Instead of availing any of the tours, we created our own itinerary after researching online and reading recommendations from travel bloggers. As we took a DIY tour of the city, I learned some things that I feel are worth sharing. Here they are:
|The statue of Ho Chi Minh with the|
city hall behind it
Notice not just the places you visit, but the people you meet. Of course, we made sure we passed by the famous landmarks of Ho Chi Minh (still popularly known by its former name, Saigon) like the Saigon Opera House, Ho Chi Minh City Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Saigon Central Post Office. We also bought tickets to enter the Independence Palace (Reunification Palace) and the War Remnant Museum to get insights into the history of the country, especially the Vietnam War.
|Saigon Opera House|
|The Notre Dame Cathedral|
Food in Vietnam is unbelievably cheap yet truly savory. We ate street food, but also savored Vietnamese dishes in restaurants and cafe, and sipped ca phe sua da and drank tea many times! (Instead of serving water, restaurants usually serve tea with your order) Except for a few mien, candies, and postcards, we didn't buy souvenirs. Call us frugal, but we went home rich with experience.
|Our breakfast of bun bo hue (soup with rice vermicelli and beef) |
at a Saigon eatery
|Banh mi at 15,000 Vietnamese dong (PhP 31.00)|
We also had an unpleasant experience with two motorbike drivers, but after that incident, serendipity led me to this quote written on the wall of a cafe where we had our lunch: "Freedom is not worth having if it doesn't include the freedom to make mistakes." We can't have a perfect trip no matter how carefully we plan, but we can decide beforehand to have a right perspective to enjoy what's at hand.