Friday, February 25, 2011

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ah... Ho Chi Minh City.

statue and Notre Dame Cathedral


Or more commonly known as Saigon (the older name of the city before 1975), or abbreviation HCMC.

The former capital city of Replubic of Vietnam.

I know, shocking, you would think the more populated and commercialised city of Vietnam would be the capital, but no, Hanoi is the Capital of Vietnam.


Might I remind that this trip was made quite a while back, so please do not assume that I am in Vietnam right at this moment, so many people have always mistaken this. It's not easy to blog while you're on the go, so I always make sure I blog after I returned from a trip. :)

My mom and I flew into HCMC and checked into a nice budget clean hotel on one of the busy street in Central Ho Chi Minh City.

vietnam room


It wasn't expensive. Probably around RM120 or so per night. Reasonable for two I'd say.

My friend Gerald was to arrive two days after our arrival. He flew in from Brunei and since our trips coincide, we decided to travel together during the days we were in HCMC.

Anyway, on the first day, I met up with a reader of mine, Robin Leong, who brought my mom and I to the famous Ben Thanh Market in Central HCMC for a drink.

having a drink in HCMC Ben Thanh Market
that's my mom to the right!


Robin introduced to us a local cendol-looking drink, which name I have long forgotten, that tasted really nice.

special drink


It's very rich and much more refreshing than our Malaysian cendol drink. I loved it.

We then down it with some local Vietnamese teas (tasted like wheat tea) to wash off the richness of the earlier drinks.

vietnamese tea


If you're in HCMC, be sure you visit the Ben Thanh market at least once, if not only for the food.

There are many local spices and souveniers to be found here.

selling assortments


One of my personal favourites were the Vietnamese ham (I don't know what to call it so I'd just name it based on the country I bought from).

vietnamese ham


These hams tasted very different from our usual western hams or our eastern luncheon meat. They're harder and saltier and by god the most delicious thing you'd ever savour.

I first tasted this ham in Laos (Vientiane city) and it came in a form of a 5000 kip baguette sandwich (that's RM2).

5000 kip sandwich


It's a sandwich made of french baguette, spread with pork pâté (well they were a french colony once), pork floss, cucumber, little shredded lettuce (optional), and drizzled with really delicious local soy sauce (also found in Ben Thanh market, more fragrant than the typical Chinese version, I call it Vietnamese soy sauce, go figure).

Not exactly the most halal thing in the world. But god it's defintely one of the best sandwich I've ever tasted this lifetime.

God I missed it.


Since we're in Vietnam, here's a photo of a beautiful Vietnamese lady.


vietnamese lady
I'm sorry if your view of beauty is different from mine. :)


We then did a walking tour (according to Lonely Planet guide book) around HCMC (just momsy and I).

hcmc street


Starting from the Reunification Palace, which unfortunately, was not open to public that day. :(

Reunification Palace


Then we progressively walked along the dotted line as stated on the map and brought ourselves to the side of a beautiful cathedral.

Notre Dame Cathedral side view


The Notre Dame Cathedral to be exact, in HCMC.

Notre Dame Cathedral
More gorgeous photos with my wide angle SLR (when I was more arsed about taking good looking photos) in the next post.


Group of Vietnamese playing Chinese chess at the street side.

vietnamese men playing chess


According to the guide book, we 'had' to visit the post office, which was an odd request, but obliged anyway.

post office HCMC
Buu Dien in Vietnamese?


telephone booths 2
Old French telephone booths.


It was unmistakenly one of the fanciest heritage post office I've seen, even more so than the heritage red building post office in Melaka.

photographer's point of view


From here onwards it's quite a walk to see the next spotlight which was a hotel continential building, next to an Opera House, also next to an LV store. All which looked pretty French colonial style.

LV in HCMC
LV Saigon!


opera house HCMC
Opera House.


goddess
topless lady statue pillar


mom
a very tired mom


Considering my mom's age at that point (well over 60), she's doing pretty well, though I have intention to buy her an electric motor-chair one day to bring to our travels.

Finally, we decided to head into residential street to visit the Ho Chi Minh City Museum to end the day.

middle of the road
I have walked to the middle of the road to take a photo of the motorcycle 'trend' in HCMC.


Took a photo of this ghastly eletrical pole in the centre of the road.

wires and cables


Tell me this is not the scariest thing you've ever seen.

eletric poll


I bet millions of pigeons die every year in Saigon, Vietnam.


HCMC museum


HCMC Museum finally.

Spotted a 40's Citroen in front of the building.

citroen traction avant


Still kept at a very good condition. Ahh, I've always love looking at classical cars (note: not drive nor own one).

black citroen traction avant


me in a citroen


interior of citroen


classic citroen


We didn't have any tour guide so we decided to just look-see around.

HCMC museum main hall
Lobby.


The museum showed the life of father of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh in his days; and the early life documentaries of the early Saigon.

me sitting in a log boat
a log boat


artifacts


figurines


clay artifacts


drum
skin drum!


plane and helicopter


harvesting tool


Then at night, reader Robin Leong brought us to dine at a local up-scale Vietnamese restaurant in town that served overpriced Vietnamese food.

mom in pretty vietnamese restaurant
Mom choosing her food with her spetacles. So cute.


Food was nothing special, and really expensive even for our (Malaysian) standard. But I guess it was a good experience and it did have nice atmosphere, albeit a bit noisy.

red restaurant
The young yuppies of HCMC knew how to enjoy life.


red lights and red roses


red fancy light


salt and pepper shaker
I liked these salt and pepper shakers.


Me and my freakishly long arms.

freakish hands


me
back when I still have fringe.


blurry me
opps blurry


my mom and i
Mom and daugther!


tuna salad
Tuna Salad, cause I really didn't know what else to order.


vietnamese spring rolls
Pretty so-so Vietnamese spring rolls.


just me


Ah.. I do miss my fringe.

But never again.

5 comments:

  1. awesome Ho Chi Minh city photos nicole! tat eletrical pole looks really scary :P

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Hello Nicole,

    Thanks for this blog, it's very interesting Since i'm here for business i don't have lot of time to visit, you're advice about what you visit in ho chi minh is a great help. You Blog will become one of my trip advisor

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  4. Hello Nicole,

    Fancy pics. :-) My boyfriend and I will be visiting HCMC this coming May. Where did you stay? The room photo looks pretty decent. Is that Saigon Mini 5?

    Best,
    Nin

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  5. Vietnam is an attractive tourist destination.I think there are still many places in Vietnam, you should explore.Special Vietnamese cuisine are also very popular and you should try once.Hope to see you one day in Vietnam.
    Vietnam things to do

    ReplyDelete