We booked our Mekong River Tour through the hotel. It was kind of last minute so it’s amazing we were accommodated. We only booked the night before and the receptionist couldn’t contact the tour agency, so he had to do it super early in the morning. When we went down in the morning, we were happy to know that it was actually confirmed. Since we had to leave early, they were nice enough to make our breakfast in a rush and had it to go. Seriously love this hotel!
We were on a joiner tour so it was an entire bus of different people. There were several stops on this tour. Our first stop was at some company in My Tho. There was some sort of lecture and they served tea. Then it was off to Mekong River. There were several stops on each island. I think the first stop was a bee-keeping farm, then a coconut candy workshop, then tropical fruit-tasting while listening to traditional Vietnamese music. Then we rode on a small hand-rowing boat along the canal. It was lunch after this.
After lunch, we had some free time but I wasn’t feeling well so I opted to just stay in the hammocks and wasn’t able to explore the island. We stayed there until it was time to leave the island.
Before going back to HCMC, we dropped by Vinh Trang pagoda which is just super near Mekong Delta. You can actually see it from the boat. There was a huge smiling buddha and a reclining buddha. I wish I took more photos but it was so hot and I need to walk quite far. We only had a few minutes to explore the place.
After that, it was back on the bus and off to the city. It was already dark when we got back. We were pretty tired so we took some rest for a bit before going out again.
It was already Edz’ flight going back home so Celine and I were left to explore the place. We dropped by the Korea-Vietnam exhibit in Pham Ngu Lao and took photos in the booths. We actually did this for two nights cause there were booths with a long queue. We skipped those the first night and went back the second night. Haha.
We also discovered Taka Plaza! We were looking for a place to eat and were walking around Le Loi and Pham Ngu Lao and we thought that the entrance that we’ve been seeing is for the Korea-Vietnam stage event. But it’s actually the entrance for Taka Plaza. There’s a food court called Asiana Food Town and it was amazing! There are tons of choices. Too bad, it was almost closing time when we got there so some of the stalls were already closed. Taka Plaza also has “tiangges” and a supermarket. It’s funny how we went to other places when we could actually find everything in Taka Plaza, which is super close to our hotel.
We woke up quite early cause we attended the 9:30am mass at Notre Dame Cathedral with Celine’s cousin and uncle.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Attended mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral and it’s the first time I’ve ever done this in any of my travels. They have an English mass every Sunday at 9:30am and it’s the only cathedral in Saigon that holds an English mass. (According to Celine’s cousin) A lot of Pinoys there, too. It’s just so perfect to do this on the day before my birthday, the homily being about the important things in life, the story about the jar and the big and small stones. Long story short, if you want to make something happen, you have to do the job first and everything else will follow. You’ll see how it will all fit in the end. It’s pretty simple actually but it made me revisit my plans. Plans I started earlier this year but I have set aside for a while. Maybe after my birthday vacation. 🙂 Anyway, I took this from the Central Post Office. I love how a cyclo was included in this pic!
Saigon Central Post Office
It’s my first time to send a postcard ever! I sent it to myself actually and got it 6 weeks later. Haha.
I think it’s a really popular restaurant cause we passed by here on our first night and there were a lot of people outside. It’s easy to see why. Three words: SALTED EGG TOFU. It’s something I’ve never tried before. It was really good! I definitely see why this restaurant is so famous.
Saigon Opera House
This is kind of a letdown. The one in Hanoi looks nicer. This is smaller and much simpler.
May pigeons sa harap ng Independence Palace. Napakainam naman na simbolismo. Pero ako nga ay magwi-Wikipedia pala ng mga kaganapan noong April 30, 1975 for more information. In fair, sulit ang 40,000VND dito. There’s so much too see and learn!
Some photos of what’s inside.
We went back to the hotel after going around the Independence Palace cause it was already after lunch and we needed some rest. Celine napped and I just watched TV. We only went out after dark to go see the Bitexco Tower. So we didn’t go up cause it’s super expensive. We walked to the other side cause we just wanted to see the riverside. It was just hard to cross to the other side, sobrang buwis-buhay! We saw some people who were so close to the edge so we looked for the entrance. We were surprised to know that there was no entrance! They went there illegally. So we didn’t do it. Celine was like, “Wag tayong gumawa ng ka-illegal-an sa harap ng ating bandila.” TOO FUNNY!
Apartment 42 Nguyen Hue Street
From the riverside, we went to Nguyen Hue Street, cause the other end is just across. There is a Korea-Vietnam stage, but we didn’t know who the performers were. This street is closed from 6pm to 10pm cause it’s a venue for young people, and there are also street vendors. Can someone explain why there are okras on a stick? Hahahaha. There are also a lot of restaurants and bars in the area. We went to the famous Apartment 42. So it’s true that you need to pay VND3000 to use the elevator but when you eat at any of the shops there, they will refund you the amount.
We decided to go to the top floor and go down from there. We found this cute tea shop at Level 7 called Orientea. It’s tea heaven! So you order first at the counter where they have different kinds of teas, the staff also recommend teas that you can try. I went with red bean green tea and we bought pineapple cakes for snacks. I really love this place cause it’s not crowded and they still had table at the terrace where we had a good view of the Bitexco Tower. It was our last night in Saigon and it was just the best. ^^
Saigon City Hall
Saigon City Hall looks sooooo grand at night! It is located at the other end of Nguyen Hue Street but you can see its light from the other end. (We were coming from the riverside.) We just had to go back there and take photos! (We already went there at noon earlier that day.) Also, Edline and I saw this on our first night in Saigon but didn’t know it was the city hall.
From there, we booked an Uber to go back to the hotel and get some shuteye.