Thursday, 9 April 2015

[TRAVELOGUE] 3D2N Ho Chi Minh Diaries

We wanted a short getaway but didn't particularly want to spend too much..
Where shall we go?
Beautiful Bali; the perfect beach getaway? 
Or cosmopolitan Bangkok; the addictive shopping paradise with plenty to see and do? 
Decisions, decisions...

Sometimes airfares to these above mentioned destinations can get a little pricey when we wanted to travel on such short notice.
Well we finally settled on Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam cos Belle has yet to visit this sunny country and Michelle knows her way around since she was posted here for work for a year so she can be our tour guide ;)
Also, the airfare to Ho Chi Minh City was very attractive, lodging wise was also very reasonable *thumbs up* 

So we were out of Singapore within 2 weeks of booking our tickets! 
I've been using this passport cover ever since forever 
cos I love the cute gingerbread man!

rainy morning
I'm really NOT a morning person and 
I really hate waking up early unless its for travel 
ahahaha >.<

Up up and away!
View of Vietnam from the plane

Meanders and a potential oxbow lake!
I think plane rides make those geography lessons in secondary school come to life.

Day 1

Okay, we arrived in sunny HCMC and our first stop was to our hotel in District 1 
(which is their 'Orchard Road')

Clean and spacious room
View from our room

Michelle became my OOTD photographer hehehe

Kay, our room had really good lighting and I couldn't resist taking some selfies which I rarely do :P
My travel essentials ;)
We explored the famous Ben Thanh Market which was just a stone's throw away from our hotel.

It was such a hot and sunny day though it was December so we hopped in to one of their popular cafes for a drink.
I ended up falling head over heels in love with their peach black tea, I had a cup everyday!
I really miss it and regret not buying the tea bags back to SG. 
Headed off to satisfy our craving for the awesome Lau Hong Kong Hotpot!
Michelle brought my family and I here for steamboat on our last visit to Ho Chi Minh and we loved it so much, we had it twice in 5 days.
It was THAT good.
We knew we HAD to go back on this trip.

After the hotpot, we went for a facial at Vincom Center.
I didn't really enjoy the facial cos I don't have good skin and it was a really painful session with the therapist squeezing my zits.
First and last :(

After that, we headed to this place in district 4 that's recommended by her company driver to have some seafood.
Well technically Michelle did cos I don't eat seafood except fish.  

coffee pudding was not bad too ;)

We headed to back to district 1's NYDC to chill and for me to grab some dinner cos I don't eat seafood and only had the coffee pudding at the seafood place earlier.

I love the decor inside NYDC, all the colours! 
The seating area on level 2

Spudniks are a must every time I visit NYDC
We shared a chocolate lava cake

This photo was taken along one of the busiest stretch in district 1.
After NYDC, we went to rent a bike for our activities for the next day.

Day 2
After breakfast, we headed to one of their more traditional roadside cafes for a dose of caffeine.
You can see the cafe was pretty packed on a Tuesday morning and the locals were enjoying their drip coffee while people watching.
We joined in and it was quite an interesting experience cos its my first time trying Vietnamese drip coffee.
It was really bitter but it came with a cup of tea for cleansing the palate I guess..and we just added it into the coffee to make it less bitter.
(I don't think that's the "proper" way to drink their drip coffee :P)  

After coffee, we went to collect our bike from the bike rental place and off we went on a little tour around district 1.
Initially there was supposed to be three of us on this trip but one of our friends fell sick the day before the we were supposed to fly and she decided to forgo the trip.
Michelle suggested that we rent a bike to go around the city, that way we wouldn't have to worry about transport to get around or taking cabs everywhere.
I was thrilled!
First time, well, second time being a pillion. Glad we went with that decision!
(The first time was in Hanoi)
It was quite different going around the city like the locals.

Our first stop: 4P's Pizza for lunch too bad they took the French onion soup off the was TO DIE FOR! Seriously one of the best French Onion soups I've ever tasted <3

These potatoes were amazing too and I loved watching the chef prepare it
*mouth watering* 

After lunch, we continued riding to check out district 7, supposedly a "little Korea" cos its jointly developed by Korea & the Vietnamese government.
The streets were a alot wider, cleaner and there were also lots of tree lined streets like in Seoul.
We took a little break in this huge shopping mall; Crescent Mall.
Nothing much to buy so we ended up shopping for some groceries in the supermarket lol!~
Of course, to escape from the heat a little while before riding to our next destination. 
Grunge chic in my destroyed boyfriend jeans and cropped top.
Specially brought along this military green light trench to protect my skin from the sun during the ride.
It was a good call cos the wind can be quite strong a times and it rained though you see sunshine now.
Our ride

It started raining halfway through our journey to check out this riverside alfresco bar/cafe called The Deck.
So the light trench really came into good use! ;)
We took longer than expected to arrive at The Deck cos we got a little lost on the way but it was okay, all part of the experience.
Riding in the rain added flavour to the whole riding experience.

We finally arrived and the rain didn't kept alternatiing between light drizzle and heavy rain and it continued the whole day.

The area where we sat

Too bad it rained..would've loved to sit by the river
snacked on truffle fries 

Yep, the rain got heavier
It was already night when we left the place. Well, it was techinically about 630pm but because of the rain and the shorter days in December, it was so dark.
More people started streaming in for dinner and drinks about the time we were leaving.

Quite a romantic ambience

Rode to have second round of seafood for Michelle, this time in a seafood restaurant where she chose her live crab before it became her dinner... 

She loved the oysters here cos they're very fresh and she relished every last bit of it while I looked on haha~

The crab she chose has been served

Michelle looking so happy with Mr Crab but the one pincer came off..she was telling me it must've been really frightened before it "died" cos they usually drop one pincer when they're frightened.
Nice to know... 
This place was also recommended by her company driver during her stay, truly a seafood lover's paradise!

What did this non seafood lover/eater eat?
Well, I had good ol' double gold arches and it was such a satisfying meal.
Vietnam recently opened its doors and allowed Macdonald's into their country so we went to this standalone outlet with double/triple storey.

It continued pouring and we had to stop to buy ponchos.
We drove to the night market where the locals frequented, apparently its a "motorbike market" where shoppers shop while riding on their bikes.
Wanted to find some hats but ended up not getting anything, we rode past the famous cathedral, chinatown and many other placees before returning the bike and calling it a day.
Not without a cup of Phuc Long Peach Black Tea first! :D

Day 3
Time for other cravings to be satisfied as we took a cab to Hung Vuong Plaza in district 11 for non other than dimsum!
Yes it is pretty obvious this turned out to be an eating trip, not that I'm complaining.

Cravings satisfied!~

We went to catch Penguins of Madagascar after dimsum, it was hilarious.

After all the feasting on other cuisines the past two days, we have to try their local dish right?
We went to this pho shop right outside Bitexco Financial Tower.
This chicken pho tasted really yummy, the soup was flavourful and the chicken chunks were generous.

Headed back to the hotel to grab our luggage before heading to the airport to catch our flight back home. 
Last OOTD in HCM :)

View from the plane, I wonder what these gold lights are..we weren't flying over the city area, these lights were quite a distance away from the city lights.

Anyway, till next time Ho Chi Minh!