Friday, October 14, 2016

Travel Diary: Ho Chi Minh City (Day One)


My fiancé and I have agreed on travelling once a year together for our birthday celebration (yep, we share the same birthday). Last year, we went to Davao so this year we went farther and reached Vietnam. It was a very meaningful trip not just because it was our birthday but also because it was my first out of the country trip.

So my fiancé booked a flight to Saigon which will get us there at around 1:00 AM. It may sound like a pretty ridiculous time but when he explained to me how it’ll give us more time to travel and explore the city (he also booked our flight back to Manila around the same time), I deemed him to be the best travel buddy I could ever have.

However, not everything was as well-planned as I thought they will be.

We haven’t booked a hotel yet to we might be homeless for the night. So the moment we sat to the waiting area of the airport, we immediately went online, booked a hotel through Agoda.com (Oh I love you Agoda and this is not a sponsored post), and got a cheap accommodation near the airport for around PHP 600.00 a night. “That’ll do because we’ll just stay there tonight. We’ll book a different hotel near where we would be going around once we’re in Vietnam.” So I just nodded and off we went.

UBER IN SAIGON – NOT HOW I EXPECT IT TO BE

The first thing we did upon arriving to Saigon was to go get ourselves a local tourist sim card (they have a pretty cheap internet with call & text packages) and get our dollars exchanged for their local currency. We found out that they already have Uber in Saigon so I opted to Uber than taking a cab. I mean, all you need to do is pin the location where you’re going and no conversation needed which is great since most people in Saigon barely understand English. But it was not how I expect it to be. Uber is fairly new to the locals so they didn’t “trust” GPS much and our driver needed to talk to us about directions and stuff and we ended up doing crazy signs just to understand each other. At one point, our driver used Google Translate but Google Translate was also quite unreliable. In the end, we were able to understand what we basically want to say and we arrived at our first hotel safe, sound, and feeling very silly.

OUR FIRST NIGHT… ERRR… DAY… ERRR… WHATEVER

We booked our first sleep (let’s just call it that) at the Mi Linh Hotel. It’s not a luxury hotel but it’s a good one if you’re arriving late in the city and needed a quick place to check in at. To be quite honest, the service and the cleanliness of the hotel is worth more than the PHP 600.00 we paid for compared to how motels and hotels are here in the Philippines. Anyway, the moment we settled in to the room, we looked for our next hotel in the heart of the city and we were surprised at how there are a lot of seemingly good hotels at a very affordable price. This made me fall in love with Vietnam! So upon booking 3 days at Sen Hotel Saigon, we went to sleep and set our alarm to 7:00 AM so that we can roam around early in the city.

BRUNCH AT Bún Đậu Ngõ Nhỏ Phố Nhỏ



 So my fiancé told me that there’s this place he’d love to eat at. According to Lonely Planet (yep, he bought a Lonely Planet book before our trip), locals frequent the place especially during their lunch break; and what better way to enjoy the trip than to blend in and be one with the locals, yes? We asked our next Uber driver to take us to Bún Đậu Ngõ Nhỏ Phố Nhỏ (well not literally tell him the place but show him the address since, again, most people in the city don’t speak English) and we got there in about 4 minutes? Traffic in Saigon isn’t worse than Manila but one thing I’ve noticed is that instead of cars, almost everyone owns a motorcycle. Actually, we were also told that we can rent one but we prefer walking.


So upon arriving to the place, we were surprised at how cheap the food is and how big the serving was. We got to the place early because there were not much people there yet when we arrived so good for us!



People here eat healthy, I guess. Their dishes in Bún Đậu Ngõ Nhỏ Phố Nhỏ comes with 80% vegetables. Plus, we were surprised at how cheap the food is in the place considering how big the serving is and how good it tastes. When the clock hit 12, the place got packed with locals on their lunch break. We noticed how it was so obvious that we are foreigners (aside from the big backpack we’re carrying) because: (1) we had one order each but it looks like one order was MEANT TO BE SHARED. Now that’s why the serving was big; and (2) we didn’t know where to dip which! Oh well. YOLO!

A CHEAP AND GOOD HOTEL AND A NEW FRIEND

From Bún Đậu Ngõ Nhỏ Phố Nhỏ, we walked going to our next hotel which is the Sen Hotel Saigon along Le Lai Street. The hotel is strategically located in the heart of the city that’s why we thought it was so convenient to just walk wherever we’d be going coming from our hotel. The accommodation only costs almost PHP 2, 500.00 for 3D2N. Wow, right? We also have a view of the city itself from our room so the amount is more than worth it.


