3D2N IN TIMELESS VIETNAM

VIETNAMPlanning this trip to Vietnam, I had no clear picture of how the country generally appears or looks like. Others say it is the Philippines alike just as the features of other south east asian countries but for me, Vietnam is and has more to share to the world especially their rich and bloody history, and culture well preserved. IMG_1905But, from all the pre-travel-internet-binge I have had, I just aimed at getting two experiential moments before going back home:

1) a long stare at the city streets throng of motorcycles in heavy traffic,IMG_2062and 2) experiencing the Mekong Delta tour.7465A1B1-C8C6-44E9-8BFC-FDE58436A433While Vietnam has become one of the thriving destinations for the Westerners, for Filipinos, it is one budget travel getaway. Just like in relationships, ‘wag ibigay ang lahat-lahat. Magtipid para sa sarili.IMG_2724This trip is also the first international trip of the THREESOME, my best buddies in the metro, Clarisse and Joyce with Ate KJ, Sher, and my island friends, Nang Astrid and The Honorable Dan.IMG_2846We decided to go on a trip in Ho Chi Minh for three days. I believe it was quite enough to escape all the stresses in life especially at work and all the other stressful people and animals around. It’s nice to spend time with people who want to be with you compared to those who just want you if they are lonely and horny. Haha!a0dfe916-b665-4d04-823d-c6f1563a5f3aWhen in EDSA, we have a congested highway of huge vehicles and cars, Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, has this famous motorcycle rush that’s a spectacle. I cannot compare the scene in the Philippines. Parang bang sardinas na relasyon. Kahit masikip, ipipilit para lang makaraos.IMG_2463When you plan the details of your itinerary, I suggest to not plan it ahead though it is still useful if you have drafted notes or gone through some online research about the place. In that way, you get a little familiar of the area. You know, getting-to-know stage.IMG_2181On your first day, go around downtown and you will have an array of choices of the different local tour operators that offer ‘joiners’ or luxury tour. Joiners tours can be quite for the cheapskate but luxury tour is like owning the entire van for your group of friends. They will give you choices for the time of pick up and the customized tour if you want. And, they also have a tour guide for you.IMG_2718It is much cheaper than getting a pre-booked tour and this is less hassle since you won’t get lost or trying your hardest to read and analyze the maps. They also have Grab Cars and Taxis but to my surprise, they have the Grab Bike.

This was our planned itinerary:

HO CHI MINH ITINERARY

DAY 0 (March 23)

DEPARTURE + ARRIVAL

06:00 PM Pay PH Travel Tax

10:30 PM ETD Manila to Ho Chi Minh (HCM), Vietnam

12:20 AM ETA HCM

1:00 AM Pick up by hotel vehicle

Advance Check-in at Hotel. Freshen up. Sleep.

DAY 1 (March 24)

HO CHI MINH CITY TOUR we booked a luxury tour. There are a lot of tour operators scattered in the city so you can choose, budgeted is quite a hassle and luxury is very convenient.

06:30 AM Breakfast.

07:30 AM HCMC City Tour (Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Independence Palace, Ben Thanh Market)

11:30 PM Lunch

12:30 PM Check out from hotel. Leave luggage

01:00 PM   Visit Chinatown (Chinatown near Cho Lon, Thien Hau Temple)

03:00 PM   Shopping at Ben Than Market

06:00 PM Dinner.

DAY 02 (March 25) 

MEKONG DELTA TOUR (To book at the Hotel)

06:30 AM Breakfast

Cu Chi Tunnel

07:30 AM Mekong Delta Tour (My Tho, Vinh Trang Pagoda)

11:30 AM   Vietnamese Lunch

01:00 PM   Continue Mekong Delta Tour (An Khanh in Ben Tre)

05:00 PM End of Mekong Delta Tour. Back to hotel in Ho Chi Minh

07:00 PM Dinner

DAY 3 (March 26)  

CU CHI TUNNEL + WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM

07:00 AM Breakfast

07:30 AM City Tour

Last Minute Shopping

06:00 PM Dinner. Tour around the city just near hotel

07:00 PM Head to Airport via Bus #109

01:00 AM ETD to Philippines

04:00 AM ETA Philippines-Manila

09:40 AM ETD to Iloilo

But we ended with some minor changes because of some disagreements and some ‘the weather is too hot can’t stand moving out of the hotel anymore’, and/or ‘rest is life’. haha

