Hustling hot humid hectic Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is humungous.

Wednesday 2013-07-10

We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in the early afternoon and we met with a driver who took us to our accommodation. I’d booked an apartment at the Riverside Serviced Apartments based on the Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor reviews. The apartments are in District 2 while all the activity for tourists is in District 1. This wasn’t a problem because the Riverside has a free boat and bus service that shuttles residents in and out of the city. It’s a fabulous service and I’d happily recommend the Riverside Serviced Apartments to anyone wanting to spend a few or more nights in Ho Chi Minh City. Unlike many serviced apartments in Australia, these were serviced daily with a refresh of all the bathroom amenities and everything cleaned.

If you read the last post you’ll know that on the morning prior to departing Hoi An I was suffering from waves of nausea. I was still feeling pretty nauseated by the time we got to our apartment.

I was so unwell I didn’t eat the meal provided on the flight.

I had the air sickness bag at the ready just in case.

I've never seen such a complicated air sickness bag #nauseated on VN1313 DAD to SGN #vietnam #holiday

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This is the most complicated air sickness bag I’ve ever seen. All I could think of is the Mr Bean movie.

You should watch this if you haven’t seen the movie.

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This is the flight food.

#lunch on VN1313 DAD to SGN. #Nauseated I did not eat it #vietnam #holiday

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After checking in we took the boat into District 1 and visited the Bitexco Financial Tower. From 49 floors up you get a good view of the city in every direction. There was a lot of glare so I didn’t get any really good photographs.

From 49 floors up #vietnam #holiday Ho Chi Minh City

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Like everywhere else in Vietnam traffic is amazing.

Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City

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This is an instagram video clip. Click on the image and a 15 second clip should play in the Instagram website

On the subject of social media, the Lonely Planet guide and other sources mentioned that in Vietnam sites like Facebook are occasionally blocked. I only came across this once and that was when using wi-fi in an airport lounge. It was only Facebook and when I turned off the wi-fi and used 3G I was able to connect to Facebook.

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We found somewhere cool for an afternoon snack. The full sugar coca cola helped with the nausea. Caffé Fresco is a good cool cafe with free wi-fi. It can be found at 121 Le Loi | District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Coke and hazelnut coffee #vietnam #holiday

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On our first evening in Ho Chi Minh City we dined at a French restaurant, viz., La Brasserie de Saigon. It was really very nice. It can be found at 38 Dong Du, Ho Chi Minh City. I reviewed it on TripAdvisor.

#dinner signature poached eggs with foie gras and mushrooms #superyummy #french #vietnam #holiday

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Signature poached eggs with foie gras and mushrooms. This had amazing flavour and richness.

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Fried Camembert with salad

#dinner fried Camembert with salad #delicious #vietnam #holiday #french

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Very nicely cooked

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Leg of duck confit with potato gratin

#dinner leg of duck confit with potato gratin #delicious #french #vietnam #holiday

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This was amazing. As I put my fork through the skin it bubbled with crispiness. It was delightful.

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Fresh sea bass with oysters tartar

#dinner fresh sea bass with oysters tartar #superyummy #french #vietnam #holiday

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This was superb. Bron couldn’t finish it so I finished it off. Super yummy.

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I even got to use a fish knife.

Proper fish knife too #french #vietnam #holiday #fancy

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Even the best restaurants in Canberra don’t provide a fish knife.

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I walked past this and immediately thought of Jeremy’s gift to Richard on the BBC’s Top Gear Vietnam special

I saw this and thought of BBC's #TopGear #vietnam special

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A street named after a hero

A street named after a hero #vietnam #holiday

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Thursday 2013-07-11

Thursday was dedicated to Bron’s quest to find Bánh Mi. After scouring all morning and being lead down a path by TripAdvisor we weren’t expecting, we found Bánh Mi being sold by a street vendor at 192 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and to borrow from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “Our quest was at an end”…

We found Bánh mi. it may kill us but it was #delicious #streetfood #vietnam #holiday

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This is a photo with some added information if you click on the image you’ll see some information I copied from Wikipedia

