Monday, June 4, 2012

11 Things to do within Ho Chi Minh City

Some say that Ho Chi Minh is a boring city and there isn’t much to do. I beg to disagree. For such a “boring” city, there were so many things to do!

Whether you're traveling solo or with a group of friends, here are some activities worth doing:

1.   Talk to the locals!
It may seem awkward but locals usually approach tourists in the park to practice their English. They aren’t the best in English but they acknowledge the need to learn and be good at it. 

Random conversations in the park between locals and tourists. 

2.   Eat street food
There are countless of street vendors selling authentic Vietnamese food. Sit on the little stools and eat with the locals. Hopefully your stomach’s up to the challenge. 

Even if we had a hard time conversing, we both agreed that the food deserved a thumbs up.
Check out the different Vietnamese food I ate here.

3.  Watch a play at the Opera House
If you're there on the 15th or 23rd of the month, watch Hon Viet, a cultural show. Too bad I missed this. At least your experience of the opera house won’t be limited to its facade.

Hon Viet ("The Soul of Vietnam") is said to be filled with traditional Vietnamese songs, dances, and folk tales.

4.    Cross the street!
Your stay won’t be complete without doing this. If you want a challenge, try the Ben Thanh market rotunda. Cross at your own risk, though! Remember: motorists generally avoid you. 

Motorists about to avoid me.
Watch the full video here!

5.  Drink along the backpacker's area!
Stools and tables are set up along the sidewalk and beer is extra affordable. It’s a great place for people watching! Here, the night is forever young. Even when alone, you won't feel left out.

Along Bui Vien St., beer only costs 10,000 VND (~Php 20)

6.    Get a massage!
Don’t worry. Not all massage places are sleazy. If you want a Greek-ambiance, an exclusively male crowd with cute masseurs, try going here. Very professional. No "happy endings" here. 

The Men Spa
One-hour massage = 300,000 VND (~Php 600). Minimum tip = 200,000 VND (~Php 400).
59 / 10A Pham Viet Chanh St., Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, Dist. 1
(Photos from utopia-asia.com)

7.    Ride a motorcycle!
Motorcycles are the main mode of transportation. It’s worth doing for experience. Rent one to ride for yourself at 100,000 VND a day (~Php 200) or hire one to take you around.

Poser much?!
I hired a tour guide for 100,000 VND (~Php 200) per hour. He took my picture.

8.    Hunt for cheap finds!
Shop along Pham Ngu Lao St. or Bui Vien St. for souvenirs. Other places to shop: Ben Thanh market, Saigon Square, Saigon Tax Square, and Bin Tay market in Chinatown. 

Inside Ben Thanh market.
See the souvenirs I bought here!

9.    Chill at Highlands Coffee
It's like our Starbucks. It's everywhere. But if you want some extra peace and quiet, try hanging out at the one in Saigon Tax Square and enjoy the view of the Parliament and Opera House. 

The view from Highlands Coffee in Saigon Tax Square.

10.    Watch a traditional water puppet show
Admittedly, this isn’t for everyone. But for those who like some local culture, this is a nice experience. There are numerous shows in a day. Each show is 45 minutes long.

Tickets costs 120,000 VND (~Php 240), which can be bought at the
Post Office or at the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater

11. Stroll along Starlight Bridge
Surprisingly, there’s a place in the city that’s quiet and practically motorcycle-free. It’s like High Street. Whether by yourself or with a date, this place is perfect for being emo or cheesy. 

Starlight Bridge at night, District 7 across Crescent Mall.
Friends have told me that it's nice to watch the sunset from here.

For those who've been to Ho Chi Minh City, what other activities do you suggest?

3 comments:

  1. Did you go to the Cu Chi tunnels? :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Charmie!!! Yup, I did! I toured the Mekong River din :) Haven't had the time to write about these yet. Soon! :D

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