I LOVE HO CHI MINH.
I really do. We had the best few days in this city, that had a totally different vibe to Hanoi if you ask me. But I’m jumping way ahead.
We left Hanoi taking the very comfortable overnight train to Hue (we had a full nights sleep and minimal interruptions. Win.) and spent a restful couple of days, catching up on work, eating delicious local foods and taking naps.
Then the rain came.
On the day we decided to take the train to Hoi An, the heavens opened and flooded the train tracks, making our two hour journey an 8 hour journey that we were completely unprepared for. The train got stuck on the flooded tracks and we all had to depart and flag down taxis.
We eventually made it to our homestay in Hoi An, after a perilous taxi ride on completely flooded roads that we would never in a million years drive on back home. That night I lay awake listening to the rain beat down, convinced that the homestay had flooded and trying to hatch a plan to source a boat to take us to Da’Nang airport for the next flight out in the morning.
Marc woke to find his hysterical girlfriend about to book a new flight and with a whole new itinerary for the rest of our time in Asia, ha! This was even funnier when we went downstairs to find life was carrying on as normal for all the other guests…
We decided to join them, pulling on our ponchos and flip flops, and wading our way to the city to explore.
I can’t believe how unlucky we were with the weather (rainy season came freakishly late this year) as Hoi An was beautiful and I know we would have been blown away at any other time. We still enjoyed the drama of it, battling through the pour downs and laughing as our flip flops floated down the streets. We ate a really great lunch at Morning Glory Restaurant, I bought a gorgeous sage green silk kimono from a beautiful social enterprise shop called Reaching Out, and we had dinner with our homestay hosts.
We then flew to Nha Trang for a couple of days, but wished we hadn’t.
Anyway, we made it to Ho Chi Minh a few days later, and instantly loved it. Here are a few recommendations of places we enjoyed:
Pi Bistro – A fantastic vegetarian restaurant we went to for lunch, just around the corner from the War Remnants Museum. I highly recommend the coconut rice balls and the avocado salad.
War Remnants Museum – Incredibly moving, gut wrenching, human stories of what happened in Vietnam in the 60’s and 70’s. Well worth visiting, take tissues!
Cu Chi Tunnels – It’s a long journey but kind of interesting. I wouldn’t say it’s worth the journey if you have kids with you, or if you’re short on time in HCMC, but if you’ve got a day to kill and don’t get claustrophobic…
Bonsai Dinner Cruise – A fun dinner and entertainment over a couple of hours if you’re with family, or a group of friends.
The Melbourne Cafe – Just a simple little cafe that does good coffee and croissants when you’re craving a little quiet time.
42 Nguyen Hue Street – An old apartment building that has been turned into shops, restaurants and cafes. Cool to see and there are a few decent boutique shops (though not loads).
Ho Chi Minh Post Office – A tourist attraction in itself. It’s worth a quick visit to send a postcard to mum 🙂
The Downtown Homestay – was where we stayed, and weirdly you have to enter through a Japanese grilled cheese shop, but the rooms were very nicely done and comfortable, and it was in a central location.
All in all we absolutely loved the atmosphere in Ho Chi Minh, and found the people to be genuinely kind. I was so worried I wouldn’t get on with it (after not really liking Hanoi), but I felt the complete opposite.
Thanks for having us, Ho Chi Minh!