Unlike Hanoi, which leaves me with quite a lot of impression, Ho Chi Minh or Saigon didn’t leave me that much of impression. To me, it’s just another developing big city. But it doesn’t mean that the trip to Ho Chi Minh is bad or anything. Though I’d like to recommend a really short trip rather than staying for a long trip in this city. =D I stayed around district 1, which is surrounded by several tourist attraction and sight seeing, so you won’t have to go too far away if you’d like to see the cathedrals, going to shopping malls, the famous post office, etc.
Book Cafe Alley
I don’t know whether the name of this place is ‘Book Cafe Alley’ or not, but since the alley is so full of book shops and book cafe, so I called this place that way. In a busy streets of Ho Chi Minh, there’s this silent alley where cars cannot pass through and you can walk here without being horned by the absurd motorbikes or cars in Vietnam (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve been to Vietnam before lolz). The book shops and book cafes here have a really unique architecture and is really a good place if you’d like to sit back and just spend your free time by resting and sipping a cup of good tea and a book in your hand. If only I can read Vietnamese word, I’ll definitely spend lots and lots of time in this area.
There’s this bus-shaped book store, which I personally think super cute and can’t take my eyes off it. This alley is definitely one of my favorite place in this big metropolitan city. Once you come out of this book alley, you’ll find yourself in a street where several notable architecture building is at.
Notable Architecture Building
Not only in Hanoi, in Ho Chi Minh, you’ll be able to find some notable architecture building surrounded the city, especially in district 1 Ho Chi Minh City. There’s this famous Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office and The Reunification Palace, which is quite famous for tourist. Well, I’m not that into architecture but these buildings is really something. And there’s few shopping malls, surrounding these area. So once you get thirsty (since the weather in Ho Chi Minh is really hot), you can get inside the shopping malls and have a sip of coffee while cooling off.
Nguyen Hue Area
This area is within walking distance from where I stay, and I can say that this is one of the place where I really love to linger around, aside the book alley I mentioned above. Unlike the silent and quiet book cafe alley, Nguyen Hue area offers you something different, you can find high end shopping mall (which I think is newly built since there’s still a lot of store renovation inside the mall, so I think you won’t want to visit the mall at this point, since you only can find a very little shops), there’s a lot 5 to 6-storey building with lots of tea cafe you can try, and during night time, you can find a lot of streets food and crowds just hanging around to chat, eat and drink coffee, which is really something I must say.
One of the tea cafe I manage to try is called Partea. This place offers you a wide selection of tea and you can choose your own tea cup (but not the teapots), and have a what you called an English-style tea time. I really love drinking tea and just hanging around, so if you asked me whether I like this place, I would say ‘Yes, a lot!!’. And since the shop is located at the 4th floor of the building, you can even see the sight of Nguyen Hue area from above while enjoying your tea time.
Lots and lots of Streets Food
Just like some of the South East Asia countries, Ho Chi Minh offers a wide variety of street foods as well. You can find a little shop where you have to sit outdoor and eat a very localized food just along the streets, which gives you a very own and unique experience of being like a local. LOLZ! So, after a longggg day going here and there, I finally decided to spend the night just like the locals, drinking coffee along the pedestrian walk while seeing the bikes and cars go back and through and try some of the foods.
There’s this the so-called Pho. You can choose your own toppings, and I choose a chicken egg for mine, and was quite held back at first, because I was quite shocked with the shape of ‘egg’ that they served. It’s look more like some pre-mature egg (?) to me. Well the taste isn’t weird though. It taste just like what it should. I also tried out the crab and egg soup, which looks like and tastes like a ‘crab and egg soup’ you can find in any other countries, so nothing special for this one I think. And lastly I tried what the seller called ‘Pork Dumpling’.
There’s two types of dumpling inside, the first one is pork meat wrapped by some crystal clear skin which looks like a Hakaw, only instead of prawn, you can find pork inside. The other one is a ball-shaped minced pork meat, which taste so much like Siomay (not the dimsum siomay, but the Indonesian Siomay) to me. You can’t say that the taste was wonderful, but since it’s offer a new taste to me, why not give it a try while you’re here. The red sauce is quite spicy though, so if you’re not a spicy food lover, don’t ask for too much sauce on it.
I love to travel and eat!! I'm a freelance Korean English Chinese Bahasa Indonesia interpreter, who love to blog and write. I worked in a plastic surgery hospital in Korea for 5 years before pursuing my interpreting and writing jobs. My previous blog on plastic surgery (which has been permanently closed down T-T) has been published in a book.