Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ho Chi Minh #3: Final


Well hello there, I'm absolutely thankful for all of you that spare your time to read my previous two posts about Ho Chi Minh until we have come to the last one, which is today. This trip has been one of my greatest memories and to be able to write about it, was totally worth the time.

InsyaAllah, I will continue to write something on this blog and post something valuable for you guys to read. Let's go! 

P/S: I got a surprise at the end of this post, hope you will love it!

Day 3 7/2/2016 (Sunday)

The third day was our last day to spent here at Ho Chi Minh and we decided to fill it with Chu Chi Tunnels Half Day Tour. Why choose half day tour? Well, we have absolutely no idea, but I'm sure it was a called from our 'instinct'.

Like I said on the previous post (click here), we already booked two tours that include Mekong Delta and Chu Chi Tunnels. We also choose the big group for this Chu Chi Tunnel Half Day Tour. I will list the price below:

Private Tour 
$140 for 3 pax.
Inclusion: Car, lunch, tour guide and entrance fee.

Small Group Tour
$12 per person
18 to 22 people
Inclusion: Bus and tour guide only.

Big Group Tour
$8 per person
35 to 45 people
Inclusion: Bus and tour guide only.

Deluxe Tour
$26 per person
Max 9 people
Inclusion: Car, tour guide, and entrance fee.

The journey took almost 2 hours with only one stop, which we will have our 'happy time' and a quick tour of lacquer art factory. We didn't buy anything at their souvenir store because we have enough of ole-ole to bring back to Malaysia.



Along the journey, our tour guide tells us the history of Chu Chi Tunnels, I kind of like this tour guide rather than Mekong Delta one because I can feel his love towards the history of Chu Chi Tunnels.

Before the arrival, he collects entrance fee from each of us which is 110,000 VND for two tickets which I'm not quite sure what are the differences between it. 

After you received your entrance ticket and patch the sticker onto your clothes, now it's time to discover the place.

Just walk through like a normal visit to a placed. Once you arrived at the first stop, we have to watch a documentary and hear a little bit of explanation from our tour guide about four levels of the tunnel.

Then, we start to discover this historic place and the first one is their camouflaged door. I get to discover how tiny and dark it was. From the moment I closed the door and stay inside, it was unpleasant and scary. But I get to feel how tough they are and life is worth to save even it was was not that comfortable.

Chu Chi Tunnels was full of booby traps and all of them aren't gonna make you stay alive. 





After all that walking, we take a break for a while at their humble 'food court' that also full of souvenirs. Oh, there is shooting range where you can fire a number of various guns. I'm not sure about the price range because I wasn't able to try it since our objectives are just to explore Chu Chi Tunnels itself. But, if you are able to try it, share your experiences in the comment section below.




The moment I have been waiting for, exploring underground tunnels. Our tour guide was very considered because you can choose your path, either go for all or skip some of it.

We were having a doubt and I was kind of claustrophobic and I know how small the tunnel was since I have googled it before but hey, we have come too far, so yeah 200 metres we go.


I am a bit worried about my mom, but she is such a tough women and managed to go through all the way. Well, we want to stop at 150 metres but the tour guide won't let us because it was such a waste to not experienced all the way. 

How do I feel? Nervous at first, because the first metres, the tunnel was really small and uncomfortable, plus super dark with a small ventilation. I'm not sure whether it was because we go inside the tunnels with a large group or just the nerves.


But at the end, it was worth to duck walk all the way, and I think that was enough exercise for the whole month!

I think they might know I am hungry because they served us with tapioca (Ubi Kayu) with salt and spices. The tour guide told us, during the war they only ate the plain tapioca without any garnish every single day. Well, they need to be salute because I could not live without rice at least and lauk.



After that decent meal, we are heading home. And again, they would not drop us in front of our hotel instead this time was quite different, they give us choices stops such as War Remnants Museum, Ben Thanh and others.

Since most of the stall and places are closed due to Tet Festival, and we don't have backup plans. We decided to stop at War Remnants Museum, the entrance fee is 15.000 VND. 

