Ho Chi Minh City, Day 1

Recently, we took a short break over the long weekend to a nearby destination. It was the first time we were visiting Vietnam and I was actually filled with excitement and apprehension. I was worried about things a typical traveller would.. language barrier, hygiene/sanitation, cuisine, etc.

Well, the good news is that I enjoyed myself thoroughly and am planning to take another trip back but perhaps to another city.

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I had booked a pretty early flight which got me there at nine fifteen, local time there. Just in case if you are wondering if there is any time difference, yes, there is. Vietnam or at least Ho Chi Minh is an hour behind our local time. I had my first taste of Vietnamese coffee from the arrival hall while waiting for my transfer to the hotel.

The ride was smooth and travel time from the airport to the hotel was about half an hour. I must say that I was really pleased with the hotel of my choice, Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint Hotel. It looked every bit of what is displayed on the website. The picture above is my favourite spot in the lobby. Per night rates are pretty good and I was extremely happy with my Executive Room. Check-in time was 2pm and because their service was so good, they actually offered to expedite the room turnover so that I could get my room slightly earlier.

Bun Thang (Hanoi Style Noodle Soup with Chicken, Egg and Pork)

While waiting for the room to be ready, we headed to Vincom Centre, which is about a ten minutes walk away to check out the various restaurants at the basement of the mall. We settled for our first taste of local cuisine. First item on our order was Bun Thang (Hanoi Style Noodle Soup with Chicken, Egg and Pork), consisting of vermicelli, pork, chicken and egg. Rich in flavour, good portion size and noodle texture was extremely well done. Price: 85,000 Vietnamese Dong which is about SGD5.30 (incl. VAT and service charge).

Hu Tieu Bo Kho (Stewed Beef Noodle Soup)

The other dish we ordered was Hu Tieu Bo Kho (Stewed Beef Noodle Soup). Chunky pieces of stewed beef in a savoury stew like broth so it is not spicy. Price: 85,000 Vietnamese Dong, same as above.

To complement our meal, we ordered Muc Nuong Muoi Ot (Grilled Squid with Chilli and Salt). Nothing notable. Price: 95,000 Vietnamese Dong, SGD5.90 (incl. VAT and service charge).

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Generally the meal was not too bad and it sought of reaffirmed me that the decision to fly here was a good one. After lunch, I saw a familiar logo, Beard Papa.

Yes, how could I resist… or anyone for that matter. Looking really pleased with my puff. Vincom Centre has several floors of shops which would take at least an hour to cover. After leaving Vincom Centre, we went to the nearby attractions. Never in my wildest imagination had I thought I would see these beautiful buildings here.

Lovely, French colonial inspired buildings lining Dong Khoi Street. Just realized that I had forgotten to mention previously that I am staying in District 1, hence my entire day was spent in the neighbourhood. Dong Khoi Street is a quaint and relatively upmarket area. Most of the big

brand names can be found in the malls. Saigon Opera House, a building with beautiful architecture. I had booked tickets for the OA show the next evening so for those who are interested, they have performances most times of the year so just check out their website for the upcoming events.

Having wondered around the neighbourhood for almost half a day, we were tired and our feet were badly in need of massage. Passing by an alley, we settled for Armani Spa, and went up for a 30mins foot massage with relaxation oil. Price: 195,000 (incl. tips), SGD12.15. The environment was nice, clean and comfortable and the massage was relaxing and effective. It was also reasonably affordable with friendly employees which enticed back on the last day of our trip.

Summing up the day with this picturesque town square. Heading back to the hotel for our daily cocktail and canapes at the Executive Floor.

How did we spend our 2nd day in Ho Chi Minh? Stay tuned.

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