Categories
Vietnam

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City 1

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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: cร  phรช sแปฏa nรณng) โ€” 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! My partner 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. My partner 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… ๐Ÿ™

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 my partner 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 my partner 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 my partner 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. My partner 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 my partner (cannot take hot weather) is not joining!

Until next time then, Vietnam!

Categories
Vietnam

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Oh, time really flies and it’s already my fourth day in Ho Chi Minh City! No going for guided tour today and will be exploring on our own – We will be going to Vung Tau, which is a popular destination with beautiful beaches.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast, we took a cab from Elios Hotel to Bach Dang Passenger Quay (Ton Duc Thang Str., Dist. 1). The journey took a while due to the morning traffic and cost us VND 30,000. Initially, I have planned to take a bus to Vung Tau from Mien Dong Coach Station (Bแบฟn Xe Miแปn ฤรดng) as it’s cheaper at VND 40,000 but at a longer duration (2 hours). Lucky thing is that I consulted the staff at Sasa Cafe the night before and they told me that Mien Dong Coach Station is quite far away and we need to take a cab (or bus #26 from Ben Thanh station) first. Then I decided that we should opt for the quick and easy way to Vung Tau via Hydrofoil fast ferry (Tร u cรกnh ngแบงm). Above photo is Bach Dang Passenger Quay.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

There are 3 Hydrofoil operators in Bach Dang Passenger Quay and the hydrofoils depart for Vung Tau almost hourly. Above photo shows Greenlines and Petro Express.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Vina Express on the other side of the Bach Dang Passenger Quay. All three operators charge the same fare at VND180,000 per person. Although it’s a little more expensive but it’s much faster (1 hour 15 min) and comfortable than bus.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Waiting area at Bach Dang Passenger Quay.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Our tickets from Greenlines. We decided to go for Greenlines due to the timing as they are the next hydrofoil schedule to leave and we only require to stick around less than 30mins.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Just around 15mins of wait and the hydrofoil arrived. Seats are allocated so there is no need to rush! ๐Ÿ™‚

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

As our tickets was bought rather last minute, we got seats that face the rest of the passengers. Haha!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

It was a rather pleasant ride and we reached Vung Tau in around 1 hour 15 min. Vung Tau is the capital of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and is the first tourist city in Vietnam. With beauty beach and fresh air, Vung Tau is a very popular destination for weekends.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

First thing after alighting the hydrofoil is to go get return tickets back to Ho Chi Minh City. You may choose to stay in Vung Tau but we decided to stick to just a day trip. Better get return tickets earlier, otherwise you will get stuck in Vung Tau if all the tickets are sold out. Hehe!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Went for Vina Express for our return trip back to Saigon. Fares are the same at VND180,000 per person.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Seems like a house to me… and it’s very nice! Sea view for all the rooms!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Long and lonely road. A vast difference from the traffic at Ho Chi Minh City.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Passing by a Chinese temple.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Passing by another Chinese temple. ๐Ÿ™‚

Vietnamese temple dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, the Vietnamese military hero. (Thanks to Walter for the correction!)

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

If you are spending more time here in Vung Tau, you may want to visit “Statue of Jesus Christ with outstretched arms” which is on top of small mountain.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Stopping at Coffee Ocap for a breather and to hide from the extremely hot weather! It’s burning our skin!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

1 Soursop Shake and 1 Saigon at a total of VND 33,000. Ice-cold tea is provided free-of-charge and WIFI is available too!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

After the rest, we continued to walk around. Passing by “The Etta Pub”, which seems like a nice place to chill out.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Buying and selling crabs! Think crabs are a specialty seafood which is very popular in Vung Tau as everyplace have cooked crab on their menu.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Passing by Cafe Chong Chong.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

The hot weather made us stop again but this time more for lunch.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Menu at Bayview. Lots of food selection available!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Our lunch – 2 sandwich (as above), 1 Saigon beer and 1 Heineken, which totaled to VND 125,000. Gotta have the beer to cool us down in the hot weather! LOL!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

View from our seats at Bayview. It’s nice to hide away from the sun! Haha!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

The interior of Bayview. Believed that the owner is an Australian.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Time’s up – gotta board the Vinasun Express hydrofoil back to Ho Chi Minh City.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

This time round, we are given seats at the back of the hydrofoil. Personal opinion is that the Vinasun Express condition is worse off then Greenlines.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

We sat facing 2 LCD TVs but they are not on throughout the journey. In fact, it wasn’t even plug in! Check out the right LCD TV! Haha!

