Ho Chi Minh City

Things to do in Ho Chi Minh by Krisette Capati

Ho Chi Minh City[media-credit name=”flickr” align=”aligncenter” width=”634″]

Beyond the quaint provincial landscape of coastal south central, we’re off to another city in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon). This city reminds us of the fast-paced metropolis life and how time passes quickly – where the remnants of war found in historical museums, the pagodas showing indelible marks of Taoism, the café culture and flea markets in the heart of the city give us a glimpse of the sights and experiences that we can’t simply miss a day’s worth of tour and activities.

 

Breakfast

Princess and the Pea Cafe

 

Saigon is known for its café culture. You’ll find cafes all over the city, and I’m not talking about Starbucks or international franchise coffee shops because you won’t find them here.

For breakfast, I found this hidden gem in District 1, Princess and the Pea Café. You really have to venture through the Pasteur St. alley to find it – laid-back, with a relaxing space, offers free Wi-Fi, and with casual cushioned seat floors and affordable meals.

The café serves light food such as baked sandwiches with strawberry jams, tiramisu and chocolate cheesecake; please, don’t get the bill until you try the Smoothie Banana.

63 Pasteur, Ben Nghe, 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

 

Morning Activity

Le Cong Kieu Street

 

I suggest we go shopping in the morning at the flea markets. Antique items are sold along Le Cong Kieu Street, near Ben Than market, then until we reach to Russian market in Ben Chuong Duong Street, you’ll find over 150 stalls there, offering dry goods from sporting goods to souvenirs and general products for large sizes.

 

Lunch

Hungry Pig

 

Keep yourself from the siesta culture – as most locals do take their rest around noon until 1PM – then here’s a light lunch to curb your hunger. Visit the sandwich place called The Hungry Pig. It’s famous for its bacon sandwich with oriental taste, from classic BLT to Asian taste. Plus, if you visit during Sundays, you’ll be offered Full English Breakfast.

144 Cong Quynh Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 

Afternoon Activity

Art exhibits near Ben Than Market

 

Discover more of Vietnam and visit art museums not far from Ben Than market. Art exhibits includes pottery, sculpture, painting to abstract art and even weaponry. If time permits, you can rent scooters, or also called Vespa, for late afternoon tours to experience the city like locals.

Enjoy the vintage Vespa ride, and see the metropolis through the bustling and hustling of the town, from the city landmarks such as municipal post office, busy China town, basilicas and a wealth of French colonial architecture.

 

Dinner

Monsoon Restaurant & Bar

 

Indulge in the regional taste from Thailand, Myanmar, Laos Cambodia and, of course, Vietnam in Monsoon Restaurant & Bar. Taste and see the South East Asian food with all its richness – the menu is divided per country; freely choose among the appetisers to mains and desserts.

Cao Ba Nha, P. Nguyen Cu Trinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 

Evening Activity

Broma

 

Saigon’s backpacker district, Pham Ngu Lao Street, meets you in the nightlife of revelry, lights and sounds, and drinks all night long—good vibes and paradise. But if you want to make it more urban, go to the rooftop bars at the city’s popular hotels—the Rex, Majestic and Caravelle. Well, if you desire this kind of pampering, you have to be ready for those expensive drinks. Gulp until you drop—that is, until your pocket drop.

Anyway, Broma, an open lounge in the fourth floor of an old French colonial building, is a good alternative, too. While you can experience the same, the prices are down to earth compared to the former.

General Post Office - Ho Chi Minh

Things to do in Hồ Chí Minh by Mai Flores

General Post Office - Ho Chi Minh[media-credit name=”Mai Flores” align=”aligncenter” width=”634″]

Formerly known as Saigon, the modern-day capital boasts of remarkable structures that are of French colonial descent. On top of that, the metropolitan is also known for its scenic tourist spots. The most famous ones are actually the Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace, City Post Office, and Saigon Opera House.

