Having a 2-week break, I wanted my break to be productive and well-planned. It’s a waste to just stay at home doing nothing and just see my holidays pass in a blink of eye. So, I thought, hmm let’s just go somewhere. I decided to travel to 2 countries at once considering that it’d be worth the money and I could try take on some cross-bordering experience. I planned roughly our itinerary and I got my sister, Aiza to be my travel partner for the first time ever. Heh, so it’s just the two of us carrying huge backpacks around the city.
Our flight to Ho Chi Minh was at 9 am and that was the perfect timing ever. After experiencing a 7-am flight in the past, it was a blessing to go for a 9-am flight (and also having a sister who works in the airport hehe). I’ve always hated red-eye flights because I would not be able to sleep the night before. There’s always these what if I woke up late and missed my flight and did I miss anything before zipping my bagpack thoughts before sleeping the night before. And I must say, the worry is usually completely gone after zipping the bag for the final time. No more putting things and searching for this and that; you just want to throw your bags into the car boot and just move to the airport ASAP. Hahaha lol.
And yeah, this was actually my first time flying abroad with Malaysia Airlines. I’ve flied twice with them but only to Langkawi. So far, it has been a nice experience since we were served the nasi lemak onboard yeay!! I was hungry at that time, so I don’t really expect it to be so good since airline food is always meh but I genuinely like it. We arrived earlier than we were scheduled to, but the queues at the immigration were damn long so it didn’t make any difference. I tell you, there were so many people lining up to get their passports stamped and surprisingly, there were no hijabis except us. After clearing immigration and taking our bags, we headed for the bus. Cheap and easy. I actually love taking bus during travelling and I just don’t know why. The experience is just better than taking trains or cars. Most probably because it’s the ideal way to get closer sight to the locals’ daily lives.
post touchdown – enjoying Pepsi we bought from Burger King while waiting for the bus 109 to Ben Thanh
If anyone would ever asked me on how many days should one spent in Ho Chi Minh, I’d just answer it depends. Ho Chi Minh is kinda large city plus you have the historical spots which are quite far from the city. Example is the Cu Chi tunnels. If you truly want a free and easy trip, maybe you could allocate 6 days to entirely cover the city, historical places and the floating market in Mekong River. Or you could take any daytrips to several places like the famous sand dunes idk. Just, don’t rush when it comes to planning because trust me, it’d make things more tiring than ever. Take things one at a time and if it rains, then just chill and enjoy the awesome coffee there ;))) Remember, travelling is all about relaxing and enjoying, not rushing from one place to another.
On our way to the Airbnb, we got a bit lost. Vietnamese language may seem easy to be understood since it’s way different than Thai, but sometimes it can be confusing as hell. Asking locals for directions could be frustrating because some would reject you even before looking at the address. In the end, we bought a local SIM and found the direction to our homestay. And after arriving at our Airbnb, I was quite impressed with my surrounding. No luxurious hotels whatsoever. So ‘local’! It is located around the locals’ neighbourhood where there are plenty of restaurants nearby and small grocery shops. And it was a usual thing listening to neighbors downstairs having their karaoke sessions and hearing some prayers from the monks in front at night. What better surrounding can I get than this? #grateful
Where we practically lived for 2 nights…interesting.
My sister and I also got on some thrilling crossing-the-road experience. Hahaha it was fun and risky! Besides adjusting to the different sides of driving here (theirs are like the Americans) so yeah we should look to the right first then left before crossing the road lol. Here’s what I learnt – just look forward and be confident when crossing. The road users are professional peeps, they will avoid you. It’s also an incredible sight to see everyone wearing helmets here, and do you know there are approximately 2 million motorcycles users in HCM? Traffic lights are pretty useless but I’m amazed that people can maneuver their vehicle brilliantly without getting hit here and there.
busy road, all day, every day…
Of course, we visited the city attractions like the post office, cathedral, Ben Thanh market, the opera house and the famous walking street. We had fun as others tourists did and we walked like a lot. Online maps can be quite deceiving because the place we’re heading to seems near but damn, it’s not. Not to forget the rainy season, at one time we had to put on our ponchos looking all cool but deep inside, we were sweating like crazy! Uber and Grab are available everywhere but we opted to walk because of our tight budget. Hahaha what an experience though travelling during rainy season…
I’ll just include some photos of the city to end this post!
Saigon Opera House in the afternoon. So beautiful!
The same Saigon Opera House but at night! And at the right you can see the statue of Ho Chi Minh :’)
mask checked. helmet checked.
hiiiiii theree lolol
me and my sister, Aiza enjoying our sundae cones after a long day
Saving Cambodia for the next post!! tbc.