Follow me through as I share my travel photos of the fourth country (by far) I have visited since birth, the Land of the Rising Dragon, Vietnam.
The plan was to have a staycation in Ho Chi Minh City / HCMC and go to Mui Ne for a couple of days and take endless photos of their noteworthy red and sand dunes as well as the fairy stream and the fishing village.
April this year, we tried to get a flight to Manila and Manila to HCMC “as planned”, but all planes were fully booked we couldn’t get one. I was like a lost puppy at the airport with my luggage waiting for a vacant flight overnight while my husband was trying to check all the options we can get. Oh the woes of a non- revenue passenger!
Moving on, we finally got a plane seat couple of months after and for some reasons, we ended up snuggling down on the streets of HCMC for the rest of our stay.
Why Ho Chi Minh City? I heard a lot of great things from my friends about this place. Rumor has it that Vietnam has very cheap commodities and is definitely a great place for shopping. Well, let me share the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of this trip.
Let’s start with the good ones.
The accommodation is really cheap. I was able to book a decent hotel with breakfast for only USD 20 a night. It is located in the heart of Saigon just few minutes away from Bin Thanh market, it was huge and it includes a tasty continental breakfast.
The food is great. I am not a fan of pho and noodles but for all its worth, their pasta is so much tastier than any pastas in the world.
Wifi is Fast. Compared to the Philippines, the 4G wifi we got in Vietnam is really fast I was not able to sleep all night streaming my favorite KDrama =)
Notre Dame Cathedral is Awesome. It may look understated in the photos but it’s really amazing and overwhelming. I also love their book store alley just across the cathedral, a great place to relax and eat.
Here’s the ugly part of the trip.
It is not ideal for cheap shopping as they used to say. I heard Bin Thanh is a place where you can shop ’til you drop, not true for me. It’s just like going to divisoria, except that Divisoria has a lottttt more options when it comes to fashion and clothing. The prices are no different from Philippines.
Spoiler alert, they are not fond of window shopping. The vendors in Saigon Square won’t let me fit the pants, won’t give me a smaller size and won’t even let me skim through their hanged merchandise for the sake of window shopping. So be a sure buyer when you visit this place (and always take off your shoes when you enter their store stall).
Taxi scams – everywhere. I’ve read about this on the many blogs online while doing my research for this trip but I didn’t really expect I would fall victim for such. We ended up paying VND 296,000 (by Uber or Grab, it would only be VND 26,000). Our phone went dead so we could not book Uber and we couldn’t argue with the cab driver who was mad for questioning his meter, we were just strangers in a foreign land after all.
The place definitely lives up to the hype despite the few unfortunate events we had.
If you are planning to go to HCMC for staycation soon, do not miss to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and the charming book store alley across (for instagram- worthy shots), Bin Thanh market (for street food and souvenirs), Don Khoi Street (for high end shopping and just looking around), Bitexco Helipad Bar (for the bird’s eye view of the city) and their coffee shops (I’m not a coffee lover but my sister says their coffee is the greatest!)
♥, JL Arnaiz