My friends and I arrived early morning at Ho Chi Minh City. We got a taxi to take us to our hotel at 228 De Tham St. Pham Ngu Lao district the area is very busy and full of hotels, cafe’s, restaurants and travel agents. Since it was still early to check in at Suite Backpackers Inn we left our language at the reception area and decided to walk around the city. The streets of Vietnam are full of motorcycles so try to be very careful when crossing the streets.
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon)is the largest city in Vietnam.Vietnamese Dong is the local currency, we exchange our USD at the hotel, there are also ATM’s available. Communication is not a problem since most people can speak some English. The City is surprisingly walk-able, with proper pedestrian lanes and streets lined with huge trees to shield you from the sun. The tourist spots are close to each other, we walked towards Ben Thanh Market since it’s closest to our hotel, everything you need is found here from food to souvenirs. Most commonly seen are affordable North face products; I’m just not sure if all are authentic.
The Notre Dame Cathedral has a European architecture, next to is the equally stunning General Post Office. We just passed by the Independence palace and city hall. Our last stop was at the War Remnants Museum, it has an impressive collection of artifacts from the Vietnam War.
After A long walk we decide to take our lunch (very late lunch). While we were walking the streets, we saw a familiar sign, it was Jollibee. It’s a very popular Filipino fast food chain. That was an amazing surprise, like finding a piece of home in a foreign land; anyway we decided not to eat at Jollibee since we want to try authentic Vietnamese food. We were so tired that we just went in to a small restaurant; it’s easy to order since the menu has photos. We ordered rice porridge with pork or beef.
Speaking of food Vietnam is famous for their Pho noodles, when we arrive late afternoon at the Inn the staff at the office told us of a good restaurant. It’s called Pho Hung, the noodles are really great and the beef are really tender. I tend to put a lot chili paste on my food, I really love spicy food. It’s a weekend so the streets are very busy. There’s was also an event in a park near our Inn. It appears that it’s a European sponsored event. While we were taking photos at the event a policeman approached us, he advised us to take care of our mobile phone and bags. The Police are really nice and I felt really safe. On our way home we stopped by at the night market beside Ben Thanh Market. Most of the items being sold are the same with what are sold in Ben Thanh during the day time, but I think you can get better price.
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City /Saigon
•Ben Thanh Market (w/ Night Market)
•Ho Chi Minh City Museum
•Reunification Hall/Independence Palace
•Notre Dame Cathedral
•General Post Office
•War Remnants Museum
Read More: Indochina Trip