Ho Chi Minh’s Airport is very modern and spacious. At par with other airports in the world.

Part of our Tour of the Mekong Delta.

Ho Chi Minh’s very Impressive Hotel de Ville (City Hall) built by the French.

Mandarine Restaurant in Ho Chi Minh, Quite Pricey but worth it!

Ho Chi Minh’s Streets full of Motorcyles and Bikes, with the New World Hotel in the Background.

Visiting another is always exciting. Last February 26-28 we decided to go to Ho Chi Minh (Formerly Saigon) Vietnam. Our Plane Tickets were free (Courtesy of HSBC and PAL Miles). The Miles I accumulated on my HSBC Credit Card were more than enough for 3 Round Trip Economy Class Tickets. So My Nanay and Sister (M) were the very willing beneficiaries of the free tickets. My Nanay was the one who paid for the Taxes and the Hotel (New World).

So here is what happened on our trip.

Day 1 – February 26,2009
Checked in at Airport for our Manila to Ho Chi Minh trip. Arrived at Ho Chi Minh before Lunchtime. While falling in line we met a Filipino who is a resident of Vietnam, he taught us where to get a bus to town. The bus was just in front of the Airport’s Exit. The fare was just the equivalent of P8.00!! to downtown Ho Chi Minh. We went down at the wrong stop so it was quite a tiring and scary walk to New World Hotel!! After checking in, we went to our room. Refreshed and rested for a few minutes then it was off for lunch. We were supposed to eat at a restaurant recommended in the internet but it was closed so we settled for the restaurant nearby, the Mandarine Restaurant which turned out to be owned by the same owners of the restaurant we were originally supposed to eat at. The food at Mandarine was DELICIOUS! Food was delicately prepared and professionally presented. The service was excellent! But the price was bit high. But overall it was an unforgettable lunch. Especially with the Exquisite furnishings of the Restaurant. Carved wood all over. Including the chairs and tables. Afterwards we had Dessert at Bach Dang, an Ice Cream Parlour near the Hotel de Ville. Then we went sightseeing, the Hotel de Ville, Opera House, Presidential Palace, the Post Office (which was designed by Gustav Eiffel no less) and the Notre Dame Cathedral! After a very tiring day walking around we went back to the hotel and rested. In the evening we decided to have dinner at Pho 24 Noodle House.

Day 2 – February 27,2009
This was our Tour Day. We got the Mekong Delta Tour. It was priced at just P400 and this included lunch!! We went to the Sinh Cafe Office. This is where the Bus will leave from. From the Sinh Cafe Office we went to Ben Tre. We boarded a boat and we headed to a Coconut Candy Factory. After that it was to another place, this is where they served the free lunch. We then went to a place where they make honey. They also served fresh fruits here. There were so many things we did this day, but this included taking a Cow Pulled Carriage and riding on a boat along the canals.

Day 3 – February 28,2009
Our last day in Vietnam, after Breakfast at the hotel. We took a taxi to the Airport and along the way there was a welcoming sight to behold, a Jollibee Branch!!

Ho Chi Minh was a joy. It is a walkable city. Everything is within reach. Prices are cheap, people are friendly even if they do not speak english. Outside Ho Chi Minh there are still so many places to Visit in Vietnam and I hope I will be able to go back again to this once backward nation which now is almost if not at the level of the Philippines. Or even yet, ahead of the Philippines.