Saturday, 27 December 2008

Ho Chi Minh City trip - 27 Dec 08

The good point of free and easy tour is that we can sleep till we are satisfied. Today we wake up quite late at 9am. We decided to go out and have our breakfast. We had breakfast at Kim Cafe on De Tham Street which is near the Shin Cafe. The breakast cost us VND 99,000 ~ S$9.90 and the food is not very nice.

@ Kim CafeAuthentic Vietnamese Coffee Fried riceBacon & Egg

After breakfast, we board a cab to Reunification Palace since it was closed yesterday. On the way to Reunification Palace, we passed by Bunta restaurant and Quan An Ngon which is located side by side. We decided to have lunch later at bunta restaurant. Alas, when we reached the Reunification Palace, the ticket counter was closed and open again at 1pm. Sian... We boarded a cab and head to Binh Tay market.

Bunta restaurant
Quan An Ngon
Cyclone transporting sugar canes
Petrol station

Binh Tay Market is the biggest market in Saigon and is located in the city's Chinatown, Cholon. It is mainly a wholesale market and the things sold here range from daily household items to fresh foods to clothes and bags. There are 2 storeys and the first floor sold bags and shoes on the right side while second floor are mainly clothes. If there is one word to describe Binh Tay Market, I would use "claustrophobic". The alley between the rows are of shops are so narrow and the items are display really make me feel giddy. We spent about 1.5hrs inside here and I bought some bags and shoes while YQ bought a T-shirt and shorts. Haiz, YQ said that I should have bargain more. Yah, I indeed really don't know how to bargain. YQ said that next time I just keep quiet and he will bargain for me. -_-"

We spent quite a while finding Mai Linh cab here as the cabs here is not as many as in District 1. Finally we board a Mai Linh cab and head to An Dong market. The cab fare only cost VND28,000 ~ S$2.80.

Binh Tay Market
Inside Binh Tay Market

We went to An Dong Market which is located at District 5. There are more space here and the shops here are not as crowded as Binh Tay Market. There are three storeys here, the first floor sells jewelry, footwear, fabrics, eyewear and hat stalls. The second floor sells garments and the third floor sells lacquer ware, woodwork and handicrafts. We spent about half an hour here as we merely glance around and our legs are feeling the effect after shopping at Binh Tay Market. I did fancy a T-shirt but the price which the owner quoted me is quite expensive so I didnt bought it.

An Dong Market

We went back to the hotel and put our shopping spree first before going to the Reunification Palace. This building, currently a museum, used to be the official residence of the Presidents of the former South Vietnam government. It was here that the American led war ended on April 30 1975, when the North Vietnam Army invaded the Palace forcing the President to resign.
Reunification Palace
President Office
First Lady's Reception Room
Behind the scene
Entertainment area
Taking a rest
Vice president reception room
Such a huge carpet
President reception room
President office
Map room
Presentation room
Model of the Reunification Palace
Dining room
Conference hall
Black & White
Me & Uncle Ho
Banquet room
Cabinet meeting room
Taking a last snap
We walked to the Bunta restaurant (Address: 138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia) which is located across the Reunification Palace. It's all about Bun (rice noodle) in this restaurant and the food is not bad. We also ordered Che (a sweet bean and coconut stuffed desserts) and it taste a bit like chendol.
Bunta Restaurant
Lemon sause chicken steam rice &
Bun served with grilled pork, shredded pork and fermented pork
After that, we head to Ben Thanh Market. It is the most popular market among the tourist. Lots of souvenirs can be found here, be it clothes, bags, hats, shoes, coffee, lacquerware, dried food etc.
We also change some money here as there is only one jewellery shop here which offers the best rate and we change our money here for the remaining days.
Tran Nguyen Han Statue
Ben Thanh Market
Inside Ben Than Market
Map of the stalls
It's snake soak in wine
So crowded
After a day of walking, we decided to have massage to relax ourselves. We walked to a massage shop which is located at the back street of Ben Thanh Market. We get to know Lavender Foot Massage from a brochure and decided to try it out. It is located at the 2nd floor of Lavender hotel. The 1 hour foot massage cost VND 20,000 ~ S$20 and both of us agreed that it's not worth the price and the massage is not really fantastic.
We went back to the hotel at around 7pm and had a bath before we went out for dinner at 8pm. We walked around and settled on dinner at Bi Saigon Cafe. The dinner is ok and cost VND120,000 ~ S$12. We decided to come here for breakfast tomorrow as I read from the menu that they served breakfast.

Inside Bi Saigon Cafe
Our dinner

Initially we intend to meet YQ frenz whom we met yesterday but they didnt contact us so we walked around. It's really very coincidence that we meet again at the same shop which we met last night. It's really unlucky that one of YQ's frenz got her wallet stolen. But luckily, she get her wallet back, the IC and credit cards remain intact and it's only the cash which is gone. Well, just treat it as 花钱消灾. We went to their hotel room to chat until 11plus before heading back to our hotel.

>>Day 4: 28 Dec 08

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