Things to do on a Day in Ho Chi Minh City
The main highlight of our second day in Ho Chi Minh City is our half day trip to Cu Chi Tunnels. This historical tunnel is one of the best spots to learn about the history of Vietnam especially on how the Viet Cong could survived during the Vietnam Wars. But, before we dwell more on our trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, let’s take a look on the highlights of our second day which basically summarise the things to do in a day in Ho Chi Minh city.
Breakfast at the Luxe Hotel
Early in the morning, we had our breakfast at the Luxe Hotel. The hotel’s restaurant has a ceiling to floor glass window, overlooking the main road. Since the skies were clear, it was fun looking outside the window, watching people doing their daily routines. The buffet options at the Luxe Hotel are scrumptious. However, we just had some bread and toast to start our day since most of the food are non-Halal so.
War Remnants Museum
The night before, we went to a tour operator (which are abundance in the city) and booked the city tour plus the Cu Chi Tunnels tour for USD 12 per pax. At 8.00 am, the minibus arrived. We went to the War Remnants Museum. We felt sad and sorry for those involved in the American War (as the locals called it) or the Vietnam War (as the Americans see it). The exhibitions are well displayed and documented, by the way) .
The (tourist trap) coffee shop
The next stop that we went to was a coffee shop somewhere in the city. I call it the tourist trap coffee shop. They sell stuff like the snake wines (which I could not imagined how people could swallow it!) and other touristy things. I tried the coffee but nothing spectacular. It did not even taste like a Vietnamese coffee. We did not buy anything and just waited until the visit was over.
Binh Tay or Cho Lon Market
At Chinatown, we were dropped off at the Binh Tay Market or Cho Lon Market as the locals called it. There were a lot of Malaysians here and the markets sell all sort of things especially fabrics. I bought some traditional Vietnamese shirts for my niece. Although the price is cheap, the ventilation is very bad. It was so hot and stuffy inside the market.
Thien Hau Temple, officially the Ba Thien Hau Pagoda
Next, we went to the Ba Thien Hau Pagoda, a Chinese-styled temple built in 1760. The temple’s architectural style is so classic yet sophisticated. I love the design of the temple as it reminds me of the Chinese Kungfu movies.
Lunch at Halal Amin
For lunch, Amira and I went to Halal Amin restaurant (which became our favourite restaurant for days to come). The pho at this restaurant is nice and the price is a lot cheaper than at The Daun. On average, a meal at Halal Amin costs 50,000 Dong and 20,000 Dong for drinks.
Cu Chi Tunnels – the highlight during a day in Ho Chi Minh city
After lunch, we went back to the hotel to get some rest before another bus arrived and brought us to the Cu Chi Tunnels. The scenery changes from a city landscape to paddy fields to rubber estates before reaching the tunnels. The entrance fee is 110,000 Dong per person. We entered into some of the tunnels and it amazed us how the Viet Cong LITERALLY lived in this narrow and dark tunnels to survive the war.
A plate of boiled tapioca dipped in sugar and peanuts compensated our sweat exploring the tunnels. Just like how the Viet Cong had in those days.
Ben Tanh Market
On our way back, it was raining cat and dog. Saigon River looked splendid in the moment. As we arrived back in the city, we did some shopping at the Ben Tanh Market and the surrounding areas, unofficially called as the Malaysia Street or Melayu Street by the locals, in the drizzling rain. We bought a halal chicken sandwich (Banh Mi) for 20,000 Dong as dinner before returning to the hotel and called it a day. What an amazing end to a day in Ho Chi Minh city.
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