Vietnam is well-know for its rich history of war (American war) and also its busy streets. I was shocked when I first cross any streets (yes, any streets) in HCMC, because my heart nearly stops. You either fight the bravory spirits in you or just stand there for hours and hours because these vehicles (motor vehicles) never stops and countless.
I have previously blog about my trip (Last year Christmas) in my old blog, but since i’ve moved to a new one, i’ll just re-blog about it.
You can get to HCMC by air. There are several airlines from Singapore to HCMC. The two budget airlines are via Tiger airways, Jetstar Airways OR Airasia. Always check them all. Sometimes, vietnam air might have some good deal too.
Additional tips: Sometimes is cheaper if you split your flight booking with 2 different airline, you might want to try out your maths.
There are a lot of nice hostel/hotel around HCMC. The most popular area is the District 1 – Pham Ngu Lao area. If you are in a group of more than 4 people, probably you can start checking out their Hotel instead of Hostel as after sharing portion, is actually quite cheap. District 1 is the most prefer area as majority of the sights and bars / pubs are at this area. District 1 is also famous for their backpacking hostel area. Agoda OR Booking shall be your best searching tools. I stayed at District 1 – Hello House for 4 nights for SGD52 / person.
You might want to check out Green Path Transfer if you are looking a good service of airport transfer. (The cheaper it goes for a group bookings because you can share cost). You can book them online and they will wait for you at the airport with a signboard with your name on it. (Total cost of mine: Van, 10 seater, 10SGD/person.
City get around: If you stay in District 1, you can move around with your foot. If you are lazy, just grab the cab, it won’t be too expensive on a sharing basis. Keep on mine that only trust two companies of taxi: Vinasun and Mailinh as they go by meter. Other taxis, tend to try to charge more if you’re a tourist. HCMC is divided into Districts. So you will be facing District 1, 2 , 3 and so on.
Things to do at HCMC
Cafe hopping – HCMC is famous for their cafes. There are a lot of choices, all you need to do is to google and find its location. Coffees in HCMC is also very rich and many people love having local coffees.
ChuChi Tunnel – If you want to know more about the american war, visit ChuChi Tunnel. Their history will amazed you. You can go there by yourself OR you may join a tour. I joined a private tour as we are in a group of 9, providing us an English speaking tour guide, round trip transfer, lunch and drinks. (75 SGD / Person)
Shopping – IMHO, there is nothing much to shop in HCMC. But if you insist, maybe Ben Thanh Market, Cholon and An Dong Market.
Food – Street food, pho, BBQ are the main dishes that you can easily find in HCMC. It is not surprise if you could find a lot of italian dishes too in HCMC.
Sightseeing – There is not much to offer you, but you may still want to visit their musuems and also have some little walk around. HCMC is still really a very chilling place to be.
Set yourself free – Massage or doing some nail treatment in HCMC is not too expensive. I did not go for any of these, so I could not recommend you any good shops, but there is a lot in area District 1 – Pham Ngu Lao. Grab some beer at Pham Ngu Lao area too, follow the culture of the locals, sitting on those cute little chairs facing the street, listening to live music, life is just so good. (Tips: try their saigon beer).
Sunset – Sunset in HCMC is stunning if you know where to hunt it. 2 places that i hunt them is : Bitexco Financial Tower (Level 52) and Saigon River.
Expenses breakdown / person:
Air ticket (on peak season – xmas): 203 SGD
Hotel: 52 SGD
Airport transfer: 10 SGD
Private 1 day tour: 75 SGD
Other expenses: 150 SGD – cash (Still have extra left)
Total: 490 SGD