Our boarding time was scheduled at 7:25PM however, CebuPac allowed the passengers to board the plane 10 minutes earlier. The flight from Manila to Ho Chi Minh was roughly 3 hours long. All of us were knocked out the whole flight. We were woken up by the pilot’s announcement saying we were about to arrive at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
Upon landing, we decided to buy sim cards (Viettel) to enable us to have a line of communication and at the same time, ensure that we have mobile data in case there’s no wifi in the places we would go to. Shortly after, we were on our way to Bui Vien Walking Street where our temporary accommodation, Supe Hostel, was located. Our room was quite small but had 10 bunk beds, lockers, cute fairy lights, and a power outlet for each bed. Supe Hostel is located in the middle of Bui Vien Walking Street where bars, pubs and restaurants stood side by side on the sidewalks. The place was very noisy and there were loads of people partying hard, and apparently laughing gas was a thing here. You would see people inhaling nitrous oxide from huge balloons for its euphoric effect. Since all of us were pretty tired, we decided to just have a quick dinner at the bar beside our hostel. The usual rate of the meals in Ho Chi Min were around PHP 100-200 each.
We woke up early the next day to prepare for our city tour. To our surprise, the street was empty. It was a very different sight from the night before. We headed to Ben Thanh Market first and grabbed breakfast there. All of us were very excited to try the famous Vietnamese coffee. We were surprised though that they served it ice even in the early hours of the morning. Nonetheless, it was very delicious and gave a kick like red bull. We ate Banh Mi as well, which was similar to a subway but much better.
At 7:30 AM we met up with Saigon Free Walking Tours which was composed of volunteer students (Barbara, Wendy, Anh, Alice, and Jasmine) from different colleges. I admire these lovely ladies as they really give their time and effort to show tourists around Ho Chi Minh. I highly recommend them. They were very knowledgeable about the history of the different tourist spots and historical sites such as the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, Saigon Central Post Office, Independence Palace (Reunification Palace) and War Remnants Museum. We also learned a lot about the Vietnamese culture and most importantly the meaning of their beloved flag. The gold five-pointed star symbolizes the five groups of workers in the building of socialism (intellectuals, peasants, soldiers, workers, and youths), while the red symbolized bloodshed and the revolutionary struggle.
At around lunchtime, we parted ways with our friendly tour guides, and even up to the last minute they showed their hospitality by walking us to our nearby cheap restaurant which serves local Vietnamese cuisine.
We went back to our hostel after lunch, showered, and took a nap. The city tour was quite tiring due to the amount of walking and the blistering heat of the sun. After the much-needed rest, we headed out and went to Ben Thanh Street Food Market where different varieties of local and international food were sold. I really liked the ambiance here and since it was a Saturday night, a live band was playing and I must say that the vocalist was really good. Good food, great friends, and fantastic music, what more can you ask for!
After dinner, the group separated. Some went back to the hostel while others embraced the nightlife.
TIP: Fancy legit Vietnamese coffee? Head to the Ben Thanh Night Market on the corner of Phan Bội Châu and Lưu Văn Lang. You will see a lady with her motorbike selling coffee, and tea for VND 15,000 per cup.
FULL ITINERARY / COST PER HEAD:
Click on the links below for the itineraries for each country: