Vietnam – Day 8 – Ninh Binh

Today I woke up at 5:30am. I’m still struggling with this persistent jet lag, a whole 8 days later. I packed my bags and got ready, before heading down for breakfast at the buffet. After breakfast I walked about 10 minutes to the Hanoi central train station.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 191

There’s a few ways of obtaining train tickets; you can buy right at the station, or you can buy online from a third party which charges a small booking fee on top. Unfortuneately foreigners can’t book online through the REAL Vietnam Rail website unless you happen to have a Vietnam bank card, which I presume almost everyone won’t. Also one thing to note is that there are a lot of fake websites in Vietnam, and other parts of SE Asia for things like trains, airlines, museums, etc. You need to be extra diligent and do your research as they mostly all look the same. I read multiple travel blogs to ensure that I was picking the appropriate websites. Anyways, I chose to use the third party website called Balou, as it came the highest recommended. I only paid about $2 CDN more to book it online through them than just showing up, but it was a nice piece of mind knowing everything was taken care of beforehand.

The train departed Hanoi station at 7:30am and slowly crawled its way through the city before picking up speed. About 15 minutes into the train ride I realized that I had made a bad mistake… I forgot my passport and US cash in the safe back at the hotel. I called the hotel and explained the situation, gave them the passcode for my safe, and told them that I’ll be back tomorrow evening to pick it up. Phew, disaster averted.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1922019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 193

The train arrived at Ninh Binh station at around 10:00am. While exiting the station I booked a GRAB, which happened to be waiting right out front. It took about 15 minutes to drive from Ninh Binh train station to my accommodation in Tam Coc, called Tuan Ngoc Hotel. The fare was 76000 Dong ($4.35 CDN). After arriving at the hotel I dropped off my bags I decided to rent a motorcycle from the hotel for two days for a cost of 110000 Dong/day ($6.25/day). The motorcycle didn’t include gasoline so I had to find a gas station before I ran out of gas, as they had drained all the fuel out minus a few drops.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 202

First stop was Hang Mua viewpoint, about a 6km ride away. Something to note here is that you don’t take the first parking spot that people try to flag you down to because you’ll end up paying way more, and have to walk a fair distance. If you can drive past all the people standing in the middle of the road you’ll find yourself with parking right at the entrance for only 10000 Dong ($0.55 CDN). Unfortuneately despite reading this there was an extremely persistent group of very angry sounding Vietnamese women that wouldn’t get out of the road and pretty much forced me to park in their parking spot for 25000 Dong ($1.35 CDN). Obviously we’re not talking about much money here, but the fact they were so pushy left a sour taste in my mouth. Picture down below of where NOT to park.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 195.JPG

After a 15 minute walk from the very end of the road I came to the entrance of the Hang Mua Viewpoint, which had a nominal entry fee of 100000 Dong ($5.50 CDN). There is a small cave at the start of the steps up to the viewpoint with a tiger statue and some offerings from the locals.

2019-05-25 Ninh Binh 092019-05-25 Ninh Binh 282019-05-25 Ninh Binh 08

After viewing inside the cave it was time to start the hot and strenuous journey up to the vietpoint. 500 steps and about 20 minutes later I was dripping in sweat, but looking at an absolutely fantastic view of the karst sceneries of Tam Coc, as well as the Lying Dragon ontop of the mountain. I spent some considerable time up here getting the photos that I wanted to get, before heading back down so that I could get some lunch.

2019-05-25 Ninh Binh 112019-05-25 Ninh Binh 142019-05-25 Ninh Binh 162019-05-25 Ninh Binh 232019-05-25 Ninh Binh 262019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 329

After walking back to the bike I rode back into town to get some lunch from a restaurant, which I unfortunately forget the name of. I had some beef pho soup, but it wasn’t very good and the service was quite slow.

After having some lunch I rode a short distance away to Bich Dong Pagoda. The parking attendent wanted to charge me 30000 Dong ($1.65 CDN) but I ended up negotiating down to 20000 Dong ($1.10 CDN). I crossed over a bridge through some temple gates, walked a short while to the Lower Pagoda, before ascending 100 steps to the Middle Pagoda, which is built half inside of a cave. There are roughly 20-25 steep steps to the Upper Pagoda, which is fully inside the cave, which is also filled with bats. Bich Dong Pagoda was built by the two monks Tri Kien and Tri The in the early 18th century.

