After getting back from the Mekong Delta Tour it would be my last 24 hours in Ho Chi Minh City. I was kind of looking forward to leaving the city and going further up North.
After enjoying my shower at the hostel, washing off the public bus sweat, I joined a group of Canadians for dinner. I had Pho again, I believe once I leave Vietnam I can’t have Pho for a while but I must use the chance being in the country to have as much Pho as possible! 😀
After dinner the Canadians went for some beers whereas I wanted to go to the Ben Thanh market which I missed on my last night in HCM a couple days ago. It turned out that the market itself was closed, just a few stalls were open on the road next to it, offering touristy goods heavily overpriced. I was shocked how much overpriced. I had got a couple pants in Bangkok for 340 baht and here they wanted 500.000 dong for it. That’s more than double!
Since the market was closed and there weren’t that many stalls I walked back through the park. The conversations with the Canadians who did their exchange in Singapore and are now traveling before going back to graduate made me think how long ago my graduation is already and all those things that have changed since then… I’m starting to feel old by thinking about things like that! 😀
While I was walking and thinking, it started to rain and I just made it back to the hostel before the world seemed to end for the rest of the evening and part of the night. I used the opportunity to go to bed early and slept in in the morning. Everyone else in the room had already left when I woke up around 9am and I packed my bags before leaving for some sightseeing.
First, I went to the Ben Thanh market which was now open. It is full of small little stalls and the owners are fighting for your attention to buy something from them. They don’t even refrain from touching you, which was a bit annoying after a while… I didn’t buy anything though as I still had to walk the whole day and didn’t want to carry anything on top of my bag and camera.
I walked past the Rex Hotel and its designer shops, the theatre and other nice hotels. I have not been to that part of the city before and it seemed like a completely different city actually. There were real sidewalks for a change!
I had lunch at Hoa Tuc which was recommended in my travel guide. I got some good authentic Vietnamese food (no Pho this time but spring rolls and pork with vegetables, egg and rice) at this really nice restaurant which cost about 10 EUR but was well worth it. I enjoyed every bite. 🙂
After lunch I went by the Hard Rock Café and passed by the Notre Dame and the post office on my way to the Independence Palace and the Sri Mariamman temple.
By the time I finished my sightseeing walk it was already time to go back to the hostel to get ready for the night bus. So I went back through the park and enjoyed watching all the young Vietnamese children and teenager get together to chat or play games like badminton. Here, the kids still know how to spend their time with one another without using internet or other technical devices!
Also, the kids are very eager to learn English so they use every opportunity to talk to the tourists and ask them like a ton of questions. I have been approached by two students asking me about my opinion on Vietnam, other tourists told me they were asked questions about what profession they’d recommend the Vietnamese to pick up after school. If one is in HCM and some time at hand, go to the parks and talk to the kids, it’s a great experience. 🙂