Sep 12, 2010


16 - 18 Oct, 2009

At 7 a.m we were picked up by a private car courtesy of the Hue Holiday Hotel to Hue’s airport.
Before noon we arrived at Noi Bahn international airport, Ho Chi Minh City, at the domestic arrival terminal.

A sign with my name written on it, with a little misspelling, was held up by a guy, the driver to our booked hostel’s pickup car.

We enjoyed the trip to the hotel, which was located at District 1, a tourist district. Just like in Hanoi, in the HCMC streets we also noticed the tangled electricity cables up there, and tangled traffic consisted of a lot of motorbikes and some road works.

Overall, HCMC is a much more metropolitan city compared to Hanoi which is the capital city of Vietnam. I guess HCMC is where the business and economic activities are mainly happening. They’ve got more and better shopping malls, cleaner and more modern public toilets, and more modern atmosphere in general. Nowhere near the sterility of Singapore or the techie of Tokyo (perhaps), but a little closer to it compared to Hanoi.


My My Arthouse is located on Pham Ngu Lau street, but we had to walk about 2 minutes from the main road, into this aisle that doesn’t fit cars. We went passed by some street food sellers and people just hanging out sitting down on short chairs or stools. And our hostel was this 4 or 5 storey narrow building with only stairs to walk up. And our room was on the 3rd floor. Hosh hosh hosh!

Renny, me, our stuff, and laundry on the bed's head :-P

Visitors were advised to take off their shoes or sandals at the entrance, and then just leave ‘em there or carry ‘em up to the rooms. There at the lobby were a few tables that functioned as dining table and hangout place for guests. As expected, we saw some Caucasian guests were sitting there, chatting while one or two of them were holding travel guidebooks. And further back near the stairs were 3 computers for internet usage. Further back again, behind the stairs, was a space where some of the staff slept at night on mattresses, and then the kitchen.

A room for three per night with private bathroom cost us about USD 8 /pax excluded breakfast. The room condition, ours at least, was kinda damp. When the hotel’s staff cooked something – I believe it’s for their own meal – we could smell the cooking through our open narrow window. We didn’t mind the smell because it was a good smell, we just wished they’d share some of that happiness with us. Hee hee.


Uncle Ho Chi Minh statue in front of the City Hall
on Nguyen Hue street

Pham Ngu Lau street is located in District 1, which is the centre of tourist area. You’d easily get anything you need as tourists cos there are so many tourist information, hostels, hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, food stalls, travel agents, pirated guidebooks sellers, souvenir shops, and all that jazz.

Making our itinerary for the day with the help from a free city map
that we got in a restaurant at Pao restaurant on Bui Vien street

Across Diamond shopping mall

We were so fond of walking around the area. Sidewalks are clean and even at nights it’s relatively safe for us girls (just don’t flaunt your money or techy gadgets so much to catch theft’s attention). This is almost impossible for us to do back home in Jakarta where most sidewalks are occupied by food stalls with no official license, and bad guys are just everywhere on the streets.

Upon our walk around, we’d stop at souvenir stalls, shops, parks, and cafes, just to look around, take pictures, and find out what’s happening.

A poster that got us laughing just trying to pronounce it.
The word sounds much like a word that means 'transvestite' in our language
if pronounced funnily. Oh it's an inside joke anyway ^_^

Nike? In Vietnam? Heehee..yeah..well it was on 50% discount!

Saigon Pho on De Tam street, District 1


Other than walking around and shopping, of course we went to a museum. It’s one of the must-do in this historical country. I mean, it’s famous for the Vietnam War with the US, so we gotta know what really went on. Nah, we just went there for the heck of it, just wanted to know what’s up. And because it’s one of the recommended sites in And because it didn’t require a lot of dough to get in. Tee hee.

Anyways, there are several museums in Ho Chi Minh City and we picked the War Remnants Museum. It charged nothing for entrance, I think. It’s located on Vo Van Tan Street in District 3 and we got there by taxi, costing us VND 30,000 from the Bui Vien Street in District 1.

It’s got several display rooms, which exhibit photos of war times, the battle field, the victims, the troops, the Vietcongs, and the supports from other countries in various forms such as posters with slogans.

To me, the whole museum thing was sort of heartbreaking. I mean, the museum was nice, but I guess I’m just too faint-hearted to behold too much suffering of the war victims through those journalistic photos. This one-sided exhibition got me thinking how awful human’s greed of power can be. The US bombed some parts of Vietnam and help me God they also did some other cruel things (sorry I’m bad with details and I did not take notes, but I guess most people would know about this war more than I do), which results in handicapped people and babies.

I wonder how Americans would feel when they see this sort of display of what their former fathers had done.

I didn’t wanna torture myself further, so I only saw the displays in the main exhibition room. When Mumun and Renny finished viewing the rest of the display rooms, I was already done shopping at the souvenir corner. They sold key chains, pins, travel books, etc.

Afterwards, of course it’s picture time in the front yard of the museum. The rain didn’t stop us from posing.


We’re girls, and we’re Indonesians. So we love to shop when we travel. We just can’t help it. Ben Tanh Market was one of the few things that was already fixed in our unfixed itinerary. I read about it in any website that gives out information on Vietnam tourism.

It’s a huge 1-story market that sells just about everything. Clothes, food, fruits, handicrafts, laquerwares, you name it. I suggest you to haggle before saying, “Okay, I’ll take that one,” to the sellers, except maybe you do want to donate your extra money.

The market closes at 5-ish p.m. But starting at around the same time, the night market starts just outside of the market building. They sell many similar things to the day market, but not all the same.

Not only that, the night market is great because there are many food stalls. We had one of our best meals there, with fresh shrimps cooked in coconut juice right on our table. Delissimo!

Now, visiting Ho Chi Minh City usually means visiting the outskirts as well. So that’s what we did, and you can read about it in my next post :-)

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