I love Ho Chin Minh City. This city will always have a place in my heart. Me, before this trip would think that the current me is nutz because HCM never had a top spot in my travel-to go list. It was my first time to the city and i never had high expectations because i always envisioned that Ho Chin Minh is a polluted place with fumes and chaotic in some sort. Boy, was i wrong. This place has a unique vibe & atmosphere, compared to the other asian cities i have been to, with their overflowing culture at every turn!
I would recommend two great & convenient ways to explore the city – either by Uber or foot. We used uber whenever we venture to far places within the city. However, most of the time, we would mainly explore by foot because it is the best way to embrace and learn about the city! For instance, my friend and I stumbled onto this posh tea cafe unexpectedly while walking after lunch! We walked ALOT during the trip, so — Always wear comfy shoes while travelling.
One thing that i will never forget from this trip, were the roads. Back in Singapore, i have no fear while crossing roads. But in this city, with 70% of the roads filled with fast motorists who give zero damns to the traffic laws, it got me taken aback. I have to trust my guts most of the time while exploring Ho Chin Minh and thanks to that, i return home with better road judgement and a bit more fearless!
Airbnb was our preferred choice of accommodation during our stay. The apartment we stayed in (as shown above) is a darling place located in a central location, tons of halal food around and huge in size! To locate the airbnb apartment is an interesting feat too – we had to go through a secret door within a shoe shop. It was pretty cheap too – me and my friend only spent $120 each for 3 nights. Isn’t that a bargain?!
Here’s the airbnb link to our HCM apartment – Treehouse @ Ben Thanh Market.
We were lucky that our airbnb is located 50m away from the famous Ben Thanh Market. The place is filled with cloths, souvenirs, food, all at cheap cheap prices! The only downside is that people are quite persistent in selling their products and it can get pretty uncomfortable is you don’t turn them down correctly. The market itself closes at 8pm but the night market around the building would start officially by then! Definitely a must-go if you are in the city. This is where i bought most of my souvenirs for myself and loved ones at home.
Food-wise, i am grateful that there are a decent number of halal Vietnamese food options that i could try during my stay. As mentioned above, the place i was staying is at District One and near the Ben Thanh Market, so tons of halal food options can be found around the area! If you are interested to go Ho Chin Minh soon and need some decent halal Vietnamese recommendations, here are my top options: –
- The Daun Restaurant – http://thedaun.com/ [first pho we had and it was unforgettable!]
- Halal @ Saigon – http://www.halalsaigon.com.vn/ [Pho here was amazing too! I tried their nasi goreng seafood and it was wonderful]
- D’ Nyonya Restaurant – http://www.d-nyonya.com/
There are so many places to visit in Ho Chin Minh City! My friend and I started proper on the second day and we visited places like the Independent Palace, Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and so much more! As the days could get pretty warm, I would recommend to always carry a bottle of plain water at hand to keep you hydrated while exploring the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.
We also visited the Chu Chi Tunnel for half a day on Sunday which we booked via Changi Recommends! The journey to the tunnels from Ho Chin Minh City was approximately 1.5 hours and the overall tour was around 3 hours. We joined a group and the guide would bring us through various tunnels used during the Vietnam War and how the Vietnamese would used these tunnels to survive the war. It was a hot day, but definitely interesting to learn and participate!
All in all, despite the short stay, I thoroughly enjoyed what the city has offered me. Ho Chin Minh City, i will definitely see you again pretty soon! xx