Hello guys! Today I’m gonna feature my recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I admit that this wasn’t a very well planned trip. I really just wanted to escape Singapore for a few days and when I saw that Chie and I could squeeze in 3 days off from work I quickly grabbed the opportunity and planned haphazardly.
CONVERSION: 1 SGD = 16,392 VND (We were millionaires in Vietnam!)
FLIGHT: SGD 87.05
I scored this cheap fare from Jetstar Asia. They usually have seat sales every Friday which they call the “Friday Fare Frenzy”. One tip for you to save on booking fee is by paying over the counter in 7-eleven stores. You only have to pay S$4 instead of the S$18 credit card booking fee. All you have to do is give them your reference number, pay and you should receive your flight itinerary within 24 hours by email.
ACCOMODATION: SGD 25 per person
The top attraction sites in HCMC are all located in District 1 and are within walking distance from each other. It is best to stay around this area to save on transportation costs. I chose to stay in An Tam 2 Hotel located just behind the famous Bitexco Tower. The rooms were big enough and quality was acceptable for the price. They did not offer breakfast but it wasn’t a problem since there were lots of food options around the vicinity.
AIRPORT TRANSFER: SGD 1.22/20,000 VND per person
They say Vietnam is notorious for scammers and taxi drivers are among them. It would roughly cost you around SGD10-15 to reach the backpacker’s area where most hotels are located. If you are afraid to be scammed or just want something cheaper like me, you can opt for the airport bus. Upon exiting the airport, turn right and you will see the yellow bus no. 109. Just show the counter your hotel’s address and they will advise you which bus stop to alight to. The bus is very convenient and spacious, there’s even WiFi on board! Imagine this for only SGD 1.22, it couldn’t get any cheaper than that! The trip should roughly take about 30 mins.
You know you’re in Vietnam when there’s motorcycles everywhere!!! LOL. Seriously they were everywhere! It’s their primary mode of transportation. The traffic was crazy. I feared for my dear life every time I needed to cross the streets.
NOTRE-DAME CATHEDRAL BASILICA OF SAIGON: Free
Built between 1863 and 1880 by French colonists, this cathedral is one of HCMC’s architectural wonders. This is one of my favorite spots! So picturesque!
SAIGON CENTRAL POST OFFICE: Free
This is located just beside the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Saigon Central Post Office is the largest post office in Vietnam built between 1886 and 1891 by renowned architect Gustave Eiffel. Chie collects stamps so he was very happy here! He was able to buy a few pieces for 120,000VND.
REUNIFICATION PALACE: SGD 1.83/30,000VND per person
Also know as the Independence Palace, it was the home and workplace of the former President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.
MEKONG DELTA DAY TOUR: SGD10.74/176,000VND
The agricultural heartland of Vietnam! It would roughly take 2 hours from HCMC District 1 to get here. Most tour companies offer all inclusive packages so you don’t have to worry about anything. We saw how locals made coconut candies, sipped honey tea and ate fresh fruits, while locals performed a song we couldn’t understand (LOL), chilled on a hammock and cruised along the Mekong river.
CU CHI TUNNELS: SGD12.21/200,000VND
In order to combat better-supplied American and South Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War, Communist guerrilla troops known as Viet Cong (VC) dug tens of thousands of miles of tunnels, including an extensive network running underneath the Cu Chi district northwest of Saigon. Soldiers used these underground routes to house troops, transport communications and supplies, lay booby traps and mount surprise attacks, after which they could disappear underground to safety. source
The food in Vietnam is amaziiiing! OMG, I’m craving right now! Seriously, I would go back to Vietnam just for the food alone. Here the quality of food can’t be judged by it’s price. You can have delicious Pho on the sidewalks for around SGD2! Coffee shops and restaurants in HCMC are very artsy and definitely Insta-worthy!
Ref magnets, lacquer paintings and housewares, coffee, Vietnam conical hats are some of the common souvenirs to bring home. Ben Thanh Market is famous for souvenirs but they say that it is a tourist trap. For cheaper and more honest pricing, head over to Saigon Square.
That sums up my recent trip to Vietnam! Until my next adventure! -R. 🙂