Friday, February 22, 2008

Ho Chi Minh

22 - 30 Feb

22 Feb

From KL we take a night bus to Singapore. The bus stops at the Copthorne Orchid Hotel, Singapore early in the morning and from there we take a taxi to the airport. There are very few pictures in this trip because we don't have our camera with us. Thus we can only snap some pictures with Tawaf's handphone :)

23 Feb

Our flight from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh is by Tiger Airways at 6 am. The return tickets for 2 pax are 642.96 Singapore Dollar.

We reach HCM at 7 am local time. At HCM, we are staying at the 3 star Rang Dong Hotel, 81-83 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, District 1. There are other hotels that are nicer, at a similar price but we have friends staying here, thus we decide to stay here as well. The hotel is ok, it's clean, the bed is a bit hard though. We have back ache after staying here for a few days :D.

From the hotel we take a taxi to have lunch. Our friend knows a local Muslim, thus he brings us to a Halal restaurant in-front of a mosque. The food is quite good. After lunch, we brisk walk to the hotel.

The are a lot of shops & shopping area in HCM. There are a lot of varieties of handbags, clothes and souvenirs. The currency here is the Vietnam Dong.

24 Feb

Crossing the road in HCM is very challenging. The motorbikes are everywhere. When there is a traffic, the motorbikes will ride on the pedestrian sidewalk. It is not just 1 motorbike, but many! This can happen anytime, thus we must be very careful when walking by the roadside :)

At night, we have dinner at a halal Indian restaurant. The Nasi Beriyani is delicious! After eating, we take-away some food :)

25 - 30 Feb

Ben Thanh Market

This market is in the District 1, middle of QUAN 1, Nguyen Hue Avenue. It is located at the intersection of Le Loi , Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao and Le Lai Avenues. It is a square building with 4 gates. During the day there are 3000 stalls in the indoor market. It is in a walking distance from our hotel. This market closes at 6pm.

It is said that this market is one of the 1000 places to see before you die :). Buyers really need to bargain when purchasing items here. This market is also known as an expensive market, because things are charged much higher than other places.

Tawaf wants to buy an Ao Dai, which is a Vietnamese traditional clothes. It is pronounce as "Auzai". She finds one that she likes and she bargain & bargain. Start at half the price & negotiate :). In the end, she gets the Ao Dai for a very good price. There is a section of the market that looks like a store. In this part of the market there is no bargaining. This area is run by hired employees who aren't allowed to haggle.

The roundabout in front of the market is a 'must-pass'. From there, we can access various museums & attractions.

At night, there is an open air market beside the Ben Thanh Market. It is best to avoid shopping on Friday & Saturday because the market is crowded and the prices are higher. We heard that the price is cheaper on late Sunday evening and Monday.

Day and night, along Le Loi street, we can walk around & find lots of shops selling souvenirs, clothes, bags and others. There is also the ITC shopping centre. Some nights, we have dinner at a Malaysian Restaurant. They also provide delivery to the hotel.