Bánh mi and some information from Wikipedia. Typical fillings include steamed, pan-roasted or oven-roasted seasoned pork belly, Vietnamese sausage, grilled pork, grilled pork patties, spreadable pork liver pâté, pork floss, grilled chicken, chicken floss, canned sardines in tomato sauce, soft pork meatballs in tomato sauce, head cheese, fried eggs, and tofu. Accompanying vegetables typically include fresh cucumber slices, cilantro (leaves of the coriander plant) and pickled carrots and daikon in shredded form. Common condiments include spicy chili sauce, sliced chilis, mayonnaise, and cheese. We bought this from a street vendor. I have to forget I'm a clinical microbiologist when I buy and eat #streetfood #vietnam #holiday

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After the Bánh Mi I wanted something sugary with custard

Sugary custard doughnut #yummy #vietnam #holiday

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Prior to our finding the Bánh Mi we visited and spent an hour or two at the War Remnants Museum. This exhibition covers the war with America and America’s allies during the 1960s to 1970s. In Vietnam they call it the American War. I did not capture any images of this place. The images and things on display are enough for anyone to remember. The museum is broken into sections. There is a general section that describes the events from a Government of Vietnam perspective and in that country’s context. There is a section dedicated to the use of the defoliant dioxin and the teratogenic consequences into the second and third generations of those exposed. There is a section donated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky dedicated to the wartime journalists and especially the photojournalists who covered the conflict both at the front line, behind the lines and with the civilians. Outside there is an area dedicated to imprisonment and the means by which military forces extract information. There is also an old French guillotine used by the French in Vietnam when they were the occupying force.

In my mind capturing images of what is on display takes away from what is on display. I think anyone who has an opportunity should visit and take a look and contemplate.

I’ve never spent more than high school history lessons trying to learn anything about that conflict. Having read the perspective shared by the Government of Vietnam I would like to read the official documentation from the Australian Government archives and also the written accounts from Australian war fighters and their families on the effects on the war and their perspective.

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Ho Chi Minh affectionately known as Uncle Ho

Go Chi Minh affectionately known in Vietnamese as Uncle Ho #vietnam #holiday

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The river is full of debris

Lots of debris on the river

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An Instagram video

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We went to dinner at Ngon Restaurant on 160 Pasteur, Bến Nghé Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

I had fresh coconut juice

#dinner drink coconut juice #vietnam #holiday

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It was refreshing

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We started with Bánh nam

Bánh nam #dinner #vietnam #holiday

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This was okay but not earth shattering. I prefer the flat rice noodle dishes in Yum Cha.

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I ate a green pawpaw and dried beef salad

#dinner green pawpaw and dried beef salad #vietnam #holiday

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We were told in Central Vietnam that southern Vietnamese dishes have a lot of sugar added. This salad was very sweet. It was like it was dressed with a sugar syrup. I prefer the pawpaw salads from Northern and Central Vietnam.

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Friday 2013-07-12

More debris this morning

Amazing river debris

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Instagram video

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We wanted Bánh Mi for breakfast again

Bánh mi time #breakfast #vietnam #holiday

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This lady sold us her version which was more meaty and less spicy than yesterday’s version. This street vendor is located at 36 Bis/2 Le Loi Street, District 1, HCM City.

Even though I’m normally a more meat sort of bloke, I preferred the spicy version with lots of coriander and tangy mayonnaise.

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This was almost as good as a Mavi Breakfast Wrap (regular readers and Instagram followers will know all about my love for the Mavi Breakfast wrap).

Bánh mi for #breakfast #vietnam #holiday

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I like the brooms being used

I like the brooms here #vietnam #holiday

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And so our holiday is coming to an end.

This was from the airport lounge in Ho Chi Minh City SGN

Sadly saying goodbye. MH759 SGN to KUL. #vietnam #holiday

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You can also make your own Pho Goi here too

Make your own Pho Goi at the airport SGN #vietnam #holiday

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We now wait for our flight MH759 SGN to KUL.

