Travel

Exploring Ho Chi Minh City

“Let’s take our Wanderlust to the next level shall we?” That was the exact words the parentals uttered while planning a short vacation. The ideal plan for this vacation was suppose to fall on the holidays here in Davao, a.k.a. Kadayawan Festival but we couldn’t resist being in the city’s festivities, as a result, we moved it. On August 26, we hopped on a plane from Davao to Manila then waited 6 to 7 hours for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Because I was with the “Oldies” they didn’t bothered roaming in Manila that time fearing we’ll get stuck in a traffic and miss our flight. Good thing Star Wars, How I met your Mother and a couple of netflix saved me from the long wait. After two and a half hour flight we then landed in the Land of the Rising Dragon that is Ho Chi Minh City! P.S. I’ve been a very lazy blogger on documenting what happend in Vietnam nevertheless enjoy the few photos I have taken. P.S. Hefty photos under the cut 🙂

DAY ONE:

Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon is basically the largest City in Vietnam and is the former Republic of the South of Vietnam. Vietnam known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. Hanoi, the capital, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, via a huge marble mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has French colonial landmarks, plus Vietnamese War history museums and the Củ Chi tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers.

Vietnam is more like the Philippines. Only more degrees humid, so for travellers out there who packs hefty of “Outfits” please do pack lightly since Ho Chi Minh City can go up to 34 degrees and you don’t wanna look all sweaty whilst roaming around the city right? So pack your rompers, co-ords, shorts and everything light. One trusty pair of jeans will suffice, trust me on this. And oh, bring a hat and sunglasses with you. Mr. Sun gets a little excited with tourists. *winks*

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( View from the 10th floor of Grand Silver Land Hotel where we stayed in for a couple of days. )

WHAT TO WEAR?

“When roaming in the city be sure to be as comfortable as you can be.” This is what I wore during the first full day of exploring Saigon. A coordinate from GTW Clothing with fine-apples all over the place. How quirky is that? I felt like I gave justice to the touristy outfit minus the flower prints though. Plus it did a great job on making me sweat free the whole time since it has a light material. Also, soles are important when walking the whole day. In my case, a good ol slip ons or a rubber shoes will save you from blisters and shit. Invest in a good pair of shoes and don’t forget comfort over fashion. Tiis ganda can’t be applied if the case is walking all day under the heat.

Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City

Dine: Hoang Yan Premier Buffet

The parentals decided to eat brunch in a buffet since we need a lot of energy and food to fight the day through a tight schedule. As a result, we tried Hoang Yan’s Buffet. It’s basically a buffet that serves unlimited Vietnamese dishes from Spring rolls to Pho’s (the only Vietnamese food I know lol) And to be honest, I’m a food junkie and will eat almost anything interesting but Vietnamese food didn’t satisfied me. Their foods fusion just didn’t hit the spot on my belly, as a result, I din’t took so much photos. Only their welcome sign. #BadBlogger. Although Pho saved me during those times. P.S. I had eaten 23 bowls of Pho! I kid you not. Probably the only Vietnamese food I can call Bae. P.S. A vlog is brewing for you, the foods from this buffet resto will be there. 😉

Ho Chi Minh City

Must Try: Vietnamese Coffee & Tea

Coffee Shops recommended: Id Cafe, Hideaway Cafe & L’usine
You know I’m a big fan of Coffee and I can’t let it pass without trying Vietnams Authentic coffee. Some of their coffee are just the same as our local coffee’s here in the PH though, but what struck me most is this weasel coffe.Kopi luwak, or civet/weasel coffee, refers to the coffee that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. Imagine poop coffee? Haha Kidding. Though at first I was hesitant because of the idea it’s a coffee poop but what the heck I gave it a try and I have never tasted good tasting poop in my entire life. The one that they served us has no sugar and cream and trust me when I say you don’t need those two. The coffee itself is heaven! By the way, I had two cups and yes I was really hyper the whole day. Maybe it’s a weasle/crazy coffee? Lol. After tasting their coffee, I tried their tea. I’m not a big fan of tea so it was just like a common tea, nothing special. Just the basic, healthy and organic tea.

Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnams History: War Remnants Museum

Location: 28 Vo Van Tan, in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.
In every place I visit, especially overseas, I make it to a point to pay a visit to museums. I like to know what made that certain city where it is right now. It’s like knowing the past in order to somehow understand its present culture. It primarily contains exhibits relating to the Vietnam War, but also includes many exhibits relating to the first Indochina War involving the French colonialists.

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Saigon Notre-Dame Bascilica

Location: Bến Nghé, tp. Hồ Chí Minh, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
After Museums? You bet I did visit one of the most popular bascilica ever made by the famous Alexander Gustave (The guy responsible for Eiffel Tower). The Bascilica was constructed between 1863 and 1880 by the French colonists, following their conquest of the city, the building reaches a height of up to 60m. Bishop Lefevre put the first stone for construction of the church on 28 March 1863. Initially, it was called Saigon Church. The name Notre-Dame Cathedral was given after Bishop Pham Van Thien held a ceremony to install the statue of Peaceful Notre Dame, made with granite from Rome, in 1959. In 1962, Vatican anointed it as Saigon Chief Cathedral conferred it basilique. Since this time, this cathedral is called Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica.

Ho Chi Minh City

Independence Palace

Location: 135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Independence Palace (Dinh Độc Lập), also known as Reunification Palace (Vietnamese: Dinh Thống Nhất), built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ and was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gate.
(source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Palace)

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(In between Selfies.)

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Shop: Butterfly Souvenir & Craft store

Pinoys love giving “Pasalubongs” or Souvenir to their friends and relatives when travelling overseas. And a bit of self shopping of course. On our second to the last stop our tour guide dropped us at a local souvenir shop that sells everything Vietnam-y – key chains, hats, t-shirts and etc. The shop is called Butterfly Souvenir shop but I suggest Ben Than Market or Saigon square if you are on a tight budget. It’s like Greenhills/ Divisioria/ Uyanguren / DCLA / 168 / Tutuban of Saigon. They sell items that are 2 or 3 times cheaper but of the same quality.

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Craft Store Shop

After Butterfly Souvenir shop we then headed to a local craft store shop thats sells souvenirs as well and hand crafted local products such as paintings, jars and etc. Warning though, this shop sells expensive stuff since some of their merchandise are hand crafted by budding artists. So, If you have extra dong why not buy right?

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(Not our tour guide. He is explaining what the store has to offer to tourists)

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Look how detailed he makes that piece of art from. And it’s made with egg shell.

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End of Day One!

After the endless shopping with the parentals, we capped our day by having dinner at a Cruise (Sorry! I forgot the name of the ship, but it’s the only cruise ship in Saigon. Don’t fret) that serves Vietnamese food and finally I was able to munch at my regular rice intake since they served us pinoy like food such as Sweet & Sour Fish, Bola Bola and Adobo like Chicken. Happy Tummy! The cruise ship was nothing special though. And it kinda bugged me off that we didn’t sailed the whole course of the dinner. It was only after we finished eating that the boat sailed. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their food and crew (For trying their best to understand our english). Kudos unnamed Cruise ship!

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At around 10 P.M. the whole family decided to go back to the hotel to catch some sleep since we’ve been walking under the heat of the sun the whole freaking day. Some of them went on and explored the night life of Saigon but I chose the bubble bath and cozy bed instead. That two cups of coffee really did consumed all my energy that I slept for 10 hours straight (Best sleep ever!!!).

Day 2 of Exploring Ho Chi Minh City will be in another blog post since it’s getting kinda long and I don’t wanna bore you guys with Vietnamese shizams. See you on my next blog post! Thank you for reading this far. You are awesome & have a great day! 🙂

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