2019-05-25 Ninh Binh 302019-05-25 Ninh Binh 312019-05-25 Ninh Binh 322019-05-25 Ninh Binh 342019-05-25 Ninh Binh 372019-05-25 Ninh Binh 382019-05-25 Ninh Binh 392019-05-25 Ninh Binh 40

It was starting to get extremely hot as it was mid afternoon, so I rode back to the hotel and hung out in the pool for a few hours.

For dinner I rode to the Bia Minh Beer Garden, which was just down the street. I probably could have walked but I was feeling lazy from my hike up all those stairs earlier today. For dinner I had a Hawaiian pizza, and a pork Banh Mi sandwich, along with a mini keg of fresh beer. I’ve never seen anything like it before; it’s a combination between a growler and a keg. This was some of the freshest beer I’ve had in SE Asia so far. During dinner it started to pour rain. After dinner I rode back to the hotel in the pouring rain and ended up going to bed at around 9:00pm.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1982019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1992019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 200

Be sure to check back tomorrow when I explore more of Ninh Binh before heading back to Hanoi.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

Vietnam – Day 7 – Hanoi

Today I woke up at 5:30am. Notice a trend here; I’m not really able to wake up at a normal time yet, despite being here a week. Breakfast at the O’Galley Majestic Hotel & Spa started at 6:30am, and I was starving, so I waited until it opened and rushed down to the basement. I was not disappointed at all; there was so many different options to choose from at the buffet.

After breakfast I went and visited the famous Hanoi rail track again, as they were on the way to my next stop which was a wall of ceramic murals along the Durong Tran Quang Khai highway, which was a few kilometer walk away. The tracks were less lively during the morning, than last night, but there were still some people doing food prep, and building repairs.

2019-05-24 Hanoi 072019-05-24 Hanoi 102019-05-24 Hanoi 112019-05-24 Hanoi 122019-05-24 Hanoi 132019-05-24 Hanoi 142019-05-24 Hanoi 162019-05-24 Hanoi 172019-05-24 Hanoi 182019-05-24 Hanoi 20

The ceramic murals were quite intricate, and stretch a total length of 6.5 kilometers (4.0 miles). They were developed between 2007 and 2010 to celebrate the Millennial Anniversary of Hanoi.

2019-05-24 Hanoi 42.jpg

After visiting the ceramic murals I walked to the nearby Dong Xuan Market. One word can describe this place; chaos. This market has everything you could possibly dream of in one place, with some tremendous deals to be had on clothing, electronics, jewelry, etc. It’s absolutely packed and seems like a tremendous fire hazard waiting to happen, but it was still unique to see. I didn’t purchase anything there. The market was originally built by the French in 1889, and has been renovated many times since, with the latest iteration in 1994 after a fire broke out, almost destroying the market entirely… As you can see not much has changed. I noticed a ton of expired fire extinguishers stuffed underneath the escalators and stairs…

2019-05-24 Hanoi 292019-05-24 Hanoi 302019-05-24 Hanoi 312019-05-24 Hanoi 322019-05-24 Hanoi 332019-05-24 Hanoi 34

After visiting the Dong Xuan Market I visited Bach Ma Temple. The temple was originally built in 1010, by the Ly Dynasty. It honors a white horse, which was thought to be an incarnation of a local river god. The temple was rebuilt in the 18th century after severe flooding damaged the original building.

2019-05-24 Hanoi 382019-05-24 Hanoi 392019-05-24 Hanoi 402019-05-24 Hanoi 41

After visiting Bach Ma Temple I strolled over to Hoan Kiem Lake, which means “Lake of the Returned Sword”. An old wives tale suggests that in 1428, Emperor Le Loi was boating on the lake when the Golden Turtle God named Kim Qui surfaced and asked for his magic sword, Heaven’s Will. The Emperor came to the conclusion that Kim Qui had come to reclaim the sword that it’s master, Dragon King Long Vuong had given Loi during the revolt against Ming China. The Emperor gave the sword back to the Golden Turtle after finishing fighting the Chinese. I relaxed for a bit along the lake, taking pictures of the Turtle Tower, The Huc Bridge, and Jade Island.

