Monday, September 24, 2012

Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta Trip (My Tho & Ben Tre)

It was a public holiday on Friday, so the four of us (Ryan, Jess, Sean and myself) planned for a short weekend getaway trip to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. It was also a good timing for me as I wanted to travel before I start my new job.

View of HCMC from the plane

Sean's friend, Peng, who'd been working in HCMC for many years was such a good host to us and brought us around HCMC. He really made our trip more interesting. Maybe because it was nice for once that I didn't have to plan everything.

Peng arranged for our accommodation at Gia Huy Hotel for USD35 per night. It's not some 5 star hotel but it's okay because the room condition is pretty much up to standard and I quite like the location of the hotel.

Peng brought us to this shop called Pho Le for beef noodle soup. It's called Pho Bo in Vietnamese. Pho Bo is a nourishing soup made with beef and flat rice noodles. It's delicious and the beef is so tender and easy to chew. Price: VND 60K per bowl (approx. MYR8.60).

The beef noodle soup restaurant
Beef Noodle Soup
Price: VND60K (approx. MYR 8.60)

We walked along fashion street in District 1. I saw many boutiques and also road side stalls selling clothes, accessories and shoes.

Fashion street

We went to this restaurant and bar called Beer Tươi Tiệp 107 Pasteur for some light food and beer.


The food and drinks we ordered

We wanted to chill somewhere on our first night but we ended up in New World Slot Casino. I won a little. That casino is only open for foreigners. If you gamble, all the food and drinks you order is free of charge. Vietnamese are not allowed to enter the casino though.

At about midnight, we had Wanton Noodle for supper at Tan Hai Van or CNSG Restaurant. Noodle was good! Price: VND54K for a bowl of charsiew+wanton noodle (approx. MYR7.80) and VND48K for a bowl of only wanton noodle (approx. MYR6.90).

Charsiew + Wanton Noodle
Price: VND54K (aprox. MYR7.80)

Tan Hai Van - 158-164 Nguyen Trai Str.,
Ward Ben Thanh, Dist. 1, HCMC
Tel: 38399617

We had to wake up early the next day because we booked ourselves a Mekong Delta day trip to My Tho and Ben Tre. The bus departed at 8:30am and came back to Saigon at 5:30pm. Price: VND400K per person (approx. MYR57.50) inclusive of bus, tour guide, boat trip and Vietnamese lunch.

We crossed the Mekong River by motorized boat

This is where we had our lunch (left); How they make rice paper (right)

You wrap the fish with the rice paper and it'll look like the picture on the bottom right

Handicrafts made from coconut trees

Mekong floating house

Bee farm

Vietnamese traditional music performance while we savour our honey tea and fruits from the orchard

Pony ride

Row-boat ride along small creeks to Mekong River Estuary

We got back to the city and Peng brought us to this place to have seafood. It's a refreshing experience to eat sitting on small chairs on the sidewalk by the road. I tried "balut" for the first time too and I can tell you it wasn't as nasty as seen on TV.

Seafood restaurant

It wasn't as nasty as seen on TV

The food we ordered

Fried corns from the street hawker
Total bill came up to VND900K (approx. MYR129.30). So cheap!

After dinner, we went to Chill Skybar for some drinks and dance. It's a sleek bar on the rooftop of Ho Chi Minh City's AB Tower. It was raining, so the outdoor section of the bar which was supposed to be really nice was closed. There wasn't any good view due to bad weather so we did not take any pictures.

After that, we went to New World Casino again but this time I wasn't so lucky. I lost my winnings from the day before and more. :P

The next day, we shopped a little at Ben Thanh Market. Jess wanted to get coffee beans and I wanted to get some Cambodian garlic but I only found Hanoi garlic. We headed somewhere for breakfast before our flight back to KL.

Some colourful drinks from a stall in the market

Special crispy broken rice was yummy

We had tea and coffee at a shop before we left

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