Finally the first post of my Vietnam trip! Some of the pics were taken by phone – since someone was stupid enough for not charging the camera battery =.= so apologies in advance for the bad quality. Other than that, enjoy!
I arrived at Ho Chi Minh City around 2-3PM in the afternoon, since there was no morning flight that didn’t fly way too early. So my friend, Lan, picked me up in the airport (with her dad who works in the airport – such a nice welcome!) and we headed to her place first to put my luggage. Afterwards we straightway headed to our first stop, War Remnants Museum.
This museum is basically all the remnants left from the Vietnam War, including war equipments, replicas of the prisons and photos during & after the war. Some of them are quite scary and gruesome to see, which is why I don’t really recommend this place to those of you travelling with kids. But overall, it’s an interesting and educative place.
All the stories are explained in detail with pictures.
The replica of the prisons from above view. The background is actually just a painting but damn it looks so real!
One of the prisoner replicas that is not too creepy for my blog lol.
The main building has more pictures of how the American soldiers tortured the Vietnamese back then (insanely inhumane) and the post-war pics showing the descendants of those affected by the chemical gas massacre. Also, how Americans back home and other countries went on rallies against the war.
Ok, enough with the serious stuff! Next stop, shopping spree at Ben Thanh Market!
This market is one of the oldest buildings in Ho Chi Minh City, kind of reminds me of Jakarta’s Passer Baroe. You can find anything here from local handicrafts, fruits, clothes, and food. Make sure to bargain! I at least bargained 30,000 Dong first and worked from there, especially if you buy a lot from the same vendor.
Outside of the market’s main entrance. SO many motorbikes!
Afterwards, Lan and I continued our shopping at Saigon Square (walking distance from Ben Thanh Market) then met up with my college friend, Hannah, for dinner. We had dinner at this beautiful al-fresco Vietnamese BBQ restaurant called Barbecue Garden, which was around the same area. Highly recommended!
FOOODDDDD. And Vietnamese beer! Forgot what’s the name though lol. But it was very light and refreshing!
Meet my wonderful tour guides, Hannah and Lan =)
Seems like dinner was not enough for me, so when we walked around the city, my friend made me try this street food which is claimed to be Vietnamese pizza! It looks more like a crepe/taco to me though!
Main ingredients would be rice paper (grilled til it turns crispy), quail egg, spring onions, various kinds of dried prawns, fried shallots and mayo + chilli sauce to top it of.
YUM! I loved it! Loved the ambiance too. Very local =)
Oh! One important tip when travelling in the city, try not to wear a hand bag and wear a sling bag or a backpack, or anything that’s basically attached to your body that you have full control of it. Pickpockets and snatch thieves are always on the go. One of my friends has experienced this before, so be extra cautious. Also, try not to wear too flashy jewelries.
The Opera House!
Since I travelled just a week before Chinese New Year, which is the most important celebration in Vietnam, the city was decorated with pretty lights and decorations. Lucky me!
One of the perks of having a local friend as your tour guide is you get to experience those that are not listed in the Lonely Planet. Hannah brought us to a secret place that “local teenagers normally go” – direct quote from her LOL she makes us feel very old. Lan didn’t even know about this place! They only have it at night and it’s located just behind the Opera House, at the back corner of Highland Coffee cafe, surrounded by mega star hotels. Sounds suspicious, huh? No we didn’t buy drugs lol. Instead, we had a nice chill milk tea! See that happy face! =D
I then call this place “Secret Milk Tea”. And this is how to order and fully maximize your milk tea night experience:
1. Order the type of tea you want from the guy (they already fill the cups with milk) – strawberry, mint, peach. They may have more in the future. We tried all and they all were good.
2. Grab newspapers from wherever or whoever (with permission of course, and not from the garbage please). My friend got some from an old lady selling street snacks.
3. Find a good spot to sit, not too near with other milk tea-drinkers, unless… see #4.
4. If you’re lucky, find someone there with a guitar as he/she will serenade you for free. I was so lucky that time that next to me was a cute guy doing this. TEEHEE.
5. Enjoy the night view, laugh your ass off with your friends and roll on the floor (since you’re already on the floor, might as well you know).
6. Remember to clean up the mess created after your awesome milk tea night experience.
That’s all for Day 1! Long post huh? Hope I didn’t bore you hehe.
Next: DAY 2 & 3!