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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Holiday in Ho Chi Minh City (Day 1)

Just back from a 5D, 4N holiday in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. 5 days is pretty long for a small city like HCMC but with an almost 3 year old Elyssa and my almost 5 months pregnant belly, we wanted a relaxing free and easy holiday. Main aims were to have a leisurely look at the city and to enjoy the food :)

--This is going to be another set of my long winded one-post-per-d
ay holiday story! --

Day 1
We took an Air Asia flight and arrived at HCMC airport around 10+am. Took a cab to the hotel (USD8), freshened up a bit then started our city tour.

Our first meal in HCMC - Pho Bo (beef noodles) @ Pho 24
Pho 24 is part of a big chain with plenty of outlets around the city. I thought the noodles were nice but nothing great.

Street book fair near the hotel
Nice festive atmosphere here. We discovered later that this fair was set up in conjunction with the Lunar New Year.

Walked around to see some of the key sights around the city -

Municipal Theatre

Notre Dame Cathedral

Main Post Office

Then stopped for early afternoon tea (I did say this was meant to be a relaxing and eating holiday!!) -

Refreshing Fruit smoothies @ Wrap and Roll

Vietnamese spring rolls and Banh Xeo (pancake)

After the break, we walked over to the Nguyen Hue Flower Street. We were pleasantly surprised when we discovered it earlier that day. It was a street filled with elaborate decorations and flowers for the Lunar New Year. We had no idea that the Lunar New Year, also known as Tet was celebrated at such at grand scale there! It was really lucky that our trip coincided with this grand one week annual affair. (the busy road in the middle of the city was closed to traffic for the whole week). The place was absolutely packed though.

Some photos of the Flower Street -

Elyssa with her daddy
We bought this new lightweight stroller just a week ago. Luckily, Elyssa happily sat in it for most of the holiday.

Bicycle Flower display
Cute little Vietnamese boy

More flower displays

Chinese calligraphy booth

Weaving Demonstration

After the Flower Street, we walked back to the hotel (more on the hotel later). Hubby took Elyssa for a short swim in the pool while this pregnant mama had a nice late afternoon nap :) Had our baths then it was time to walk out for dinner -

The streets were nicely lighted up

Plenty of motorcycles!!
This was a common scene. I have never seen so many motorcycles before.

Pre-dinner snack
We tried this fried egg in a french bagguete from a roadside vendor. Simple but surprisingly good! The bagguete was toasted over a small charcoal fire.

We were actually planning to have dinner at Quan An Ngon, a place highly recommend in our Lonely Planet guide. But we couldn't find the place (later discovered there was a small error in one of the maps) so we randomly walked into a restaurant serving Vietnamese cuisine. Turned out to be a absolutely fantastic decision !!!!

Dinner at Rex Royal Court Restaurant
Our Seafood Hotpot - filled with fresh prawns, fish, mushroom etc. Came with noodles too.

Fried Spring Rolls. The BEST spring rolls I've had in my life! Love the presentation too.

Traditional Music Presentation during dinner

Traditional Dance Presentation

erior of the Restaurant

Elyssa enjoying the dance performance

Finally -a photo of the 3 of us

It was really a lovely dinner experience. Food was great and the best part was the ambiance. Reasonably priced too. (our dinner was about RM80)

After dinner, we walked around to enjoy the night scene.

People's Committee Building

Flower Street

Elyssa and I at the Flower Street

Roadside Vendors

Grilled octopus

Multi-coloured glutinous rice

Elyssa fell asleep during the after dinner walk so we ended Day 1 with a late night dessert at a nice sidewalk cafe -

Smoothie and Ice-Cream @ Angelina's Cafe

- End of Day 1 -


Unknown said...

Hi, love your pictures... HCMC looks very nice. Esp love the place where you had dinner.

Unknown said...

HCMC looks great for me as well. I always love to eat Vietnamese Spring Roll.

MayChing said...

wow! the food looks good. and i'm amazed you can still do all that walking with baby in the tummy! I was so tired during my pregnancy with no. 2.

MeRy said...

Nice pictures....

ChloeRuoyi said...

Wow, another great family vacation there. Love all your beautiful pics! As usual, I'm amazed by your "talent" in scouting for good food in a foreign land :) I can't even do that locally :(

Stacy said...

Looks like a lot of nice food!

I went to Vietnam on a package tour and didn't like it much. Kept taking us to touristy places and cut-throat shopping. Maybe I should give it another go, independent this time.

Is the pineapple for eating after the spring rolls have been removed?

Mommy to Chumsy said...

wow, Vietnam is so interesting. Can't wait to read more :)

Mummy Gwen said...

Wow...the food looks really delicious and I can't believe the price too. BTW, you look good. :)