I’m turning 29 this year, the last year of being in my 20s, and I planned to start it with a bang, literally. After convincing my boy friends to come along, we planned a spontaneous party trip to the most dizzying city of Saigon, also known as Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh city is our chosen destination to do the New Year’s Eve countdowns this year. We flew in from Phnom Penh to continue our 10 days journey through Bali, Cambodia and Vietnam. In this post, we share our crazy 3 days adventurous itineraries in this busy bustling pumping city of Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide Essentials
If you plan to obtain visa to Vietnam at the airport, expect an extremely long queue. Alternatively, you can get your visa online. From Australia, apply through the official website of Consulate General of Vietnam.
Although USD is widely accepted in major shops, restaurants and hotels, USD usually work out to be a little more expensive than paying in VND (Dong).
It’s a good idea to have VND handy, for things like street food, markets and small local shops.
Locals are more willing to haggle if you’re paying with VND.
Exchanging AUD, USD or other major currencies is very easy. You can find money exchange services everywhere in Ho Chi Minh city. Major foreign banks like Commonwealth Bank of Australia have ATMs on busy streets, but make sure to check your credit card is accepted first, otherwise it might get ‘eaten’ by the machine. It wasn’t very pleasant to witness some poor backpackers freaking out on the street of Ho Chi Minh.
We walked to most of the inner city attractions from our hotel, as we wanted to explore what the city has to offer in details. We hailed a taxi on New Year’s Eve in Ho Chi Minh city centre, but ended up spending half of the time stuck in traffic. If I wasn’t in heels, I think we would’ve gotten to our destination a lot faster on foot.
It’s an art getting through the streets of Ho Chi Minh. With a huge amount of scooters and cars going in all directions, it’s amazing how everyone can zigzag their way around without getting hurt. Be careful crossing the streets, especially at major intersections. Nevertheless, this is a part of the adventure traveling to Vietnam.
For the rest of our trip here, we took small day tours and travelled by coach.
Duc Vuong Hotel is located near the end of Bui Vien street – the famous backpacker street in Ho Chi Minh. It’s conveniently surrounded by restaurants, bars and street foods. Our well-decorated and modern hostel is about 15 minutes of walking distance to Ben Thanh Market.
Staff is very welcoming and assisted us with bookings and recommendations throughout our stay. For a budget hostel, this one is on the higher end, and I would recommend it to any young travellers who don’t mind the party crowds and a bit of noise.
Top Attractions in Ho Chi Minh
Cu Chi Tunnels
Learn all about Vietnam War and the underground tunnels. The tunnels are very narrow and small, infested with insects. I can’t imagine what those troops went through, with water and food scarce as well, really makes me appreciate our lives today. Try the Kassava roots, and boost your confidence at the shooting range!
Ben Thanh Market
Opens from 7am to 7pm, this is the largest market in Saigon. Shop for your souvenirs, and try some local food! Haggle before you buy!
Authentic Vietnamese Food for Dinner
Must try authentic Vietnamese food while you’re here. My favourite Banh Xeo and Pho with real coconut juice! Coconuts are so cheap here, as well as local fruits. I regret not having more!
Day 2 | 31 Dec 2015
Vinh Trang Pagoda
Our first stop on the way to Mekong Delta River. Appreciate the size of these statues and the peaceful energy this place brings you.
Cruise Mekong Delta River & Island Hop
Take a cruise across Mekong Delta river, shop around the floating markets. Island hop between My Tho and Ben Tre, 4 holy animals – Dragon (Con Rong), Unicorn (Thoi Son), Tortoise (Con Quy) & Phoenix (Con Phung) Islands. Ride a bike to explore Dragon island, try honey tea and rice liquor. Learn all about the makings of coconuts on Phoenix Island, and see if you can resist those coconut candies. Have a delicious lunch, and do these… ??
Go Shopping at Vincom Center & Downtown
We made a last-minute booking to Sheraton for the count down, under-prepared, now we have a reason to go shopping.
NYE on the street of Bui Vien
NYE at Sheraton Saigon
Day 3 | 1 Jan 2016
Recover from Hangover
Streets are empty. Take your time!
Saigon Central Post Office
Browse through the shops, send a postcard to your family and friends.. the old-fashioned way!
Ho Chi Minh Square & City Hall
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
P.S Does anyone else find this ridiculously hilarious? ?
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