What can you get from Ho Chi Minh in two days? I'm going to share with you a detailed plan I've made for my trip to Ho Chi Minh City, from visa upon arrival application and two different hotel experience, to authentic dishes and tourist attractions recommendation. Everything will be revealed here for you. Let's get well-prepared for your own Ho Chi Minh City trip now, shall we?
Granting a Visa upon arrival at the Immigration & Passport Control
I thought it would take some time to have it done but I actually got it within half an hour. Make sure you have everything ready, and filled out the application form before landing. It will definitely save you a lot of time. They accept cash only, so prepare US$25 in cash, and don't forget two passport photos, and also the approval letter from the official visa partner of Vietnam immigration.
Checking in at Duna Hotel
I can't find a right word but only crap to describe this hotel... I would say there's nothing right in this place... Everywhere has been worn out and mouldy. There's even no hot water in the shower. The bed sheet was dirty and unclean. I couldn't bear to stay any longer so I changed another hotel in the next day. It didn't worth a penny. Even though they offered breakfast in the deal, the breakfast was very basic. It was just my worst hotel experience ever.
Walking around in Saigon Area
Saigon is located in the city centre. There're quite a few things that you shouldn't miss in this area: In a historical building, there's a Saigon Central Post Office where you can find everything from post office service and collection stamps, to market and souvenirs. Don't forget about Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon! It is just right opposite to the post office. Unfortunately it was closed for construction so I didn't have a chance to get in. Following the path of Ngyyen Hue City of Walking, where you can possibly find nearly nothing special, but the Bach Dang Harbour Garden is definitely a nice place to relax after a long walk.
Knowing more about the Ex-President Ho Chi Minh
If you are curious about the ex-president Ho Chi Minh, there's a museum Ho Chi Minh Museum about him just right opposite to the Bach Dang Harbour Garden. However, if you are not interested in history, you might find this museum quite boring. It is still a nice place for the harbour view of Ho Chi Minh City.
Having the Localist Pho in Ho Chi Minh
How can you not have the most authentic pho before leaving Vietnam? Here at Pho 2000, they offer not just the localist environment for food, but also mouthwatering dishes like mixed seafood pho, crispy shrimp & pork roll, and even their mango smoothie was so tasty and fresh!
Getting Lost in Cho Ben Thanh Market
This market could be a great bargain if you put more effort on it. I feel like this place has become more touristy from time to time so the shoppers know the tricks. Start everything from half price, and you would find it very surprised how you eventually got something a lot cheaper than you expected. This market is extremely huge and quite a mess. So be prepared that you would spend some times looking for the way out, or wandering around the same blocks for a few times.
Going for a High-end Dinner with Fantastic Night View
If you are looking for somewhere relaxing in this bustling city, Shri Restaurant & Lounge could be your choice. This restaurant is located in a skyscraper on 23th floor. They have music, delicious western food, nice cocktails, and the view (That’s everything!). You could also take some nice pictures over the transparent grass footpath after your meal. What more would you ask for?
Checking in at Dragon Palace Hotel II
After a long night in the previous hotel, I finally booked for another hotel for my last night in Ho Chi Minh. This hotel is actually just located in the same street as Duna Hotel. But they are very different in every way! This hotel is even cheaper, and so much nicer with a hot shower! Although it’s still nothing like a 5-star hotel, this is the place I would call a hotel, not the one I stayed in earlier.
Taking Pictures of the Pinkest Church on Earth
Tan Dinh Church is probably the cutest and the pinkest church I’ve ever seen in my life. I totally fell in love with this architecture when I first saw the picture online, and it looks exactly the same from the picture! No wonder this place has recently become the hottest instagrammable spot in Ho Chi Minh. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to enter into this church, not even sure why… as I couldn’t understand what the guard was saying, he just stopped me from moving a step forward. Anyway, this place is definitely worth you some photo storages and I’m sure you’ll love it too!
Buying souvenirs at Cho Tan Dinh Market
Comparing this market to Cho Ben Thanh, Cho Tan Dinh offers things that are less touristy and more localist. They sell similar products such as souvenirs, Vietnamese hats, gourmet and snacks, even fruits and seafood, possibly anything you could think of with a lower starting price.
Licking my Fingers at Den Long
When was the last time you lick your finger for food? I generally don’t do that but I really can’t help when the food is too delicious. In this home cooked Vietnamese Restaurant, you can order their signature Vietnamese dishes like rice crackers and various special drink mixed with different fruits. And of course, you can find loads of Den Long (Lanterns) in here. It’s perfect for photos!
Visiting Independence Palace in City Centre
This palace doesn’t really look like a palace itself. It’s actually just a huge historical building of the Vietnam War era, with loads of government offices, conference rooms, residential area and also some tanks and military helicopters in the garden. I guess there’s no harm to make a visit if you are around city centre, right?
Getting Cheese Tarts in Various Flavours
I accidentally bumped into this Hokkaido Baked Cheese shop while I was killing time before the AO show began. They don’t just offer cheese tarts but also cheese ice-cream and other cheese products. Can you believe that they also do cheese tarts with durian? I don’t like durian so I didn’t try that one. But their original cheese tart and chocolate cheese tart with almonds were so good! You should definitely have a try when you are around!
Watching the Best Show in Saigon Opera House
This an hour long “AO Show“ performing in Municipal Theatre (Saigon Opera House) will never disappoint you. More than 70 Vietnamese musical instruments were used in the performance. The show was spectacular! It's like a combination of circus, dance, music, drama and visual experience! Unfortunately, it's not allowed to take pictures or film during the show; this means you could truly enjoy the show! Just to remember to get there an hour earlier to have a tour around this beautiful architecture!
Ordering Asian Cuisine from Everywhere
There's a forest in town called Nha hang Ngon where you could order every single Asian cuisine from Korea and Thailand, to China and Japan. Of course, from Vietnam as well. I'm not exaggerating but they do have a book of menu... it took me some times to study the whole thing before the waitress took my orders. So if you can't decide what to have for dinner, you shouldn't come here or you would spend so much time to decide what to get...
What would you do in Ho Chi Minh City for two days? Let me know if you've made a plan like mine?