Mint Museum of Toys: Hello Robota! {Make + Play}

After our exploratory journey to the Mint Museum of Toys earlier this year, we knew in our hearts that we will definitely be coming back again. All year round, especially during school holidays, Mint Museum of Toys does work very hard to come up with a slew of interesting workshops for everyone.

The museum is located at the end of a street behind South Beach Hotel Singapore. Just follow the arrow to your left.

Whimsical and chic themes are what defined Mint Museum of Toys. Big and Small M can’t wait to attend its Make + Play workshop.

Hello Robota!

We were warmly greeted by the museum’s staff, Khai and she shared on the stories and characteristics of different vintage robots – as we introduce highlights from the museum’s collection, including Robot Lilliput, one of the first toy robots to be produced in the 1930’s. Robot Atomic, Robot Hook, Robot Robby and Robot Astroman Dux. We were amazed by how robot toys evolved over time.

The kids were guided to attend an interactive robotics class conducted by an experienced instructor. It was really an eye-opener for some of us who were not that into robotics. During the lively session, every kids were given due attention and strongly encouraged to participate in discussion and throwing ideas on making robots. We felt attending such workshops can improve the kids’ Maths, critical thinking skills and learning how to troubleshoot when playing and having fun with Lego Mindstorms.

Learning through participation.

The kids get to learn the different mechanisms of how they make robots move.

Build My Robot

This was the moment the kids relish. Everyone gets to build their own robot from scratch using Lego bricks.

Instructional manuals were provided and it was fun watching how the kids try to build their robots. Step by step, slowly and surely…

Big M’s robot taking its shape.

Hey, if I can do it, you can too! Achieve a sense of satisfaction upon building your robot.

Program My Robot

Building a robot is fun, how about programming it to move? The instructor gathered the kids and explained to them about programming their robots to move. Different scenarios were given and the kids were challenged to try out such as programming the robots to move in certain timing, changing of directions and calculating how many wheel turns it takes to reach the finishing line.

There is no right or wrong. Everyone gets the chance to trial and error and have fun during the session. Hey, they are learners and winners.

Did they have fun? You bet they did!

Every participants get to receive a free gift as well🙂

Gift Ideas @ Museum

With Christmas round the corner, Mint Museum of Toys is a great place to shop for unique toys. Come on down today!

Mint Museum of Toys has organized a slew of fun activities this holidays.

Click their Facebook page to find out the latest activities.

Click their website to find out why you should visit the museum!

General Enquiries

Tel: +65 6339 0660
Fax: +65 6334 3373
Daily from 9:30am – 6:30pm

Drop them an email at info@emint.com

If you enjoy reading our travelogue, do give a like on Katong Kids Inc Facebook Fan Page by clicking here.
Disclosure: All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Have a Perfect Christmas @ The Centrepoint

Christmas comes early at Orchard Road. It is a common sight for the long stretch of Orchard Road to be decorated with loud props and colorful lighting.

Believe it or not, we are not big fans of Orchard Road although this over 2km stretch of shopping belt is a haven for fashion, upscale restaurants and chic spots for chilling out.

We heard about the lovable Chef and Noel Gingey at The Centrepoint. This is arguably the spot to check out in this part of Orchard Road.

After a year’s break, The Centrepoint is back in the running for the Best Dressed Building Contest.

Passer-bys just couldn’t resist to stop and snap pictures of these beautiful props. Aren’t the gingerbread man cute?

Be soaked in the Christmas atmosphere when you head down to The Centrepoint!

If you enjoy reading our travelogue, do give a like on Katong Kids Inc Facebook Fan Page by clicking here.
Disclosure: All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Emicakes: Celebrating the True Spirit of Christmas with You {Log Cakes Giveaway!}

There are no excuses not to celebrate festive occasions especially when it comes to Christmas. What better way to celebrate Christmas than indulging in sweet bites on beautifully crafted log cakes?

This year, Emicakes has pulled out all the stops to bring you a range of delightful selections which include D24 Cheer, Double Chocolate Oreo Cheesecake, Mini Rainbow Log Cake Sampler, Rainbow Cheese (Eggless!), Rainbow Choc (Eggless!) and Truffle Sparkle. That leaves us clueless which flavors to choose!