2019-05-24 Hanoi 502019-05-24 Hanoi 512019-05-24 Hanoi 522019-05-24 Hanoi 532019-05-24 Hanoi 54

After relaxing along Hoan Kiem Lake it was time to find some lunch. I settled on a Japanese restaurant called Moto-San. I decided to have some ramen noodle bowl and some sushi while enjoying all the racy propaganda art strewn around the interior of the building.

2019-05-24 Hanoi 552019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1802019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1812019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 182

After lunch I walked back to the hotel, as I was feeling pretty exhausted and just wanted to relax at the pool. I got back to the hotel at around 2:30pm and relaxed by the pool with some beers until around 5:00pm.

2019-05-24 Hanoi 272019-05-24 Hanoi 282019-05-24 Hanoi 352019-05-24 Hanoi 362019-05-24 Hanoi 372019-05-24 Hanoi 462019-05-24 Hanoi 472019-05-24 Hanoi 482019-05-24 Hanoi 492019-05-24 Hanoi 562019-05-24 Hanoi 57

At 5:00pm I walked around the government area near my hotel and took some pictures of the buildings before walking to the very famous Bun Cha Huong Lien Obama, where former US President Obama and Anthony Bourdain ate on May 23rd 2016.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1882019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1892019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 190

After dinner I took a GRAB back to the hotel for 32000 Dong ($2 CDN). I had to pack my bags as I was off to Ninh Binh early. tomorrow morning.

Check back tomorrow when I travel to the countryside and visit Ninh Binh, also known as the Inland Ha Long Bay.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

Vietnam – Day 6 – Hoi An Eco Cooking Tour

Today I unfortunately woke up early again at 5:00am. I did some photo editing in the room until it was time to have breakfast. For breakfast I had Cao Lau Noodles at the villa restaurant.

I booked myself a cooking class tour with Hoi An Eco Cooking Class Tour company on a recommendation from Viktor and Sandrine. I was picked up at 8:15am and was taken for a tour of the Hoi An food market before venturing on a boat ride on a traditional basket boat. I went fishing and caught 3 purple crabs! After riding on the basket boat it was time to start my cooking class.

2019-05-22 Hoi An 032019-05-22 Hoi An 042019-05-22 Hoi An 062019-05-22 Hoi An 082019-05-22 Hoi An 092019-05-22 Hoi An 102019-05-22 Hoi An 122019-05-22 Hoi An 142019-05-22 Hoi An 172019-05-22 Hoi An 182019-05-22 Hoi An 192019-05-22 Hoi An 202019-05-22 Hoi An 262019-05-22 Hoi An 272019-05-22 Hoi An 282019-05-22 Hoi An 312019-05-22 Hoi An 332019-05-22 Hoi An 362019-05-22 Hoi An 382019-05-22 Hoi An 392019-05-22 Hoi An 402019-05-22 Hoi An 422019-05-22 Hoi An 432019-05-22 Hoi An 442019-05-22 Hoi An 45

During the cooking class I learned how to make pho, eggplant aubergine, Vietnamese pancakes, fish sauce, aubergine sauce, and shrimp salad rolls. The cost of the cooking class was 750000 Dong ($46.85 CDN). The class ended at 1:30pm and I was dropped back off at the villa.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1472019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1482019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1492019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1502019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1532019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1552019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1562019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1582019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1632019-05-17-vietnam-iphone-photos-167.jpg

It was time to check out sadly… it was an absolutely amazing villa! I stayed here for four nights and actually had the whole place to myself. This family run villa has the most amazing friendly staff that are eager to make your experience in Hoi An as perfect as possible. The rooms are spacious, clean and bright. The rooms have a super cold minibar fridge with cold drinks that are very fairly priced. The pool is incredible, especially on a hot day. My favourite staff member was Lap; she works in the afternoons. She’s so sweet and makes sure you have everything you need; including if the weather is bad she wants to make sure you don’t get wet and gives out rain ponchos. You can rent motorcycles for fairly cheap (110,000 Dong ($6.85 CSN) for a newer Honda automatic with lots of power). The complementary breakfast is amazing with an option of 13 different choices with Vietnamese and traditional western foods as options. They also have amazing fresh fruit juices and authentic Vietnamese coffee. I would absolutely stay here again and would recommend it to anyone.

