Vietnam

Travel, Vietnam

Top 5 Things To Do In Ho Chi Minh City Without Breaking The Bank


1 Comment

Ever consider paying Ho Chi Minh City a visit but stuck with a budget? Firstly, air tickets are going to be cheap when flying in and out of Tan Soon Nhat International Airport because it is one of the busiest airport in Asia. This means that prices are competitive among airlines and it is easy to get great deals if you have an eye for airlines promotions. Even if you are traveling overland by bus into Ho Chi Minh City, the prices are very affordable. In fact traveling by land is the cheapest in Southeast Asia. On top of that, the cost of living is cheap in Vietnam which why it is one of the budget travelers’ favorite destinations. Here’s 5 wonderful things to do there to keep your budget in check.

P1050344

P1050309

1) Cu Chi Tunnels

A major tourist attraction of Ho Chi Minh City, you can’t miss the Cu Chi Tunnels. A half day trip with a guide and transport provided is going to cost at most USD 10. It is a fantastic place to start learning about the Vietnam war history. The trip is going to leave you wondering how do they even build those complex tunnel networks during those times. A very money worthy option in my opinion.

P1050392

2) Checking out Vietnamese coffee

The Vietnamese coffee is a must-try when you are in the country. Coffee is a big thing in Vietnam, which is also one of the country top exports. I find the coffees in Vietnam really different from the usual ones. They are really strong in taste and have almost 50% more caffeine than the Arabica ones. Vietnam grows the Robusta bean which tastes more bitter than its counterpart. You can get a cup of coffee for USD 1 at the right places, unless you are going for the fanciful options like Latte or Cappuccino.

3) Notre Dame Cathedral & Saigon Central Post Office

It is free to visit both of these places. The Notre Dame Cathedral is built between 1863 and 1880. It has some pretty French architecture design and it is worth checking out. There are wedding couples taking pictures there every now and then, which means even locals like that place well. Located right across the street is the Saigon Central Post Office, it looks like some European building from the outside. But when you step in the entrance,  the first thing you notice is the large portrait of Ho Chi Minh himself and the unique design of the hall. It is a fully functional post office. Many travelers like to send some post cards from here to their family and friends.

P1050306

P1050335

P1050337

P1050330

P1050322

P1050318

4) Street foods

You can spend your time tasting the wide variety of local food in Ho Chi Minh City, they can be found at every corner of the city. Vietnamese food is famous throughout world. My favorites are Pho and the spring rolls. Here in Vietnam, you get it cheap for a couple of dollars as compared to jacked up prices elsewhere. What’s more, it’s indeed authentic Vietnamese. I’m sure you will be feel gastronomically Vietnamese when you are done.

P1050275

P1050269

P1050273

P1050239

P1050240

5) War Remnants Museum

Entrance fee is at USD 1. There are many old military places and tanks left over from the Vietnam war here. Most of them are American ones and you can have a look at what kind of stuff they used during the war. Some of the displays in the museum are gruesome which shows the negative images of war. We can also see the propaganda and history during the war periods. The museum is a good place to find how the events that happened during the war.

P1050348

P1050349

P1050355

P1050360

You can probably complete the above in 2 days, and remember that these places are wallet-friendly. Of course, there are much more to Ho Chi Minh other than the above mentioned. Overall, Ho Chi Minh is relatively affordable as compared to western standards.

Travel, Vietnam

This Is Why You Will Want To Travel To Mui Ne, Vietnam


1 Comment

As I rode my motorbike down the Vietnam’s coast in Mui Ne, I felt nature blowing against my face. The wind was strong and the temperature was right. I thought it resembled the stretch of Pacific Coast Highway near Monterey Bay in California, but you don’t see occasional Mustangs or Camaros driving along. You see old scooters and a few tourist vans or jeeps instead. The traffic is not as crazy as the ones in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi either.

