Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 2 – First Impressions of Saigon


Short Note: KK road trip no jadi because of the scary jam. Wanna take flight instead but fully booked. All well, we’re going to Miri~!

19th Dec 2009 (Saturday)

Stepping out from the Tan Son Nhat Airport and ventured into the bustling cosmopolitan city, damn sakai lor us.

Random pagoda on the street.

We stayed in Pham Ngu Lao (Bui Vien st), the heart of backpacker’s district.  

Really, there’s rows and rows of hotels and travel agents here. Really can dare dare no need make reservations one. Sure got place to stay ranging from USD 8 (fan room only, saw it when we’re just walking around) to I don’t know how much.

Thanks to Pingko who went to HCMC last April and found this gem for us. She told me that there’s a new hotel just across the hotel she stayed and recommended it. So I tried to book it like 3 months prior our stay. Then, the hotel staff asked me to email instead. I emailed them like 5 times but no reply. At last, I went to the saloon which I always go and asked the manicurist (Veitnamese) to help me make the phone call and reserve the room for me. Sekali she told me that they only accept reservation the day before the stay or, you afternoon check in, morning book also can.

Wah lao eh…..

Yen Trang Hotel!!!

Nonetheless, we successfully got to check in the room. Hehehehe.

Oh ya, no need to google or what. Not much result in return so I took a risk and die die want to stay there.

USD 20 for small room and USD 25 for big room.
Cheap cheap!

It’s quieter compare to other streets because of the limited space on the road and banyak-banyak restaurants!


Our big room. One King size bed and one single bed. 




Took a shower that we both longed for and a short nap on the comfy bed that we desperately needed before our so-called sendiri chingchai jalan city tour.

There’s a travel agent / money changer just below our hotel so we went to book our Cu Chi & Cao Dai temple tour. Yes, only USD7!!!

p/s: Previously I didn’t know that Cu Chi tunnel is actually pronounced as “Gu-Chi” tunnel and not “Chooo-Chi”. And there’s one time Bobby said, “So we’re going to Cuci Tangan right?” 

I was laughing like a mad man when he super salah said Cu Chi Tunnel as Cuci Tangan!



The crazy wires all tangled up.
Something you’ll see everywhere in HCMC.


No traffic light, no round about.
But they somehow like have their own system in crossing.
(And what you see in the above photo is super minor already, I mean the amount of cars, bikes and pedestrians)

Super not used to it lor.
Because in Brunei right-hand drive one mah. So when crossing road, we look right, then left, and right again. But in HCMC, they’re all left hand drive, so tabalik lor.

Really lor like what I read from forums and those travel tips, crossing roads in HCMC is like committing a suicidal act!


Buying my very first street food.

No idea what is it called but it’s very nice. 

4000 dong.

Oh ya, the unofficial rate I used when we’re in Vietnam is
SGD1 = 13,000 Dong
USD1 = 18,500 Dong

To make things easier, I actually made an Excel file with all all the conversions, printed it out and stick it in my travel journal, along with all the info I read from the internet.

Got do homework one okay~

(Bobby super lucky can, I arranged everything nice nice and all he needed to do is to enjoy and relax, and pay. HAHAHHAHAA)


Makan at Pho 2000 because it’s super famous.


Pho for the president because….


Former president Bill Clinton had a noodle soup there.

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The Chalie Chubbies attacking the menu. Nom Nom Nom Nom!


Blended Soursop! Heaven!

Damn thick ah!
Bobby and I are not coffee lovers so we opted for blended juices all the time.


Grill Pork with rice~


Deep fried spring rolls.

Very very very good!!!

Bobby’s seafood pho… which imo tasted like a sweet tom yum gong.  



143,000 dong = B$ 11.00

The round about near to the bus terminal and Ben Thanh Market with General Tran Nguyen Han Statue.


Kelly Lim! Your hotel ahhhhh!!!


Wen (48), you see, this is a dental clinic eh!

We walked pass the Reunification Palace but didn’t went in because it was closed due to some meeting held. But nehmind, I had read enough from Vietnam720.

Honestly, for those whose thinking to give HCMC a visit, check out www.vietnam720.com. Lots of useful tips and also those “How to get to..” helps!

