Categories
Vietnam

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Hello! It’s our 3rd day in Vietnam and we are still waking up around 6.30am (although a bit tired) to have breakfast before going for our tour to Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta. Above shows the breakfast voucher at Elios Hotel. For photos of Elios Hotel, please do refer to “A Day in Ho Chi Minh City“. Also do check out our 2nd day tour to “Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels“.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

My first serving – fried rice, potato wedges, ham, sausages, etc.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

My second serving is usually toast (with butter) and a repeat of the food that I find it nice in serving 1. The good thing about the breakfast at Elios Hotel is that the majority of the food (except for toast & drinks) are changed everyday so that you will not feel bored eating the same food for several days. Likely to have a fixed menu which it’s rotated around.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

We walk over to TheSinhTourist and boarded the coach. This time round the tour group is rather huge and the majority are non-Asians.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

After a while of the coach ride, we stopped at a restaurant for a break where tourists can visit restroom, smoke or just hang around.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

After another 1 hour of journey. we were told to alight and then continued by walking for a short distance to have a motorized boat ride.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

On the motorized boat ride. Captain checking the head count of the tourists before leaving.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

The kind of motorized boat we are taking. πŸ™‚

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Mekong Delta – here we come!

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Passing by a another smaller boat, it seems to me that the boat is actually their house where they lived, sleep and go on with their everyday things…

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Transport boat – passengers together with their bicycles, motorbikes and large items.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Church along Mekong Delta.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Alighted the boat, we didn’t get to see the “Cai Be Floating Market“… not sure why…thought it was in the itinerary…

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

We were then ushered to a place where we tried free samples of Royal Jelly. If you like it, then you can purchase it.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Showing us the worker bees where the Royal Jelly comes from.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Believe this should be Cai Be (as tour guide didn’t explain) and it’s a very calming area. Walking along a small path to the next destination.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Reached our next destination…what do we have here?

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Brewing alcohol? I need a drink!

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Yeah, because at the opposite of the brewery, you can see this. Alcohol with snakes, scorpions and herbs… anyone game to try? Well, a couple from my tour group tried and mention that it tastes like sake but much stronger. He also asked me whether I would like to try which I politely declined. πŸ™‚

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

At another corner, there is a stall selling crackers and also showing how Vietnamese spring roll skin is made.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Next, another area showing how they make coconut candies.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

A variety of coconut candies is available and there are free samples available to try. I overheard that there are banana, chocolate, etc flavors too!

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Walking on to the next destination. Looks like pasar malam in Singapore?

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

This area sells lots of clothing.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Another section showing how they make rice crackers, the grains are thrown in the hot wok (with sand) and it pops just like popcorn!

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

The backyard of the shop.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Durians for sale here too! But I personally find it way too heaty (due to hot weather) to consume any durians but Vietnamese differs as there was a party of 3 who went ahead to eat.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

More souvenirs for you to buy back. πŸ™‚

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Continuing our journey on the boat to a village to have lunch as well as to see the life of villagers.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Another boat carrying a large pile of of sand passing by our boat.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

A house along Mekong Delta, seems to be self-built.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Petrol station for the boats!

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Lunch that was packaged together with the tour. Food was quite fine but it was nothing fantastic. It comes with some fruits as well but the drinks is chargeable. I suppose this restaurant is always frequent by tourists so the drinks are slightly more expensive – 1 333 beer and 1 Coke totaled up to VND 34,000.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

The restaurant where we are having lunch with our tour group.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

After the lunch, we went to take a stroll around the village premises.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Private area to host your guests for lunch or dinner.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Crocodile farm. You can pay a small sum of money to feed them too!

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Hammocks are available here and some of our tour members even had a good nap after the lunch!

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

There is a short singing performance by the locals and you are welcome to part with you money in appreciation.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Continuing the journey on the boat and the reached our next destination – Vinh Long Market.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

The sun was extremely hot today and it made walking around really difficult as there wasn’t much of shelter around.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Cho Vinh Long, which is Vinh Long Market in English.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Food stalls at Vinh Long Market, the stall owners are beckoning at us to try, which we politely declined.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

My partner bought a small 50g BiorΓ© facial wash (facial-fit expert) at VND 19,000 here. Nostalgia sight!