Anyway, beyond the door is actually the engine room so you get free diesel smell here too!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

After alighting the Hydrofoil, it was raining heavily in Ho Chi Minh City so we waited for a while for the rain to become smalller. Then, we grabbed a cab to Zen Plaza and paid VND 25,000.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Explored Zen Plaza for a while and then took cab to Parkson at VND 30,000.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

La Dolce Vita Cafรฉ at Continental Hotel Saigon.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Passing by Saigon Opera House.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Walking along Dong Khoi Street.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Lucky Plaza. Well, not the Lucky Plaza in Singapore. ๐Ÿ™‚

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

The reason why we are roaming along Dong Khoi Street – French restaurant Augustin (10 Nguyen Thiep).

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

The interior of Augustin. We reached early for dinner (7pm) so we were the only customers. ๐Ÿ™‚

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

A bottle of house red. Think it was around VND 250,000.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Grilled Duck Confit. VND 150,000.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Grilled Chicken Breast with Cream Sauce. VND 120,000.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Lime Sorbet with Vodka. VND 110,000.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Night view of Saigon Opera House.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Passing by Hotel Continental Saigon while we are walking toward Ben Thanh Market.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Water fountain where locals as well as tourist hang around.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

A statue of Ho Chi Minh with Ho Chi Minh City Hall in the background.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City Hall. It was renamed after 1975 as Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Passing by Trung Nguyen Coffee. Didn’t really try it as we can also find Trung Nguyen Coffee back home in Singapore (in Liang Court). I remembered always going there to stock up on G7 instant coffee!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Next to Trung Nguyen Coffee is our destination – Bach Dang Ice Cream. A favourite place of young Saigonese.

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

A recommendation from the staff of Bach Dang Ice Cream – Ice cream in coconut at VND 62,000. Nice!

1 Day in Vung Tau & Ho Chi Minh City

Night market at Ben Thanh. Never really explore around as it’s likely to be a tourist trap! ๐Ÿ˜›

Leaving you with a video at Ben Thanh Market. Generally, the traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is somehow similar! ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 Biorรฉ 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). ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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! ๐Ÿ˜›

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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!

GBFPRHJNSDEM

Categories
Penang

A Day in Penang 2

A Day in Penang 2

A Day in Penang 2

Third day in Penang. Same usual process of going for the free buffet breakfast as the previous day (see A Day in Penang 1), then headed out to KOMTAR (Malay: Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak) bus station to take Bus 204 to Penang Hill (last stop). Since I reached around 10.45am, I bought the earliest round-trip ticket RM4 for 11:00am at Penang Hill Railway ticket counter. Actually, I did come to Penang Hill the previous day too (as it’s nearby Kek Lok Si) but I have to wait for 2.5 hours for the next available rail. Thought it was a time-waster to just sit and wait, so decided to come back early the next day.

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Finally boarded the 11:00am funicular railway. It was really crowded and cramped!

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Leaving the main station and going upwards to Penang Hill. The funicular railway will not take you straight to the top, you have to change trains halfway.

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Finally arrived after 30 min duration. Another group of visitors will take the same funicular train down.

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Panoramic view of the city, 830m above sea level. It’s cooling up here! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Funicular train on it’s way down.

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Jungle trekking is one of the popular activities in Penang Hill. Another attraction is Canopy Walk, which is a suspension bridge hanging over the treetops. Would love to do both but I just don’t have enough time as I need to collect biscuits from Him Heang and then meet up with my partner at hotel at 3pm! Sigh….

