First trip of 2016! So, why Vietnam? Well, the last time I visited Ho Chi Minh was in 2007 on free and easy and did nothing much but to try the local food and did a little shopping at the Saigon Square & Ben Thanh Market back then. This time round, I just wanted to go for a short trip nearby for THE experience and after browsing through the itineraries out of the many that was available, Vietnam fitted the bill perfectly plus it would be nice to revisit after so many years! Initially, I wanted to go for the package with cooking lessons and a cycling trip but decided on the one which was more of a cultural trip since Mom and Aunty have never been to Vietnam and they wouldn’t know how to cycle too. So.. Here’s what happened!
Arrived in the morning at Saigon Airport via Singapore Airlines and there was airport transfer provided to our hotel. Checking in to hotel Pullman Saigon Centre was a breeze and we were served welcome drinks while waiting. We were warmly welcomed by our host with souvenirs and local products while being briefed about the itinerary for the next few days as well. We had the whole afternoon to rest until dinner which was at Cobalt Restaurant located on the 30th floor offering panoramic views of the city. There was a dance performance during dinner including a free flow of soft drinks, beer and wine. After dinner was free and easy.
Woke up to have an early breakfast at Food ConneXion restaurant located on the 3rd floor of the hotel which serves international buffet breakast, lunch and dinner.
We assembled at the hotel lobby after breakfast to head for our full day tour in Mekong Delta. The moment we arrived at the boat station, we were each given a conical straw hat to help keep us protected from the sun which I felt was very thoughtful and a pleasant surprise! Our tour included a boat ride and a breathtaking sampan cruise along the calm and graceful Mekong River to discover the local life as well as to purchase some local handicrafts and products in Ben Tre. Watch here: Cruising Like The Locals. We were treated with fresh seasonal fruits while enjoying a short traditional song performance when we visited a typical local house to taste some homemade honey tea. Next, we were transported to the coconut factory where coconut candy is produced, in one of those horse-drawn carts used for transportation. (Personally, I do not enjoy sitting in a horse-drawn cart as the poor horse must feel so sore on it’s back with the harness rubbing against it’s body each time it moves and just imagine the load it has to pull! However, guilty as charged.) Our day tour ended with a boat ride back to the boat station and we were each given one fresh coconut to quench our thirst in the hot weather along the way.
Lunch was at Mekong Rest Stop where we were served local Vietnamese cuisine at the local restaurant. After lunch was back to the hotel where we had a couple of hours to rest and refresh before heading out to Ly Club Saigon restaurant for our special French and Vietnamese fusion dinner. The evening started with a local fashion show followed by a live band performance as we enjoyed our dinner with free flow of drinks for the rest of the evening to our hearts content. Next was back to the hotel. Free and easy.
The first half of the day was free and easy so we had an early breakfast and took the hotel shuttle bus service out to the central to explore. Back to the hotel to rest until evening and gathered at the lobby to go for a Vietnamese dinner at a local restaurant before heading to the A O Show held at the Saigon Opera House. One hour of rich Vietnamese cultural performance, followed by a chill and relax session at Air 360 Sky Bar, surrounded by spectacular views of the city. Probably one of the best views too. We went back to the hotel on a cyclo which was one of a kind experience. A human powered three-wheel vehicle whereby the passenger sits in front while the cyclo rider pedals from behind.
Breakfast included. Free and easy. We managed to check out Parkson and Vincom Centre using the hotel shuttle bus service and had a decent Japanese meal for lunch at Sushi Sun which was just opposite our hotel! Since we had a late flight back, our airport transfer to Saigon airport was well arranged and we had ample time to do whatever we wanted till the time we had to depart from the hotel.
4 Days 3 Nights ~33 °C
Till the next trip! With Love.