Actually I wanna share this right after the trip end, but what should I say, I'm quite busy with work recently. Always end up with feeling sleepy and tired. Hahahah but anyway, that's life. ;)
Ok, so let's start with my getaway trip to Ho Chi Minh City with my friends. We went there in last Chinese New Year holiday. Yupp, we spent the holiday in Uncle Ho's country, Vietnam. Honestly, I don't have any idea with this country, except Vietnam is one of ASEAN country. We're lost in translation! Hahhaha
Our flight was in Saturday afternoon, then we arrived at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport around 8 PM. The weather's is quite good, and fortunately we didn't face any difficulty in their immigration, except me that took so long time than my friends in immigration section. Hmmpffhh.. But yeah, actually I didn't make any mistake at all. After we passed the immigration, we had to change our USD to VND (đồng). It's not difficult to find the foreign exchange counter, once you come out from the immigration, baggage claim and so on, you'll find it some. One solved! Next is, time to book a taxi to our hotel. Well, we've already booked a a hotel since we're in Indonesia.
I heard and read from some articles about traveling in Vietnam that we have to be careful to choose a taxi. Yeah well, wherever we are, we have to be careful to everything. So we've order the taxi from official counter inside the airport. Because we're 6 person, so we chose bigger taxi (like Avanza or Xenia in here). But, when we got the taxi, the problem is the driver can't speak English! That's another challenging thing for us. Finally, we just shown to him our hotel address, and after that we didn't speak to each other, at all, until we arrived safely at our hotel! hahhaha During the trip to our hotel, we saw a lot of motorcycles in Ho Chi Minh road, I said too many! Much more than Indonesia I think. Mostly, Viet using motorcycles than car.
The hotel that we've booked is good for backpackers like us (even though some of my friend bring their suitcase). The room is for two person, small but very clean, tidy, and there's a bathroom inside. Fortunately our hotel location is in the one of most popular area, and also popular for backpackers. So I didn't feel alone, we're not only one foreigners. In front of our hotel there's 24 hours inconvenient store, so we can easily buy something that we needed.
|Our hotel, Saigon Mini 5|
At the first night, we're walked around the hotel and looking for dinner, yeahh we're starving! hahha especially me. But we have to be careful, as a moslem we have to find halal food, but I admitted that we have difficulty in this thing. Finally, in that night we chose Thailand cuisine. Oh ya, some of the waitress/waiter in Vietnam restaurant couldn't speak English, so we always wrote it down and shown the paper to them what we want to eat. It's quite effective! ;)
1st DAY - City Tour
Ben Than Market - Ho Chi Minh City Museum - People Committee Hall - Cathedral Notre-Dame - Central Post Office - Independence Palace - War Remnants Museum - Dong Khoi area
We went there without tour agent, we want to try to explore the city by ourselves. On arrival day, we bought Ho Chi Minh City map at book store near the hotel. Started the day with our simple breakfast at the hotel restaurant, I chose bread with omelette, and hot lemon. It's H-1 of Chinese New Year, our hotel officer said that maybe some place will be close during holiday, and she gave us the map Ho Chi Minh City center. For your information, during these days, they have a week holiday for Chinese New Year! Woow! Feels like we're came in wrong time, but still we want to look around the city before new year's coming. The weather was so good and we took a walk from the hotel to our first destination, Cho Ben Thanh (Ben Thanh Market). Me and Delia designated as person in charge for transportation and entertainment. Firstly, quite difficult to read the map, because it's in Vietnamese. Didn't have a clue. But we've tried our best! ;p
In every new place, everything seems like difficult, and far. When we're stuck and confused, we've tried to ask someone, but they can't explain well. In this situation, body language is another important thing that we have to use. It works! :D Along the way to the market, we found a flower market not too far from the hotel. As usual, we stopped for a while, took a photos. Very crowded, it is because they're busy preparing Chinese New Year. As you can see most of the flower colors are red and yellow. That's so Vietnam! :)
|Cho Ben Thanh|
After walked around about 20 minutes, finally we found it, we found Cho Ben Thanh! But because of we'll look around the town, we postponed our shopping schedule. So we continue walked around. We're heading to Ho Chi Minh City Museum, but...... unfortunately they closed for 2 days! Akkkkk~~~ we just took some photos in front of the building, hikss... So sad.
|Me in front of Ho Chi Minh City Museum|
Continue walking and arrive at another parks, and we found People Committee Hall building. We love the building design, it's so Europe. We took a lot of photos in that parks, even though the sun was so bright at that day. But anyway, I love sunshine.
I prefer to call that place with City Hall, more easier. Hihihi then we walked to Dong Khoi street that similar with Orchard Road in Singapore. We found Parkson, one of mall at Ho Chi Minh City. We just passed it, because our next destination are Cathedral Notre-Dame and Central Post Office. Most of building in here affected by European style, because Vietnam colonized by French. Antique and beautiful. We walked down the street again. Not too far from cathedral and post office, there's Independence Palace. When my friend asked the officer how to enter the palace, they said that we can't enter the building because we're not in a tour group, so we end up (again) in front of the building, and took photos! :))
There's interesting thing when we're near the palace, we found a lot of coconut (water) seller. Because of language limitation, to ask how much does the coconut cost, my friend wrote it down and show to him. Yupp, we did bargaining through writing. Finally we bought 2 coconuts (because of miss-understanding between us) with 100,000 Dong! It similar with IDR 50,000! The most expensive young coconut that we ever bought. Hhahaha suddenly I wanna go back to my home town and ask my brother to pick the young coconut from the trees behind our house. But well yeah, again, it's a priceless experience. ;)