[Saigon Adventure Series Part 2] The Heat Is On!

Saigon Travel

I’m alive!!!

I’ve been slowing down on blogging lately due to a couple of work and personal matters.  I’ll probably be writing about some of them on another entry but for now, I’m finally blogging about my Saigon trip!

Now that I’ve tackled the “Saigon is just like Manila” comment and have gotten it out of the way, I can now write about the actual trip.  So what is there to see in Saigon, exactly?  Three main things — 1) FOOD 2) HISTORY & CULTURE 3) ART & ARCHITECTURE.  (Yes, I know that history is different from culture as art is from architecture, but I’d like to combine them for brevity, just for this entry.)

When in Saigon, don’t miss the following:

FOOD

saigon food travel vietnamWhile wandering around the city, we noticed several sidestreet vendors selling street food I’ve never seen or tasted before!  Don’t forget to stop by and try at least one.  On the photo above are grilled bananas, which will later on be chopped into small pieces and soaked in coconut milk.  Not sure what it’s called, but it tastes YUM. :)

DSC04756See those round things with toppings?  Those are pancakes.  At least that’s what they call them.  Egg-flavored, chicken-flavored, pork-flavored, mixed seafood.  They are wrapped with lettuce leaves and dipped in special sauce.  This is what we ate at a restaurant near our hotel, which I’m glad we discovered because we never found these pancakes in the other restaurants we visited.

DSC04867My favorite Hollywood couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, HEARTS Vietnam.  It used to be sort of their second home.  They used to drive motorbikes around the city like ordinary Vietnamese citizens and of course,  their son, Pax, is Vietnamese and they adopted him during one of their trips.  Anyway, Angelina’s favorite restaurant in Saigon is Cuc Gach Quan (seen on the photo above).  Lovely interiors and awesome tofu (probably the best I’ve tasted in my entire life).

DSC04945Got time to spare?  Why not learn how to cook Vietnamese food by attending a cooking class?! 😀  My sister and I enrolled ourselves in a half-day cooking class at The Vietnam Cookery Center.  We were taught how to cook a full-course Vietnamese meal — from salad to dessert.  This is where I learned that in Vietnam, soup comes after the main course.

DSC04953Here’s part of what we cooked!

DSC04956Got a certificate of completion from the funny chef and his very friendly assistant, yay!  I’m glad to have interacted with such nice people and yes, I got to take home the recipes!

HISTORY & CULTURE

Vietnam has a rich history.  They’re a nation that has gone through grueling times, and it’s admirable how they’ve rebuilt the city after decades of war.    We visited a couple of places that have somewhat shown me an entirely new perspective of the Vietnam War.

This was taken outside of the War Remnants Museum.  I wasn’t able to take photos inside because I was too engrossed in what I was seeing and I was kind of feeling emotional.  I found the narratives a bit too one-sided (because I myself am pretty firm about where I stand on this particular war), but the photos I saw inside that museum totally brought me to tears.  War is ugly.

DSC04842The Vietnamese were pretty creative with this whole war thing.  We visited the Cu Chi Tunnels, which is a few hours away from Saigon.  The tunnels served as headquarters/hideout/hospital/dinner place/bedroom to the Vietnamese soldiers during the war.  The tunnels also had several traps that helped capture and kill the “bad Americans” (tour guide’s words).  Pardon the haggard look, I just finished walking under the ultra-narrow, dark and hot tunnel with my entire back bent.

We also got a chance to  go target shooting on the actual battlefield.  What an experience! :)

ART & ARCHITECTURE

At the heart of bustling and modern Ho Chi Minh City, you can still find architectural marvels built during the French colonization in the 1800s.

The Notre Dame Cathedral.  Vietnam’s French colonists had all materials to build this church shipped from France back in the 1800s.

DSC04701The Saigon Opera House.  This actually looks a lot more beautiful at night.

The Saigon Post Office.  It was very refreshing to see old people still writing letters and utilizing snail mail.

art galleryThis is just one of the several art galleries you’ll see along Dong Khoi Street in HCMC.