So…

With a short city tour, we drop by the War Remnants MuseumIMG_2064This place will provide a detailed historical accounts and remnants of the war that happened in Vietnam, with the north and the south, and as intensified by the worldwide cold war.IMG_2919But before that, this was our lunch. It’s called Bún riêu. I don’t know the meaning, importante may label.IMG_1916Part of the first day tour is the visit at Cho Binh Tay (Market). The market is quite ordinary though it is one of the major markets in Vietnam and a biz hub and attraction in Cholon, Saigon’s Chinatown. IMG_2087This Banh He Streetfood is also interesting and healthy like a pancake with veggies inside. Healthy para sa relasyon.IMG_2097Accessed by entering through an rustic gate and crossing a small courtyard, Thien Hau Temple, is considered the most beautiful Chinese temple in Ho Chi Minh City.IMG_2145IMG_2148The smell of Vietnamese Pizza just around the streets also caught my fancy. For a very affordable price, you will have a very tasty bite of this local delicacy. It originated in the highlands of Vietnam with various toppings on a grilled rice paper.IMG_2166On our second day, we booked the Cu Chi Tunnel and Mekong Delta River Tour.

Cu Chi Tunnel tour is an emperical life plot of a Vietnamese soldier during the war – clever, ruthless, lethal.

Here, you can actually use a local gun to fire and shoot like there’s a war zone, and fit in a two-feet tunnel to deliver food for the military in action. IMG_2202Haha. The sweat is real inside the war tunnels where we experienced first hand, with our local tour guide, the typical days during the Vietnam war.IMG_2159Cu Chi Tunnel is a huge network of connecting tunnels with different traps. Check this blog for a detailed tour of this destination Cu Chi Tunnel.IMG_2206The Mekong Delta tour is a jam-packed one. It involves visiting the crocodile island, local candy-making shop, horse ride series, and topped with a full lunch with authentic Vietnamese food.IMG_2772The green carpet of the water world afloat the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam and the river arteries making the trans-boundary river in Southeast Asia – sights to behold.IMG_2399Whatever it is, Mekong Delta brings in people of different colors, races, and that cannot be captured in snaps but of actual experience and cultural understanding.IMG_1264On the third day, we decided to finish the other half of the city tour we missed.IMG_2620Surprisingly and actually, the Vietnamese civilization is as sophisticated as that of the sleeping dragon up there.IMG_2662I am still in awe of how the locals have pursued their freedom and lives – from China to the son of Buddha, Tang and Ming Dynasty to Nguyen Anh uniting the entire country, from the north and south division down to changing ‘Saigon’ to ‘Ho Chi Minh City’.IMG_2710The iconic Saigon Cental Post Office.2BE2C9AE-1347-4A69-BAC4-5A11E255F40AThese snippets of their architecture show their historical chrono-timeline. The Independence Palace.IMG_2640IMG_2635IMG_2634IMG_2633And I am glad I have revisited their stories in real touches with hopes that in the light of our current social state and body politic, what happened in Vietnam must never happen in the Philippines.IMG_2632IMG_2060Of course, leaving Vietnam without visiting the Saigon Square and eating Pho will not be complete. So, let me bless you. Dito ka magtapon nga pera.IMG_2446We also tried the famous Huc Long Coffee and Tea. IMG_2555And oh, Highlands Coffee actually originated in Vietnam. Mahilig sila sa pakape. Siguro tulog sa pagmamahal kailangang magising sa masakit na katotohanan.IMG_2559D8713B51-0897-4431-84DC-0E0494104C64IMG_2616IMG_2615IMG_2614IMG_2613And when you fear of anything bad about Vietnam as other people say, fret not because they have tourist police almost everywhere!IMG_1653So kung di ka bet ng crush mo, I am sure bet mo ang Vietnam kasi #BetNaVIETNAMin. lol corny waley.

IMG_2035Hit me up if you want some tips going around this beautiful country with beautiful people.7465A1B1-C8C6-44E9-8BFC-FDE58436A433 Vietnam is a definitely a timeless piece of blessing. Go ahead and spend time with her. Malay mo ma-inlove ka ulit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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