Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

I've always want to travel solo, although I've put this plan aside because of hesitation of "what if's" that I'm afraid to explore. Some of my friends have encouraged me to do so. This is a time to explore my capacities of enjoying life alone in an unknown country.

I started planning of places to go and had some different options in Asia. A friend once told me that Vietnam has a very rich history that it would be nice for a travel enthusiast to go visit to. My friend Hay also 2nd the motion since she was there and agreed that it was a safe place to go. So Vietnam it is, specifically, HO CHI MINH city, formerly known as Saigon.

Although I'm alone, I still have to find someone who stays their just in case I get lost and since Singles for Christ (a community where I belong to) is present in Vietnam, I asked my sister in Christ, Ava, to introduce me to someone there. She is Aice, a SFC leader in HCMC Vietnam. So I communicated with her through facebook and planning started.

And take note that even though your touring alone, taking good pictures is not impossible, not just the view but with you on it. Bring with you a GoPro that can capture wide range angles, a Samsung NX Mini selfie camera, wonderful selfie pictures even good videos and of course your every reliable mobile phone, all of this are handy so there is no excuse of having good memories. 



Photos taken from 16 Nov 2015 to 22 Nov 2015.








with Ho Chi Minh



A little bit of HISTORY:

Vietnam 
(Listeni/ˌviːətˈnaːm/VietnameseVit Nam [viət˨ næm˧] (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/21/Speaker_Icon.svg/13px-Speaker_Icon.svg.png listen)), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV; Vietnamese:Cng hòa Xã hi ch nghĩa Vit Nam (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8a/Loudspeaker.svg/11px-Loudspeaker.svg.png listen)), is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 90.5 million inhabitants as of 2014, it is the world's 13th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian countryThe name Vietnam translates as "Southern Viet" (synonymous with the much older term Nam Viet); it was first officially adopted in 1802 by EmperorGia Long, and was adopted again in 1945 with the founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. The country is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and Malaysia across the South China Sea to the southeast.[e] Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976. (wikipedia)

Ho Chi Minh City
The flagship city of Vietnam in terms of economic development and international exposure, Ho Chi Minh City is a truly happening city. The central area of District 1 is imposing with its high-rise buildings, shopping centers as well as other entertainments such as restaurants, café shops, and bars. China Town in District 5 is a contrasting destination with colorful lanterns and exotic Chinese shop-houses that date back at least 40 years ago. Historical heritages such as Dinh Thong Nhat and Bao Tang Cach Mang Vietnam will let you step into the epic history of Gia Dinh or Sai Gon. Furthermore, Ho Chi Minh City boasts its diversely flavorful cuisine as good foods from all regions concentrate here. In the menu, some of the must-try are Banh Xeo Nam Bo, Bun Bo Hue, snails and seafood. (vietnamonline).

I initially booked for 3 nights and 4 days but felt it's too short so I extended it up to 6 nights and 7 days.I book the hotel through 
booking.com since I'm a genius member there. My friend Craig who has been there also suggested for the hotel and some itineraries I could go through and the hotel is called XAVIER HOTEL with details below.


25 Trương Đnh, P. Bến Thành, Q1;
+84 3822 8491
info@xavierhotel.com


The hotel is not that big since it's only a 2 star hotel but it's quite decent and close to tourist attractions in HCMC. The staff are really friendly and tried their best to communicate to you in english.



Taken from Booking.com





ATTRACTIONS

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica 

Address: Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam

(Vietnamese: Vương cung thánh đường Đc Bà Sài Gòn or Nhà th Đc Bà Sài Gòn, French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saïgon), officially Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception (Vietnamese: Vương cung thánh đường Chính tòa Đc M Vô nhim Nguyên ti) is a cathedral located in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Established by French colonists, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters (190 feet). (Wikipedia)



Inside the Cathedral after hearing the Holy Mass




Saigon Central Post Office 


Address: At the top of Dong Khoi St opposite Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone Number: +84(08)829-6862

(VietnameseBưu đin Trung tâm Sài GònFrenchPoste centrale de Saïgon) is a post office in the downtown Ho Chi Minh City, near Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, the city's cathedral. The building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century. It counts with GothicRenaissance and French influences. It was constructed between 1886-1891 and is now a tourist attraction.[1]
It was designed by Auguste Henri Vildieu and Alfred Foulhoux, but is often erroneously credited as being the work of Gustave Eiffel.[1]


Inside the Saigon Central Post office of special note are two painted maps that were created just after the post office was built, the first one located on the left side of the building is a map of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia titled Lignes telegraphiques du Sud Vietnam et Cambodge 1892 which translates to "Telegraphic lines of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia 1892". The second map of greater Saigon is titled Saigon et ses environs 1892translating to "Sai Gon and its environment 1892". (wikipedia)




Inside the Central Post Office, the place is very much operational.



