Category Archives: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2006

Street Kids @ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

After clubbing in Ho Chi Minh City, we headed to a bar filled with foreigners. Just as we got off from the car, we were swarmed by children, most of them are under the age of 12 years old.

Some were offering roses and some were selling chewing gums.

Such sight is quite common in Ho Chi Minh City. These kids are one of the eye sores of Ho Chi Minh City. These kids are sometimes quite annoying and most of the time, people choose to ignore them. Some are quite persistent though. After few days in HCMC, I found that the best way to lose them is to walk into a shop.

hcmc-kids-1.JPG

But after witnessing one kid’s joyful expression after Jeff chatted with her and also buying stuff from her, I find that these kids are still children deep down inside them. It’s a pity to see these kids not being able to enjoy their childhood.

Surprisingly, in a country where most people can’t speak English, some of these street kids can converse in excellent English. I had one kid harassing me in English

Girl: Mr. please buy a chewing gum from me.. I cannot go home until I sell all the chewing gum (It was about 2AM that time!).
Me: Sorry I have no money… (it’s true..I had only 35USD with me, just enough for my airport tax and taxi!)
Girl: Mr. you have money! *O*)/ !
Me: I don’t have enough money la. If I buy one from you tomorrow I cannot go home and will have only chewing gum for breakfast.
Girl: LIAR!!!! (walks off).
Me: -_-|||

Vietnamese Soda Lemon

After getting weary of drinking Vietnamese Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City (and also the occasional sugar high feeling), I was introduced to the Vietnamese Soda Lemon drink. It’s so bloody good. It’s like a DIY soft drink!

The Soda Lemon drink comes with an inch thick of sugar (uh.), lime/lemon and a can of tasteless soda. Mix them all up together and voila! Your very own soft drink!

Alternatively, you may want to skip the inch thick sugar for an inch thick honey 😀

Vietnamese Coffee

As stated earlier, Vietnamese coffee is one must try when visiting Vietnam. It comes with a unique coffee filter on top. All you need to do is wait for the coffee to drip into the cup.


Better than kopi bin, tastier than Starfucks.

There are 2 choices, one with condensed milk and another just plain ol’ coffee. I did not try the plain one, as I don’t really like black coffee. However, the one with condensed milk, OMG, it literally gave me diabetes! SOO FUGGIN SWEET!


DIY at home

It is advisable not to drink it at one gulp. Taking small sips would definitely be a nice way to enjoy it.

Clubbing in Ho Chi Minh City

According to Jeff, most of the night life entertainment outlets (partying, drinking etc) in Ho Chi Minh City are located in hotels. He brought us to a place called Level 23 at Sheraton Hotel. As suggested by its name, it’s located at level 23. Great view of Ho Chi Minh City.

Prior to that, I was pretty excited with the outing with Jeff, June and their furniture entrepreneur friends. My first impression of Ho Chi Minh City’s nightlife – a city of 8 million people, awesome music and happening crowd with hand up in the air screaming their lungs out!
WOOOOOOHOOOO!

Instead, they were listening to Backstreetboys and dancing to Savage Garden. WHAT THE FISH!!!


I knew I love you beforee i met you~~~ omggg someone please! please shooott me!!

Fortunately, Level 23 had a live band performing at that night. It wasn’t so bad after all.

However, the crowd mainly consist of foreigners. There were not many locals around. Probably that explains why they play such music.

On another note, we used to dread that all night spots or events in Kuala Lumpur must be closed by 3AM. Those were the days where we partied till 6AM (some till the next afternoon!). But if you think 3AM is bad, try living in Vietnam. They end by 1230AM!!!

Manicure/Pedicure in Ben Tanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City

I wonder what’s so great about manicure/pedicure. I know, I am a guy, I won’t understand. To me, nails are a nuisance. But after reading bimbobum’s post on manicure/pedicure, I decided to blog about this Pusat Kecantikan Kuku..bird.. at Ben Tanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City.

Ben Tanh Market is one of the most popular markets in Ho Chi Minh City. It is also a tourist trap. Things are not cheap there. It’s so tourisy until you have Vietnamese shop keepers screaming, “sumimasennnn, omiyage ga kaitai desu ka!?“.

There is one pedicure/manicure centre in Ben Tanh market. Rather than having sofas, pillows etc etc, they have plastic chairs crammed in to a small lot. It costs about US$3 (could be cheaper for locals!).