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Vu Trung Discotheque – doesn’t seem to be in operation anymore. We went back to the coach and waited for it to leave for our next destination back to Ho Chi Minh City. A rather unfortunate thing happened halfway during the ride, the air-con in the coach broke down (despite the bus assistant effort to get it working) and we were all trapped in hot air. Opening the window helps a bit but you also get to have free carbon monoxide, dust and sand in your face!

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Coach stopped at Mekong Rest Stop. It is a very nice and clean place and I think you can imagine if I tell you the above photo is actually the rest room.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Facade of Mekong Rest Stop.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

My partner bought a can of coke here at VND 16,000 and we sat at the table to the right to rest. It was a relief from the hot bus due to the air-con going nuts!

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Mandarin Duck relaxing at the pond at Mekong Rest Stop.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Private resting area for big groups.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Somehow, before we board the bus, the air-con was fixed and the rest of journey was rather pleasant. We reached Ho Chi Minh City around 630pm and walk around to find a place to have dinner. Passing by Crazy Buffalo Saigon, a restaurant and bar that is open 24 hours.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Decided to try Sasa Cafe (242 De Tam Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), which was just along TheSinhTourist office. Internet is available upstairs and you can also eat here too as there are tables looking out over the street.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Delicious spring rolls (10 pieces) at VND 33,000.

1 Day Cai Be & Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour

Pizza Quattro Stagoni (large) at VND 85,000. Total dinner is at VND 211,000 which included 3 x Saigon Beer (VND 15,000 each) and 2 Heineken (VND 20,000 each). Food was extremely nice and staffs are friendly too! The ambiance is cozy and great for after-dinner drinks!

The next blog post will cover my 1 day Vung Tau Tour as well as walkabout, shopping and french dining in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). πŸ™‚

Categories
Vietnam

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Day 2 in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) – we woke up around 6.15am to freshen up and then hurried to have the free buffet breakfast at the hotel. The above shows the first round of servings that I had. Food was nice and there was quite a spread as well.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Our breakfast is at Blue Sky Restaurant, which is located on the 12th floor of Elios Hotel and it’s a very cozy restaurant! Our rooms is on the 10th floor but the lift only serves up to 11th so you have to walk up 1 floor. Sometimes, it’s faster just to climb 2 floors then to wait for the lift.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

You can also choose to sit outdoor, where you can admire the city view while you eat. Convenient for smokers too!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

We didn’t take the outdoor seats as the sun is already shining strong and I only went out for a while to take a shot of the city view.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

After the breakfast, we went back to room to use the bathroom before walking over to TheSinhTourist (5 mins away). We were told to check-in half hour prior to the departure timing but I think 15 mins earlier would be fine so as not too spend too much time waiting. But still no worries if you come early as there are seats, washroom and even free internet (2 terminals) available in TheSinhTourist office!

As our group is rather small, we were assigned a minibus instead of the usual big bus coach. Our group consists of a couple from Singapore (us!), a couple from Czech Republic, 2 males from South Korea and 6 males from Sarawak, Malaysia.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

After about an hour of journey towards Cao Dai Temple, we alighted at an area to view handicapped handicrafts (tour guide mentioned to us that it was to visit the washroom).

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Seems like a popular spot to use to the washroom as there are also other tour buses with tourists here too! LOL!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

The art pieces here are pretty amazing as you can see that artists are re-using egg shells by cutting it to smaller sizes and then pasting it on to the vases. Various kind of designs are available too!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

One of the completed art pieces. Amazing, is it? You can buy the artworks, if any catches your liking.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Another 1.5 hours journey on the minibus and we finally reached Cao Dai Temple (front view) in Tay Ninh. Tour Guide told us that Cao Dai means “High Tower” and is a religion that is a combination of Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, Hinduism, Geniism, and Taoism.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Side view of the high tower at Cao Dai Temple.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Side view of Cao Dai Temple, which stretches for quite a distance. Built in 1933, with a unique architectural style that reflects it’s blended traditions.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

A garden behind Cao Dai Temple.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

The high tower at the end of Cao Dai Temple.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Restroom that is behind Cao Dai Temple. Rather primitive experience!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Inside Cao Dai Temple, males will entered the temple from the right side and females from the left. Both are seated separately. As for tourists, this does no applies! Need to remove shoes before entering too!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

A spiral staircase which was decorated with intrinsic design of a dragon.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

The Divine Eye, a symbol of God.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Beautiful craving design on the door.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Notice some of them are wearing different colour robes? It symbolize the three principal colors of Cao Dai – yellow for Buddhism, blue for Taoism and red for Christianity. Cao Dai disciples are dress in white robes.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Visitor are only allowed to watch the ceremony from 2nd floor, which actually stretches along the Cao Dai Temple. There are fans available and I chose a position where it’s blowing directly at me. Also. please be silent during the ceremony!