Mui Ne is a little town reachable via a 5 hours land transfer from Ho Chi Minh City, you will be greeted by miles of sweeping coastline, sandy roads and little shop houses by the side of the roads. Whenever someone mentions Vietnam, we conjure up images of Halong Bay and Mekong River in our minds. We always miss out the beaches of Vietnam, overshadowed by favorites like Bali and Koh Lanta. About 50% of Vietnam’s border lies with the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand, which means there are plenty of beaches of all sorts. This is a perfect getaway for secluded beaches with tropical waters.

P1050481People usually flock to Nha Trang for the beaches, especially the Russians.  Similar to Nha Trang, you will see restaurants menus and signs around Mui Ne with Russian translations next to English. The lesser number of travelers also means that you to experience the real Vietnam. The further you travel away from the big cities, you get lesser people speaking conversational English, sometimes relying heavily on hand gestures and Google Translate. I had the whole beach to myself, occasionally bumping into some friendly Vietnamese family having their fun time by the beach.

P1050519

photo(2)

P1050514

Mui Ne is famous for the sand dunes, a surprising landscape in Vietnam or even Southeast Asia. The Red Sand Dunes are pretty close to the center of Mui Ne, about 7km away which is easily accessible by bicycles or motorbikes. There were groups of Vietnamese kids rushing to me to offer sand boards for sand boarding once I got there. Try it if you are up for a sandy experience. The White Sand Dunes are pretty far out, about 26km away. It is less touristy because of the location. There are quad bikes available if you are in for an adventure. Many hotels and agencies offer tours to the sand dunes which can be pretty expensive. And these are usually on old jeeps shared with other travelers. Go on a motorbike and you can save some money, although you end up riding on some crappy tracks near the White Sand Dunes. The good thing is that the traffic here are a lot better. When I got to the sand dunes, it felt like I was time wrapped into another country, it didn’t feel like I was in Vietnam any moment. Half of my time there, I was battling to keep the blowing sand out from my eyes and my camera.

P1050444

P1050450Get on one of those man-made sand boards!

P1050439Red Sand Dunes

P1050502A lake around the White Sand Dunes

P1050503Try one of these quad biking experience!

P1050500

P1050504

P1050451P1050571Enjoy the sunset on the dunes

photo(1)This was some real authentic experience trying to get over the cows.

P1050567

I recommend to spend around 3 days in Mui Ne, one day for getting around the sand dunes, another one for exploring the beaches, the last one for checking out the fairy stream and fishing village. Don’t miss out the seafood feast there!

Are you ready for some adventures in Mui Ne?

 

Travel, Vietnam

Photo Entry of Cu Chi Tunnels


No Comments

You can’t miss the Cu Chi Tunnels if you are in Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon before 1975. It is located about an hour and a half from the city centre by bus. The tunnels are part of an amazing underground network constructed by the Vietnamese to fight the American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Today, it is a very important part of the Vietnamese history for the younger generation of locals and foreigners learning about the Vietnam War.

P1050383

P1050384

P1050391Can you see the tunnel opening from here?

P1050392And it popped out of nowhere.

P1050394

P1050398A man size trap constructed by the Viet Cong.

P1050404

P1050407A destroyed American tank from the Vietnam War.

P1050408The guide explaining various traps and how they used to work.

P1050417

P1050418Halfway through, we were brought to this shooting range.

P1050420There’s a range of rifles and machine guns to choose from.

P1050426Prices of each bullet in Vietnamese currency.

P1050427

P1050428

P1050429

P1050430

I would recommend to take the half-day tour from one of the many travel agencies located in Ho Chi Minh City. It costs around USD 4-5, depending on you haggling skills. The price includes the journey of the bus to and fro and a tour guide included. It is also faster and less of a hassle. If you decide to take the public bus, it is slightly cheaper which comes to around USD 1-2. Entrance fee is excluded from the prices mentioned above, which is about USD 4 at the time of writing.