Vietnam: Day 1 (Walking City Tour)

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. - The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo 

And the Universe truly conspired in helping me, I keep on telling myself that I will go to Vietnam before the year ends. When the opportunity came, I instantly booked the plane tickets and told my mother that she should join me :) by the way, this trip wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the letters C and D, C - Credit Card (Fly now, pay later) and D - Dollar Account (My Mother has one, I don't, so I need to loan money from her)

We were able to score tickets thru Cebu Pacific's Seat Sale, base fare was at 499 (I think, can't remember) but we got the red eye flight, which leaves Manila at 1130PM. There is an hour difference from MNL time to SGN time.

(Killing time in T3, View from plane, obligatory plane photo)

Booked all our accommodations online and followed what other Pinoy bloggers posted, exchange USD to VND in the airport and I arranged pick up from Nguyen Khang where we stayed for our first night, since we are arriving Saigon (HCM) at 1230am, it's a two hour flight from Manila, we opted to sleep in the backpackers area Pham Ngu Lao and move to another hotel in the morning.

We were instant millionaires in Saigon, 6 Million to be exact
Nguyen Khang Hotel:
- Twin room + Pick up $37
- Free Breakfast
- Ms. Thu (receptionist) was very accommodating

Photo above: Backpacker's area
Photo Below: Breakfast at Nguyen Khang Hotel
After having breakfast we moved to another hotel, Saigon Mini Hotel 1, which we booked thru Agoda. We got lost on our way to the hotel haha very tourist-y thing to happen and I love it! :D

First order of the day, city tour. Equipped with a map, we braved the streets of HCM. Who said crossing the streets was scary, it was scary at first, it's like 1 man = 8 motorcycles, herd of motorbikes, yes they are all over but it's like magic, they avoid you, even the bus and the cars avoid them. So yes, I SURVIVED CROSSING THE STREETS of HCM, hence, I don't have a photo hahah I was concentrating and strategically thinking of how NOT TO GET HIT :D

Seafood Pho and Chicken Meal 
We walked all the way to Ben Thanh Market, it takes 10-15 mins walking time from backpacker's area to the market, but we had early lunch first :) my first authentic pho! it was soooo good!

First Stop: Ben Thanh Market (Photos to follow)
This is more like our greenhills and 168 in divisoria, went around to check out possible purchases, my mom couldn't leave the place without buying something, well she found a good excuse, she needed a good hat. The weather that time was hot - humid, more like our country, Philippines. 

Second Stop: People's Committee Building 
 formerly known as City Hall, according to the great internet, the French colonist wanted to feel at home, they incorporated their French Architectural styles, like the Paris City Hall. source Click here

People's Committee Hall 

Third Stop: Saigon Opera House
Mentioned above that the French Colonist was a big influence to Saigon, most of the landmarks are French inspired, detailed and elegant. The Saigon Opera House is said to be similar to Petit Palais
source Click here

Fourth Stop: Notre Dame Cathedral
The cathedral was made from red bricks and all materials came from Marseille, France. source Click here

Notre Dame Cathedral 
Back Portion 

Fifth Stop: Saigon's Central Post Office
located  across the Notre Dame Cathedral, constructed by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel. source Click here

Facade, Flooring and Interiors

To my mother's delight, she wrote herself a postcard, sent also her colleagues, my grandmother and brothers

Coffee Break!!!! as part of my research and must to do list for Vietnam, I have to try their HIGHLANDS COFFEE, it did not fail me, for 45,000 vnd the iced coffee was a perfect match after a long walk.

Coffee and Wifi goes hand in hand
On our way to the American War Remnants Museum, look what we saw!!!

They have Jollibee! Great :)

Sixth Stop: American War Remnants Museum
I didn't expect that this Museum could be so depressing, the stories behind the images found inside the museum is heartbreaking. source Click here

For the boys

Tiger Cages

The prisoner that made my heart jump, I bet other tourist felt the same

Seventh Stop: Independence Palace
also known as the Reunification Palace, the building served as a presidential home and workplace. source Click here

To cap off our first day in Vietnam, we watched the water puppet show, though we didn't understand what they were singing about, the show was entertaining enough and funny. I wonder how they manage the puppets in the water.

Took the cab back to our hotel and rested for 30 Minutes, then had dinner at one of the restaurants located at Pham Ngu Lao.
Dinner at Backpacker's Area
Overall the trip was so enriched with History, Culture and French Architectures :) You will never get lost, foreigners are all over, walking from one point to another. It's like a signal that your near a tourist attraction haha! Police visibility in every corner. Vietnam surprised me in a whole lot of ways, I was left in awe with their architectures and history.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You rock! Thank you for hitting the comment button!