The last stop on our Vietnam trip was Ho Chi Minh City (we travelled North to South). Our overnight bus arrived at ~4:30 am which was much earlier than expected. We got lucky that the bus stopped at the park that was right by our hostel (NgocThao Guesthouse – I would not suggest it though. They weren’t that friendly and if you stay in the dorms the facilities are very poor) that was in the backpackers area.
Since we got there so early, our room was not ready yet. So we ended up sleeping in the lobby until the morning. They had an L-shaped couch so I slept on the _ while some random slept on the l part. I’m so grateful that it was dark because if I had seen the state of that couch I don’t think I could have slept. I must have been exhausted because I didn’t realize there were people eating breakfast beside me until they probably all saw me sleeping with my mouth wide open.
After giving us a bed in the dorm that they supposably cleaned (definitely was not cleaned since the sheets were wrinkly, the blanket was messy and there was a War Remnants Museum sticker on the sheets) we were able to shower (in showers that would not drain and had a toilet in them – worse than a sink in the shower.)
Afterwards, we had a banh mi for our breakfast/lunch since the pho place they suggested us to visit was expensive compared to the other places we had been to in Vietnam. Lol sorry for all the complaints but I think I was in a bad mood that morning so everything was the worst.
After eating we walked about half an hour to the War Remnants Museum. This museum shows the Vietnamese perspective of the War and I think that if you have prior Vietnam War knowledge you will get more out of this place. But if you walk in clueless like me it’s probably not as interesting. On the upper floors of the museum there are some graphic displays and horrible stories of what occurred during the war. Such as pictures that show the long lasting effects that agent orange has had on the country and the damage that occurred during the war. However, seeing how Vietnam is now its hard to believe that this happened.
In the afternoon we took a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Our tour guide was insanely enthusiastic and taught us a lot about the history of the tunnels. I can’t even begin to believe that the Vietnamese were able to live in these tunnels for years. They definitely are a people of strong will especially considering the food they would eat. Having to eat tapioca that had a potato texture (we got to try some) could not have made the situation any better.
While we were there we were able to crawl into tunnels that were apparently made larger for tourists. Unreal. I’m not that large and I had trouble shimmying through the tunnels so if they were smaller I would have probably just given up and laid down :/
At the Cu Chi Tunnels you get the opportunity to shoot many different types of guns (AK47s, M40s etc). My friend was super excited because it’s restricted in Germany. So he shot an M40 and was super duper happy while I jumped every time someone shot a bullet.
We got back to Ho Chi Minh City at night and hopped on over to Ben Thanh Market (my favourite Vietnamese Restaurant in London is called Ben Thanh so I was pretty excited). At night, there are many stalls that sell bags, clothing, fruit, jewellery, and souvenirs. I tried bargaining at many places but the prices seemed much higher than in the other cities.
Because it was getting late we decided to eat at Ben Thanh market and try Vietnamese food that wasn’t PHO AND SUBS. So instead we ordered some roof tile wraps. So amusing. A ceramic roof tile was placed at a slant over a small fire. Then doused with oil to cook beef on. After the beef was cooked we wrapped it in rice paper along with rice noodles, lettuce, mint, and basil. The Vietnamese are about the herbs. It was really good though we had to get some “$1 dollar noodles, very cheap, $1 dollar” on the way back to our hostel to satisfy our hunger.
The next day we woke up early to go on a 1 day tour to the Mekong Delta (My Tho). Our first stop was the a temple that had a Sitting Buddha, Standing Buddha and Sleeping Buddha. Each buddha is suppose to symbolize something different but I can’t remember the meanings at all. Oops
Afterwards we floated down the river to our lunch spot on Phoenix Islet. Here we had soup, rice, chicken, and egg for lunch.
After lunch we visited a coconut candy factory and saw a worker husk a coconut to get the white meat out. They used the coconut milk collected from this meat to create the candy. The candy was soft and gooey and really tasty.
We cruised down the river bend and ended up at the place of my nightmares – a bee farm. I’m super scared of bees so the whole time I was sitting there drinking my honey tea I was freaking out. However, we stayed there for a while so I sucked it up and ate some tropical fruits and listened to the Tai Tu music show.
That day I legitimately piled bug spray on myself and resprayed as often as I could. I think I offended some people but I was not about to get Malaria (I even got myself tested for malaria when I got home – I’m a little bit of a hypochondriac)
On our last night in Vietnam we wanted to try different foods that my friend found online. So we created our own make shift food tour and walked around Ho Chi Minh City to find some new foods.
On our way to the airport we completely forgot our passports in our hostel room and my friend forgot his tablet in the lobby. So it was a good thing that Saigon’s international airport was not too far from our hostel. We were able to called the hostel and get everything delivered just in time. I had difficulties getting through customs anyways so it almost didn’t even matter that we got our passports back. (I swear I look like my passport picture)
Although we ended our trip in the most stressful way imaginable, it was fantastic! Our week there was jam packed with adventures and we were both able to try so many new things!