Breakfast

Nothing beats eating a big bagel, some eggs and a nutritious fruit all for breakfast. Most hotels will give this as a complimentary meal during your stay. But if breakfast isn’t included, you can always leave your accommodations and just head out to the nearest food stall (most food stalls sell bagels with meat and vegetable fillings). If there’s something that stands out in Ho Chi Minh City, it would have to be their sumptuous food. Cuisines are aplenty in the Pham Ngu Lao area, which ranges from local to fast food choices.

Morning Activity

City Tour

If you’re strapped for time, then you can always avail of those affordable city tours for your convenience. Most accommodations will offer their own tours (i.e. Nguyen Khang Hotel by Pham Ngu Lao offers their city tour for only 10 USD per person). You can try the City tour so that you’ll get to see several sites in just under a day. Most of these guided trips will already include the War Remnant Museum, Shilaiten Shopping Plaza, Thien Hau Pagoda, and Binh Tay Market.

War Remnant Museum - Ho Chi Minh[media-credit name=”Mai Flores” align=”aligncenter” width=”634″]

Afternoon Activity

Sights Around Notre Dame Cathedral

The guided tour/s in the afternoon will generally bring you to the Handicraft Workshop, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, and General Post Office (conveniently located from one another). And if the tour is on-time, you’ll still be able to see the City Hall, Saigon Opera House, and Rex Hotel. But if you can skip these last few sites in the afternoon, you can always choose to see these edifices at night — as these attractions look more stunning during the evening.

Dinner

Cho Ben Thanh Market

You can always try and eat at Cho Ben Thanh Market for some local chow — as the marketplace hosts some of the best eateries around. The food choices aren’t pricey, and there’s always a wide selection of cuisines to choose from (from vegetable-stuffed spring rolls with shrimp to beef Pho noodles). The site may not have the best ambiance. But if you’re willing to try the best-tasting Vietnamese grub around, then it’s the place to be.

Evening Activity

Bui Vien

If you already feel beat up from the day’s activities, you can always chill and have a few cold ones by Bui Vien. The street that’s adjacent to Pham Ngu Lao (backpackers haven) is packed with restaurants and bars. Now, the trick here is to find the best spot that sells the cheapest beer (from 10,000 to 12,000 VND per bottle). The Bui Vien pubs that actually sell low-priced beers are those located by the sidewalks. It’s where you can drink, socialize and people-watch.

Bui Vien Scene - Ho Chi Minh[media-credit name=”Mai Flores” align=”aligncenter” width=”634″]

Fusion Maia Da Nang yoga on beach

Fusion Maia Trip Gift Winner

Fusion Maia Da Nang yoga on beach[media-credit name=”Courtesy of Fusion Maia Da Nang” align=”aligncenter” width=”634″]

So here is the moment of truth, the announcement that you’ve all be waiting for. At least, we can assume that is the case from the readers who decided to have a go at winning our Fusion Maia Trip Gift.

Before we get to it, we must thank everyone who took part, from those who entered to those who passed by to give their opinions and support by voting. We hope that you enjoyed taking part, and look forward to your continued support for next time.

And finally, now is when you get to find out who has won a luxurious 2 night stay at Fusion Maia Da Nang. The winner will get to experience Asia’s first all-spa inclusive resort, where they will be exposed to an unlimited number of spa treatments each day. They’ll be staying in one of the beautiful pool villas, and will be free to take their breakfast whenever they want, wherever they want.

Our congratulations go to Kenji Schautzer, for his entry titled “Mountains, Beaches, Ruins and… Fireworks!“. Kenji explained that his day out in Vietnam would include hiking to UNESCO heritage sites, relaxing on the beaches and a visit to the annual Danang International Fireworks Competition – sounds ideal! The judges were impressed with the range and variation of suggestions, as well as the overwhelming support he amassed via the voting system. Kenji will be contacted shortly.

That’s it for this Trip Gift, but do look forward to another one in future!

Here’s one final word for our Media Partners

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Hoi An

Things to do in Hoi An by Krisette Capati

Let’s explore an ancient city in Vietnam along its quaint streets and buildings filled with oriental influence. Hoi An, which means “a peaceful meeting,” unveils relaxing spots and a scenic view of the sparkling East Vietnam sea and South China sea along the beaches in the countryside.