Short video on the noontime prayer and ceremony.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Took a photo of the whole Cao Dai Temple when leaving. Such a enlightening place!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Tour guide then drove us to a nearby Nam Thanh Restaurant to have lunch (at own costs). Prices are relatively reasonable and I grab a Saigon beer at VND 15,000. Haha!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Chicken with mushrooms and vegetables VND 35,000. Decided to go for more vegetables due to fear of constipation!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Chicken with fresh chilli and lemon grass VND 35,000.

Lunch totaled up to VND 97,000 which also included 1 Saigon Beer at VND 15,000 and 1 Coca-Cola at VND 12,000.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Next destination is Cu Chi Tunnels and we paid VND 150,000 for the entrance fee (not included in the tour package) for 2 persons. We were then ushered into a bunker to watch a video on the history of Cu Chi.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Tiger trap, as the name imply, it is used for hunting tigers but during Vietnam War, it was used to trap American soldiers! The bottom of the pit comes with metal spikes but bamboo was the key material during then.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Small camouflage hole which seems impossible for a human to fit it.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Ta-da! A demonstration to show how it’s done – you fit into the hole first, put some leaves on top of the cover, slide down into the hole and cover up. The tour guide mentioned to me that I won’t fit at all. Haha!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Two tunnel path shown here. It’s actually a Y-fork which you can either take the left or the right path.
1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Ventilation hole for the tunnel. There are many of them spread around so that the enemies can’t suffocate them.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

One of the many booby traps. This is the clipping armpit trap, which will actually injure your arm pit if you fall in. Dangerous!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

This booby trap is attached behind a door (think with weights too!) and if you open the door, it will slam right into you and the spikes will pierce into your body!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

A bunker which showcase how bombs was made during the Vietnam War.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

You can pay for bullets at this counter and then fire-off at the firing range. Different weapons such as M16, AK47, M30, etc are available!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Rifles are mounted and can’t move freely so you can rest your mind! No counterstrike goofing around here!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

One of the tunnel that is open to tourist to have a feel of wriggling in dark and squeezy space. There are several exits along the way and I did went in to experience. My feedback – it’s hot (might be due to weather) and the space is really tight (maybe of my size & also carrying a backpack). But I still encourage tourists to still go ahead and try!

After don’t-know-how-many-hours of back-breaking bus ride, we are back at De Tham Street in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) around 630pm. First thing I did after I alighted was to grab a cool beer! πŸ™‚

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Kim Cafe (272 De Tham), just a few steps away from TheSinhTourist and is popular with both local and foreigners. They serve typical Vietnamese cuisine and is reasonably priced. I noticed this restaurant during my first day in HCMC when I was having dinner at Allez Boo and noted that a lot of customers do patronise them. Told myself that will try the next day. πŸ™‚

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Stir Fry Beef with Vegetables.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Vietnamese Chicken Curry – it’s tasty but very oily as well!

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Morning Glory with Garlic.

Total for dinner is VND 193,000. Other then the above, our dinner also included 2 steam rice, 2 Saigon (Green) beer at VND 12,000 each and 1 Heineken Beer at VND 20,000.

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Lobby area of Elios Hotel. On the left side is the front desk reception. For the rest of the hotel photos, you may want to refer to my last post (A Day in Ho Chi Minh City).

1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Back at hotel room, my partner having a Blueberry Apple Feuillete at VND 10,000 that we bought along Pham Ngu Lao street (think a few shops away from our hotel).

It was a long and tiring day! The weather didn’t make it any better as the sun was really shining bright. Next day, we will be going for 1 Day Cai Be – Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta (VND 210,000/person) so we went to sleep early. Lookout for the next blog post on “1 Day Cai Be – Vinh Long via the Mekong Delta Tour.”