Photo Credit: Emicakes

And so we thought it is a perfect fit to round it off with a Mini Truffle Sparkle, D24 Cheer and Rainbow Choc (Eggless!). It was love at first sight for us. Emicakes’ popular flavors and colorful log cake designs tick all the boxes: fresh, clean, trendy packages and above all, made with an astonishing array of fresh ingredients.

Mini Truffle Sparkle ($14.80).

Indulge in the heavenly and intense flavor of D24 durian meat tucked between Emicakes’ ever popular D24 Cheer log cake ($67.80) filling which is a perfect embodiment of our sultry-weathered Christmas.

New to Emicakes’ collection this year are their rainbow log cakes to bring joy to your family’s hearts. For healthier choice, we ordered the eggless Rainbow Chocolate log cake ($52.80). The layers of bright colors, toppings and cute Christmas decorations are sure to excite your loved ones as you celebrate a white and snowy Christmas🙂

GIVEAWAY!

Special thanks to Emicakes, they are giving 3 winners with a small log cake each with the flavor of their choice.

All you need to do is:

  1. Like our Facebook at  Emicakes & Katong Kids Inc
  2. Follow our IG @ emicakessg & katongkidsinc
  3. Share this blog post of the giveaway on Facebook to as many friends, remember to set it to public.

Terms & Conditions:
1. The winner will walk away with a mini log cake of any 3 flavors of up to $24.80 each (Mini Log Sampler, Mini Truffle Sparkle or Mini D24 Cheer).

2. The winner must be agreeable to provide his/her contact details to Katong Kids Inc.
3. Judges’ decision is final. Closing date: 4 Dec 2016.

3D2N Ho Chi Minh City Travelogue – (Part 4): Day 2 @ Vincom Centre, Street Food Market, Chinatown Cholon, Saigon Square 3, Diamond Plaza and Book Street

Come day 2 and we woke up to the sight of slight drizzle in Ben Thanh. As you can see, the night market has disappeared and replaced by the scene of daily routine.

Our hotel accommodation comes with simple breakfast with the usual items that one can expect such as fried noodles, omelette, bacon and ham, sausages, Pho, salad, pastries and fruits.

Yummy…

Avanti Hotel has a cafe that comes with a nice view of Ben Thanh market.

Breakfast was sumptuous and filling and now we are all set to go. But first, remember to put on our face mask.

STREET WALKING

We spent the morning strolling along the streets and capturing beautiful pictures of Ho Chi Minh City. Let’s take a picture tour.

A local supermarket. We wondered why the supermarkets in HCMC have security guards.

Coffeeshop selling economical rice.

We passed by Cafe Nguyen Hoang which was popular and jam-packed with customers! This authentic Vietnamese coffeeshop serves Robusta and Arabica coffee. Prices range from 30,000 – 65,000 depending on the beans chosen.

Address: 277E Lê Thánh Tôn, Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

VICOM CENTRE

We were here at Vincom Centre the previous night and didn’t have much time to explore the mall. Today, we are back here.

The kids were fond of Fanny Ice Cream when there was an outlet in Katong a couple of years back. Fanny is a French-owned company that produced 100% natural ice cream. Carefully selected natural ingredients, both local and imported, are used to create their ice cream products.

Totally fresh and appetitzing🙂

The kids tried what else but the ice cream.

This is Vietnamese dripping coffee which we tasted.

The aroma of fresh brew brings inexplicable delight to us.

If you visit Vincom Centre, make it a point to check out Paris Baguette Cafe. Regarded as one of the best bakeries in HCMC, it will be a shame not to walk into the cafe and see their selection of breads.

The sight of colorful and cute macarons never fails to attract curious onlookers.

Baking is an art and look at the display of these beautifully baked dough brings so much calm to the souls.

Bread. Glorious bread!

We had lunch at Ngo Saigon Street Cafe.

Ngõ (or Ngõ hẻm) means the small alley street.

Ngõ – Saigon Street Cafe offers local street dishes in the setting of a modern day restaurant. Decent prices and tasty local cuisine are what define this cafe.

Broken rice with pork ribs and egg for VND $85,000.

Spring rolls.

Our favorite grilled prawns.