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Is that the faint image of Penang Bridge?

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Waiting area for the funicular train leaving Penang Hill.

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At the top of Penang Hill, there is tea kiosk, restaurants, souvenir stalls, mosque, Hindu temple and Bellevue hotel.

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Another view of city of Penang. Seems to me it’s kinda cloudy today and wasn’t able to see so clearly.

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Bukit Bendera is the Malay name for Penang Hill, which refers to Flagstaff Hill, the most developed peak.

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Walking around to explore. Noted that are some stalls around here.

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A stall selling grasshoppers that care delicately made from leaves.

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Seems to be an area where you can take photo with snakes.

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Food center at the top of Penang Hill for you to chill out or eat.

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Somewhere on Penang Hill, there is this 32 pounder cannon, weighing 2.75 tons. This cannon was probably transported from town to hill as an ornament or to warn the presence of pirates.

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Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan, or better known as the Penang Hill Hindu Temple, is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Penang.

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Old wooden funicular train of Penang Hill Railway, used from 1923 to 1977.

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Taking another look at the city view before leaving Penang Hill. The journey also takes about 30min down and after which I took bus 204 back to KOMTAR area.

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From KOMTAR, took a short stroll to New World Park along Jalan Burma (beside Tune Hotels Penang).

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Food Court at New World Park. Huge selection of food available!

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Koay Teow Th’ng (็ฒฟๆกๆฑค) RM4.

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After my lunch at New World Park, I went to Him Heang to collect my orders – 2 boxes of Tau Sar Pneah (่ฑ†ๆฒ™้ฅผ) at RM19 and 2 boxes of Beh Teh Sor (้ฉฌ่น„้…ฅ) at RM13.

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At Him Heang, I also bought 1 packet of preserved nutmeg (sweet) RM2.80, 1 packet of preserved nutmeg (sweet & salty) RM2.80 and 1 packet of liquorice nutmeg at RM4.30. Buah Pala is the malay word for nutmeg.

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Left the Him Heang products back at hotel and met up with my partner. Then took a cab for RM12 to Gurney Plaza to walk around again! There is Dragonball Z Heroic Christmas Live Show happening at Gurney Plaza. I was a Dragonball fan when I was young (hmm…maybe I still am now …)!

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G Hotel Penang at Gurney Drive. Should have stayed here instead but my partner mentioned that it might be a hassle to travel daily to Hotel Royal Penang for her training. It’s such a nice hotel – surely it can make up for the travel time! ๐Ÿ˜›

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Walking along Gurney Drive sourcing for dinner.

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We decided to try Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant at Gurney Drive, Penang as I was attracted to the Bali-themed decoration.

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Huge selection of fresh seafood available at Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant. You can come up to this area and choose what you like to have!

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Steam Live Prawns 300g RM24++.

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Sambal Asparagus RM12++.

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Fried mussels with Aroma Spicy Sauce RM15++.

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Chilli Crab with Steam Buns RM52++. Oh yes, also had 2 bottles of Carlsberg at RM27++ to go along with the meal too!

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Night setting of Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant. Very nice!

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After the dinner at Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant at Gurney Drive, we took a cab to New World Park at RM15. Wanted to try Old Town White Coffee before I leave Penang.

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Old Town White Coffee.

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Mango and Cranberry Smoothie at Old Town White Coffee.

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The next morning, we arranged for hotel limousine service to drive us to Penang International Airport after we had our breakfast. Reached the airport and immediately checked-in our luggage.

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There was still some time left before our flight boarding so we relaxed at The Coffee Bean and shared a cup of Mocha.

This trip was pretty short for me as I only had 1 and 1/2 days to explore around. There were several attractions that I wanted to visit but did not due to the short stay. The next time I return to Penang, I will make sure to stay at one of the resorts at Batu Ferringhi and relax! ๐Ÿ™‚

Categories
Penang

A Day in Penang 1

A Day in Penang 1

A Day in Penang 1

Second day in Penang (ๆงŸๅŸŽ), woke up around 7.30am and headed to the coffee lounge beside the hotel lobby to have our free breakfast buffet. After the breakfast,ย my partner went to attend her training which was also held at one of the meeting rooms in the hotel. I had another quick look at the free map which I took from the hotel lobby before stepping out to explore.

