day one hundred and thirty: february 6, 2016: arrival in ho chi minh city
This morning, we jumped on a quick flight from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City. Extremely hungry, we checked in at our hotel, dropped off our bags and hit the road looking for some food. Thankfully, we were right near the Ben Thanh Street Food Market, which had a ton of food stalls all offering different kinds of Vietnamese food.
As we browsed the different vendors, we finally found what we were looking for, bún thit nướng, -- which basically is vermicelli noodles with mint, cilantro, grilled meat, in this case, pork bbq with a fried spring roll!
Needless to say, our first meal in Vietnam did not disappoint!
Afterwards, we headed toward one of the major streets that had been shut down for decorations for Tết, which is Vietnamese Lunar Year. There were TONS of people out and the flower arrangements were beautiful.
After walking the main street and dodging people left and right the whole time, we headed back to our hotel to get some rest.
day one hundred and thirty-one: february 7, 2016:
We woke up early to make the most of our day before heading to the airport on our way to Hoi An. After a disappointing breakfast at the hotel, we decided to see if we could find a good bánh mì, a Vietnamese sandwich. after getting some recommendations from some blogs that our friend Kieu sent to us. Thankfully, one of them was open since it was the eve of Tết. At first we just ordered one to try it, but pretty quickly after having our first bite, we ordered another. Each was only 20,000 Vietnamese Dong, which is about $1 USD. Not a bad deal. I think we could eat these all day, every day.
Afterwards, we walked around the city taking in sights. On our way to the War Remnants Museum we happened upon some lion dancing. We paused and watched for a little bit before moving on.
We were walking through the park, when this cute little man walked past us carrying two baskets of coconuts balancing on a piece of bamboo. He walked just slow enough so that we were just behind him for a few seconds and we could admire how he could carry this thing with ease and switch it from one shoulder to the other. Once he knew he had our attention, he smiled at us with a big "Hello!" then handed the bamboo over to Jonathan so he could try it out. I took my camera out...good photo opp right? The guys smiled for the camera, Jonathan couldn't believe how the guy could carry the baskets like that....and before we knew it...the guy was cutting us two coconuts and asking for 150,000 VD, that's almost $6 USD! And that's how we got swindled by the coconut man. I noticed another couple totally get conned across the street at the same time...then others later as we walked around. At least it was good??
The War Remnants Museum was very informative. To be honest, we didn't know a whole lot about the Vietnam War. Let's just say, that after learning more at the museum we were a little bit embarassed to say we were American.
Next stop, a fly by the Notre Dame Basilica of Saigon and the Central Post Office. Both beautiful buildings, but we moved on pretty quickly.
After the post office, we headed back to the hotel to get a nice, well deserved foot massage. During the foot massage, we found out that our flight was delayed giving us a little bit more time before heading to the airport. We went on our search for lunch. Sadly, the street food market was closed so we decided to walk to a restaurant a little further away with the hopes that they would be open, sadly they were closed for Tết. Last resort...McDonald's. Yup, we did it and it tasted exactly the way we wanted it to.
Next we headed to the airport. We had booked our flights late, so we ended up paying for the VietJet SkyBOSS tickets since they really weren't that much more expensive. Thankfully, this gave us access to the lounge, free food, drinks, wifi and a nice area to relax in. Sadly, our flight was delayed longer than expected. Yay, more airport time!
Next stop, Hoi An to celebrate Tết!