© Ronald Tan

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

This is my 5th day and also the last day of my Vietnam trip. If you like to see the last 4 days of my trip, please do click here. Above photo shows the corridor of Elios Hotel (which I am staying) – I was pretty satisfied with the overall experience (clean and good location) but just that sometimes it does get rather noisy in the wee hours when other guests return after a “night out”. Some guests also smoke at the corridor and the ciggie smell can get into the room. Not good for those whose are light sleepers or have sensitive nose!

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Free wireless is available to all hotel guests. Took this while going for breakfast.

We do not have much on the itinerary today as basically we just want to rest/relax and do some shopping. This is also the reason why we woke up slightly later than usual. 🙂

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

After our breakfast, we went to nearby Highlands Coffee to laze around and also have their famous Vietnamese Coffee. Photo above is showing the 2nd floor of Highlands Coffee at De Tham street (near to Pham Ngu Lao St).

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

For smokers, you may want to check out the outside seats where you can sip you coffee and see traffic buzzing by. Yeah, the Highlands Coffee is directly opposite Allez Boo (See “A Day in Ho Chi Minh City” for my visit there). Noticed that there are lots of overhanging wires around?

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Traditional Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, served with the tin dripper. VND 28,000.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Ca phe sua nong (Vietnamese: cà phê sữa nóng) — literally, “hot coffee with milk”.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

After lazing at Highlands Coffee for an hour, we took a taxi to Cho Binh Tay (Binh Tay Market) which is the main market of Cho Lon (Chinatown). Taxi ride costs VND 70, 000 from Highlands Coffee at De Tham street.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Many shops are available here! Decided to quickly head inside the market to escape from the scorching sun.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Ladies, any handbags for you?

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Rows of dried food and spices for sale!

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Bags, backpacks and travel luggage can all be found here! Wifey bought a “The North Face” branded backpack here at VND 180,000.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Store layout – it’s quite a large market with 2 floors selling a vast variety of products ranging from food, bags, shoes, slippers. Look at the bottom of the chart.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Hats for sale! As it was a hot day, we bought 2 hats (each at VND 30,000). Should have gotten it during our first day not the last day! Haha! But anyway it’s fine, we will use it for other upcoming trips.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Exploring the 2 floor of Binh Tay Market.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1.

Chinese pagoda/structure at the middle of Binh Tay Market.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

View of Binh Tay Market from the opening area in the middle.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Dragon statue sprouting water in a pond with fishes…

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Walking out of Binh Tay Market to grab a taxi back to Ben Thanh Market area and saw street peddlers selling their stuffs.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Public bus? We took a taxi from here and the taxi driver really took us for a ride by going round in circles thinking that we don’t know. Then, I purposely took out the map to check and then in less than 3 mins, we reached Ben Thanh Market.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Pho 2000 is the reason why we are coming to Ben Thanh Market area. The restaurant’s slogan is “Pho for the President” and this is because was honored by a visit from former United States President Bill Clinton in 2000.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

A photo in Pho 2000 showing Bill Clinton‘s visit in 2000.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Pho 2000 – Lemon Soda VND 20,000. Wifey didn’t expect that it comes separately and she have to mix it herself. Haha!

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Pho 2000 – Beef Pho (large) VND 45,000 with all the condiments thrown in. The regular size goes for VND 35,000. Excellent Pho!

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

After the lunch, since we are nearby to Ben Thanh Market, so decided to walk around for last minutes buys.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Food stalls at Ben Thanh Market. I forgot to try the glass dessert (che) here…heard that it was nice… 🙁

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

For coffee lovers, there is large variety of pre-mixed coffee powder for your selection.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Souvenirs and handicrafts are also available too!

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Of course, how can Ben Thanh Market not have the girl’s stuffs such as handbags, purse, hair accessories, etc.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Walking back to Elios Hotel to take a break. There wasn’t much people around as it’s a Sunday and they are likely to be lazing at home.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

After the short break, we venture out to look for a manicure shop that we passed by several days ago as wifey wanted to do her nails. Passing by Crazy Buffalo Saigon again.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Another nearby restaurant and bar, Go 2 Eat.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Walking along Le Lai street. The manicure shop which wifey wanted to go is closed. Haha…

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Fruit seller along the streets.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Wet market where the locals purchase their daily groceries. We did pass by this area in the night before and it was really rowdy and gives my wife an insecure feeling!

