Sunday, April 17, 2011

Travel Trekk-Ho Chi Minh City-Vietnam-Part 1

This is the 4th capital city in ASEAN that ive visited to date after Singapore, Bangkok & Jakarta. Not much right...however i have visited other cities in ASEAN such as Bali, Phuket, Bandung and almost all of the towns at the outskirts of Bangkok, not that those are capital city of the country though. Correct me if im wrong but i do regard Ho Chi Minh as the capital of south Vietnam, knowing that there's Hanoi on the north.

Our flight with Malaysia Airlines took about 1.45 hours and we landed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport around 4pm local time.It's a quiet airport with separate terminal for international and domestic flights. There's no immigration form to be submitted upon arrival which i believe is really a convenient for tourist visiting Vietnam.

the airport........



in our taxi-van..enroute to the city.the journey took around 35 minutes.notice the abundance of motorcycles here.



we stayed in Saigon Mini Hotel 2..a budget hotel but the room was comfortable and adequately furnished...my room was equipped with 2 queen sized bed which was quite a surprise considering the size of the room........



our first day was spent walking around the city centre area...it was fun walking around Ho Chi Minh at night especially at its parks as the locals loved to hang-out with friends/families/loved ones in these areas making the night alive with sport activities/games or just sitting on their bikes looking at the passing traffics........there are also bars by the roadsides, coffee joints and night markets lighting up the city's night life......












the next day we took a one day tour along the Mekong River. This tour was booked via the hotel and cost us around USD 11 only, inclusive of lunch. We started our journey in a mini bus for an hour-long ride to the boat pier located outside of Ho Chi Minh.

motorbikes everywhere..........


entering the freeway.....note that this looks newly constructed..the infrastructure in and around the city are still at its infancy........


sugar cane plantation seen along the way........


bridge across the Mekong River..................


and the great river itself......


finally we arrived at the boat pier........


for a joyride along the Mekong in this traditional wooden boat......



on this boat trip, we were taken on a visit of traditional Vietnamese villages, each with distinct local industry and produce such as rice paper making, coconut candy factory, honey, handicrafts and traditional medicines.....



fisheries...........


our first stop..rice paper making centre.......here we were demonstrated with the techniques of making rice paper and sample were distributed for us to taste...it doesn't have any distinct taste as it acts as a wrap to other ingredients especially when used in making spring roll......

cooking process........





layering process..............



the finished product..ready for sale........


souvenir stall...selling mostly products made of snake skin...they really love their snakes here........


we stopped for a short but elaborate lunch..with spring roll of fresh river fish as its main highlight.......

the fish.........


pieces of fish and some rice are placed on rice paper


then wrapped..and ready to be dipped in the specially made sauce........yummy.....


other dishes served on the table..some were non-halal though.....






continuing our boat trip..and we came across this floating rest-house..specially created for honey-mooners...




our next stop is the honey producing centre...wherein you will find not only honey on sale...but also this.....


needless to note that im not a fan of reptiles....it's really a task for me to upload the above pic.......

in this honey producing centre..we were served with hot chinese tea mixed with honey...the honey here has a distinct taste of Longan as they fed on the nectar of Longan flower, whereby the same fruit is being planted in large quantity here.........

hot tea being poured into small cups.....


the bees on display to the tourist....


honey based products and royal jelly,,,which cost a bomb but said to be beneficial to one's beauty.



next...donkey ride...yes...we were taken on a donkey cart ride across the Vietnamese village to our next stop...really exciting and thrilling ride i must say...


our next stop is to sample local fruits produced and be entertained by local folks song by local singers...count the "local" term being repeated here :)

yummy and ripe fruit....



not so yummy singing..hehe


we were then taken to another mode of transportation...sampan. This sampan ride was to take us through the narrow canals back to our boat and then to our last stop of the day, coconut candy factory...



the coconut factory...here spinning machine in full swing to mix the ingredients for the candy.........


cutting and packing process and the final product...........





we left the Mekong around 6pm and arrived at the city just right for dinner. Next up is our half-day tour around the city if Ho Chi Minh in Part 2-Kay2011

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