First stop, the City!
Hat: Hat of Cain, Top & Bottom: Dorothy Perkins Via Zalora, Earrings: The Ordinary Co.
Sky Bar 360
Located at 138 Lê Thị Hồng Gấm in District 1 and perfect for evening drinks overlooking the city! P.s $5 wines at happy hour, yay
The superhost of the Airbnb we stayed at (link here) He really helped us out a lot from waking up at 3am to help us with a little problem in the room to letting us leave our stuff at the lobby on the last day of our trip while we ran off to buy presents. I'm grateful for meeting such warm and hospitable people like him and the team at Christina's! I would recommend this place in a heartbeat for anyone who is visiting Ho Chi Minh. If you're reading this, Thanks Mike!
After a night of fussing about in bed, we were up at the crack of dawn for our Mekong Delta Tour (booked at SINH CAFE for approximately SGD$18). BUT, not before a Banh Mi Fix. This little cart was literally across the shop we were waiting at and we just took a chance to dash across the road. FINALLY. After hearing everyone rave about Banh Mi, i got to try one AND I LOVED IT. I think that's the beauty of southeast asian countries like Vietnam, (and Thailand). Literally anything you eat off the streets will taste good. *proceeds to pop a charcoal pill*
Mekong Delta Tour
We booked tickets for this the day before at a reputable tour company called "Sinh Cafe" (38 Bui Vien Street, District 1, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam) for about SGD$15-$18. After picking us up at around 7am infront of Sinh Cafe, We proceeded to take a bumpy two hour ride to our destination. Perfect for a little cat nap.
So for lunch we gathered at a table and feasted on homemade vietnamese cuisine. It was one of the best meals i had throughout the trip because it was so wholesome and it made me feel at home. I was most surprised when one of the villagers came up to peel the grilled fish to serve them in our Goi Cuan (Or, Spring Rolls). Best part was that this meal was part of the tour! Super value for money.
After a long day of zipping past boats and taking in all the sights, we headed back to the city. Another three hour nap for us! Mon + i crashed the moment we got back to our Airbnb and i suddenly felt unwell (hence the lack of photographs after our tour). Probably due to the heat
Pro Tip: always remember to hydrate, especially after having 1295672342 Viet coffees
We did, however, go out for a quick bite to end the first leg of our city adventures. Decked in t-shirt and jeans, we took a cab down to 10 Đặng Tất, Tân Định and treated ourselves to the most expensive meal we had on this trip ($43) at Cuc Gach Quan.
Cuc Gach Quan is particularly famous for its "homey" countryside cooking, situated in a gorgeous colonial house. We had their famous juice + a wide array of zi-char-esque dishes, as you can tell; Soft-shell crab, summer rolls, mince meat & eggplant, fried tofu... It was a great way to end the day.
If you'd like to explore Ho Chi Minh as well, just remember a few things
- Be Safe — I cannot emphasize this enough. Safety should always be the top of any traveler's list, irregardless of which country it is.
- Beware of scams — During the first night, we got to get to know some of our Airbnb neighbors and they were sharing with us their experience of getting scammed in the city. Always, always know what you're paying for and if it's too good to be true... it probably is.
- Crossing Roads — We did it like locals from the second day onwards. Tip: Be confident & always look before crossing. Do not hesitate or stop while crossing as the riders weave through oncoming pedestrians
- Trust no one, Trust everyone — Reiterating my point about scams, trust no one. However, don't let the fear of being robbed/scammed stop you from shunning everyone that tries to talk to you. The best experience for me when i travel is making new friends with fellow travelers and/or locals. Be smart and trust your gut.
After two adventure-packed days in this humble city of Ho Chi Minh, i was so ready to leave it all behind in exchange for the cool, crisp breeze of the mountain air in Da Lat. Our sleeper bus for the next day was schedule for 6am. This meant that we would be on the road again, bags packed and camera in hand.
Part two: The Countryside