BEN THANH STREET FOOD MARKET

In search for local street food? Explore the Ben Thanh Street Food Market on Thu Khoa Huan Street, located near Ben Thanh Market. The place is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. everyday.

We reckon Ben Thanh Street Food Market is a hit with foreigners. Cheap food and even live music on some days are what travelers can expect to enjoy here.

There are about 20 food vendors selling local and other variety of cuisines. The food street is very well-ventilated and the food look clean and hygenic. Those visiting HCMC with kids would find this place suitable to dine.

Address: 26-28-30 Thủ Khoa Huân, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

CHINATOWN (CHO LON)

Part of our itinerary was visiting Ho Chi Minh City’s Cholon, Vietnam’s largest Chinatown with roots dating back to 1778.

Cholon is located in District 5. We hailed a Vinasun cab to bring us there. Little did we know this is going to be an epic ride…

As we ventured out of District 1 onto District 5, the neighbourhood and streets become less “touristy’.

A rare glimpse of the local Vietnamese life.

It was a Saturday and we were surprised it was a schooling day for the locals.

The streets were literally congested with bicycles and motorcycles. Students were seen riding home in their bicycles and parents in their motorcycles were waiting for their kids.

The slow traffic caused the journey to be longer than usual and alas, Big and Small M fell asleep.

We were approaching Cholon and wondered how are we going to handle 2 sleeping kids. While in the cab, we couldn’t find any cafes or air-conditioned malls to stop by while waiting for the kids to wake up.

It started to rain and Cholon looked even more chaotic than Ben Thanh. To make it worse, there was no sight of cabs around here. Forget about Vinasun, there is not a single cab seen!

We guess our most important “asset” now is the Vinasun cab we are sitting in. Changing our plans, we told the driver to head back to District 1 and bring us to Saigon Square 3.

SAIGON SQUARE 3

It was a fruitful taxi ride. The kids had their nap and we had a tour of District 5 (Chinatown Cholon) without alighting from the cab for 1 hour. The trip cost us about VND $311,000 (SGD $19.70). Well, who says you need to engage a tour guide to bring you around?

The newly-opened Saigon Square 3 is home to apparels, accessories and mobile products.

Comparing to Saigon Square 1, Saigon Square 3 products are more contemporary and updated with the latest trends to attract shoppers.

Address: Saigon Square 3: 17E9 – 181 – 183 – 185 Hai Ba Trung street, district 1, Ho Chi Minh city
Opening hours: 09:00 – 21:00
 

DIAMOND PLAZA DEPARTMENT STORE

Diamond Plaza is the place to be if you are looking for bowling, movie watching or dining.

I think it’s pretty much the same for a shopping mall in terms of store offerings and layout. However, we do want to give a shoutout for Diamond Plaza’s foodcourt.

As you can see, the foodcourt is very spacious and looking at the food prices, we conclude that it’s a good deal for us to try out local cuisines in shopping mall food courts.

The shopping mall looks empty though. LOL.

Seafood Tom Yam at VND $88,000 (SGD $5.60).

For Pizza lovers.

Address: 34 Le Duan, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Opening Hours: 9:30 am to 10:00 pm

BOOK STREET – NGUYEN VAN BINH

An initiative to encourage and cherish a reading culture, particularly among youths and kids, the book street, located on Nguyen Van Binh Street in District 1, was officially opened in Jan 2016.

A large McDonald’s greeted us when we arrived. Fast food restaurants seem like precious commodities in Ho Chi Minh City as we hardly get to see them.

Taking a pose.

A book café, situated next to the Saigon Central Post Office, one of Ho Chi Minh City’s icons, is a perfect place for visitors to chill out and of course, enjoying a cup of fresh brewed coffee.

Bookstores are lined across the book street.

This flea market is a nice spot for those collectors who have a love for old books.

Address: Nguyễn Văn Bình, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
This pretty sums up our tour of Ho Chi Minh City. We were blessed to have an eventful trip and although we did not book any day tour, we managed to cover quite a number of places. See you again, Ms. Saigon.
If you enjoy reading our travelogue, do give a like on Katong Kids Inc Facebook Fan Page by clicking here.
Disclosure: All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

3D2N Ho Chi Minh City Travelogue – (Part 3): Day 1 @ Saigon Square, Saigon Centre, Chi Thong, Vincom Centre and Ben Thanh Streets

What’s next after exploring Ben Thanh Market? You should walk around Ben Thanh streets as well. Every travel opens our eyes to see more of the world and observe the way of life of the locals. If you are into serious food dining and shopping, there are many cafes, eateries and sport wear shops next to Ben Thanh Market to check out.

