I’m currently sitting poolside at the Tam Coc Garden Resort outside of Ninh Binh, which is in northern Vietnam, an hour or so outside of Hanoi. It’s absolutely amazing, but I still haven’t finished writing about the rest of HCMC and haven’t even started on Hoi An, so I’ll do that now and save my rave reviews of our current locale for later.
After the SNAFU during the evening of Day 2 (see previous post), Oliver and I were both pretty exhausted (which actually wasn’t that bad, because it helped cement our local-time sleeping schedules). When planning our trip, we had intended to take a day trip to the Mekong Delta while we were in HCMC, but when we woke up ~10 AM in our hotel room, we decided we would prefer to spend the next 48 hours seeing Saigon/HCMC, rather than planning/implementing a few days of crazy travel.
So that’s pretty much what we did… We wandered in the heat and humidity until we were too hungry/hot/thirsty, and then found a place to sit and eat/drink/soak up some AC. We stayed in District 1 (the most downtown area of HCMC), because there was plenty to do/see without venturing further by cab, but there are something like 24 districts total! I don’t have too much to write about specifically, so I’m just going to post some pictures with captions explaining what were were doing/eating/seeing at the time.
Thinking of you, Mom… ❤️❤️❤️
We ate breakfast here on our last day in HCMC . Oliver wasn’t as enthused about the adorable decor as I was, but allowed that the food was very good.
I have this stuffed ram at home – I brought him back from Chengdu a few years ago. 😊🐏
Breakfast and the best smoothie yet – it tasted like pink! (And dragonfruit!)
I got a club sandwich cute enough for a tea party!
Same building from the end of the walking street shown in my Day 2 photo post.
Same walking street in the center of HCMC as pictured in my Day 2 photo post – it was crowded with teenagers and young families socializing and taking selfies.
Marjorie took us out to eat for our last night in HCMC, and we had this traditional Vietnamese meal of pancake (eggs and meat and bean sprouts fried up into a thin omelete) with greens and sauce and shrimp spring rolls. SO good!
Oliver refusing to smile for a photo in a juice cafe where we got a delicious avocado smoothie.
A scenic alleyway in HCMC – I absolutely loved the amount of greenery, vines, orchids and other hanging plants throughout the city. Oliver and I think even we might be able to keep a plant or two alive here…
This is the restaurant where we got the tomato based soup – we sat on little plastic stools and slurped our soup and pretended to belong!
Oliver found this place online and we walked there for lunch one day – we were served this soup out of an enormous, heated metal cauldron sitting on the sidewalk. It had a tomato broth base, noodles, tons of seafood, and gelatin/blood cubes. Similar to pho, but with a tomato taste – really good.
Another beautiful mosque – I don’t know how much of the native and/or immigrant populations of Vietnam are Muslim, but we have seen mosques in most cities we have been to so far.
This coffee chain is super popular in HCMC. It’s called Phuc Long… we aren’t sure if that is intentional or not.
Not sure what the purpose of this building was – it appeared to be closed off and in disrepair. There were a few older, traditionally-designed temples and other buildlings like this througout HCMC.
If we had more time in HCMC, I would have loved to explore some of the mosques and churches we came across – they were all beautiful, and many were painted crazy pastel colors!
Banh mis and coffe for breakfast at a cafe near our hotel. Because we didn’t have much time to plan for this trip, we spent a lot of time in cafes drinking coffee and planning our next steps. In retrospect, planning as you go is much easier and more effective than I expected it to be – and we need periodic breaks from the heat and humidity anyways.
Just an average street corner, with an average amount of motorbike traffic – not rush hour. I was more used to the traffic due to my time in Chengdu, but it was still stressful for us both!
Also ordered from the Japanese cafe – this was incredibly delicious, and not too sweet. Matcha drinks and foods appear to be trending in HCMC.
Ordered this in a Japanese cafe in the mall. It was delicious, but SO SWEET, even for me.
We saw these in the gourmet market on the bottom level of a Japanese shopping mall/ department store in HCMC – if anyone knows how they get those pears in there, please tell me! I’m so curious.
MORE skinny buildings!!
More skinny buildings!
We were on the sixth floor – check out all the skinny skinny buildings across from us! Thats how most houses/apartments/hotels are built in Vietnamese cities, even if it seems like there is room for a wider building.
Because we ended up with a junior suite, we had a floor-to-ceiling window that wrapped around the entire corner of the room. PLUS a huge bathtub.
Aaand now it’s time to shower and take a bike ride through the crazy rice paddies / mountains of Tam Coc – photos to come!