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica


Ya, I was wearing a bright red Paddington beat tshirt that Bobby bought for me from his last KL trip. Felt like a 8yo~


The newly weds just walked out from the church and went for photoshoot outside the church. Damn romantic lor.

And, for the 5 days stay in HCMC, almost everyday also got people kahwin!


Obligatory touristy shot.


Street artist

Just next to the Notre Dame Cathedral, is the
Saigon Central Post Office

It was constructed in classic French colonial style between 1866 and 1891 by Gustave Eiffel, who is famous for designing the Eiffel Tower. Definitely a must-visit!

And most important of all, it’s still operating!






Sorry, I couldn’t resist taking this shot. Next time I also want to bring my son go there and play play like that too. 


Inside the post office.







One of the highlights, the old map of Indochina



ATM Machines!



Support HSBC! Hahahaahaa.

Vintage floorings.




The writing area. Super vintage!      

I was imagining me writing a letter and post it to Bobby, but he was right beside me at that time so no jadi. Now to think of it, I should have force him to write a letter to each other and anticipate the hype of receiving a love letter lor.                                


Camwhoring inside the  post office.

Then came an angmoh uncle reached out his hand to me and said, “That’s not the way to take picture. Here, let me help you!”

And he took this photo of us.

Hahaha. Super random this uncle.


Called my mom.
Because the roaming at that time didn’t work and my mom doesn’t know how to reach sms one. And, I just want to feel how it’s like to make phone calls in those private room like 20 years ago how my mom did.

On the lower right, is the display for the amount of time you talked.

Cost only 4000 Dong per minute!


Walking out from the Post office and the beautiful cathedral greeted us again.


Bobby practicing the art of  silly pose.


Photoshoot with a beautiful lady and a cool Vespa.



Xmas deco coming right up!



Diamond plaza is just across the street.
Time to shop!



Saw a Burberry scarf selling for 4 million plus Dong and we’re still not used to hearing that kind of big amount.  



Yummy ice creams!


Red Bean and vanilla ice cream in waffle~



The rear view of the Notre Dame Cathedral. 


More Xmas deco on the way~


Passed by Galaxy Cinema, wanted to catch a movie but we had no idea if it’s going to be dubbed and no one layan us when we asked. Communication error.



Reached the Water puppet theater.
Nguyen Thi Minh Kai street 55B




But the show at 6.30pm was sold out so we bought 8.00pm instead and went for dinner.

Chose this random restaurant.


They gave us a tissue to avoid the sizzling steak from dirtying our cloths.

38,000 dong for the steak. (About BND3)


Ordered Soda with lime and came a glass of ice cubes, a glass of sugar, a can of soda and a plate of lime. 



The French bread was super good when dipped with the sauce!
And, that’s salad with I think.. condensed milk.

We really love the French bread there. It’s crispy outside but soft inside. Not like those in Brunei, hard inside and out. Macam eat rubber like that cannot bite off one.


Our tickets. 70,000 dong per person.



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The cool water stage and with only 5 people in charge of the dialogues and music, they did a really good job. And I could see that they really enjoy their work. 



The guy on the left was kinda cute.  






All the shows are in Vietnamese, but you can understand it from the brochure they gave away when you bought the ticket.The show is very informative, about daily life of Vietnamese, working either as fisherman, farmer, or dancer. Plus additional feature of king and royal family, kids playing around, and daily conversation in a rural area. The show ended with all the 8 men working hard moving the puppet behind the stage, appear and bow for all the audiences. 

Source from here.




Youtube video here.


The hebat puppeteers!


After the show, we’re already super tired from walking. Still we wanted to walk back to our hotel because the traffic on the road was really scary. 

If I’m not wrong, you have to buy ticket (booth on the left) then baru can go take picture with all those xmas deco.

Really, the locals LOVE to take picture with anything!




Jackie Chan hotel, don’t play play.




The scary traffic on a Saturday night.
Super scare kana langgar but sure no robbery because, the robber couldn’t go anywhere in this kind of traffic. HAHAHHAHAHA.

That’s all for now. Day 3 coming up~