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Walking along Jalan Burma towards KOMTAR (Malay: Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak). Spotted some colonial styled shop houses along the way.

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Coin-operated parking meter that are still used in Georgetown, Penang. Interesting!

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TuneHotels.com in Penang. Have heard great reviews about this hotel!

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Another colonial-styled houses. Love the gold trimmings on the gate as it brings out the delicate design.

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KOMTAR (Malay: Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak) – the tallest building in Penang.

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On the top of the cross-junction bridge, noticed that there is an old building beside it.

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Street view from the bridge. It was about 9.30am, traffic was smooth.

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Slowly made my way to the bus station at KOMTAR and waited for a short while before boarding the bus. As there are various prices for different destination (depending on distance) so normally I will ask for the price for destination when I board the bus. You pay during then and will be handed a ticket as above. The buses are operated under Rapid Penang and you can check out their website for journey planner.

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Shops near the bus stop (in Ayer Itam) where I alighted for my destination to Kek Lok Si (ๆžไนๅฏบ).

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It’s a busy morning! Rows of shops and stalls selling almost everything. At the far end of the road, there is a local wet market as well.

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The Kuan Yin Octagonal Pavilion was only recently completed on 6th December 2009. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Reached Kek Lok Si’s Kuan Yin Octagonal Pavilion.

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The area where you can purchase offerings for prayers. I made a purchase for 3 joss sticks for my prayers.

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A resting pavilion at Kek Lok Si.

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Ticket counter for incline lift to Five Directions Buddha Great Hall.

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Made the ticket purchase for return trip at RM4. Then proceeded to queue up for the lift to arrive.

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Inside the incline lift to visit the Five Directions Buddha Great Hall.

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Five Directions Buddha Great Hall.

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A long rows of Buddhas.

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Bird’s eye view of Georgetown, Penang from Kek Lok Si.

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Building beside the Five Directions Buddha Great Hall.

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Very colorful and interesting architecture.

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Walk up the stairs to 2nd level and you will see 3 Buddha in the room.

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Went up to the Kuan Yin Octagonal Pavilion for closer look and to pray as well.

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My first Penang Laksa RM3 that I had in Penang at a coffee shop outside of Kek Lok Si.

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The stall that sells the Penang Laksa. There are several other food in the coffee shop as well.

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Realized that I have not taken any photo of the Rapid Penang bus that I have been taking so I quickly took a snap while waiting for my bus to arrive.

A Day in Penang 1

While waiting for bus to arrive, I saw a stall (well, it’s a stall on a motorcycle) that is selling Penang Muah Chee ( glutinous rice balls coated in toasted peanuts). Decided to give it a go!

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My RM2 worth of Penang Muah Chee . It was soft and chewy!

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The interior of the Rapid Penang bus.

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Took the Rapid Penang bus back to KOMTAR area and visited Prangin Mall. Went up to the 4th floor to check out the tech products!

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Another area of Prangin Mall. There are a total of 167 Tenant in Prangin Mall. Cathay Cineplex is on the 5th floor!

A Day in Penang 1

At KOMTAR Walk, chanced upon Cafe Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol and decided to give it a try due to the hot weather.

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Original Chendol RM5.50. My bad, focusing is totally out!

A Day in Penang 1

The interior of Cafe Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol. Nicely decorated with many old antiques!

A Day in Penang 1

Ghee Hiang (ไน‰้ฆ™) at 216 Jalan Macalister – one of the famous traditional biscuits brands in Penang. The huge crowd in front was bought by tour operators as there was several big coach buses parked at the main road.

