Travel Tales: Indochina Last Stop

The last leg of our trip is in Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. We’ve been to HCMC in 2014 so we somehow know our way around. We arrived HCMC after about 5-6 hours on the bus. The stamping of passports as easy. The bus conductor took all of our passports, had us fall in line inside the immigrations office, and then that was it. We waited for our names to be called, had our passports stamped, and done. There was a quick stop at the Vietnam border for anyone who wanted to have lunch. We arrived HCMC at around 3 in the afternoon. The bus made its final stop right in the middle of the backpackers’ area so we were really lucky – except we found out that the hotel we booked was near the airport. Since it was just around php800, we just looked around and saw a new hostel that will take us in for just php300 a night. Good job!

We had banhmi for late lunch and then we headed off to Ben Tanh Market to check out the bags there. It’s true when they say that bags and shoes in Vietnam are cheap. They really are. Also, they will tell you if what you’re about to buy is legit or just class B. There’s this little street right across Ben Tanh that sells all types of shoes – for a very cheap price. They aren’t original okay, so just maybe be very picky in case you have plans of buying.

We were a little tired with all the traveling and walking and since our trip was about to end, we didn’t really have a lot of things planned in HCMC except to just chill at night. We met up with a friend who is staying in HCMC and he brought us to this resto that has some seriously legit Vietnamese food FTW.

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legit Vietnamese food FTW

After dinner, we headed on to the crazy street where everyone just drinks. Like seriously, everyone is literally here. Lol.

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This is the only usable photo I have of the area because a lot of folks have told me that you really have to take care of your stuff because some people riding in motorcycles are on the prowl to steal your phone or bag or some other stuff. Anyway, the setup in the backpackers’ area is that bars are right next to each other and you have to sit in very tiny stools and even tinier tables if you have plans of drinking. But I guess people don’t mind. It’s really more of the experience that the people are after.

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coffee and banhmi

For breakfast, all you have to do is look for the nearest side street vendor and check if they have coffee and banhmi. These two are staples on the streets. It’s everywhere. And it’s available all the time. Since we have explored HCMC when we first visited, we decided to head on to Vung Tau, just about 2 hours away. We searched and saw that they have their own version of Christ the Redeemer so why not see it? So, we took a bus to Vung Tau, brought our bags to our hotel and headed out. It’s not really difficult to go from one place to another since taxis are always available. Our problem was that we didn’t foresee that the way to top will take about a hundred steps and that it was still, super hot and humid!! Well, we are crazy people dying to try everything so we just hoped for the best, haha.

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It was beautiful. 🙂 I mean, the way to the top was the worst part of this entire trip but I would say that it was worth the climb. 🙂

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stupid happy faces upon reaching the top

Next, while walking, we saw a cable car going to the top of a mountain. We got curious so we checked it out and tried it out. The entrance costs php400 (I think) and you already have a free cable car ride. When we reached the top, we found out that there was actually an amusement park – on top of a mountain!! Hahaha. Well, it was a bit old and there really weren’t a lot of things to do, but, we tried almost all of the rides because there really weren’t a lot of people. And why not! We were already there so might as well!

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There was even a small temple and there were monks inside. Just not sure if they actually live there. Also, there was a hotel but I don’t know if people actually stay there. The place can look creepy at night.

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This is me still smiling even though I literally smell like shit because of all the dust and sweat and dirt. And look at how dark I look here, hahaha.

Every now and then we would walk around and get lost and then just hail a cab on to our next destination. We had dinner at one of the restos we saw earlier on our way to the Christ the Redeemer and just decided to explore the area around our hotel. Initially, we thought that we will be able to hit the beach. Because, my research showed that Vung Tau is actually the nearest beach from HCMC. I guess being a Filipino, I have a lot of pictures in my mind on what a good beach looks like and I will always have high expectations, hehe. We didn’t really like how the beach was (it was a little too public for us), so we just skipped it and hence giving us more time to explore the place. The truth is, there’s not much to do in Vung Tau, I guess you can consider it as a sleepy little town. But I didn’t really mind, being that it was our last night before heading back to Manila. We just bought a few beers to drink while packing our stuff inside or hotel room as we had planned some last minute shopping in HCMC.

The next day, we were back at around lunch, before meeting up again with Charles, our host and tour guide in HCMC. He showed us the best places to buy clothes and shoes – to bring home to my family (yes, Pinoy pasalubong is high and mighty).

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He brought us to this Korean resto and even though it was our last dinner before heading to the airport, I didn’t mind because the food was the bomb! We just chilled and talked and ate until it was time to head to the airport and end our epic Indochina trip. 🙂

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