The courtyard was fill with military and aircraft tanks and the building that contain four floors was a good continuous from Chu Chi Tunnels tour.

All I can say is it's worth a visit because it contain a lot of photographic evidence, that might impact you and explained an insight of some horrific events that happened in Vietnam.



Get to know in depth about something that I learn during my first semester in Degree of Journalism
Well, since the package doesn't include lunch and there is no halal restaurant nearby the museum, we have to walk to Hajah Basiroh area and having our lunch. Our 'Malaysian style lunch' total is 200.00 VND.

After that, we head to our hotel and get some rest before having our dinner. 

Ay Sah restaurant is actually our last choice since most of our chosen restaurant was closed. But, it was okay for us since we just want to fill up our tummy with something. 

We were having mango lassi, sampodilla, nasi paprik ayam, nasi goreng luklah and makaroni sup. The total of tonight dinner is 350.000 VND. Not quite finished with food, below is the first street food in Saigon that I have managed to eat!

Pulut with a variety of flavour and colour!
Before dinner, we actually found Street Food Market and with hope will find something street food that halal, but too bad nothing are suitable for us to taste. 

Then, we walked around Ho Chi Minh area and accidentally found a place where some of the locals enjoy their Tet Festival by watching acrobatic performances. After that performances, we stop the park and sit on the bench while trying to capture the last view before heading home tomorrow. 

Day 4 (8/2/2016) Monday

Well, it's actually good that we go back home on Monday because most of the Ho Chi Minh stalls will be closed for one week due to Tet Festival. They are very hardworking locals and deserved to have that amount of time to celebrate the lunar month. 


We woke up around 5 AM because have to be at the airport 3 hours before. We used Vinasun Taxi which was called by the front desk of our hotel. The ride will cost you around 150.000 VND if I'm not mistaken. 

When you arrived at the airport, there is not need to pay for airport tax, and it was better if you spend the money before proceeds to the departure hall because most of the shops in that area only accepted USD.


If you have not yet read our previous post, please click on the link below:

Since this is the last post about Ho Chi Minh trip, we have prepared a video for you. 
Enjoy and Thank You!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Ho Chi Minh #2 : Row Row, Row Your Boat!


First of all, sorry for the late, I have come down with a fever this past few day which kind of ruined my creative senses. But hey, here we go.


Day 2 (6/2/2016) Saturday
As you can see on the title above, this post will be full of our picture on the boat because we are going for a tour at Mekong River. This is kind of a must thing to do if you happened to visit Ho Chi Minh.

We booked the tour one day before with Chu Chi Tunnel package and it seems like, we are quite lucky because our hotel was nearby to everything including tour booking office.

Below are the pictures of the office! 



They offer various type of tour which is private, small, big and deluxe tour which using our common sense big group was much cheaper than the rest. I suggest, take full day tour because I can say it was very interesting and fun journey (as for me). 

Below are the price lists for Mekong Delta Full Day Tour (An Travel):

Private Tour
$140 for 3 pax included:
  • Car
  • Lunch
  • Tour Guide
  • Boats
  • Juice
Small Group Tour
$16 per pax included:
  • Bus 18 - 22 pax
  • Tour Guide
  • Lunch
  • Boats
Big Group Tour
$13 per pax included:
  • Same as small group but 35 to 45 pax
Deluxe Tour
$33 per pax

  • Car
  • Lunch
  • Tour Guide
  • Boats
Since in Bali we already experienced private tour, in Saigon we took the big group tour which is really affordable and later on you can splurge it to FOOD!

The bus picked us up in front of that tour office around 8 AM which is surprisingly very punctual. Then, they pick up other people at their hotel, make a big round in the city.

This is very time-consuming and if you are not that patient enough to experienced this, please try to be or you can pick up the private or deluxe tour. (But, please experienced things that you have never try, it's worth it).

Road to Mekong River took around 1 and a half hour / 2 hours. Along the way, you will have few minutes of 'happy time' at Mekong Rest Stop and visit a temple.





