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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day 1: Singapore - Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)

After six unbearable months grounded in Singapore finally I had the chance to travel again. This time around, mum came with us on a 4-day free and easy trip. Our destination was Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) or Saigon as it was known in the olden days. HCMC is one of the largest city in the south of Vietnam. I never imagine it to be so big and densely populated as you can see from the photos below.

Picture of Ho Chi Minh City taken from the airplane

The city is so densely populated

Tan Son Nhat Airport
Another surprise is a brand new and oh-so-sleek airport. The interior is similar to those big airports in Singapore, Hong Kong, or Bangkok but smaller in size. The immigration clearance was a breeze.

Immigration area

Baggage claim area

Hotel Le Duy
I am pretty satisfied with my choice of hotel, it is very new and only cost USD 60 per night. There are many cheap hotels in HCMC but it is not easy to find something like this with this kind of price :P

Ben Thanh Market
This famous market is only a 15 minutes walk from our hotel. It is one of the tourist attractions of HCMC. Things are quite cheap here, I could say that it is cheaper than Bangkok. Mostly are souvenirs stalls, the rest are selling snacks, clothes, beaded shoes and bags which I don't find it unique. We only stayed here for about one and half hour, the heat was intolerable. :(

Ben Thanh market

The entrance

The crowd at Ben Thanh market

Another surprise is the existence of many parks around the city which the locals put it to a good use. They jogged around the park, played badminton, football, or just had a chat with friends.

The park nearby

Pho 2000
We had our dinner here for the Vietnamese beef noodle soup. This place got a lot of publicity since Bill Clinton came and had the noodle soup here. If it was good enough for Clinton, then it shouldn't be that bad. :D The photos of his visit are hung at every corner.

Pho Bo (beef noodle soup)

Beef stew

Fried spring rolls

All three are quite good, especially the beef stew. The meat was so tender that melted in your mouth. 2 bowls of noodle soup, beef stew, spring rolls, 2 lime juices and 1 avocado drink for SGD 15.

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