Travelling to another country is great. Travelling to another country with 10 of your friends is awesome. I haven't traveled with a big group so when they invited me to join their trip, I did not hesitate to book a ticket. Our destination was Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City is known for its rich culture and delicious street food they called "Pho" Our main goal is to try the Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat, primarily made with either beef or chicken which usually can be found on the streets of Saigon.
For us coming from a country where cars, buses and trucks are more prominent, it's just joy to see more motorcycles as we can see on the streets. I was surprised they even have Grab bike. This shows how motorcycle is a big thing there. Almost every one of them has one.
This trip was my first drone flight out of Malaysia where I live. I was hesitant because of what I have heard about how strict Vietnamese authorities regarding flying drone in the country. Managed to fly the drone in 2 key places of our trip. One was a place near Mekong River and the other one as shown in these photos, from Notre Dame Cathedral at the center of the city.
I always thought that guided tours are waste of money because of my impression that they charge much and give very little value to what we pay. It turned out that it was very great experience. We took the usual Chu Chi tunnels and Mekong River delta tour from The Sinh Tourist travel agency. This was a day tour including transportation and lunch. Do check out their site to know more about their tours.
We started at Chu Chi Tunnels and it was not bad. I thought it was all boring and it turned out that I learned much more about its history. There were so much more we didn't know about Vietnamese history than what we were taught in our history classes back in the Philippines.
The tour guide was really helpful. he speaks at least 3 languages and knows the history.
Next was Mekong river. From Chu chi tunnels, we headed to Mekong river which was 3 hour away.
Activities in Mekong River Delta tour (half day):
1. Rode boat to a seafood restaurant for our lunch. Food was great and free as included for the tour fee.
2. Visited a local coconut candy factory. They also have other products made from coconut like bags, household decorations and kitchen utensils. I was amazed that they come up with beauty products like mascara, virgin coconut oil and lipstick.
3. Rode horse driven carriage from the coconut candy factory to a local cultural show where traditional renditions performed by local singers in their own language. Got to taste pure honey with Jasmine tea from a honey farm.
4. Cruise back to the bus through boat along Mekong river.
Wandering around the city is possible as tourist spots are just near with each other. For one or 2 people, Motorcycles are always an option if you don't want to walk. A 7-seat Grab car is also available for bigger groups of 5-7 each car.
Upon knowing that our favorite Filipino fast food chain Jollibee has 2 branches near the place we stayed, we allocated time to go and eat our favorites. All of us are living in Malaysia and Jollibee's nearest branch is in Singapore. So we missed the food a lot.
I can't believe I did not see any filipino crew from that one Jollibee branch we went. It just doesn't make sense not to have one since most people who will come are expected to be Filipinos. Anyway, I think Vietnamese people also love the food from Jollibee as I saw some locals also bringing their family and eat there. I just wish a new Jollibee branch will open in Malaysia.
The whole experience was great but i have to admit, there was not much time to go to each places we have planned. Three days, 2 nights is not enough to be able to wander much. We have tasted the some local food, not all and experienced a bit of Saigon's night life.
I recommend going to the Saigon night food market that happens every weekend night with live band and cheap yet delicious and wide range of food from street, seafood to exotic ones like crocodile barbecue meat.
And oh before I forget, night life in Bui Vien street is great. Do check it out. This place is also known as the backpacker street in Saigon.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and for those who are planning to go to Ho Chi Minh City may have a little insight of what to expect when you go there.
Do check out the video I created for the whole trip. Enjoy!!!
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