So after resting for a few minutes in the hotel, I took a quick shower and told my fiancé that I’m going out to meet a fellow beauty blogger from the city. He said, “go ahead,” as he needs to stay in the hotel to finish some work since we’re planning on going around the city the next day. So Trang of adriedrose.blogspot.com told me that we can hang at Phuc Long, a nearby coffee shop which is, apparently, one of the best and oldest in the city. It was just around the corner from my hotel so I got there earlier and just waited for her for a few minutes.


It was fun meeting new people and making friends with a fellow beauty blogger in the city. We compared makeup prices in Saigon and Manila, and how there aren’t much local beauty products available and all I can find if I go to malls are foreign branded makeup especially Korean brands. I gifted Trang an Ever Bilena lipstick so she can try a local product and brand I like. Once I go back to Vietnam, I’d definitely meet up again with Trang and give her more brands like Snoe, SanSan, and more of Ever Bilena.

DINNER AND A NIGHT CAP

When I got back to the hotel, my fiancé asked me where I would like to have dinner; and since we’re in Vietnam, we better go and try an authentic Vietnamese Pho right? Trang suggested that we try out Phở Hưng which is just almost beside our hotel for a good and clean place to eat Pho.


So we went to Phở Hưng and immediately placed our orders. There was a problem though, it was already almost an hour and my order hasn’t arrived yet. When we called a waiter, it turns out that we actually had a misunderstanding. Apparently, the Pho I ordered is not available but he couldn’t explain it well previously (language barrier probs) so I ended up waiting too long. Whew. So I just ordered a different one and even though there was a bit of misunderstanding, I still enjoyed my Pho.


After our Pho dinner, we wanted a night cap but fiancé still needs to finish some work. So what we did is to just drink the beer in our hotel room’s fridge (since, surprisingly, the drinks in their mini bar are super cheap) and then I slept a bit early while he worked. God knows what time he slept. LOL

68 comments:

  1. It looks so good and the food so delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    http://violettedaily.com/

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  2. Interesting culture and food. Haven't been to Vietnam, must be nice to see this country. I hope you feature more about it :)

    www.busyandfab.com

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    Replies
    1. I will be posting the rest of my stay there in future blog posts :)

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  3. I looks like you had a nice adventure. I love trips when everything is not planned out. The food looks interesting. I've never had Vietnamese food.
    www.comfycozyup.com

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    1. We've been longing to trying authentic Pho! One of the reasons we choice Vietnam :)

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  4. Semms you really had a nice and fun trip!
    That food look interesting and yummy! :D
    xxx
    S
    http://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.it

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  5. How cool is that, that you and your fiancé share the same birthday! Eddie and I are about 2wks apart and thought that was cool, haha! I'm sorry you didn't have a great initial experience with the Uber driver, what were the odds, right!? I'm glad you at least enjoyed the rest of your trip. Thanks for sharing and a very happy belated birthday to both you and your boo!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    www.thestylecontour.com

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  6. Sounds like you had a great trip! I have no visited Vietnam but my husband and I went to Cambodia for our honeymoon and oh wow, we lived like a king for 5 days. Everything was unbelievably cheap!

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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    Replies
    1. We're planning on going to Cambodia too soon! :)

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  7. Wow sounds like a great trip ,the food look yummy.
    My blog: RumelaTheShopaholic

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  8. Yay! Saya naman! :) Please let meet na once your foot got healed! :) Get well soon and Congrats on your wedding!

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  9. Looks amazing, I would love to visit one day! The food looks yummy! xx

    http://www.thatnewdress.com

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  10. That's so cool that you two have the same birthday! Happy birthday to both of you! :)

    Oh, and you've been tagged in The Liebster Award!

    -Jannette | The Diary of a Daydreamer | Bloglovin'

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  11. Amazing pics!
    Have a nice week-end!
    Gil Zetbase
    http://gilzetbase.com/

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  12. I may have said this before but i am in love with your hair! Great post!!
    Darriyan xo | www.darriyancateland.co.uk

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  13. Glad your trip went well overall and you stopped at some cool places!!


