For some reason Korea isn’t the cheapest of places to fly to and from. Usually I have to buy a ticket with some kinda layover somewhere, which can be a bit of a pain, but sometimes it works out to be a bit of a gem! One (well two) of those times has been when I have been able to visit Vietnam.
My first transit stop was in August 2016. I was able to stop over in Ho Chi Minh on my way to London. I had two nights there in total with just under two days. I landed pretty late but was still able to catch the shuttle bus to the city centre. My hostel in Ho Chi Minh was Town House 373 for the first night. From the airport you can get the 109 shuttle bus to the last stop and it is a 2 minute walk from the bus station. The price of the ticket is 20000 vnd, just look out for the yellow bus outside of the airport, it takes around 45mins/1 hour. This place was nice enough and you got a comfy bed and huge breakfast. I wanted somewhere comfy and quiet to sleep my first night. But decided to go across the road to Long Hostel. It was literally across the street. This was my favourite of the two, they gave you a free beer to encourage you to socialise, and had the best banana pancakes for breakfast.
On my first full day I decided to sign up to a free walking tour, as I was traveling solo and had little time to hang about. My guide was so sweet and passionate about the city. She was a uni student and wanted to improve her English. She loved giving the tours and you could tell. She took me to the War Remnants Museum, as well as the cathedral and the post office in the city. I was glad I had someone local to show me how to cross the roads as the roads in Ho Chi Minh are a bit mental. It’s a rarity to see any traffic lights, and sometimes I wasn’t even sure which side of the road people were supposed to be driving on. The museum is a must do in Ho Chi Minh, it was so sad to find out about Vietnam’s history and all they have been through.
One thing I love about Vietnam is their coffee. My tour guide took me to Cong Caphe, where I had the most amazing coconut coffee. I’m not usually into cold coffees, unless we’re talking overly syrup-ed Starb’s frapp kinda cold coffee, but this was more like a dessert than a coffee. She also recommended I visit the walking street coffee building.
You can find all kinds of coffee here, from durian coffee, to the more traditional Vietnamese condensed milk coffee. I wanted to try the durian coffee, but they had a power cut whilst I was there so were unable to make it. Not sure how I feel about a smelly fruit coffee anyways…but I always wanna try things I can’t get elsewhere when traveling.
I wasn’t wholly bowled over by Vietnamese food. It was a bit meh in my opinion. Nice enough, but I never crave it since being back in Korea. Maybe I just tried the wrong things though. I love the bánh xèo there, which is a kind of savoury pancake with sprouty things inside. I was lucky enough to meet great people in my hostel, I met two English guys when we were all drinking our free beers and we went for pho (but noodle soups ain’t really my thing). After trying and failing to teach them how to use chopsticks to eat our pho, we went for a night out. Lots of cheap beers were flowing everywhere, which meant I didn’t want to do anything overly taxing the next day before catching my long flight to London.
Overall I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh, but I’m more a chill on an exotic beach kinda gal, so it was a bit too hectic for me.