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Pocha Korean Restaurant, seems to me that there are quite a lot of Korean restaurants around. Probably, it’s due to the influx of Koreans working in Ho Chi Minh City.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

On our way back along Pham Ngu Lao, there were several fire engines on the road which was creating quite a scene. Wifey said maybe it’s our hotel that caught fire and I quickly dismissed the thought. The fire engines was blaring their sirens as if something drastic had happened but after their loitering around the area for a few minutes, they left! Maybe it was a false alarm?

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Anyway, we headed towards Sasa Cafe (242 De Tham Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) for dinner. It’s our second time here in 5days! See here for the first visit.

Having the delicious spring rolls (10 pieces) again VND 33,000.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Spaghetti Bolognese VND 48,000.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Enchiladas VND 62,000. Also had 2 x Saigon beer (VND 15,000 each) and 1 Dalat red wine (VND 22,000). Total for the dinner is VND 195,000. After dinner, we went back to hotel early to do packing up and also to have an early night as our flight back to Singapore is at 9am. We need to leave from hotel around 7.30am to cater additional time just in case we are caught in traffic jam.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Woke up, eat breakfast, checked out and then took a cab to the airport for VND 120,000 (fixed price). It was due to the hotel bellboy asking whether I need a taxi to the airport, which I replied “Yes”. I thought he was going to help us flagged down a taxi (using meter) but instead he bought us over to another taxi which promptly asked for VND 120,000. As I don’t want to be late for my flight, so I accepted without any haggling. My estimation that it will cost around VND 95,000 during 0730am.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Checked-in and waiting for our JetStar flight to arrive from Singapore (which will route back to Singapore).

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

Boarding the plane for our journey back home.

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

After our 5 days trip in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), we are back at Singapore Changi Airport.

The overall trip was fun and amazing even though the weather was really hot. Next time we will be more prepared!

There are a few places or activities which I planned but didn’t visit or do respectively, namely

  • Visit “Reunification Palace“.
  • Try “Jolly Spa” at 38 Mac Dinh Chi Street, Q1, HCMC”
  • Visit “Quan An Ngon at 41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 – a food-court layout but with various small stalls each whipping their specialties. Prices are inexpensive.
  • Eat “Bang Chang” – heard it’s nice and made primarily of vegetables, much like salad.
  • Eat “Glass dessert (che)” at Ben Thanh Market.
  • Explore more at Vung Tau (beaches, temples, statue of Jesus, seafood, etc.)

Well, it’s fine as it gives us another reason (other then the cheap and tasty beers) to return to Ho Chi Minh City. I also heard great feedback from fellow travelers about Dalat and Halong Bay! Both places will be in my next itinerary for sure! Might even add Cambodia (Phnom Penh and Siem Reap) if wifey (cannot take hot weather) is not joining!

Until next time then, Vietnam!

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  • Huimin0116

    Hi Ronald, any good shopping place in HCM to recommend for the ladies? Thanks =)

  • Hi Huimin,

    Well, there are many shopping areas for ladies in HCM but for a start, you can explore Ben Thanh Market (night market too!). Although it's a rather touristy place, most people still visit due to it's popularity and central location. You can find contemporary clothing, purses, shoes, bags, bikinis, souvenirs, sunglasses, t-shirts, accessories and a lot more!

    Next, I'll suggest that you check-out Saigon Square and also Binh Tay Market. Prices are generally lower and vendors are not as pushy as Ben Thanh Market. 🙂

    During my trip, I also noted that Zen Plaza sells very trendy clothes but I am not aware of the price range. The 12 floor shopping center is located at Nguyen Trai Street which is known for fashion and clothes.

    Hope this helps!

  • Janice

    Vietman looks like a very ideal place if you want a bigger bang for your bucks. So is Cambodia, which is filled with astonishing villages that feature a cheap shopping experience like no other. (http://siemreap.info/traveling-to-siem-reap/)

  • Hi Janice, I agree. Cambodia is one of my planned destination in the coming future! 🙂

  • Justcurious

    hey Ronald, may i know who you book the Elios Hotel from? from Travel Agent in Singapore or online hotel booking website?

    • Hi, I booked the Elios Hotel through a fellow Singaporean who owns a travel agency in Vietnam. He is also staying in Vietnam and I made the reservation over a Singapore forum as his quotation is very reasonable. 🙂