Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ho Chi Minh City 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 2

Date of Travel: 25-28 October 2012
Day 2
- Half day Cyclo Tour around the city by Urban Adventures (US$19/pax)
- Stop by Christina Noble Children's Foundation to drop off presents
- Motorbike Tour at night by XO Tours (US$35/pax)

Our guide arrived bright and early at 7:45am whilst we were having breakfast at the lobby. When we were ready, she made a phone call and suddenly 9 cyclo riders appeared in front of the hotel. We all got on and off we went to the War Remnants Museum, and spent 1 hour here. This was my first time visiting the museum, and it was great. It had replicas (or possibly real) air crafts and tankers and choppers, they were huge. My favourite part was the replica of the Coconut Island prison famous for its Tiger Cages. Plus it had a whole list of methods of torture, which truly opened my eyes and heart to what the soldiers had to go through.

Tiger Cages made with barbed wire, meant for 4 persons

We hopped on the cyclos again for a brief stop outside the Reunification Palace where our tour did not include tickets for. Moving on again, we arrived at the Notre Dame cathedral for great photos. Next to the Cathedral is the General Post Office where some of us sent a postcard home with a 10,500 dong stamp (RM1.60).
That's the Notre Dame!

General Post Office

ATM inside the GPO

Opera House

City Hall

Our tour was supposed to end with a tour of Ben Thanh market. But since this place is so near to our hotel where we could explore on our own, our guide suggested a friend's place selling wholesale coffee. We willingly agreed, and off we went to a little Muslim village in HCM. Today happened to be Hari Raya Haji, so most people in the village were dressed in their best attire.

We all got to taste some coffee, which my friends say was really good! 100,000 dong (RM15) for a 500g pack. They sold really beautiful baju kurung here for RM55, you can even choose different types of materials.

Walking into the Malay village

Internet Cafe!

Though it's a village, each house still has its own address

The coffee made for us by the host, along with the many baju kurungs at the back for sale at RM55

Our lunch venue at the village, which was really yummy!

A bowl of noodles for 15,000 dong = RM2.30

Taking a bus ride back to hotel for 4,000 dong per person (RM0.60)

After a quick rest, 3 of us went to the Christina Noble Children's Foundation ( We had contacted the manager Donna beforehand, and asked to see their Wish List. Stationery amongst other things were in that list. Since there were many book fairs around KL, we bought hundreds of Staedtler colour pencils and crayons to give to the children here. Donna and her team runs a fantastic operation here in HCM. They have 12 locations altogether, looking after 1016 children from babies to toddlers and pre-schoolers. Some children came from orphanages, some have parents who drop them off to get a full day of nutrition which they would have otherwise done without. The place was extremely organised and clean, we were fairly impressed and made me wish I had more to give to them.
Part of the building at CNCF

Photos of children were not allowed

Wheelchairs and physiotherapy are provided here too

Since it was still early, we could squeeze in a round of shopping. Back in 2006, I bought most stuff at the Saigon Tax Trade Centre. Back then, I was told that it was controlled by the government so things were fairly priced. Now, I'm not too sure, but it still had a great supermarket where we bought coffee and lotus seed snacks.

Next up was yet another highlight of our day - the XO Tours' Saigon by Night. 9 pretty ladies came to greet us at our lobby, to whisk us off on a night to remember. Since it is rather extensive, I have written a full review of XO Tours' Saigon by Night here.

This motorbike tour included a "light snack", but all of us were really too full to eat anything more. We still went to this beer garden called Bo Tung Xeo which I had visited before in 2006. We had the famous grilled goat's udder and snails and some beer here, 10 persons for 600,000 VND.

Also check out:
Ho Chi Minh City 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 1
Ho Chi Minh City 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 2
Ho Chi Minh City 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 3&4 (Final)
Review: XO Tours - Saigon By Night

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