Tan Dinh Church

Address: 89 Hai Ba Trung, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | 
Tan Dinh Church, or in Vietnamese, Nha Tho Tan Dinh, was built by the French in the early 20th century. Set in the heart of HCMC's Tan Dinh fabric market, the church is easy to spot thanks to its bright pink color and Roman style architecture. Tan Dinh is the second largest church in Ho Chi Minh City after the Notre Dame Cathedral. The church is a block away from Le Van Tam Park and a short taxi ride from Vinh Nghiem Pagoda.


Tan Dinh Church opened its doors in HCMC in 1876. Near its gate it houses two bell towers replete with six bells. Thanks to a local wealthy family, the church received a donation of three Italian marble altars in 1929. In 1976, on its 100th anniversary, Tan Dinh Church underwent renovations. Today, the church has an active Saigonese congregation and its design makes for some wonderful photo ops.


find me in the pic :-)



Since it's Pink, which is my fave color, a photo op is necessary.



The War Remnants Museum 

Address: 28 Vo Van Tan St, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam

Phone Number: 08 829 0325

(VietnameseBo tàng chng tích chiến tranh) is a war museum at 28 Vo Van Tan, in District 3Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. It primarily contains exhibits relating to the Vietnam War, but also includes many exhibits relating to the first Indochina War involving the French colonialists. (wikipedia)

Although this place makes me sad but I'm really blessed to understand the essence of fighting for your country because sometimes people don't appreciate the calmness of peace until they decided to be part of a war.














Independence Palace 

Address: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia | District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


(VietnameseDinh Đc Lp), also known as Reunification Palace (VietnameseDinh Thng Nht), built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam. It was designed by architect Ngô Viết Th and was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during theFall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates. (wikipedia)








The Mekong Delta

(VietnameseĐng bng Sông Cu Long "Nine Dragon river delta"), also known as the Western Region (Vietnamese:Min Tây) is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network ofdistributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of 39,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi).[1]The size of the area covered by water depends on the season.

The Mekong Delta has been dubbed as a "biological treasure trove". Over 1,000 animal species were recorded between 1997 and 2007 and new species of plants, fish, lizards, and mammals has been discovered in previously unexplored areas, including the Laotian rock rat, thought to be extinct.[2]

Throughout the tour, I've been part of 10 tourist group and I did enjoyed it. With a lot of insights from different travelers, we felt humbled on how simple life is for an authentic vietnamese. The joy they have in a very provincial way, getting rid of the hustles and bustles of life is what I envy, I will have to do this once in a while.



Going Local










TThe tour operator I used is Asiana Link Travel which was recommended by the hotel. Very informational travel guide although as per my friend, it's a little bit pricey.





The Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City


Address: Intersection of Le Loi and Dong Khoi Sts | Lam Son Square, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone Number: (84-8) 825 1563

Also known as Saigon Opera House (VietnameseNhà hát ln Thành ph H Chí MinhFrenchOpėra de Saigon), is an opera house in Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam. It is an example of French Colonial architecture in Vietnam.
Built in 1897 by French architect Eugène Ferret as the Opėra de Saigon, the 800 seat building was used as the home of the Lower House assembly of South Vietnam after 1956. It was not until 1975 that it was again used as a theatre, and restored in 1995.





Ho Chi Minh Museum

Address: 65 Ly Tu Trong St., Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam(Formerly Revolutionary Museum)
Phone Number: 08/829-8250


Located in a building known as the 'Dragon House,'' this is the location where Ho Chi Minh left Vietnam from in 1911. Today it is a fascinating museum dedicated to the life and travels of Ho Chi Minh the man. (http://www.saigonscene.com/Museums.htm)






ARTINUS

Address: 02-04 Road 9, Him Lam Residence, Tan Hung Thuan Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The first 3D Painting Museum in Saigon


In this museum, it is essential for someone to take a photo of you and as you may know by now, I'm alone while touring the city, luckily, a kind staff named Han noticed the need and volunteered to take pictures of me. Another good thing is that she taught how to pose properly with the said paintings, indeed very helpful. 




































