's most popular dish is another thing you should go OD on. I would definitely recommend eating by the roadsides at food stalls as it is the most authentic you can get. And honestly it is pretty clean and you won't need to worry about food poisoning. A bowl costs about 50-70k VND
Ho Chi Minh is a very lively city and you should explore as much as you can. The famous places to visit is such as the city square where many people will just be chilling especially at night, take away some food, and sit like the locals and eat on the street.
The Central Post office is a historic place to go to, and you can send postcards to your loved ones easily (>20,000 VND for postcard and stamps)
Notre dame Cathedral in Saigon is another historic place as it has been erected in the late 1800's. You can check out their 40m towers, or their beautiful stained glass around the cathedral. There are English tour guides from 9-11am daily (excluding Sunday) and if you wanna attend mass, it is held every Sunday at 9.30am.
Ben Tanh Market is the best place to get as much cheap original/counterfeit items. Do note you would need to have superb bargaining skills when you head there. As example, I bought a North Face Backpack over there, I haggled from 1.5m VND to 550k VND, and another smaller UnderArmour bag from 900k VND to 300k VND.
Other than that, you can buy food products there such as your coffee, nuts, dried fruits etc and there is a food court in there as well where you can try their local delicacies there
3) Cu Chi Tunnels
This tour will take about half a day as it is located about 1 1/2 hours away from the city (depending on traffic) I bought my tour at a tour agent over there which is pretty much cheaper compared to what you get online. I paid 260k per person, inclusive of the bus ride, tour guide and entrance fee (150k bus ride, 110k for entrance fee)
Why should you go there? You're able to see how amazing Vietnamese masterminds dug the tunnels during the vietnam war, and how they managed to survive it! You're also able to see how scary it was to be living in the past and how gruesome the terror was.
As a treat, you can also fire the M1 rifle or M3 machine gun over there at the shooting range. It costs 400k VND for 10 bullets.
I can fit!
Remnants of the war
inside the tunnels
Testing the M1
The AO Show is held at the Saigon Opera House a few days a week. Do you need to know the Vietnamese language to understand it? Nope! It is basically the story of how Vietnam was in the past and how it evolved to the modern city it is today. The show contains a lot of acrobats and interesting acts, and it shouldn't be missed! Price per ticket is about 500k VND
Saigon Opera House
The stage area
5) Party your night away
A city that never sleeps! I would say the best place to party is Bui Vien Street, where there are plenty of bars there. The culture is to sit down on small chairs on the road side, drink your beer and watch performing acts happen around the street. A beer would cost about 30k-50k VND depending on the brand and shop.
If you would like something more high class, head to the rooftop bars/clubs located around the city. Prices are much more expensive where a beer will cost at least 150k VND but you get to see the skylines of the city, and honestly in my opinion, the music there was better too :)