I recently visited Vietnam and Cambodia with two of my constant travel gal pals and I took it upon myself to make us an itinerary because we’re all simply clueless on what touristy things to explore in these places.
Tip: If you have more money to spend on airfare, don’t bother with Cebu Pacific because their current flight schedule to HCMC from Manila is around 11PM; you’ll arrive there around 1AM. You’ll find that you’re somehow lugi with your hotel because it’s like you paid for the whole day even if you arrive at 1AM.
But the hotel we stayed in is worth all the money. We stayed at Tan Hai Long 1, which by the way is in such a superb location that the only time we hailed a cab was when we’re leaving for the airport five days later. You can really explore the city on foot from this hotel. There’s a mixed review about Tan Hai Long 1 but we definitely loved our stay here because of the reasonable price, friendly staff, hearty breakfast buffet and the strong Vietnamese coffee that never fails to give that oomph to my day.
After some few hours of sleep and tummies loaded with delicious breakfast, we crossed the SUPER BUSY Le Lai Street. Crossing the streets of HCMC is one big challenge to surmount. It will seriously revive your spiritual relationship with God because you’ll be praying each time: Lord, tulungan Niyo po akong makatawid sa kabilang kalsada at hindi sa kabilang buhay. Amen. Then like an answered prayer, you’re all strong-willed and focused to get to other side of the road without getting run down by a speeding motorbike or cab. The rules when crossing the street: Look left. Look right. Look up (to pray). Cross the street with these in mind: Get to the other side. Alive. It sounds exaggerated but till you experience it for yourself will you know what I mean. *wink*
I was so lucky to stumble upon this very informative site: http://vietnam720.info/. It’s loaded with tips and information on getting around Vietnam (plus the author is always kind in answering your queries). The museum skeds alone is a huge help so you can plan that one precious day in the city.
- The Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Post Office are right next to each other.
- Walk a few more blocks and you’ll find the Reunification Palace.
- Right behind it is the War Remnants Museum (we didn’t get to see it because it was close that time).
- The Saigon Opera House and the People’s Committee Building is just within each other’s vicinity. It’s a sight to behold at night.
On our second day, we opted to go on tour to see the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Cao Dai Temple (with side trip to the Handicapped Handicraft) as these are a few hours away from the city. We paid US$12 for the tour; excluding entrance fee to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This is worth it as it can be very scorching in HCMC; the airconditioned bus is really a welcome shelter. But one thing that brought smiles during the trip? We saw Jollibee’s engaging grin in Vietnam! It was located in somewhere in District 5. I later on discovered that there are 11 Jollibee stores in HCMC alone and several other stores across Vietnam.