Ho Chi Minh City At Night || Vietnam

I decided to roam the streets after my day tour. I’m so glad, I did.

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Ho Chi Minh City || Vietnam

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*.

7-Day Nature Photo Challenge

I was challenged (by my friend) Jho to do a Nature Photo Challenge for 7 days in Facebook. Looking for pictures was easy peasy. The real challenge was, maintaining consistency on posting pictures for 7 consecutive days. I skipped 3 days in-between posting😋 .

Day 1 – Mission Trails Regional Park (San Diego, California)

Hikosen Cara

What is Hikosen Cara?

Hikosen Cara products are the wide range of cotton items including Garments, aprons, bags, zakka ( small items for various purposes) and home accessories. All of them are designed from Japan with special Cats and Dogs characters. We issue about 100 new styles with 10 colors every month. All brand names have already registered and designs are copyrights reserved.  —SOURCE

I encountered Hikosen Cara year 2010, while window shopping in Takashimaya. I love the cat designs. So cute! It\’s very soft, plush and smooth. Very different from the stuffed toys that I\’ve known. 
I originally want this bolster-like kitty. By the time I decided to buy one, it was sold out.
The price tag was steep. I made it a point, to look at it every pay day. Come Christmas time, I bought it! I can\’t stand my own resistance. I never regret getting it.
I got the smiling fat kitteh


What I like about the Hikosen Cara line is they have different design for every season. Once you get a toy, you won\’t be seeing the same design again. They also have other products like, aprons, bags, kid\’s shoes, duvet et. al. A nice gift idea to infants, toddlers, preschoolers and children ages 6-8 years old  (Don\’t look at me, I\’m a child at heart ;P).
I would love to buy lots but, it\’s really expensive. Time passed by,  their space in Takashimaya was gone. Even their branch in Bugis Junction. I wasn\’t able to visit their store in HK, so I lost hope and settled with what I have.
During my recent trip to Vietnam, I accidentally discovered them again in Diamond Plaza. Imagine my delight! I could\’ve vomited rainbows. I\’m so happy! All of their novelty items are available in Vietnam.


But I didn\’t get one until I leave for Ho Chi Minh City. I bought my items (a day before I go to Hanoi) in the Vincom Center Branch.

Hikosen Cara Heaven!
They have piggy plushies.
The staff are very accommodating and courteous despite the language barrier. Too bad, I wasn\’t able to get their names. They helped me pack my purchases. They even gave me discounts for hoarding buying a lot. The prices are way cheaper compared to SG. The plushie that I have are sold 75% less and it\’s a regular price.

The store supervisor, offered me a store membership. I respectfully declined since, I\’m  a tourist and I can\’t tell when I\’ll be back. She gave me these cute cellphone/bag accessory instead.

I walked back to the hotel, with a huge smile on my face. I got my sibs and cousin their neck pillows. I couldn\’t get them the plushies because I\’ll be travelling to Hanoi for the next three days. I only have a small luggage and must stick to the baggage requirement.

Till next time!  🙂


Where I Stayed In Vietnam

There are lots of accommodations to choose from in Vietnam (may it be in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City). It depends on your preference. I prefer to be alone in my room with my own bathroom. It doesn\’t need to be grand or anything as long as it is clean and tidy. 
Ho Chi Minh City: 
I stayed at Tuan Phuong Hotel. It is located at District 1. Where it\’s conveniently located near the tourist spots. Almost all can be reached by walking especially the Ben Tanh Market.

Photo Courtsey of Trivago.com
The Downside: 

  1. The breakfast menu has no variety. It doesn\’t provide you a lot of choices. I\’m just glad the hotel is near the market so I could get some fruit shakes. 
  2. I forgot to bring my universal adapter set so I inquired with the hotel if they have any. They told me they\’re going to buy me one for just 1 dollar. I was like…what?! Don\’t you guys provide at least one inside per room. I was left with no choice because I need it. 
  3. I asked them for a map because I never found any in the airport and post office ( I don\’t know if its my eyes or I don\’t use it properly). They give me a crappy one and it wasn\’t even in English and they charged me 1 USD for it. No way! Good thing I met some nice tourists who gave me their copy. I returned it and told the staff point blank, not to charge me. Kainez Veneracion talaga! 
  4. I don\’t like that I need to leave my passport in the front desk. In my other travels, they just ask for a photocopy of the credit card and passport. I don\’t know if it applies with all the hotels in HCMC (I overheard one tour mate complaining that his credit card was declined and the hotel won\’t give his passport unless he pays them with another CC or by cash). Because in Hanoi they never collected my passport at all.
The staff are nice they are just the hi/bye type. For them customers are customers they come, stay, pay and go. Although the room and toilet are clean, I won\’t be booking with them when I come back.

