Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday mood and Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City Hall or Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee. I took this picture with my mobile phone's 0.3 megapixel camera.

Lots of things to be done during the holiday season and before classes begin. If only my break was two whole months instead of a month and a quarter. My last exam paper was on Nov 20 and it's back to school on Dec 28.

I got back home yesterday (Sunday) from a very cool Vietnam trip. Went to Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon, its old name, for a five-day stay. I did some research on the Internet and found out that there are around four million motorbikes in the city. There were some pictures found via Google search but they did no justice to the real thing.

Yup. The number of bikes on the road is almost uncountable. I also noticed that the only cars on the road were those huge ones, like those Pajero and Avanza-like cars. No Kancils or Mini cars on the road. I'm thinking that only the rich can afford cars and very good cars too. We even passed a car that had a touch screen in it. My sister and her friends oohed, aahed and waahed over almost everything they saw.

Even though there are millions of bikes on the road, it's not difficult to cross to the other side. Believe it or not, I think you can even cross the road with your eyes closed and you'll still be able to get to the other side unscathed. The motorists know how to swerve around and avoid you. Really, they are the most considerate drivers ever.

I was really excited to be going there actually. I didn't know that Ho Chi Minh City is Saigon City's new name. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh city in 1976 after the Communist leader, Ho Chi Minh.

When I took up Cinema Studies, I did a paper on the movie Apocalypse Now directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando. The setting of the movie was in Saigon during the Vietnam War. So the city's totally historical and I couldn't wait to immerse myself in its rich history.

It was a treat to have the opportunity to visit the Củ Chi Tunnels which were the Viet Cong's (National Liberation Front) base of operations during the war. I haven't heard of these tunnels before and I'm glad to know about them now. Will share some photos and write more on my trip after this! But here's a summary of where we went:

Day 1: Arrived in Ho Chi Minh City at around 7.15 pm Malaysian time (6.15 pm Vietnam time). Had dinner at Phở 24 (pronounced like fur). Phở is a type of Vietnamese beef and noodle soup. Walked around Bui Vien Street for some sight-seeing.

Day 2: Went to Ben Thanh Market for some shopping. Lunch at Lotteria. Dessert at Yogurt Space. Had dinner at Lemongrass near the Opera House.

Lemongrass restaurant

Day 3: Went to the Central Post Office, Independence Palace, Cathedral Notre Dame. Had lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant (Quan An Ngon) - dessert = che suong sa hot luu. Went to Ben Thanh Market for more shopping. Dinner at a cruise ship called Mei Linh. Entertainment included.

Day 4: Went to Chinatown, Binh Tay Market. Then went to Giac Lam temple. After that, went to the Cu Chi tunnels! Lunch at a boat restaurant in the area. Dinner at a French restaurant called La Fourchette. Walked around.

Day 5: Breakfast at Sozo. Back to hotel to catch a cab to the airport!


  1. You went to CuChi tunnel?!! I was there in Vietnam 2004 and 2005. Love Cu Chi Tunnel, it gives you a creepy feeling, but one of the most interesting place I visited. Hope you have a chance to visit Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, it's incredible!

    In case you think I am a stalker. I am the owner of the blog : www.bibliojunkie.wordpress.com common blogger friend : Reading Monk. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing about your trip to Ho Chi Minh! I'm glad you had a wonderful time there. :D

  3. Sounds like an amazing time! I would love to visit Ho Chi Minh City. I would probably Oooh, Aah, and Waah over everything I saw, too. :D

  4. Jovenus: Yes, I also think that the tunnels were one of the highlights of my trip. Hmm, it could even be the highlight! :)

    Oh no I didn't get the chance to visit Hanoi and Ha Long Bay...we only had 3 full days for activities and such. Perhaps I'll go again some other time! I'd also love to visit the Nha Trang beach.

    I don't think you're a stalker! Haha! Thanks for dropping by and thanks for your blog link.

    Alice: Yes I sure did have a good time there. A new place to explore and discover.

    Jessica: Yeah, do go there when you have the opportunity! It's a beautiful country and you'll definitely have fun there. :)


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