Expression when I get any Green Tea products.

Advisable to bring Power Bank in case you used your phone to hear music, a book or just sleep throughout the journey. 

Vin Trang Temple
As you might know, Saigon population mostly are Buddhist belief, and this temple is one of the best-known temples in the region. We were given 15 minutes to walk around the temple and I get to see a women dress in their traditional wear, Ao Dai having a photoshoot session.





My Tho Dock
My inner child scream like 'Yahoo! Boats!'. Thank god, I was not sea sick because if I did, I would not enjoy any single of this.



First stop: Coconut
Tour guide played very big role in explaining every single thing that happened to you. He first showed how to peel the coconut and every single of it will be used either to make a souvenir or candy!




Then, he explained about the process of caramel. Lastly, coconut candy testing! They don't just came out with an original flavour, but various types like durian + coconut, chocolate + coconut and others.

Second stop: Road to Lunch
Not your typical road to lunch because we are riding a horse-drawn cart through the village! Here is the only chance where you can feel like Alice in the Wonderland or Cinderella (exaggerating).




When I just started enjoying myself and feeling like a queen, we arrived at our lunch place. Along the way, they have a humble souvenir shop. Oh, don't forget we are still at coconut island. 




Finding a halal food in Vietnam quite hard, the only way to survived is to be vegetarian for a while.

Restaurant where we had our lunch!

(Burp) Alhamdulillah! Don't worry we are not in a rush at all. This lunch place provides free bike ride, for us to ride around the village.





Third stop: Bee Farm
Mekong Delta makes you feel like out of our comfort zone for a while, where our daily vehicle to reach a certain destination is by car. But here, rowing boat are your main vehicle.

They take us back to the previous place and switched to big boats to go to the Bee Farm.



Please! If you are in that Coconut Island, try this air tebu for only 10,000 VND.
You don't have to be afraid when arrived here because the bee won't sting you. Plus, we will be served by that delicious honey tea with a light snack. 

Honey tea recipe: Spoonful of honey, a teaspoon of dried bee pollen, half of fresh lime juice and pour the hot water! 


Along the way, they will start to explained and bring out their merchandise like honey, royal jelly and dried bee pollen. I bought one of their merchandise which honey at RM20 and I might think it would worth it since there was no preservatives and 100% pure.

Fourth stop: Fruit Farm
Back to rowing boat.

The guy that rowing the boat told me that it's a 1 km journey (I'm not sure if this true since they are good at what they are doing). But I can simply say that it was a pleasant journey.





This is the last stop before going back to the city and a very good ending since I really love fruit (pstt, I took some banana and buah mata kucing). 

They served us with tea and fruits (banana, papaya, buah mata kucing, pineapple and others). The way they eat pineapple are full of sweet and sour! With a bit of salt and chillies, dab your pineapple in it, trust me, it was so good.


Oh! Besides that delicious fruits, they also performed their traditional song (that was something different). 

Overall, I feel very welcoming and learn something about their culture. Therefore, make sure to book a day tour at Mekong Delta!

Now, we are going back to Ho Chi Minh City. Please note that upon arrival they would not send you back to your hotel. They will stop in front of their tour office which is An Travel, and give you directions to went back safely.

When we arrived at the hotel, we decided to take a break before having our dinner.

Dinner at Kampung Pandan
Tonight will be the first time I taste their common food which is Pho Bo (Beef Noodle)!

What I noticed since I came here, their food portion is very large and since I'm a big eater, it never been better. If you happened to come here, please try rice noodle with beef... (didn't know the full name since the receipt cut of some words).

Rice noodle with beef...
Pho Bo
Our overall expenses are 352,000 VND (Beef noodle, chicken noodle, rice noodle with beef, lemon soda and fresh orange)

Nguyen Hue Street 
Unplanned to experienced their flower street which happened only on Tet Festival. A lot of beautiful flowers, very colourful and calming consider this street will be packed with people.

Day view 

Night view 1

Night View 2

That's all for the second post, see you on the third post!

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