After checking out I had a private driver drive me to Da Nang Airport for roughly 130000 Dong ($8.15 CDN). I arrived at the airport at around 3:00pm.

My Vietnam Airlines flight to Hanoi was at 5:00pm on an Airbus A321 CEO (Current Engine Option). After arriving at Hanoi I took a fairy expensive GRAB ride to my hotel; O’Gallery Majestic Hotel & Spa, for 272000 Dong ($17 CDN). I received two nights for free at this $200 CDN/night hotel on Hotels.ca for free. If you don’t use hotels.com or hotels.ca you should; every 10th night is free with a blended average rate from your previous 9 stays. This hotel has everything you can possible imagine; a private pool, a massive room with a luxurious king size bed, free food, mini bar, a 3:1 staff to tenant ratio. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone who wishes to visit Hanoi.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1692019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1702019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1712019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1722019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1732019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 174

After checking in I walked to the famous Hanoi rail tracks where the train passes by every day in the evening at 7:30pm. After taking pictures of the train I went for some chicken broth pho at Bahn Cuon Gia Truyen Thanh Van. After eating dinner I walked back to the hotel and went to bed.

2019-05-24 Hanoi 012019-05-24 Hanoi 022019-05-24 Hanoi 032019-05-24 Hanoi 042019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 176

Check back tomorrow when I explore the massive city of Hanoi.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

 

Vietnam – Day 5 – My Son Sanctuary

Today I woke up at 5:00am with an alarm. Why so early? Well today I was heading to My Son Sanctuary; about an hours drive away.

The My Son Sanctuary is a cluster of abandoned Hindu temples that were constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries by the kings of Champa. Champa was a collection of independent Cham societies that extended in roughly the same area that today is central and south Vietnam from the 2nd century until 1832, when Vietnamese Emperor Minh Mang absorbed and annexed it.

The temples at the My Son Sanctuary are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva. Some of the temples lay in partial ruin. Restoration began in 1937 by the French and ended in 1943. Unfortunately many buildings were again destroyed in the Vietnam War in August 1969 and the surrounding area became dangerous due to unexploded land mines. Restoration began again since being recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1999, with the majority of the money being funded by the Italians and Japanese, as well as some money from the Ministry of Culture of Vietnam.

I had rented a motorcycle from the villa the previous night for 110000 Dong ($6.85 CDN). I set off around 6:00am and stopped at a local coffee shop close to the sanctuary called Café Que Huong (Liberty Café). I had coffee with the owner and took a selfie together. After having the coffee I continued towards the sanctuary.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1242019-05-17-vietnam-iphone-photos-125.jpg

Parking at the sanctuary was 5000 Dong ($0.32 CDN). After parking I ate some hand pulled noodles in a chicken broth at the restaurant at the entrance before walking to the electric tram that would drive me to the start of the ruins.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 126

I explored around the ruins and it was pretty quiet until about 10:00am, when the tourist groups started showing up. I finished walking around the site at around 11:00am and was hungry again so I decided to have more noodles at the restaurant before getting my motorcycle and heading back to the hotel.

2019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 012019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 042019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 052019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 072019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 082019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 092019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 122019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 132019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 142019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 152019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 162019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 172019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 182019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 262019-05-21 My Son Sanctuary 03

The ride back to the hotel was very hot and the traffic was heavier. It took a lot of concentration and it was pretty slow going. I stopped on the way back to the villa for some more beer and some more Doritos. I spent the afternoon hanging out at the pool.

At around 6:00pm I decided to head into town for dinner. I went to a restaurant called Vinh Hung Restaurant and had the famous local Hoi An dish called Cao Lau Noodles. Cao Lau Noodle dishes typically contain pork and greens, with rice noodles that have been soaked in lye water, from a famous local well, giving them a unique texture and colour that sets them apart from other traditional Vietnamese noodle dishes. To be honest I absolutely love the flavour and texture.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1322019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1362019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1372019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1382019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1392019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 140

After dinner I walked around and explored the night market, before riding the motorcycle back to the villa.

