Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City was my final stop in Vietnam before flying out to Siem Reap, Cambodia.  I had two days in HCMC to relax and to do some much-needed errands.  One of the things I needed to do was to ship stuff back home at the post office.  The Saigon Central post office is one of the most beautiful buildings in HCMC.  When you walk down the street and you see the stark yellow amidst all the gray buildings, it makes you stop to look.  When you enter the building, you can’t help but stare at the arched ceiling; it transports you to a museum in Paris.  Even though it’s a post office, I highly recommend seeing it.

My other must-see in HCMC is the War Remnants Museum.  I went a second time because I wanted to remember all the images I had seen on my first visit.  This museum deeply impacted me because it was the first time I saw the Vietnam War through the eyes of the Vietnamese who call it the American War.  It’s a painful reminder of the past and how we should learn from history to never repeat the same mistakes.  Even if you’re not American, the War Remnants Museum will provoke you in some way.

One thing that was highly recommended to me by multiple travelers was the XO foodie tour.  You ride all over town on a scooter with a Vietnamese guide and sample some of HCMC’s best foods.  You need to reserve in advance because not surprisingly, this tour gets booked up fast.  Riding a scooter through any Vietnamese city is a must do!  I had a blast on the XO tour.  What I loved most about the tour was that they took us to places that a tourist wouldn’t known about.  Some of these places were truly off the beaten path.  Our guides didn’t take us to eat something cliché like pho; they introduced us to foods that I’ve never even tried before like grilled frog with skin (are some of you cringing?).

Food to me is the best way to experience a new culture and place.  You can tell so much about the region based on the spices they use, the type of noodles, and the meats they eat.  I’m a pretty adventurous eater but some of the things that I’ve tried in South East Asia were crazy!  I felt like I was on an episode of Fear Factor but I always try everything once.  Unfortunately, after the XO Foodie Tour, I suffered from a heat stroke and had to stay in bed for the rest of my time in HCMC.  Almost 2 months of traveling non-stop finally got to me.  I had to rest up for one of the hottest parts of SE Asia, Siem Reap.

The Common Room Project – My hostel

The War Remnants Museum

Saigon Central Post Office

Spectacular arched ceiling

XO Tour guides

Bun bo hue

Vietnamese BBQ

You eat it with a leaf

Grilled shrimps

Spicy seafood

Vietnamese stuffed clams

333 Vietnamese beer

Balut – A fertilized chicken egg said to bring good luck

Coconut jelly for dessert

It wouldn’t be HCMC without motorbikes

Inside Dan Sinh Market

My favorite cafe – L’usine

The best lattes at L’usine