Saturday, October 24, 2015

HCMC Day 1 (Part 1)

Traveling has always been one of the things I enjoy doing. And this year, me and my travel buddy spent the second week of October in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Vietnam, like the Philippines, is a Southeast Asian country. So, it's pretty much the same when it comes to geographical location and climate (though the upper regions in Vietnam, such as Hanoi experiences four seasons). To be honest, I don't really have much expectation in this trip, except that I want to go there to de-stress and just forget about my problems even for just a few days. But Saigon has done more than that. Saigon has captivated my heart!

Note: The following will be full of details because when I go back to this post again in the future, I want to be able to read and remember as many details as I can.

We left Manila at 10:50 PM, October 10 and arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) at 12:30 AM, October 11. It's a two and a half-hour flight (Manila is one hour ahead of HCMC). We were in a promo flight and usually promo flights are scheduled on the flights not taken by most people, e.g. wee hours of the night. We were fetched by the pick-up service from the hotel. One thing I noticed was that the driver (oops I forgot his name) was warm and friendly. He gave us bottled water, which was really nice, and told us common phrases used in Vietnam and their meaning, the coffee places to try, and gave us tips, e.g. avoid buying in the street vendors because they usually charge higher prices on the tourists. After a few minutes, we arrived at our hotel, Silverland Inn (see their website). Hopefully, I'd be able to write a post about the hotel because I really love our stay there. It's definitely a good choice and it's not that expensive.

After a good night's sleep, we were so ready to take on the world, err I mean HCMC!

Day 1 (October 11, 2015)
Whenever I make an itinerary, the places near the hotel are usually the ones scheduled on the first day. It's a plus that our hotel is located near the tourist spots in the city. Our first day began with a hearty and healthy breakfast - Vietnamese style, of course. I got my first taste of pho, which is so delicious! Will include a picture of that in my post/review about the hotel soon.

At past 9, with a full tummy, we started our journey!

So from the hotel going to Notre Dame Cathedral, here's the view.
Park Hyatt Saigon

Dong Khoi area

We passed by Dong Khoi, which I have to say is my favorite street in HCMC. It's an upscale area filled with fancy hotels and shops. And also, there's the Opera House. Here's a funny story, me and my friend took pictures in front of the Opera House, in that bike filled with native materials (picture above) without having an idea that it's already the Opera House. All along I was telling my friend we would go to the Opera House in the afternoon. And we just realized it's the Opera House when we passed by it again in the evening.
Saigon Opera House
me sitting happily and seeing all the beauty of HCMC

Ho Chi Minh City Hall

Notre Dame Cathedral
I absolutely love the simplicity of Notre Dame Cathedral. It's not that huge and it's not an imposing kind of establishment.

We're supposed to attend mass but we're late and by the time we're going inside, they're not accepting any more people so we just stayed outside. There were so many tourists and yes, as you can see in the picture below, it's common to see couples having photoshoot.

This was on the other side of the cathedral. So many were taking pictures here so when they all left, we just have to take our own "by the door" shot.

I still have a lot to include in Day 1 but I'll just reserve them in my next post.

Good night everyone! :)

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