Better wear a Non La (the famous Vietnamese conical hat), sunscreen and rubber sandals for a day in one of the world heritage sites. From shopping and cultural tours to bicycle tours, night fishing and barbeque grills, I’m sure you’ll discover more of Vietnam in a more intimate way.

Hoi An[media-credit name=”Deposit Photos” align=”aligncenter” width=”431″]

Breakfast

An Hoi Hotel offers affordable rooms located in the centre of the ancient town. It’s accessible to tourist spots, making it easier for you to walk (and also rent bikes) around nearby shops and cultural places. The hotel serves Asian and Western menu with a regional taste. The breakfast is packed with limited choices, and the view from the verandah overlooking the river looks good.

69 Nguyen Phuc Chu St., Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province

Morning Activity

You’ll find tons of ridiculously cheap tailored clothes scattered throughout the district. Leather goods, crafted novelty and jewelry items are sold in nearby shops along the way. I advice you to first roam around and compare prices before buying items.

Shop around throughout Phan Chu Trinh, Nguyen Thai Hoc, Nguyen Phuc Chu and the riverside until you reach the Hoi An market. If you want to explore other shops, you may go as far to Hai Ba Trung for more choices.

Lunch

There are many good options for cheap but tasty Vietnamese food, from quang nam noodles, Cao Lau, soups, shrimps, beans, herbs and the best banh mi sandwiches (definitely my favourite!) at the Hoi An central market food hall. That is, if you don’t mind eating inside a busy market, surely it’ll go well for you. Give yourself a break for a decadent experience on street foods.

Tran Quy Cap, tp. Hội An Quang Nam, Viet Nam

Afternoon Activity

Relish the ancient town with a cultural tour, then off for a bike tour in the late afternoon. I suggest you hire a guide for better understanding of the places, or you can explore at your own pace.

There’s a ticketing system allowing you to see 21 attractions, from old museums, handcraft workshops, halls and, of course, the old Japanese Bridge and Quan Cong Temple.

Try the bike tours in the late afternoon between the old town and beaches with the scenic view of rivers, pagodas and temples.

Dinner and Evening Activity

Hoi An is the culinary capital of Vietnam, so don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the locals (book on Get Your Guide) by wrapping up your day with night fishing and barbeque grills; learn fishing and crab catching techniques. There are unknown restaurants along the river that serves Cao Lau noodles boat and beer, too.

After all the hustle and bustle, you really deserve to relish a freshly cooked meal and eat at your heart’s content.

Fusion Maia Da Nang yoga on beach

Fusion Maia Trip Gift Voting Update

Fusion Maia Da Nang yoga on beach[media-credit name=”Courtesy of Fusion Maia Da Nang” align=”aligncenter” width=”634″]

For the past week, entries to the Fusion Maia Trip Gift have been under great scrutiny. There’s been a lot of activity, and we can see that some entries are clearly popular ideas. Undoubtedly, readers have been giving their thoughts, but entrants have also been canvassing for votes.

The good news for all, is that there’s still another week of voting time to go! So, at the time of writing, there’s still a lot to play for. Remember, only the 5 most popular entries will be considered for the winning prize. Here’s a rundown of the current top positions.

  1. Kenji Schautzer’s visit to Mountains, Beaches, Ruins and Fireworks
  2. Sylvia Kung’s Fruitful Day in Da Nang!
  3. Experience local by Amas Li
  4. Jennifer Lai Jumps into Vietnam
  5. Love Saigon by Javier Sampedro

So that’s the situation – what are you going to do about it? Make sure that you support your favourite entry by clicking the green vote button at the top of the post. If you’re unsure, take a look through all of the entries again right here.

To our entrants – good luck for the rest of the week!

Dray Nur waterfalls

My Love – Ulf Wadman

Dray Nur waterfalls[media-credit name=”helpingmedia | flickr” align=”aligncenter” width=”634″]

Going to Vietnam with your partner can be an extremely romantic experience. Ulf Wadman keeps his Fusion Maia Trip Gift short and sweet.

With my love one in the watefalls

What do you think of Ulf’s suggestion? If you think it’s worthy of winning, make sure you vote at the top of this page! Now take a look at our other entries.