Tag Archives: Ho Chi Minh City

The Blundstone Travels Again!

12 Dec

Now that M1 is back, we will go off for a family vacation. Last year, we did Ho Chi Minh City and boots or warm clothes were not necessary. This year, we opted for Hong Kong, definitely colder and certainly boots, jackets and sweaters are required.

So my Blundstone boots will travel again. Yay! Looking forward to this trip but not the wake up call and ride to the airport. The 8.45am flight means waking up at 3.30am for a 4.30am pick up. Ugh. It’s an hour’s journey to KLIA2 and travellers are advised to be at the airport three hours before departure. Ugh.

It will be a long day ahead tomorrow.

Short People Travel Too

28 Mar

Although throughout the school holiday week, we did not go anywhere due to M2 wanting to prepare for her exams, we did go away on the last weekend before school reopened. We joined our golf club for two away-Interclub matches, a 2D/1N trip to Port Dickson and Malacca. It was a good short getaway I must say.

When we stayed overnight in Malacca at Kings Green Hotel, I was impressed with the hotel on two things: the pillows and hooks in the bathroom. The pillows were plump and just right! And the bed was equally good with the right firmness. For once, I didn’t have to whip out my travel pillow, which I brought along, to have a good night’s sleep. And the bathroom hooks! There was ample which is rare, with a row of four hooks at a height that short people appreciates.

This reminds me of our last hotel stay in December last year.

We were in Ho Chi Minh City when M1 was back for her Christmas break. The hotel we stayed at, Sunrise Central Hotel was pretty strategic. Located in District 1, just next to Grand Silverland Hotel (which I stayed at during my June golf trip last year as well), it was within walking distance to food and shopping. The room may be small compared to Grand Silverland’s room but was decent. However, one thing irked me.

There were just not enough hooks to hang clothes in the bathroom and the only one available was way too high! It is as though such tourist hotels are catered only to tall people with an easy reach to hang up their clothes or towel.

The bathroom door actually had a glass panel (unusual with such a feature) and there was no practical place for the hook to be except way above the glass panel. Why didn’t they consider having the hook at the wall right behind the door at a reachable height instead? The hook was at least a good six feet high or more.

I am average in height for an Asian at 156cm (5 feet 1.5 inches), not short but not tall either. When I stretched my arm up to measure the height of the hook, my arm was pretty straight upwards and I still had to be on tip toe to hang my towel. I don’t think this is right, is it? I can’t imagine how my girls dealt with it, as they are slightly shorter than me. Even the closet, the rod inside was pretty high up. Sigh…

Usually when such situations arose, I would, albeit reluctantly just put down the toilet seat cover and place my clean clothes on it because I don’t like to walk into a cold room after a hot shower even with a snugly wrapped towel. All that nice after-shower toasty feeling would be lost immediately once the cold air hits the skin.

Whoever assigned the contractors or installers to put these things up should remember that short people travel too and these things are important to us. And to consider adding another hook in the bathroom as well for practicality. Goodness only knows how clean (or unclean) those toilet seat covers are and for me, after a long day playing tourist, I seriously don’t need to do any yoga stretches in the bathroom to get to my clothes.


These babies were so comfy!


The row of hooks just above my eyebrows



Ending on a High

30 Dec

Yesterday morning, we decided to give Ben Thanh Market another shot and visited again after breakfast. My game plan was not to look at any vendor in the eye and just look at the things on display. And if anything catches my fancy, I’d just whip out my iPhone5S, aim, shoot and walk off. It worked.

Managed to walk certain areas we missed the day before and these pictures sure are interesting. After the walkabout, we decided to walk around the neighborhood to kill some time. After all, our pick up was coming only by 12.30pm and we had more than a couple more hours. Hubby didn’t think we should stay in the room watching CNN and listening to depressing world news. 

I’d say it was a good workout but one must be careful when walking because the pavements are not even. I stumbled a few times when I was looking up.

We didn’t want to wander off too far and soon made our way back to the hotel, did a final packing, showered and checked out. Traffic was a slow crawl but we still arrived at the airport early. 

After saying our goodbyes to our tour guide and driver, we waited until the counters opened and checked in. And for the first time in five days, we craved something else to line the tummy. So M2 and I had Burger King and M1 had a sushi roll; hubby still chose Pho. 

We had a good holiday. 


Pickled stuff


Fresh mushroom


Dried mushrooms of all sizes


Cuttlefish and nuts


Missed out eating here. Next time!


Nearby park


M1 getting a ride


On the runway


Goodbye Ho Chi Minh!


We Say Goodbye

29 Dec

Vacations are fun when you’re living it and enjoying every moment. But sadness kicks in when you know it’s ending and you have to come back down to earth and reality. After four days of gastronomic adventure and fun-filled experiences, we say goodbye to Ho Chi Minh City today. 

I find that doing a 5D/4N trip has been rather ideal versus a 4D/3N. With an extra day, we can cover so much and the schedule is not so rushed. One can pace their itinerary and still have enough time for rest to recover.