A Day in Penang 1

Another famous and popular biscuits brand in Penang – Him Heang (้ฆจ้ฆ™). There is only one shop in Penang and it’s located at 162A Burma Road. Pre-ordering is recommended due to the limited daily production. I made an order for 2 boxes of Tau Sar Pneah (่ฑ†ๆฒ™้ฅผ) and 2 boxes of Beh Teh Sor (้ฉฌ่น„้…ฅ) to be collected the next day.

A Day in Penang 1

After ordering the traditional biscuits from Him Heang, I continued my walk up Jalan Burma to visit Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram. I had some difficulties locating this area as I thought I have overshot it but actually I need walk further down (after asking a local lady). The above is Dhammikarama Burmese Temple which is located opposite Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram.

A Day in Penang 1

Entrance of Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram. The temple was built in 1845.

A Day in Penang 1

Walking into Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram.

A Day in Penang 1

Spectacular Reclining Buddha at Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram – one of the largest Reclining Buddha in the world, measuring 33 meters in length and is completely gold plated.

A Day in Penang 1

After the visit at Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram, I walked back to hotel to meetup with my partner. Then we took the 6.30pm free hotel shuttle bus (prior reservations required) to Gurney Drive and alighted at Plaza Gurney. Walking down to the Gurney Food Center.

A Day in Penang 1

Huge crowd was already forming at Gurney Food Center. Quickly found an empty seat and then went to order food.

A Day in Penang 1

Cantonment Road Famous Char Koay Teow at Gurney Drive. Can’t remember the price but believe it was RM3! It was really yummy!

A Day in Penang 1

Penang Laksa with additional fish ball for RM4. My partner had this as I have already consumed one bowl during my lunch.

A Day in Penang 1

Oh, the “Cantonment Road Famous Char Koay Teow” stall where I ordered my Char Koay Teow from.

A Day in Penang 1

Hokkien Prawn Mee RM3.50.

A Day in Penang 1

After dinner, we headed off to Plaza Gurney to walk around and do some shopping.

A Day in Penang 1

Plaza Gurney is the second largest shopping mall in Penang. The interior is classy!

A Day in Penang 1

While strolling around Plaza Gurney, A&W restaurant caught my attention as I have not patronize it since many moons ago. This is because A&W have pulled out from Singapore for quite sometime already (since 2004) and the only way for Singaporeans to eat it is to travel overseas (nearest either Johor, Malaysia or Batam, Indonesia). The A&W at Plaza Gurney have a retro-styled design.

A Day in Penang 1

My order for Beef Coney Dog Set RM13.35 – upgraded with Curly Fries and Root Beer Float. Was asked to take a seat first and the Coney Dog will be delivered when it’s ready.

A Day in Penang 1

Eating the A&W Beef Coney Dog. It may seemed like I have eaten a lot for dinner but trust me that this is just the replenishment for the energy I used up while walking around for the whole day. ๐Ÿ˜›

After the meal, we took a cab back to Hotel Royal Penang at RM12. The taxis in Penang do not use the meters and you need to ask/negotiate for the rate to your destination before boarding!

Categories
Penang

A Day in Penang

A Day in Penang

A Day in Penang

Recently myย partner had to go Penang (Malaysia) for some training and since I was on annual leave, I decided to accompany her there and spend the whole day exploring around on my own. Actually, we wanted to catch the morning flight but it was sold out so we settled for the 3.45pm SilkAir flight from Singapore to Penang. Arrived at Singapore Changi Airport T2 early so we went for a short coffee session after we have checked-in our luggage.

A Day in Penang

Walking towards our boarding gate. The departure display was already showing “Last Call” so we hurried our footsteps. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Day in Penang

Reached Penang International Airport after 1 hour 20 mins journey. We are staying in Hotel Royal Penang and have arranged for airport pick-up service. Arrived at the hotel within half hour.

A Day in Penang

Work desk, TV console and mini-bar area at Hotel Royal Penang. We bought the red wine on the desk at the duty-free shop at Singapore Changi Airport so that we can bring it out for dinnerย later.

