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Ho Chi Minh City

sunny 35 °C
View Charlotte and Stephen's Adventure! on charlotter45's travel map.

With only three full days in the capital of Vietnam, I didn’t think we would have enough time to explore it fully, but it turned out to be the perfect amount of time to do everything we wanted to :) I really enjoyed the city, it was a cool mix of old and new and a good end to our month in Vietnam.

Day 1:

We got the bus from the airport to as near to our guesthouse as we could get, and walked the rest of the way. Dragging my bag across roads in Ho Chi Minh proved to be pretty difficult as they are crazy - I’ve never seen so many motorbikes in my life! I thought Hanoi was bad but this was something else!

We were staying in the backpacker’s area so there was plenty of cheap food and even cheaper beer, so this kept us busy for our first evening. After being bitten a few times, we went into a supermarket to buy some insect repellent and came across 6 litre bottles of vodka, gin and rum! Obviously we didn’t buy one, but it would have only cost us about £15 if we’d wanted to.

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Stephen also got his first haircut of the trip and they did a fairly good job for £2!

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Day 2:

Today was a day of full-on site seeing! We did Lonely Planet’s suggested walking route and saw lots of the historical buildings and went inside the Independence Palace. It took all day and was a good way to see the sites, even if it did take us around some pretty random streets that didn’t seem to have much on them!

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The old and the new of Ho Chi Minh City

Walking around all day got pretty hot and tiring so we decided to go somewhere with air con for a drink. We picked New York Desserts Café, and our ‘drink’ turned into an Oreo mud pie and a lemonade float for me, and a 12 layer chocolate cake and a chocolate Coke float for Stephen! It was so delicious, but probably the unhealthiest food we’ve had the whole trip, especially as it was just a ‘snack’!

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As well as the heat it was also tiring having to risk your life every time you wanted to cross a road! There are no pedestrian crossings, everyone drives very fast and red lights are not necessarily obeyed. Here is a picture of the crazy traffic in Ho Chi Minh, right outside the Notre Dame cathedral (not anywhere near as impressive as the one in Paris obviously):

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Day 3:

In the morning we had booked onto a trip to see the Cu Chi tunnels which the Vietnamese dug during the war to confuse and hide from the US soldiers. It was pretty interesting learning how big this network of tunnels was and the traps and tricks they used to capture the Americans. There were sections of tunnel that you could go in (widened so that Western tourists can fit!), but I was a bit scared to go in. Stephen did though – here he is getting into the hidden entrance:

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In the afternoon we went to the War Remnants museum where we saw lots of US army tanks and helicopters and various photos from the American War. Most shocking were the pictures of the children who were born with deformities due to the spreading of Agent Orange and other chemicals over Vietnam.

We decided to have a treat evening as it was our last night in Vietnam, although this didn’t involve very Vietnamese activities or foods! First we went to a bar on the rooftop of a tall building and had delicious olives (something I miss so much about home) and cocktails. After this we went to the Hard Rock Café. We had planned to go elsewhere for drinks after dinner, but the band were good and lots of funny things happened so we just stayed there until late. Never before have I been to a Hard Rock Café (or anywhere!) where 5 year old girls have got up on stage and sang ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, and teenage groups of girls have got up and done dance routines to the songs the band where playing! Best of all was the (extremely camp!) staff getting up on the tables to dance to ‘Moves Like Jagger’.

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Rooftop cocktails

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Teenage girls doing a dance routine at Hard Rock Cafe!

Day 4:

Our flight wasn’t until 1am so we had another full day. We got the bus to Chinatown and had a look around the best temples there. We felt that we were definitely out of the tourist zone – we were the only non-Vietnamese/Chinese people to be seen anywhere! After Chinatown we just wandered around the shopping centres and around the backpacker area again. For dinner we had Vietnamese food for one last time (boo :() before we flew off to the Philippines

Before we left, people asked me what country I was most looking forward to visiting and I always said Vietnam. When we arrived in Hanoi I really thought I would hate it and I was really disappointed, but now, after travelling around Vietnam for a month, I can safely say that (overall) it’s been my favourite country so far :) Hopefully we’ll be able to come back one day as there were a lot of places that we wanted to go but just didn’t have the time.

Posted by charlotter45 06:43 Archived in Vietnam Tagged traffic tunnels city sightseeing drinking

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