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The meal on flight MH759 SGN to KUL

#dinner Fish and rice on MH759 SGN to KUL #vietnam #holiday

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It was fish and rice. The KitKat was the first chocolate bar in a couple of weeks.

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Now we’re waiting in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) for MH123 KUL to SYD.

#dinner wonton soup while waiting for flight MH123 KUL to SYD. #vietnam #holiday

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That’s wonton soup

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Yay Queensland nut ice cream

Yay Queensland nut ice cream #vietnam #holiday

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The meal on MH123 KUL to SYD

#dinner on MH123 KUL to SYD. Curry. #vietnam #holiday

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Curry beef and rice

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Breakfast on MH123 KUL to SYD

#breakfast on MH123 KUL to SYD. Vegetable roll. #vietnam #holiday

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A spinach and mushroom pie with a coffee

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Once in Sydney we managed a short break in a lounge

Last flight QF1471 SYD to CBR. #vietnam #holiday

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QF1471 SYD to CBR

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The snack on the flight from Sydney to Canberra

Last flight snack QF1471 SYD to CBR cake of some sort

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It was a dry cake QF1471 SYD to CBR

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Tonight I took a walk to my new favourite local for takeaway

Guess where I'm getting #dinner tonight? #takeaway

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2YUMMY

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It’s good to see the street lights have been repaired at the Belconnen Arts Centre

It's good these have been repaired #streetlights #canberra

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Preparing duck and char siu

Mmm… 2YUMMY #dinner #takeaway

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A picture outside my place

Home after #vietnam #holiday

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Home sweet home

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I needed a coffee with some condensed milk. When I was about 100 kg I drank this all the time. My addiction has been rekindled after being in Vietnam

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Dinner of boneless duck and char sou laksa

My new Vietnam chopsticks

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Well that’s the end of the holiday. I’m thinking I’ll do one more post with some thoughts on driving in Vietnam, 3G access, traveller’s diarrhoea, toilets, my food thoughts and the weather. I’m not sure when I’ll write that.

For now I hope you’ve enjoyed the Vietnam Holiday posts and instagram images.

Let me know if you have any comments.

It’s been a fantastic break. I’m so grateful to Bron for asking me to join her on her holiday. It’s been a great time away. Seeing a new country. Meeting new people. Trying new things. Eating new things. Loving the weather. I did not miss Canberra at all. Thanks Bron for a great fortnight away XO

Be good. Stay happy. Eat YUMMY

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Riverside Apartments http://www.riverside-apartments.com/ http://www.riverside-apartments.com/contact-us/
53 Võ Trường Toản, Thảo Điền, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City
TripAdvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g293925-d1821525-Reviews-Riverside_Apartments-Ho_Chi_Minh_City.html
Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/nYlrh

La Brasserie de Saigon
TripAdvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g293925-d3699273-Reviews-La_Brasserie_de_Saigon-Ho_Chi_Minh_City.html
Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/Wd0rr

War Remnants Museum http://warremnantsmuseum.com/
TripAdvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g293925-d311103-Reviews-War_Remnants_Museum_Nha_Trung_Bay_Toi_Ac_Chien_Tranh-Ho_Chi_Minh_City.html
Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/Ae8q1

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16 thoughts on “Hustling hot humid hectic Ho Chi Minh City

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  5. I have really enjoyed your blogs during your visit to Vietnam. It was just as good, if not better, than a Lonely Planet or other video documentary. You certainly are thorough! Thank you again for sharing it with us, your readers! Great job!

  6. This is good and detailed story about your trip. We weren’t able to visit the Financial Tower, but glad to see the picture here. 🙂

    • It’s a great view. That afternoon the sun was in a bad position for glare and the glass was a little dirty. I shouldn’t complain, I can’t image it’s easy to clean the glass 49 floors up.
      It really is a nice view.

  7. We are umming and aarghing about where to go on holiday this year – we’ve been thinking about Thailand bu I’m not that keen. I thought about Malaysia but maybe Vietnam would be an interesting alternative

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