It has been a truly wonderful time especially for the girls to see and experience–for their first time–the Vietnam culture and life. And the food… Oh, the glorious food! Not as spicy as Thai food, one can get used to having Pho and a grilled meat everyday. 

It will be yet another leisurely paced morning before we check out by noon. As we fly back to our country later this afternoon, these moments will be cherished forever. So goodbye Ho Chi Minh City, thanks for the great time!

The River Cruise

29 Dec

The river cruise was typical of any other cruises with the option of a dinner inclusive or not. Ours was dinner inclusive.

The meal was served ahead before the ship departed and like the last few arranged meals, there’s so much to eat. I shudder thinking of my expanded waistline and secretly vowed to go on a diet when we get home.


Springroll appetizer


Pineapple salad with pork and prawns


Grilled pork


Fillet fish with mushroom sauce


Grilled beef




The Crazy Cyclo

28 Dec

After the Water Puppet performance, we took the Cyclo City Tour. Man! The ride was crazy and scary. There seemed to be no traffic rules for this mode of transportation.

Our entourage ran past red lights, went head-on with oncoming traffic especially at the roundabout and junctions, and constantly millimeters away–not inches mind you–from another vehicle, be it a car or a motorbike. And when the buses approached, oh man… I’d cringe and will the guy to peddle faster.

Half the time I was either curling my toes or straightening my legs as if stepping on the brakes! Despite the seemingly reckless traffic maneuvering, there was no contact or accidents. Phew… Like I said previously, it’s controlled chaos.

And the traffic noise. My goodness… it made me realized the eight years I have been driving my current car, I can count the number of times I have used the horn of my car – less than my two hands put together. But these people in Vietnam… they use the horn as frequently as possible, probably more than the signals.

The ride took us from the theatre through the city, passing many of the sights covered two days ago and it was interesting to see them at this street level situation instead of from inside a van or standing at street level. It’s a different experience.

But at one point, we had to get off the Cyclo and walked alongside traffic because the uphill bridge was too much of a weight to handle. Once we hit the top, we climbed back on and the downhill ride was a breeze.

We survived the hour long ride and headed for the river cruise with dinner on board. By then an appetite was worked up.


We each had our own Cyclo


No gridlock can stop the Cyclo!


Had to get down and walk on the bridge


The Puppet Show

28 Dec

Our van came at 4.30pm as scheduled and we made our way to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre for the performance. And I must say it was quite entertaining and hilarious despite not understanding what they were talking about. 

The movements of the puppets were as if they were on a high, jerky and unexpected, and had us all in stitches. And the accompanying vocals, sometimes bordering on pitch high hysteria was very comical.

Very entertaining indeed and one should consider this in their itinerary when visiting Ho Chi Minh City.


After Ben Thanh

28 Dec

The air con at Takashimaya was very refreshing and we were reenergized so the mall rat in us explored the place a little bit. Although we felt that purchases from outside were better, hubby did buy a pair of Doc Marten’s which were 60% off.

We went back to Saigon Square soon after and felt more comfortable there compared to Ben Thanh Market. I think the reason for this preference is that the vendors are not too pushy and the lanes between the stalls are wider, easier to navigate without being pushed from behind. Plus it’s cooler with air conditioning. We bought some fancy soap this time.

By then it was slightly after two and we stopped by the Street Food Market again for a late lunch. We had two bowls of Pho, a spicy noodle and a rack of ribs, something different from this morning’s Bahn Mi, Sticky Rice with Mango and dessert, eaten here too.

Sated we went back to the hotel to rest and be fresh again by 4.30pm. Such fun we are having!


I’m gonna love smelling like grapes!


Pho with shrimp


Spicy beef noodle


BBQ ribs


Sticky rice and mango


Mung bean dessert


Ben Thanh Market

28 Dec

Ben Thanh Market is a very vibrant place but I find the vendors there very aggressive and intimidating to a certain degree. It’s very crowded and competitive. One cannot simply make any eye contact with them. The minute they see you looking at them, they latch onto you,  that’s it!

One should not also touch any products on display if you have no intention of buying. They think you want to buy and they latch onto you, that’s it!

But buying is also a skill. You must not show interest otherwise you won’t get a good deal. We did not buy anything this morning from the market. And honestly I find haggling too much, it’s not in me.

After a while, we left and headed to Saigon Center for some cool air.


Fancy some fresh seafood?


Maybe veges instead?


How about frogs?


I think seafood would be good


Crabs looking crabby, all lined up


Peeled crabmeat


Taking It Even Easier

28 Dec

Today we slept in as there’s nothing planned for the morning. I thought it’s nice to give the girls and ourselves a break from eating and waking up early.

Did I sleep well? No because after the Temple Club disappointment, we went to a cafe and drank coffee. So that kept us up! And just when I was falling into deep sleep, the air con in our room started making loud squeaking noises. Haish…

The plan later is to have brunch and then explore Ben Thanh market and the surrounding area nearby our hotel. It will be only 4.30pm that our itinerary for today kicks in.