A Day in Penang

Wash Room. My partner noted that there was some urine stains on the toilet seat! Apparently, it was not cleaned thoroughly!

A Day in Penang

Together with another colleauge, we met up with my partner’s boss (based in Penang) at the hotel lobby and he drove us to a kampong-styled restaurant somewhere in Bukit Tambun for dinner. The journey took around 1 hour as the traffic was peaking. Anyway, the first thing I noticed when we reached the restaurant was the Horseshoe crab. Hmm….wonder how it taste like? Oh, I also heard that you might get poisoning if you eat the wrong part? Is is true?

A Day in Penang

The rest of the seafood delicacies the restaurant have to offer.

A Day in Penang

Was about 7.40pm when we arrived at Gee Seng Seafood Restaurant (็พฉๆˆๆตท้ฎฎๆจ“) and there was already quite a huge crowd of local diners there.

A Day in Penang

Some spiked snails that you need a toothpick to dig out the meat and dunk it into sambal chilli before devouring it. First time trying and it’s not that bad!

A Day in Penang

Stir-fry clams. The gravy works well on the white rice that we having. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Day in Penang

Chilli crab with man tou (deep-fried buns).

A Day in Penang

Baked mud crabs. Comes with a wooden stick to crack the shell!

A Day in Penang

Prawns coated with salted egg yolk. Heavenly!

Well, the total damage for the dinner for 4 person worked out to be around RM110 and I find it really affordable! So next time if you are in Penang, please do visit Bukit Tambun as there are numerous seafood restaurants with vast offerings of fresh and cheap seafood!

After the dinner, we head back to the hotel to rest as my partner needs to wake up early for her training the next day. So for me, I just made some notes on which attraction in Georgetown I will be visiting the next day. After all. the inner city of Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! ๐Ÿ™‚

Categories
Gadgets

New Desktop PC

New Desktop PC

New Desktop PC

Recently went to Sim Lim Square to purchase a new desktop PC as my old one that I have been using for years is slowing down considerably. I have also been pondering to change for ages and now when many cool games (Dragon Age, Left 4 Dead 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Mafia II, Max Payne 3, etc) are being or going to be realeased, it only motivates me further to upgrade. Total damage for the new system (without speakers, keyboard, mouse and monitor) is S$1226, which I will breakdown later in the post. ๐Ÿ™‚

New Desktop PC

NZXT Beta Evo mid tower black steel chassis at S$79.

New Desktop PC

NZXT Beta Evo

  • Black Internal finish for sleek look
  • Support for up to 6 120mm fans with the option of dual 140mm at the top
  • Meshed front panel allows for better airflow than traditional cases

More specification, information and product awards can be found on NZXT webby.

New Desktop PC

Intel Core i5-750 Processor for my Quad-Core Desktop.

New Desktop PC

MSI P55-CD53 mainboard and Intel Core i5-750 Processor bundle is at S$468. Both comes with 3 years warranty each.

New Desktop PC

Seasonic M12II 500W PSU at S$119. The PSU is modular and comes with 5 years warranty.

New Desktop PC

Team Elite DDR3 2 x 2GB (4GB) Set at S$146. Love the RAM heat sinks and it’s ideal for overclocking.

New Desktop PC

Samsung DVDRW 22X SATA at S$34.

New Desktop PC

Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB SATA at S$121. Actually wanted to get a Caviar Black but because I have another 1TB Green, I thought I could RAID them next time if I decide to go with network storage. ๐Ÿ™‚

New Desktop PC

MSI R5770 (ATI Radeon) at S$259. 850MHz Core, 1GB GDDR5 4800MHz Memory and with DirectX 11 & OpenCL support.

New Desktop PC

Fixed up all the parts and spent about 15mins to do some cable management. It’s really a spacious chassis which is good for air circulation. Oh, the chassis comes with 1 x 120mm fan (with blue LED) at the front grille. I will put up a couple of the 120mm fans soon!

