To be honest, I never thought of going to Vietnam at all. I mean, I did have my Miss Saigon fantasies but somehow the whole idea of going there didn’t excite as much as a trip to Europe would. I’m not being a prissy princess. I guess I just didn’t know what to expect aside from the usual stuff I’ve read in history books and the internet.
I am now forced to admit my idiocy. I am an idiot and I have broken the cardinal rule of travel and travel writing. One has to keep an open mind to be able to appreciate the unexplored path. I am humbled and I am now more than excited to show you what Vietnam – Ho chi Minh city in particular, has to offer.
Honestly, it is a busy place. It is the motorcycle haven of Asia, I would think. There are more than 3 million motorcycles in the city alone. Oh, and they don’t stop. We asked for advice on street crossing and all we got was “Just walk in your normal pace.” Okay… but my normal pace is usually me screaming for my mommy while doing the road chacha. It was then that I realized that I may die in the most hilarious motorcycle accident ever. On the upside, crossing the road was like a real life game of Frogger. (That’s a cool game kids. Go look it up.)
As soon as we settled into our room, our first order of adventure was to go and find an authentic Vietnamese coffee shop and have the world famous iced coffee with tea. We did cross the road and I put on my bravest face as I clung to the arm of my giraffe in shining armor. We walked a small road and found a tiny coffee shop where some local workers were playing cards and having a coffee break. We got our coffee and tea and were refreshed. We walked around some more and planned our days ahead.
You can roam around the city and take a look at the sights. Check out the beautiful architecture of the Post Office. Right across is the Gothic inspired cathedral where a lot of prenup photos are being taken. You can also take a stroll at the Opera house and by the river at night. There are several instaworthy areas in the city so keep your eyes peeled!
FOOD, FOOD and more FOOD
Dinner was all sorts of exciting! The restaurant we went to had a beautiful ambiance – the mix of French architecture with a flurry of Asian influences – the little lanterns, the plants, the pond and mini fountain in the middle of the place. They also had an open kitchen where they made fresh spring rolls and some appetizers. The sights, smell and tastes were deliciously overwhelming.
Of course, when in Vietnam, one must have a taste of authentic pho! I would recommend getting one from the streets as they’re the ones who are authentic but if you’re not a street food loving kind of person, then go to the many restaurants that serve it. We had ours at a mall food court – figured that was the closest we can get to an authentic pho. We also had a couple of local fruit smoothies.
Another food place to be at is the night market at Ben Thanh. Tip: go to where the people are congregating. You can be sure that the food will be great! We went a little crazy and ended up eating a lot and spent about 3 million dongs!
All in all, it was a fun food trip in Ho Chi Minh city. We did some exploring as well but that’s reserved for the next post.