Thursday, June 23, 2016

A short and easy trip to Saigon

Saigon is the old name for Ho Chi Minh city. I like to call this city Saigon because it sounds authentic.

This short and easy trip to Saigon are for first timer solo traveler.. For me this is my lazy trip with a limited time.

From Manila I flew over the South China Sea to Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia to get to Saigon. I spend my next 12 hours at KLIA2 for my early morning plane to Saigon. I spend most of the time relaxing at Quizinn by Rasa food court at Level 2. It is very easy to find this place, close to the departure hall.

The food court is open 24 hours and offering various kind of food from locals and internationals suitable for all ages. You are allowed to lie down on their long cushions bench and have a sleep while waiting for your next plane. The other end of the food court has a good view to watch the plane taking off and landing.

Shuttle from the Airport.

This is my easy and short trip in Saigon before jumping to another city in another country. Faces of the immigration staff and airport staff were tight like they still have this terrible war memory from the past. One of the immigration staff asked me a question in English but the pronunciation were not clear so I ask him to repeat the question. He just pulled his face tight and straight and eyes rolling without repeating the question. Oh life is too hard for him I guess.
A very serious bus driver. 

Next, a straight face from the bus driver of 152 that will take you to a bus stop which is close to District 1 and Ben Thanh Market that cost you only 3000 (0.13 USD) dong fare and another 3000 dong if you have a big luggage. 

At one of the alley in District 1.
Fortunately the weather changed from gloomy to a sunny bright day. I met a friendly young Vietnamese couple seated behind me. It's all started with me asking if the bus stop at Ben Thanh Market near to District 1, the backpackers area.

The man used to work in Malaysia and he talks about how great is our food. The young husband and wife are so friendly. They told me about Vietnamese popular dishes Banh Mi and warned me that it is not Halal. In general he knows that if you came from Malaysia, you are Muslim.

Accommodation - Nice and quiet hostel in a busy and happening street.

As soon as I got to Bui Vien street, I received many "Hello", "Hi," "How are you," from the young white guys from their bike. Probably these people who has spend long time wondering in Vietnam and they love to see another young solo backpacker asian woman

Vintage Hostel located at Bui Vien Street in District 1, the backpackers area which is the hive of activities and it is just a short distance from Ben Thanh Market. This hostel was only open 6 months ago when I stayed there.
The comfort and privacy  bed. Each bed has a curtain, side wall lights, reading lights, socket and a small space on the side wall to put your stuff. Locker is under the bed with security lock by card.

Most part of the wall here are well decorated with the mosaic arts. Vietnamese are very creative with the mosaic arts.
The best part of this hostel are the stairs, shine and clean. It reminds me of a rich asian home back in early 90s.
Getting around the city.

You can hire a bike to get around and drowned in the crowd of the bike. I never ride a bike in my life even though I was born and raised in Malaysia. I used my two legs to get me anywhere around the city. Motor bikes in Saigon are crazy, huge number of them. "Pin, Pin, Pin," you heard this all the time on the roads like thousands of "Pin".

They are coming!! The bikers!!
Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica located about 20 minutes walking from District 1. Many of the buildings here has the influence from the French colonial.
The materials to build the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica was imported from France.
Located in District 3 is the War Remnants Museum, a must visit if you in Saigon. Five minutes of your time in the museum, you will learn the horrifying of the Vietnamese war or American war according to the locals.

Some of the American will think this is the Vietnamese propaganda but we already had enough stories been fed by the American media and Hollywood movie about the Vietnamese war that most part of the stories are on American side. 

The Vietnamese side tell their war stories here through a graphic image.
All the materials display in this museum are an eye opener of the aftermath of the war which often does not get shown on tv. For so long the world has forgotten about Agent Orange and its effects to the vietnamese and the American soldier who served in Vietnam war.

To remind you, agent orange was used by the U.S military from 1962 - 1975 in an attempt to destroy the forest in Vietnam and Cambodia, which were used as cover for the Viet Cong, as well to destroy the crops grown for the peasants. This forced the peasants to flee to the cities that were being controlled by the U.S military and as a result, the Viet Cong had a significantly decreased amount of food supply.

The effects of "Agent Orange" left over 100,000 of Vietnamese suffered the horrifying effects of the chemical.
Agent Orange is made from two herbicides, which was contaminated with dioxin. A dioxin is a highly toxic compound and can cause multiple gene mutations and chromosomal abberations. 

Picture from www.personal.psu.edu
Another site to learn about Vietnam War is Cu Chi tunnels. to get here easily, just book a tour that only cost you about $7 if I'm not mistaken. Dozens of tour agent at District 1. You can go by yourself if you have a bike and a GPS.

Cu Chi tunnels were used by the Viet Cong as a hiding spot during the combat as well as a supply routes, hospital and living quarters for the Viet Cong. The long of the tunnel is 121 km and now been preserved by the government, becoming one of the tourist attraction in Saigon.

The man demonstrate how to get in the tunnel. The tunnels door are closed and camouflaged, almost undetectable. 
Something caught my attention.

I finished my dinner and just sitting at my table facing the busy street of Bui Vien watching people passed by. As my eyes wild looking around in the restaurant, my eyes glued at a small rack with a glass door hanging on the wall. Inside the rack a few bottles of scorpions and snack lined up on the three levels shelve. On a small hand written sign says "Snake Wine".


Those snakes and scorpions in the bottles are the real one. The lady at the counter told me it's good for man, strong in bed. So, what I found in google about this creepy stuff. Most individuals in Vietnam believed by consuming snake wine, it can improve health and virility. They are other story about the unlucky one who drank this snake wine got bitten by the snake which is still alive after many months stuck in the bottle.

Ok, It's The Best Indian Food I Ever Had.



Ok here I am, visiting traveled in Vietnam but talking about Indian food. I was just craving for Indian food that afternoon and walked pass by this Baba's Kitchen restaurant. Checked the menu and decided to have my lunch here. So I ordered chicken kurma come with rice and nan bread.. My Goodness, the taste are so authentic. My tummy happy and I'm happy.

It happens that my Air BnB guest from German travel in Saigon and ate at Baba's Kitchen have the same opinion with me. THE BEST INDIAN FOOD THAT WE EVER HAD. We have not been to India so forgive us if we rated Baba's Kitchen on top of our list for Indian Restaurants.

New Friends & A Lil Bit of Party


This is what traveling are all about. Travel, Chill, Friends & Lil bit of party. Enjoy girlssss!!!