    Amber
    All the Cute

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  14. Sounds like a fun trip and all the food looks delicious! xoxo

    www.naomella.com

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  15. How cool that you were able to meet another beauty blogger! That's so great, can't beleive you had to wait an hour for your food. I would have started eating the table haha, great post! Hope you will stop by my blog if you have time, thanks for sharing x

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

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  16. How cool that you and your fiancé share the same birthday. It looks like you had a great trip.

    www.mydailywear.co.uk

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  17. This is beautiful, the place looks so nice and the foods, yummy! Thanks for sharing dear.

    www.tessyonyia.com

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  18. Sounds like you had a great trip and the food looks delicious.

    Face to Curls | http://facetocurls.com

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  19. I love when couples travel together! They do give big portions of food! But it's good for you, so that's all that matters. You looked so pretty :D
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  20. Fiance pa tawag mo dito sakanya hehe and wow, you two must be really destined! Same birthday!!! Mas tipid ba sa gastos? Hehehe

    I love Agoda too! Pero may ibang hotels na mas mahal pa sakanila kesa sa mismong hotel. :/ weird lang.

    And wow, it was good you were able to meet bloggers abroad! It's fun when you make friends from blogging :)

    Whenever we eat in somewhere we don't know, we always ask if the dish is good for sharing. Because we also had an experience before when we ordered one each that is meant for sharing. Grabe lang, pero naubos pa din namin. Hahah

    In the PH there are provinces that the main transportation is motorcycle too. In Bohol, my relatives all have motorcycles because tricycles, jeeps and buses are not always around their area so it is much more convenient for them to have their own motorcycles.

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    Replies
    1. Husband and I went to Panglao last August and it's a challenge to go around without a motorcycle. xD

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  21. Wow1! You must have had so much fun during this trip, the food looks so delicious that all am doing is salivating. Your fiance is such a gentleman and I love the beauty blogger you met up with.
    www.fashionstylemogul.com

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  22. Sounds like you had quite the experience. I've tried not booking hotels before departure, and I don't really enjoy it personally. It's one thing I want to be booked before I arrive. I can deal with the rest when I get there. :) My hubby and I like to travel a lot and we try to take trips on both of our birthdays even though it's not the same. Experiences are the best gifts you can get. :) Happy belated birthday!

    Xo,
    Miki
    http://mikialamode.com

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  23. OMG! This post made me miss Viet Nam! I miss the food and the culture and just everything! Hotels in Viet Nam in general are quite cheap. I stayed in Ha Noi before and we only paid like 3,000.00PHP for 2 nights and the room was huge! We had like 2 really big beds (not sure of the size but they were huge) and a lot of space of our luggage and moving around. The only thing I hated in Viet Nam are taxi drivers that would rip you off. We experienced one and we had to pay for 200,000 dong for a short distance that a normal taxi would only charge you for about 60,000 dong.

    Have fun and stay safe! :)

    Jenn
    The Pink Lemonade Girl
    YouTube
    Bloglovin

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jenn! I'm always looking forward to your travel posts too! :)

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  24. it looks so amazing *_* I hope I can see this place one day :)
    http://www.youtube.com/c/MissLovelyAttitude
    http://lovelyattitude.com

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  25. Seems like you had fun :) the food looks great :)

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  26. Yay! I'm so happy for you, Gellie! ♥ I can still remember that you mentioned in one of your comments that you're going to visit Vietnam this year, and some other time in Japan. Anyway, I can totally how cheap and big their serving was. I remember ordering a fried rice, I think we ordered one for each of us. Little did we know that it wasn't just a cup of rice, it was literally a plate of rice! Nakakaloka, good for sharing. Haha! Also, I'm glad that you have met a beauty blogger friend there. ♥ Hope to hear from you soon!

    Love, Airish
    Gorgeous Glance
    http://airishabella.blogspot.com

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  27. It's really cool to have met a fellow blogger in a foreign country! I'd like to travel Vietnam soon! But I gotta finish Project 81 first! :)

    Xx Nikaia
    http://www.gypsy-soul.me

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  28. Good for you and your fiancé for going on such a great adventure! I loved the story of the first Uber ride. And the food looks amazing! Thanks for sharing, beautiful! XO

    Janea
    www.theSTYLetti.com

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  29. After reading your post and checking the pictures, I really wish I could visit this place. Have a nice day! <3

    Andreea,
    http://couturezilla.com/

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  30. I always eat Pho at Pho Hoa here! It would be awesome to eat the legit thing someday! :) And oh now about the language barrier! >_< That can be difficult!

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    Replies
    1. It was worth it though! You should go! :D

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  31. I haven't been to Vietnam but hopefully this coming summer. Thanks for sharing your adventure. :)

    xoxo,
    SHAIRA
    www.missdream-girl.blogspot.com

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