Ho Chi Minh City Day 1: Arrival | Saigon Central Post Office | Notre Dame Cathedral | War Remnants Museum

Upon arrival at Ho Chi Minh Tan Son Nhat Airport(SGN), our private airport transfer that we booked via Klook, was already waiting for us. It was a comfortable and hassle-free experience with Klook. And much cheaper too, with our hotel offering at US$25 versus Klook at S$16. We headed to Silverland Jolie Hotel & Spa located at District 1 which is a relatively small boutique hotel. It doesn’t has a grand entrance but  has a really nice interior. I love it so much!

Lounge/Lobby area inside Silverland Jolie Hotel & Spa
silverland jolie hotel & spa
Our whirlpool tub and cosy room with complimentary baby cot!

Although it is located in District 1, it is near to the Saigon river, which is further away from the bustling centre. It is a short walk to the various attractions. We highly recommend this hotel, with the friendly and helpful staff, the cleanliness of the room, the beautiful interior, complimentary afternoon tea and the quietness of the place!

At 4pm, our local guides from Saigon Hotpot came to meet us at our hotel. They are a non-profit organisation that does private, customisable city tours for free. They do accept donations, which they provides for a charity programme – Sky Lantern, that they run for helping children in the unprivileged rural areas of Vietnam.

Our guide’s name is Hau and she booked a Uber for us to start our City Tour. We set off to the Saigon Central Post Office which was crowded with tourists and filled with souvenir shops inside.

Saigon Central Post Office
Saigon Central Post Office

I am not that into architecture, but I love the vintage telephone booths and the hand-painted map on the wall! It is in close proximity with the Notre Dame Cathedral which makes this area crowded with tourists and peddlers.

Then we went to Notre Dame Cathedral which is just opposite. It is currently under renovation until 2020, hence we can only view from the outside.
Notre Dame Cathedral - under renovation
Notre Dame Cathedral – under renovation
From there we took a Uber to War Remnants Museum. Honestly I knew nothing about Vietnam war until I was at the museum(yes I know, very ignorant). It’s a 3-storey building with display of photographs and some artifacts from the war.
War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh
War Remnants Museum

Baby E wasn’t the most enthusiastic initially but the graphical photos made her asked enough questions to understand that there was a war, people fought, tortured, suffered from toxics and many people died. I don’t think she understood everything judging by how happily she skipped around the place. But I’m glad there’s a chance to let her know times were not always peaceful, and terrible things happened, and terrible things have consequences.

After an educational trip with newfound knowledge of the country I’m in, we head to Ho Thị Ky Flower Market for local street food tour. It’s the largest flower market in Ho Chi Minh and while none of us are really interested in flowers, our guide told us that they have some authentic local food at reasonable prices.
So our guide called a Uber again and it took us around 10mins to reach. It was dark when we reached and if we were not with our guide, we will have no way of finding where to eat! All I know was she took a couple of turns into the smaller alley and suddenly we were there, facing a busy little stall selling noodles.
street food in Ho Chi Minh
street food in Ho Chi Minh
Our first dinner in Ho Chi Minh is the seafood glass noodles! 4 bowls costing us less than S$10! It’s full of “liao” (ingredients) and so yums! Baby E agrees although she prefers their Vietnamese pizza (bang truang nuong), which is rice paper sprinkled with many different ingredients hence has a very crispy base. It definitely taste better than it looks in the photo!
Vietnamese pizza bang truang nuong
The Vietnamese pizza that looks like an omelette

After a filling dinner, our guide send us back to our hotel. It was a good experience, interacting with locals and learning things you wouldn’t normally know if you travel by your own. They are very helpful and friendly and responsive even though I only book less than a week before our trip happens. So definitely give them a try!

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