Check back tomorrow as I dive head first into a Vietnamese cooking class and take a tour on a traditional Hoi An Basket Boat.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

 

Vietnam – Day 4 – Ba Na Hills

I was woken up by a noise at 4:15am and couldn’t get back to bed. I edited some photos and wrote some of my blog while waiting for the restaurant to open for breakfast. I went for breakfast at 7:00am and  had Mi Quang, which is a noodle dish that has quail eggs. It was absolutely delicious. After breakfast I waited for the tour bus to pick me up for a tour that I had booked to Ba Na Hills, which is a French resort located in the Truong Son Mountains west of the city of Da Nang. The tour cost roughly 1,345,000 Dong ($85 CND).

Ba Na Hills was built in 1919 by French colonists and is located 1500 metres above sea level. The resort has a view of the East Sea and nearby mountains. Being so high up the resort offers substantially cooler temperatures than the cities below, with the average temperatures hovering in the high teens or low twenties.

The 120km trip from my villa to Ba Na Hills took roughly 1.75 hours. On the bus I was sitting next to a girl from Germany named Yasemin. She was really sweet. She was travelling with a friend but they were fighting so they were sitting in different parts of the bus. She also had a very touching private story that she told me, but it melted my heart. She’s such a kind gentle person.

On arrival we boarded the Ba Na Cable Car to the top of the hill. The Ba Na Cable Car, opened on 29 March 2013, holds the world record for the longest non-stop single track cable car at 5801 metres (19032 feet)  long.

2019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 092019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 102019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 122019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 13

After arriving at the top we first visited the newest attraction to the resort; The Golden Bridge. The Golden Bridge is a 150 metre (490 foot) long pedestrian bridge that was built in 2018. The bridge is designed to connect the cable car station with the gardens above, thus avoiding a steep incline, and to provide a scenic overlook and tourist attraction. The bridge is designed to appear to have two giant stone hands supporting the structure and loops back around to itself.

2019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 142019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 17

After walking along The Golden Bridge we then took another cable car up to the gardens above. The gardens were absolutely beautiful and kind of gave the vibe of Alice In Wonderland. After viewing the gardens we then visited the Ling Ung Pagoda and large Buddha statue, which stands fairly tall at roughly 27 metres (89 feet).

2019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 162019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 182019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 192019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 202019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 212019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 222019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 242019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 262019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 272019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 302019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 312019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 322019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 332019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 352019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 362019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 372019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 382019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 392019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 402019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 422019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 432019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 482019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 492019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 532019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 542019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 552019-05-20 Ba Na Hills 56

After that we sat down for a rather disappointing lunch buffet. Everything was cold and chewy. During lunch it started to rain very heavily, and then the power went out for roughly 15 minutes before the power generators kicked in. Since it was raining out we decided to explore the indoor Fantasy Park. I rode on the Bumper Cars, Alpine Coaster, and a shooting game.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1122019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1162019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1192019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1202019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1212019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 122

It was approaching 3:00pm and unfortunately it was time to head back down to the tour bus. I didn’t get to experience about half of Ba Na Hills due to the weather and time constraints unfortunately. I was dropped off back in town at roughly 5:30pm and decided to eat again at Banh Mi Phuong for dinner. After dinner I walked back to the Villa and went to bed early at 9:00pm.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 123

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

 

Vietnam – Day 3 – Hoi An

The next day I woke up at 5:30am. I didn’t realize this at first but I had the whole villa to myself; none of the other 12 rooms were booked. The villa had a restaurant that opened at 7:00am so I waited for the restaurant to open. I had some beef pho for breakfast. I borrowed one of their bicycles for free to ride into the ancient town of Hoi An. I explored around the local market, wandering up and down the streets to take in the sights, including the famous covered Japanese Bridge, which was built in 1719. It was starting to get too hot to bear at around noon, so I rode the bicycle back to the villa. I looked on the weather reports and noticed that it was 37 degrees, but due to humidity it felt like 46 degrees.

