This annual leave was supposed to be reserved for me and my husband’s second honeymoon in Maldives. Due to impractical prices of plane fares and expensive rates in Maldives we weren’t able to push through. Even an option of another Bangkok, Thailand escapade was nakakabutas bulsa. I gave him the option of going to Vietnam, but he still has some issues with the Vietnam War.
I asked his permission if I could go alone. He was apprehensive at first, but he trusted me and gave me permission. Thank you Seff, for letting me experience this opportunity. I love you very much. And because of this trip, I convinced him to comeback with me there. He was fascinated with my stories of their healthy food. *wink *wink*.
This is my very first solo trip, from beginning to end. I was inspired by my wanderlust friends who do the same thing. I was a bit scared at first, but gathering infos (reading travel blogs, asking friends
who’ve been there and checking out wikitravel
, lonely planet
and trip advisor
) I became confident that I will be fine.
After I confirmed my AL approval, I went ahead on booking plane tickets and accommodations. There’s a lot budget airlines from SG to HCMC. The cheapest that time was Jetstar. Next up, I booked my hotel from booking.com
, I find this booking site the easiest to use as compared with other sites (Will post in another entry). I chose to stay in District 1 as I was advised that all the tourist attractions are within the area and accessible by walking. And I don’t regret staying there, especially that the hotel is near Ben Thanh Market.
Upon arriving at the airport, I was looking for the embarkation/disembarkation cards. Turns out as a Philippine passport holder, I just need to go straight to the immigration line. Next up, I exchanged my SGD to VND. The moment I held on to my VND, I felt like a millionaire because their denominations are by the thousands and hundred thousands. I never encountered any coins. I booked a metered-taxi (with receipt) to avoid taxi scams. It costs about VND 190,000 + 40,000 (airport fee). No hassle at all, they sent me to the exact location of my hotel.
I arrived early (around 10 AM) but instead of waiting for the usual check-in time they already given me a room. After settling my things in my room, off I go to explore the city.
Entrance fee: 30,000 VND
Free tours are available and conducted by the palace admin. They are ladies in traditional clothes and speaks English. They can share to you a thing or twenty about Vietnam’s rich culture and history. Just inquire in the front desk about it. A new session starts every 15 minutes. It would last for about an hour or so. I met an Australian couple who are interested in visiting Philippines. Jo asked me to list down all the interesting places in the Philippines and I did. Turns out she lives in Gold Coast, Australia and a just few kilometers away from the Great Barrier Reef. We exchanged e-mails. Jo also showed me where to go around the city and gave me a map.
That’s some heavy duty Kitchen Aid. Lol 😅Fellow tourists (from Malaysia) who asked for directions because they thought I was Vietnamese 😅.
After these tour you will ask yourself: “Pinag-aralan ba namin ito sa Araling Panlipunan?” LOL.
Entrance Fee: 15,000 VND
Just take note of the time: The museum closes during lunch time.
I came there around 12 noon and the men in green (I call them the guardia civil) told me they’ll opening again at 1:30 PM. So I maximized my time by eating lunch first.
In its grounds there are lots of tanks and planes from the war.
Some of the pictures inside the museum are devastating. Death, grief and darkness has hit them hard during those times. What saddened me the most is the after effect of Agent Orange
. No, it’s not the Slapshock single but the chemical warfare used from 1961-1971. Many were left dead and maimed.
Replica of the Notre-Dame Basilica in France.
Since they’re a former French Colony. French architecture has been very evident around the city. I don’t think this is an exact or even a near copy of the original. I think it’s more of the architectural essence that can’t be normally found in an Asian city. It exudes a charm that helps attracts tourists.
Post Office – Buu Dien
This a working post office
. If you want to send postcards back home you can do it here. There are maps, phone booths, atm machines and souvenir shops inside.
Just Outside Ben Thanh Market
I reached all this places by walking. Safety wise, Don’t walk while using your expensive handphone and be careful of your belongings. I noticed that, if you’re in a tourist attraction there are stationed men in green uniforms around the area. You can ask them questions and they can advise you.
Crossing the road is my greatest challenge in HCMC. There’s lots of motorcycle! OA sa dami. The streets are busy. There are of course the traffic and road regulations, pero ang one way nagiging two way, naka-red light na meron pa ring diretso lang…deadma. In a way nakuha ko naman ang technique nung na-feel ko na ang vibe ng city. You just have to look left and right all the time show an intent on crossing the road by slowly walking and stopping from time to time. Kasi pag nakita ka nila sa malayo babagal na ang takbo nila or sesegway ng konti para di ka madali. O di ba?! Walang overpass or underpass. Magdasal ka habang tumatawid ka. Seryoso!
Till next post 🙂