CURRENCY

You’re a millionaire in Vietnam, their currency is the Vietnamese Dong and I’ve earned my first million.
J


FOODIES

Most places I went are recommended by tripadvisor, based on travelers reviews. Some are recommended by my newly found SFC Vietnam friends.

Phở or pho

When you’re in Vietnam, you won’t missed this for the world. This is their most famous delicacy, I tried this before in Palawan because they have a Vietnamese village there and now tasted the authentic one.


(pronounced variously as /fʌ/, /fə/, /fər/, or /foʊ/;[2] Vietnamese: [fəː˧˩˧] (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/21/Speaker_Icon.svg/13px-Speaker_Icon.svg.png listen)) is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat, primarily served with either beef or chicken.[3] Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam[4] and the specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world. Southern Vietnamese eat it for breakfast and occasionally lunch, whereas those from northern Vietnam consume it at any time of day. (Wikipedia)


 together with fried dumplings


 With Aice, my angel in Vietnam.

Quang Binh


Eating lunch with traditional Vietnamese cuisine with my friend Aice’s Vietnamese HR.








Bánh xèo or Vietnamese Crepe

 [ɓǎɲ sɛ̂w], literally "sizzling cake", named for the loud sizzling sound it makes when the rice batter is poured into the hot skillet[1][2] is a Vietnamese savory fried pancake made of rice flour, water, turmeric powder, stuffed with slivers of fatty pork, shrimp, diced green onion, and bean sprouts.. (wikipedia)





Propaganda Resto


Nice interior and english speaking staff. Near the Notre Dame Cathedral, a good place to hang out for good food of international and local cuisine.


Secret Selfie :-)





I.D CAFÉ


The ambiance of this café is really calm and inviting. A good place for a group or an individual to chill and eat a sumptuous meal.




Loriekot’s Lutong Bahay

I’m used to Filipino restaurants in Dubai but there is only one in Ho Chi Minh City, so I took the privilege to go there because the owner is also a member of the Singles for Christ.


There are few Filipinos working in Vietnam but there are a lot of Filipino tourists, this is a good place for Pinoys hang out and dine with our own Pinoy style of food.


with the owners



TOILET KINGDOM

An interesting concept of a coffee and snack shop especially with interiors all made of toilet stuffs, it is quite fun and exciting. The toilet is the last place you would think you would eat, right? You may think it stinky but it’s not, Irony at its best, although they could have work better with their menu. This café I believe have just recently opened and the concept was adapted in a similar place in Taiwan.




COFFEE & THE HAMMOCK

In Viet tradition, freshly brewed coffee is never meant to be drunk on-the-go in Vietnam. Since a drip filter is used, the brewing process isn’t one for the impatient and it often takes 10 minutes or so for your coffee to be ready, then comes the hammock. 

A nice experience after a long day of hard work in any industry, they take a break and socialize. Coffee and hammock meant socialization and relaxation.




Vietnamese iced coffee, also known as Ca phe da or cafe da (Vietnamese: cà phê đá, literally "ice coffee") is a traditionalVietnamese coffee recipe.

At its simplest, Ca phe da is made with coarsely ground Vietnamese-grown dark roast coffee individually brewed with a small metal French drip filter (cà phê phin) into a cup containing about a quarter to a half as much sweetened condensed milk, stirred and poured over ice. The coarse grind allows the use of the cà phê phin. Ca phe sua da is iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk.
This is what I really love in Vietnam, this kind of coffee. :-)

Photo credits to: http://leveloclubs.com/category/club-coffees/vietnamese-classic-coffee/
DUBSMASH



While I was there I have shared a good meal with good stories and great laugh with my new found friends from SFC Vietnam namely, Aice, Eden, Fred, Marvie, Jhen and Mikay. Salamat and see ya real soon.





TRAVEL VIDEO

Below is the link and video of the summary of my whole trip. A wonderful experience as a first time solo traveler. Life is a risk anyway so better enjoy it.

Thanks to all who helped me to make things possible and conquering my fear. 

Hn gp li Vit Nam












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