OTHERS

Alcove Library HotelRecommended hote: The Alcove Library Hotel.

If you want to spend moments away from the city, take a tour to the Mekong Delta and go boating.

There you have it!  I read somewhere that Saigon is a place where the old meets the new, where modernity meets mysticism.  I enjoyed every single day of my stay there, and I am so grateful for such an enriching trip.

I loved Saigon, and I’m looking forward to visiting Hanoi soon.  In the meantime, I’m already preparing for my next trip (yes, that’s how overdue this entry is) which will be next weekend in Bantayan Island in Cebu!

Have you been to Saigon, or any part of Vietnam?  What did you love most about it? :)

23 Comments on [Saigon Adventure Series Part 2] The Heat Is On!

  1. Quing
    August 16, 2014 at 11:59 am (3 years ago)

    Cooking class!!! I envy you!!! 😀

    Reply
  2. Alyanna
    September 5, 2014 at 4:31 pm (3 years ago)

    Saigon looks awesome! Will definitely add this on my Wanderlust list! And the food, muhkang masarap! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:19 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Alyanna. Yes, masarap and mura pa! 😀

      Reply
  3. Megan @ Never Finished
    September 5, 2014 at 8:41 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow! I love this post! It’s so well written and your pictures are stunning. You’ve made me want to go there!!

    Reply
  4. Lisa
    September 6, 2014 at 3:15 am (3 years ago)

    I’m loving this post! The pictures are stunning. Vietnam looks like an amazing to travel too.

    xx Lisa

    Reply
  5. Ehara Poetry
    September 6, 2014 at 6:15 am (3 years ago)

    oh all that food looks very delicious! someday i must traveling to saigon to enjoy that food <3

    Reply
    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:18 am (3 years ago)

      Yes, food in Vietnam is both awesome and affordable! :)

      Reply
  6. Lindsey Allen
    September 6, 2014 at 6:43 am (3 years ago)

    Looks like you had a lovely trip! You’ve made me want to go there! :)

    Reply
    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:16 am (3 years ago)

      Yes I did! Thank you! :)

      Reply
  7. Merve
    September 6, 2014 at 11:51 am (3 years ago)

    I’m about to cry because it looks wonderful and i really want to see those places myself :'( Especially The Notre Dame Cathedral and library hotel. A library hotel looking sooo cool! And you look amazing in the pictures. xxx

    Reply
    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:15 am (3 years ago)

      Awww thank you, dear! 😀 I hope you get to visit Vietnam someday! :)

      Reply
    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:14 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you! Yes, you should visit Vietnam someday! :)

      Reply
  8. BeautyAsti1
    September 7, 2014 at 2:36 am (3 years ago)

    nice pictures. your food shots make me hungry.

    Reply
    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:10 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you! :) Vietnam really has good food.

      Reply
  9. Alfia Widati
    September 7, 2014 at 5:13 am (3 years ago)

    I think Vietnam has somewhat similar culture with Indonesia, but with more historical building if I saw it from your post here. One of the many countries in my list to visit.

    http://www.revenian.wordpress.com

    Reply
    • Carmel David
      September 7, 2014 at 7:08 am (3 years ago)

      I’ve been to Indonesia and I had lots of fun there too! :)

      Reply
  10. Janice Min
    September 7, 2014 at 11:40 am (3 years ago)

    How nice blog you have here! Lovely pictures

    Reply
  11. Ari
    September 7, 2014 at 6:43 pm (3 years ago)

    I haven’t been to Vietnam in years. Your pictures make me want to go back already! I love the food and culture there.

    Reply
  12. MollyMia
    September 8, 2014 at 1:50 am (3 years ago)

    I’ve been to HCMC a few years back, probably 4 yrs? And I didn’t rmb that it was so fun!

    Giglove

    Reply
  13. Khushboo
    September 11, 2014 at 6:33 pm (3 years ago)

    The food looks lip smackingly delicious. The photographs are so lovely :) GIG

    Reply

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