2019-05-19 Hoi An 032019-05-19 Hoi An 042019-05-19 Hoi An 062019-05-19 Hoi An 072019-05-19 Hoi An 082019-05-19 Hoi An 102019-05-19 Hoi An 132019-05-19 Hoi An 152019-05-19 Hoi An 172019-05-19 Hoi An 222019-05-19 Hoi An 232019-05-19 Hoi An 252019-05-19 Hoi An 272019-05-19 Hoi An 302019-05-19 Hoi An 33

After relaxing by the pool for a bit and drinking a few beers I decided I was hungry so I borrowed the bicycle again in search of food. I settled on a place called Pho Co Hoi An. I had some beef pho and a local beer. I was getting tired so I rode back towards the villa, quickly stopping for some bottled water, a bag of Doritos, and some more beer. The villa had a good supply of bottled water and beer, but I wanted to save some money by purchasing it at the store instead.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0952019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1002019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 097

I had what was supposed to be a short nap, but ended up sleeping from 3:00pm until 8:00pm. After waking up I walked into town and went to famous Banh Mi Phuong for dinner. Anthony Bourdain ate there a few years ago and featured it on his television show called Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Banh Mi is a baguette filled with savory meats, spices and a few vegetables such as shaved carrots and a bit of lettuce. To describe the taste of the Banh Mi at this particular restaurant I would say it’s like having Pho in a bun. It was so delicious, and very inexpensive; only 50000 Dong ($3.15 CDN) for a Banh Mi and a beer.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 1012019-05-19 Hoi An 45

After dinner I walked around and explored the night market, and watched people floating down the river in the love boats, as well as watch people making wishes with lit lanterns and placing them in the water. It was getting late so I decided to walk back to the villa. It was around 11:00pm by now so it was time for me to go to bed.

2019-05-19 Hoi An 472019-05-19 Hoi An 482019-05-19 Hoi An 492019-05-19 Hoi An 532019-05-19 Hoi An 552019-05-19 Hoi An 562019-05-19 Hoi An 582019-05-19 Hoi An 622019-05-19 Hoi An 632019-05-19 Hoi An 642019-05-19 Hoi An 662019-05-19 Hoi An 692019-05-19 Hoi An 702019-05-19 Hoi An 72

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

Vietnam – Day 1 – Ho Chi Minh City

After some much-needed sleep I woke up at around 5:00am. The hotel I was staying at provided a complimentary set breakfast, which started at 7:00am. I hung out in the hotel room until it was time for breakfast. For breakfast I had some Pho. After breakfast I started my adventure around the city.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0232019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 026

The first stop was Ben Thanh Market, a massive market that’s been around since the early 17th century. The market was destroyed by fire in 1870 and was rebuilt to become Saigon’s largest market. The market was moved in 1912 and renamed to it’s current name, and the building was renovated in 1985.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 012019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 022019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 052019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 09

The second stop was the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, also known as Gia Long Palace. This building has a very rich history dating back to 1885.Construction of Gia Long Palace was constructed between 1885 and 1890. Gia Long Palace was designed by the French architect Alfred Foulhoux. The palace spans two floors and was building using classical Baroque architecture with a blend of European and Oriental influences. The building was essentially symmetrical with a winding staircase in the middle of the building. Interestingly the building was built with three deep underground tunnels which lead from the palace to other parts of the city so that government officials could escape in the event of a coup. The building was intended to house the Museum of Commercial Trade, which showcased products and goods of Southern Vietnam, but it was not used as intended and was instead used as the residence of the Governor of Cochinchina. In 1945, control of the palace changed hands many times. It started on March 9th when French governor Ernest Hoeffel was arrested, and the Japanese took over the palace and used it for the residence of Japanese Governor Yoshio Minoda. On August 14th the Japanese handed over the palace to its puppet Empire of Vietnam government to be used as a residence. A mere 11 days later on August 25th the Viet Minh seized the property. The building then became the headquarters of the Provisional Administrative Committee of Southern Vietnam, which was later renamed the “People’s Committee of Southern Vietnam”. On September 10th the British occupied the palace and made it the Allied Mission headquarters, thus evicting the “People’s Committee”. About a month later on October 5th the building was then again occupied by the French; first as a temporary headquarters of the High Commission for the French Republic in Indochina, then as the official headquarters of the Commissioner of the French Republic in Southern Vietnam.