Categories
Vietnam

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City

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Hey all! It’s been a while since I last updated my blog as I have been mulling over some plans for work. Now that it’s been sorted out, it’s back to blogging again! So here I am at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 for my flight on JetStar to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. It was an early morning flight at 0725, which means that I reached around 6am. Anyway, while waiting for boarding, I went to Burger King to have breakfast – purely for the caffeine (coffee) to keep me awake. Zzzzz…!

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Journey from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City was pretty short, reached in less than 2hours. Timing in Ho Chi Minh City is earlier by 1 hour so I gained another hour. Once I passed through the customs, I went to exchange some Vietnamese Dong taking taxi to hotel as I only have US Dollar. Please note that there are some money changers who charge a commission on top of the exchange rate. Go for those that do not have such practices!

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At the outside of Tan Son Nhat International Airport. It is the largest airport in Vietnam and operates from two terminal buildings – Domestic Terminal 1 and International Terminal 2. Towards the far right end (photo) of the airport is where you can take taxis. I was advised not to take any taxis which do not go by meter as they charge exorbitant prices. Even those that have meters in their taxi, make sure they on it before the journey starts. Safest bet is to go for reputable taxis like Vinasun or Mai Linh. You can approach the taxi wardens for help to get taxis – Mai Linh wardens are in green shirt green tie and Vinasun warden are in dark green shirt maroon tie.

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On a Vinasun taxi going to our hotel which is located at Pham Ngu Lao street, which is known for it’s affordable guest houses, mini-hotels, tourist agencies, bars and cafes. The journey took around half hour and costs VND 120,000. Actually, it was around VND 110,000 but normally taxi drivers do not return change so make sure you have small notes on hand.

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Reached Elios Hotel and was lucky that we are able to check-in despite it’s way too early from the usual check-in timing. I made the reservations at S$58 per night for 01 Standard Double Bed room (inclusive of daily buffet breakfast and all taxes) through a contact in Vietnam. The rates are reasonable and rooms are clean. Hehe!

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Elios Hotel – TV (many channels available) and wardrobe area. There is free in-room WIFI (WEP-secured) available too!

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Elios Hotel – Shower area. Very clean!

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Elios Hotel – Wash basin area. Toiletries such as shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush, etc are all available.

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Elios Hotel – Toilet area. Comes with a note – Cleaned and Disinfected!

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After putting our stuffs in the hotel and rested for a short while, we walk over to TheSinhTourist (established since 1993 and formerly known as SinhCafe) to make bookings for our tours for the next 2 days. You can also book over the internet but I prefer to check it out in person since it’s nearby πŸ™‚

The SinhTouristOffice 1 is at 246 – 248 De Tham St., Dist. 1, HCMC which is less than 5mins walk from Elios Hotel. It have to be near our hotel as the tours departs early in the morning (around 8am) and you have to be there at least 15mins prior to departure.

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Walking around Ho Chi Minh City towards our next destination.

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Petrolimex gas station.

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Passing by Ben Thanh Market.

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Fruits for sale nearby to Ben Thanh Market.

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Cobbler peddling his wares along the pavement.

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Looks like a nice place to relax and hang around in the afternoon. πŸ™‚

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Walking around Reunification Palace (on the right), wherer you can enter from 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street. It is open daily 7:30AM-11:00AM, 1PM-4PM and also known as Independence Palace (this is the old name). Entry VND 15,000. Love this stretch of road as there isn’t much people around. Hehe!

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At the entrance of War Remnants Museum at 28 Vo Van Tan Street. Open daily 7:30AM-12PM, 1:30PM-5PM, last admission 4:30PM. Admission fee is VND 15,000 per person.

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Facade of War Remnants Museum.

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In the War Remnants Museum, it was mentioned that U.S. military sprayed many of Vietnam areas with Agent Orange (defoliants) during the Vietnam War.

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Effects of Agent Orange – deaths, disabilities and children born with birth defects. Sigh….

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Weapons used during Vietnam War.

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Bomb shell casing used during Vietnam War.

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On the 2nd floor, there is a room which showcase the collection of documentary photos by Japanese photographers – Ishikawa Bunyo and Goro Nakamura.

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U.S. OUT OF S.E.ASIA NOW – One of the many posters which are framed-up.

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U.S. Air Force fighter plane that was recovered from Vietnam War.