New Desktop PC

Connected the new desktop to my 42″ plasma TV via HDMI to try and after which continue with the installation of Windows 7. After the usual process of updating and installing the necessary drivers, the first thing I did was install Left 4 Dead 2 and played for a couple of hours on the TV. It was really cool to play games on a big screen but there was some issues as well – my wireless keyboard and mouse was spoilt so I have to use a wired set, which caused me to stretch my arms to play due to the short cable lenght. Also I have to sit on the floor to play as the keyboard & mouse was on my coffee table and this hurts my bums! Wahahaha!

Think next up, I will consider to buy

  1. Wired or Wireless keyboard/mouse ( I will be using the desktop in study room)
  2. 24″ LCD monitor (now using a 17″ Samsung LCD)
  3. A couple of Coolermaster 120mm fans (to lower temperature when loading the CPU/GPU)

Maybe I will do some overclocking to benchmark too! But most importantly, the desktop is for me to do some work and of course, play some games when I am free! ๐Ÿ™‚

Categories
Events Otaku

AFA’09 – Anime Festival Asia

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

I attended AFA09 – Anime Festival Asia on 21st Nov 2009, which was held at Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. AFA09 is featuring merchadise, live acts and performances, anime / manga and Japanese popular culture. By the time I reached the exhibition halls, I was already greeted by a very long queue at the ticketing booth. I should have go and get the ticket first before I go for my lunch. ๐Ÿ™

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Anyway, regardless of the long queue, I still waited patiently for 45 mins before it was my turn to get the tickets. Adult ticket for one day entry is at S$15 and for weekend pass (2 days) is at S$25. I got the one day pass as I was unable to attend on the second day due to other appointments.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Walking to the entrance of the exhibition hall (403 to 404) where there are AFA crew to check on the tickets before letting you in.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

First stop, Bandai booth for all your Gundam needs!

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Art demonstration at the Imaginary Friends Studios booth.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Passed by 2 cosplayers where some folks are taking photos. Decided to take as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

CoFesta 2009 booth.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Karaoke Joysound Wii at Xing booth.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Moe Moe Kyun Maid Cafe.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

One of the few dollfie that I saw in AFA’09.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Another dollfie.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

A booth that showcase artwork from various organizations as well as some individual talented artists.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Ben 10 booth.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Of course, Power Rangers are around as well. ๐Ÿ˜›

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Cospa booth, where there have various merchandise on sale.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Tokyo Figure Show in Singapore – brought to you by Dannychoo.com & Good Smile Company.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Mirai Suenaga Figma.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Otacool (Worldwide Otaku Rooms) by Kotobukiya at AFA 09.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

First Regional Cosplay Championship in Asia.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Two cute girls posing for the many cameras! ๐Ÿ™‚

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Replica swords on sale at one of the booth.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

A group of cosplayers in the exhibition halls.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Live art demonstration at Storm Lion booth.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

2 kawaii girls from Storm Lion handling out free paperbacks to visitors to hold the stuffs and information they have gotten from the exhibitors. Thanks!

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Wow, they sell guns in AFA 09 too! Errm, replica guns …. ๐Ÿ˜›

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Evangelion branded UCC Coffee at S$3. There was a few designs available but I chose the one with Shinji Ikari and Evangelion Unit 01. ^^;

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Danny Choo special appearance on the stage at 3.30pm, where he spoke about his background, what he does, life in Japan, etc.


Danny Choo, the Tokyo Dance Trooper… in SINGAPORE!!! (Part 1)


Danny Choo, the Tokyo Dance Trooper… in SINGAPORE! (Part 2)

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Danny Choo talking about his Storm Trooper armor maintenance.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Son Goku (Dragon Ball).

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

PG 00 Raiser. Pre-odering available at the Bandai booth at special price.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

Level 1 of Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre taken from Level 3. There seems to be some other events going-on as well.

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

At level 3 of the exhibition centre, there are many cosplayers that gathered here for photo taking and is drawing a huge crowd. So of the cosplay photos below for your viewing!

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia

AFA'09 - Anime Festival Asia