[Warning… EXTREMELY HUGE PHOTOS coming up. Haven’t gotten the hang of WordPress yet… since I just ported over from Blogger. So… I’ll try to make it more readable in Part II]
Let’s start this post with… I’m a kiasu Singaporean.
Being a kiasu Singaporean, I couldn’t resist when there was a Jetstar Asia sale sometime back in November 2012, and I gathered 3 more friends to go on an excursion to Vietnam with me.
This was our first trip to Vietnam, and I guess we all weren’t too sure what to expect, and we were all definitely not prepared for the trip.
“How unprepared?” you might ask.
Let’s say… we only booked our accomodations 4 hours before flying off.
So I could think of a whole pile of excuses for this last minute planning, but the top one on my list is that we just got back from NCCL and Boracay.
To be fair, we did look at a couple of places quite a while back, so we hurriedly scanned through some of the listings and decided on a Somerset Service Apartment at Ngyuen Binh Khiem. We were upgraded to a 3 room apartment, fully furnished with dining table, living room, modem, kitchen, washing machine… basically everything we would need for our 8 day stay, and some more. It’s pricier than a normal hotel and there are lots of expat families living there, in particular Japanese and Caucasian expats. The pool is usually filled with expat kids splashing around in the evenings.
I have absolutely nothing to complain about when it comes to the service provided. I could not be happier with the accomodations. The only minor unhappiness I had was an allergic reaction to something, I’m guessing the bed linen detergent or beddings. But since I’m the only one who got it, I can’t say for sure what caused it. The staff cleaned up our extremely messy and oily kitchen daily, they took the initiative to fix our leaking aircon when they saw it during one of the daily cleanings, and their response is prompt round the clock.
The first meal of our trip was Pho, naturally. The shop that the receptionist recommended we try was also listed on trip advisor as one of the best Pho places around.
After trying most of the different permutations of meat, we’ve decided unanimously that the “Raw Beef” is the best. We had spring rolls and other side dishes too, but I’d recommend the Raw Beef Pho. The coffee there is kinda overpriced, but still relatively cheap compared to Singapore. So just get one!
Trung Nguyen is on everey street corner, and they sell their special roast at every one. If you have the chance to pop by a supermarket like Big C, they might have better prices because, like all supermarkets they have daily specials and super savers. Just remember to buy a Long Cam too! That’s the metal contraption which they use to filter the coffee.
Stark Tower and Bun Bo Hue
On one of our random walk abouts, we decided to visit what we all the Stark tower, which is actually called Bitexco Financial Tower (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bitexco-Financial-Tower/203803992991729?ref=stream)
On the way there, we got hungry. Holidays always make me permanently hungry… So we popped into a shop that looked promising.
And after eating and harrassing the kittens at the shop (yeah, the mummy cat at the restaurant had some kittens… which we were playing with) we trotted off to Bitexco Tower.
I can’t really say there was much to do there, we went to Top Shop and looked around a bit… and apparently you can pay some money to take a lift up to survey the city, but we didn’t.
Other random walkabouts and discoveries
Took a walk along the river, there are restaurant boats and other large marine vehicles. This ojne happened to catch my eye. The river is teeming with life, you can see little fish zooming around, and the surface is carpeted with water plants, especially in the sheltered areas. The river flows pretty quickly though, and looks a little murky. But I guess that’s to be expected of being downstream.
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