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Another U.S. Air Force plane.

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Tanks used during Vietnam War.

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Of course, not forgetting heavy artillery!

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Nam Phan Vietnamese Cuisine – A very nice and expensive looking building. Haha!

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Another building, it caught my attention due to the “Shanghai” word. πŸ™‚

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One of the numerous lunch time spots for that the locals usually go to.

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Passing by Water Puppet Show at Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre (nearby to Reunification Palace).

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Having our lunch at Pho 24, a Vietnamese noodle restaurant chain which can be found easily around Ho Chi Minh City and other areas. It serves quality Pho and also air-conditioned; the perfect place to hide from the sunny weather. πŸ™‚

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Beef Pho (VND 42,000) at Pho 24, which comes with garnishes for such as culantro, basil, lime, bean sprouts and onions. The broth is very fragrant and tasty. Yummy!

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Beef Meat Ball Pho (VND 45,000) at Pho 24.

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Dwarf Sugar Cane VND 12,000. Very refreshing!

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Notre Dame Cathedral, constructed between 1863 and 1880.

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Virgin Mary statue with Notre Dame Cathedral at the back.

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The interior of Notre Dame Cathedral. As a tourist, you are only allow as far as where I take the photos from, unless you are going in to pray.

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Just beside Notre Dame Cathedral, you can also visit the French colonial styled Saigon Central Post Office which is constructed between 1886 and 1891.

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The elegant interior Saigon Central Post Office. We took a rest here for a while, to escape from the scorching afternoon sun. πŸ™‚

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Row of ATMs hidden within old phone booths. There are also stamps and souvenirs are from the counters as well as currency exchange.

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Feeling thirsty, we went to nearby Lavazza to have some drinks and tt was quite empty. πŸ™‚

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Actually I wanted to have soft drinks, but went for Saigon Beer instead. My first beer in Ho Chi Minh City and it was at one of the more expensive places to have it! ^_^”

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Next, we went shopping around at Diamond Plaza (nearby to Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica and Saigon Central Post Office).

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There seem to be quite a number of Lotteria around in Ho Chi Minh City. I managed to chance upon one inside Diamond Plaza and decided to stop for a snack as I didn’t have enough during lunch. The last time I ate Lotteria was about 2 years back when I visited South Korea and had the delicious Hanwoo Bulgogi Burger (made with Korean beef). Oh man, I am salivating as I am typing this! Haha!

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Can’t really remember how much is the set above but it’s somewhere around VND 53,000 and it comes with 1 ice-cream cone which was delivered to us automatically after we finish the meal. Excellent service!

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Normal beef burger. Nice but can’t compare to the superb Hanwoo Bulgogi Burger! πŸ˜›

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We had a long walk around Ho Chi Minh City and was feeling tired so decided to head back to hotel to rest. Probably, it’s due to the early waking at 4.30am to catch our flight and also the hot weather. Passing by Ben Thanh Market on our way back and bought a few T-Shirts (haggling is a definite must!). Also, we bought 6 big bottles of mineral water from a shop nearby our hotel for VND 30,000. Need to stay hydrated!

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After watching TV in the hotel for 1 hour, it’s time for dinner and we went to nearby Allez Boo at 197 Pham Ngu Lao. Allez Boo is one of Ho Chi Minh City‘s most popular cafe and bar (open 24 hours). The most interesting feature is that the exterior as well as the inside of the bar is made from bamboo. I am seated at 3rd floor (roof) and have a fantastic view of watching the crazy traffic as well as people go by. Prices at Allez Boo are relatively higher, it’s the premium to pay for the ambiance, music and view!

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Allez Boo – Trying out 333 beer at VND 40,000.

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Allez Boo – Fish Fillet at VND 107,000.

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Allez Boo – Chicken Cordon Bleu at VND 107,000.

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Allez Boo – Wanted to try Hanoi Beer but it was out of stock. So I went for BGI at VND 40,000.

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Allez Boo – Banana shake for my partner at VND 20,000. Overall experience at Allez Boo was good, food was tasty and we had our dinner with a great view. As a tourist, I think you just have to try it once! We didn’t stay out too late as we need to wake up around 6.30am to freshen up, have breakfast and then walk to TheSinhTourist for our 1 Day Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels tour which departs at 8.15am. Look out for the next blog post on the coverage!

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