On June 2nd 1948 the French handed control of the building to the Provisional Government of the State of Vietnam, which established its headquarters there. It was later on used as the Palace of the Premier. On January 9th 1950 a massive protest with over 6000 students and teachers demanding the release of students arrested for advocating Vietnamese independence occurred in front of the building. Over 150 people were arrested, 30 injured, and 1 killed. From 1954 to 1966 the palace was used as a residence for numerous government officials, and was renamed to Gia Long Palace by Bao Dai. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Vietnam utilized the palace from October 31st 1966 to April 30th 1975, when the Fall of Saigon occurred, ending the Vietnam War. On August 12th 1978 the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee ordered that the building be used as the Ho Chi Minh City Revolutionary Museum, a propaganda museum, later being renamed on December 13th 1999 to its current name of Ho Chi Minh City Museum.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 122019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 132019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 142019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 152019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 162019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 182019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 202019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 212019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 232019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 262019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 272019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 332019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 34

The third stop was the People’s Committee Building, also known as Ho Chi Minh City Hall. The building was built between 1902 and 1908 in a French colonial style. It was renamed in 1975 to Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. While I was there a group a graduating school children were getting their group photo taken.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 38.jpg2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 335

The fourth stop was the City Opera House. I just took a photo of the outside, as the inside was being used for graduating children. The building was opened in 1900 and shaped very similar to the Opera Garnier in Paris, with 800 seats to entertain the French. The Opera House was damaged during World War 2, and because of the criticism of the fascade and high costs of organizing performances the government tried to turn the theatre into a concert hall. Decorations, engravings, and statues were removed, and the building wasn’t restored until 1955. After the Fall of Saigon in 1975, the building was restored again to its original function as a theatre, and the façade wasn’t restored until 1998, on the 300th anniversary of the founding of Saigon.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 392019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 40

I then stopped by the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre to purchase a ticket for the 5:00pm showing; more on that later. The cost of the ticket was 200000 dong ($11.40 CDN).

After purchasing my ticket, I went to the War Remnants Museum. On my way to the museum I met a couple that was also from Canada and we chatted on the way to the museum. The girl had just had her phone stolen out of her hands while she was sitting for dinner the previous evening, so she warned me to be a bit vigilant. The War Remnants museum was built in 1975 and contains exhibits related to the Vietnam War and the first Indochina War involving the French. Just a word of warning that some of the following images may be disturbing to some viewers.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 452019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 462019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 472019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 482019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 492019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 502019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 3282019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0282019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0292019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0302019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0312019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0322019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0332019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0342019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0352019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0362019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0372019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0382019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0392019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0402019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0412019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0422019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0432019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0442019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0452019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0462019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 047

I was starting to get hungry so I searched out some food on Google Maps. I settled for Saigon Sakura Japanese Restaurant. On my way to the restaurant I snapped a few quick photographs of Independence Palace. Independence Palace, also known as Reunification Place, was built between 1962 and 1966. It was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30th 1975, when a North Vietnamese army tank crashed through the gates.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 51

For lunch I had some sushi rolls, but not too many as they were phenomenally expensive; even more expensive than at home. After enjoying the delicious lunch, I walked to the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon and the Saigon Central Post Office. Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon was built between 1863 and 1880 by the French in a Romanesque style. The Saigon Central Post Office was built between 1886 and 1891 in Gothic, Renaissance and French style. Inside the Saigon Central Post office there are two painted maps that were created just after the post office was built. One is a map of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia titled “Lignes telegraphiques du Sud Vietnam et Cambodge 1892”, which roughly translates to “Telegraphic lines of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia 1892”. The second map of greater Saigon is titled “Saigon et ses environs 1892”, which roughly translates to “Saigon and its surroundings 1892”.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 522019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 532019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 562019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 572019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 582019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 60

It was getting quite hot out at this point in time and I was still a bit jet lagged, so I walked back to the hotel to rest for a few hours. On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a Circle K convenience store to get a few beers to enjoy in the hotel room later on. By the time I got back to the hotel it was about 2:30pm. I relaxed until roughly 4:30pm and then walked to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre. The show was extremely well done and in Vietnamese, but I didn’t need to understand Vietnamese to understand what was going on.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 652019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 682019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 692019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 712019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 72

After the show I walked to Nha Hang Dong Pho, and had a Hue style clear both with pork knuckle. It was honestly not very good, despite the good reviews online. I was getting tired so I walked back to the hotel. On the way back it started raining, but not too hard.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 053.JPG

Check back tomorrow when I explore more of Ho Chi Minh City, and explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, before jet setting off to Hoi An / Da Nang.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here