Jane & Amoi yang bertetek besar bagaikan buah papaya(translation: hot girl)

It’s interesting to see a group of females crammed in a small area doing their nails.

The 3 great mysteries in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

To me, there are 3 great mysteries in Ho Chi Minh City, 1 of them remains unsolved todate.
1. Why do motorcyclists in Ho Chi Minh City do not wear helmets while driving?


Ninja!

According to my tour guide to Cu Chi Tunnels, the answer is simply that they do not like to do so. The Vietnamese government only encourages motorcyclist to wear helmets. However, I was told that it is the law to wear a helmet while travelling long distance on the highway. Further, my tour guide complained that whenever she wears a helmet, her friends would ask her whether she’s travelling somewhere far.

2. Why are bottom of the tree trunks in Ho Chi Minh City painted white?

Initially I thought it was for decoration but after seeing many trees being painted sloppily, I sort of doubt it. But according to my tour guide, the paint serves to stop ants from crawling up the tree. The accuracy of her statement has yet to be proven.

This is the biggest mystery of all.

3. Why are chairs by the roadside stalls arranged to face the road rather than facing each other?


This is a very common sight in Ho Chi Minh City. But yet, this mystery remains unsolved.

Back from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam!

Before my departure to Vietnam, my impression towards Ho Chi Minh City wasn’t good at all. I had to wait at Tan Son Nhat Airport for 6 hours for Jane to arrive from Tokyo. During that 6 hours wait, I did not dare to venture out from the airport as I was afraid that I might get robbed. But after 5 days, Ho Chi Minh City wasn’t that bad after all. In fact, it’s fabulous. It’s a city of its own kind.

As a first time visitor, I was amazed with the traffic there. All motorcyclists do not wear helmet. And there are about 4 million motorcycles in Ho Chi Minh City itself! I wonder how many brains are spilled on the roads everyday. Crossing the road is one tough task. It’s like launching a spacecraft into deep space, you don’t know what is coming and where did it came from.


Chaos!

The buildings are unique. Its ala French style and also Jenga blocks style. Those ala French styled building has at least 3 storeys.

As for the people, they are definitely one friendly bunch. Their service was excellent. It puts Thailand’s motto as the “Land of Smile” to shame.

Prior to my departure, I asked around whether I should change more USD or Dong. Some told me that I should only bring USD and forget about Dong. Some told me to change into Dong immediately. Also, I was told that the best rates are offered in the airport. After 5 days in Ho Chi Minh City, I can safely say that both currencies are accepted and most traders quote their prices in Dong and USD upon request.

Before I end this entry, I must record my utmost sincere appreciation towards Jeff and June for bringing Jane and I around and also occasionally paying for our expenses. Many, many thanks! Also, not forgetting Tomo who came to see us before we left.

I guess that’s all for today. Excuse me while I take a quick nap to resume my race in the rat race tomorrow morning!

Greetings from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam!

One of the most prominent things here are the motorcycles. They are everywhere! This country doesnt seem to have a law compelling all motorcyclist to wear helmets. 90% of the motorcyclist here does not wear helmets, only caps or hats during day time. Further, the driving condition here is horrible. People here honk indiscriminately, even over small matters.

I’m staying in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City, where all the tourist traps are. Many things here are in USD or prices equivalent to USD. As such, the prices here are almost the same with Malaysia.

However, the food is good. I tried their famous pho (rice noodles) with beef. The soup is clear but it has loads of vegetables in it. Further, the beef is medium rare. Damn good I tell you.

Another thing that I’ve just tried is their white coffee. It comes with 2 layers, 1st being a filter and 2nd the cup. The filter contains coffee powder soaked with hot water. To drink, leave the hot water to drip into the cup for few minutes.

Despite all the developments in this city, poverty exists. I had kids forcing me to buy things from them. No doesnt seem to be a clear answer to them. But I found out that the best way to make them go away is to walk into a shop.

More updates soon!

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2006

I’ll be off to Vietnam in 2 weeks time. I got a fairly good deal, 50% discount on my air fare.

I’m not very familiar wih the tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City, but I’ll definitely give Ben Thanh Market and the War Remnants Museum a go.

Any other suggestions?

Further, I must pay Cu Chi Tunnels a visit. It’s a huge network of underground tunnels that were used to combat the French and the Americans.

I heard that the locals there uses USD to trade. Is that true?