Rating: 2.5/5


Hanoi Guesthouse was recommended by Clarence. And I\’m glad that I listened to him. I really felt I was in somebody else\’s house where everything is cozy and warm from the place itself  and with the staff. It exceeded my expectations, really!
I sent them an e-mailed about my booking. They were able to accommodate me even if they\’re fully booked on the said dates (I didn\’t even know how they managed to give me a room). They helped me with my bags the moment I stepped out of the taxi. The staff are always smiling. The hotel may be small but its clean. Breakfast has lots of variety. I love it! They gave me a map and showed me how to navigate the area. They also arrange tours of your choice. The female staff are very chatty and sweet. They even offered to accompany me to the Night Market.  
The Downside:
  1. The Wi-fi connection is weak inside my room. I need to go down the lobby where the signal is stronger.
  2. I don\’t know if it\’s me or there\’s something wrong with the heater. It will be either too hot or too cold. I just forgot to mention this to the front desk because I was able to manage anyway.
These downsides can be solved so it\’s not a big deal. I will definitely come back and stay here again. Hopefully together with my husband the next time around.
Rating: 4/5

Vietnam Series: Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a popular travel destination, located in Quang Ninh provinceVietnam. Administratively, the bay belongs to Hạ Long City, Cẩm Phả town, and part of Van Don district. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. Ha Long Bay is a center of a larger zone which includes Bái Tử Long bay to the northeast, and Cát Bà islands to the southwest. These larger zones share similar geologicalgeographicalgeomorphologicalclimate, and cultural characters. 
Ha Long Bay has an area of around 1,553 km2, including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islets.[1] The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The evolution of the karst in this bay has taken 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate.[2] The geo-diversity of the environment in the area has created biodiversity, including atropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea shore biosystem.[3] Ha Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species[4] and 60 endemic faunal species.[5]  —WIKIPEDIA

I was curious of  what is Halong bay. Groupon and deal.com.sg often features tour deals for this place. Initially, I was thinking of going to Cambodia after Saigon, but I still want to see what Hanoi has to offer.

Halong Bay has an interesting history and legend. It\’s nice to know that it\’s also part of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
It\’s a 3 hour bus ride from Hanoi. I availed of package tour from the hotel. Anyway the prices are just more or less the same from the travel agencies around the Old Quarter. I only got the day tour so I can maximize my stay in Hanoi.
I am grateful to have nice and friendly tour mates.
From L-R: Me, Leane from Australia, Michael and Vitec from Poland
First off, we waited for other fellow travelers to gather around the terminal. We are led by our friendly tour guides. The wait didn\’t seem that long because Michael kept me company. He\’s very talkative for a guy.
This is our boat. It means billow according to Google Translator.
We had our lunch first after some friendly reminders. The food is delish! During the boat ride locals will suddenly appear along side the tour boat to sell knick-knacks that you could buy at cheaper price in the city. 
After eating, we are headed towards the floating village.
The green colored house is a school. 
After the boat ride, we transferred back to the tour boat to go to Hang Dau Go.
Looks like chickens kissing or fighting?

Hang Dau Go (Cave of Wooden Stakes) is a huge cave consisting of three chambers, which you reach via 90 steps. —SOURCE

Once again my brain is again challenged as to the difference of stalactite and stalagmite.
Legend has it (as told by our guide) that the Dragon and Fairy lived in this cave. They have 100 children. They lived together but called it quits after some time. The couple took 50/50 of their children. From time to time both of them still returns to the cave to pay a visit to the remembrance that they have left for each other.
This is what the fairy has left for the dragon.
This is why the fairy keeps coming back for more
I just have to LOL when I heard the story. There are a lot of rock formations inside. And you really have to use your imagination to see it. 
Can you see the cat?
We made it out alive! Etchos lang.
Then we\’re off to the boats…then back to Hanoi.
The journey back was informative and insightful because Leane told me wonderful stories of her travels. Will blog it on another post.