BEN THANH STREETS

Friendly Vietnamese smiling at us!

Similar to streets of Bangkok, you have many choices to shop for cheap products. Popular brands such as The North Face and Deuters bag are going for as low as VND $100,000 (SGD $6.40). One don’t have to guess whether it’s genuine material or not.

However, not all are cheap though. Kids’ sports shoes cost about VND $450,000 (SGD $29). It’s better to pay more to get genuine products.

Street food…

It is a common sight to see locals sitting along the streets to have their meals.

SAIGON SQUARE

Within walking distance from Ben Thanh Market is a mini-shopping haven. Saigon Square is on the corner of Nam Kỳ Khởi and Le Loi in District 1. It is a two level shopping centre that is filled with shops selling fashion, accessories and jewellery. If you are looking for bargains here, you should pay a visit to Saigon Square.

Opening Hours: 08:00 – 22:00

Location: Corner of Nam Kỳ Khởi and Le Loi in District 1

SAIGON CENTRE

Just right in front of Saigon Square is the mega Saigon Centre which was opened by Keppel Land. Located at 65 Le Loi Street (or 92-94 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street), District 1, the seven-story building houses more than 400 domestic and international brands.

Japanese retail giant Takashimaya is the major tenant in Saigon Centre, whose gigantic department store occupies 15,000 square meters of the 55,000-square-meter building.

Saigon Centre makes it a good spot to chill out and escape from the afternoon heat. With restaurants, food stores, and coffee shops in this building, you will be spoil for choices.

We stopped over to try out the crepes at First Love Patisserie.

Oreo chunks in between of every crepes layer topped with cookie crumble. Each layer is spread with chocolate cream rich in cocoa and completed with a caramelized surface.

B2-21, 65 Le Loi
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Next we head down to try the matcha ice cream at Nanachan Crepes.

The matcha ice cream looks tasty and it cost about VND $35,000. They are generous with the portion too!

B2-07 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi Blvd, Dist. 1
70000 Ho Chi Minh City

A visit to Vietnam is a must to try their authentic cuisine. There is this interesting restaurant called Co Thanh that attracted us with its color and store layout.

Remember in the previous blog post we did not have pleasant dining experience in Ben Thanh Market. The food was so-so and they were expensive. So we strongly recommend trying out the food in shopping centres. Same price and better taste!

Bun Bo (Beef soup w/thick rice noodles and vegetables) for VND $80,000.

We loved the soup base. The dish looks down-to-earth and delicious.

Bo Bia (Vietnamese style popiah) for VND $45,000.

Goi Cuon Thit Nuong (Grilled pork spring rolls) for VND $60,000.

CHI THONG

We were glad to make it to Ch Thông which was highly recommended by one of the parents of Small M’s classmates who was a local. To understand how popular this place is, just remember Ch Thông is often hailed as the “Top 3” favorite Saigon street food listing. We came during the night and alas, it was raining heavily. So heavy.

The place was packed with customers.

Interesting for adults but not for the little ones. Big and Small M preferred a more comfortable place so we wasted no time and made the orders. This is the famous Bún Thịt Nướng in Ho Chi Minh City and we finally got to try it.

Address: 195 Cô Giang, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

VINCOM CENTRE B

Our feet were wet by the rain and visiting the biggest shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh is a perfect  respite for us.

Vincom Center is so big in fact, that they have separated it into two separate buildings just across the street from each other.

You can find all kinds of kids’ stuff over here.

The shopping centre is pretty quiet. We visited Pho Hung Chinh Hieu to try out their dishes.

A look at their menu.

Nem Nuong Cuon Banh Trang (Grilled pork balls served with rice paper and vegetables) for VND $69,000. Cheaper than that from Ben Thanh Market.

Pho Ga (Pho with chicken fillet) for VND $74,000.

Beef ball soup.

Vincom Centre B houses a big cinema.

Those who just want to chill out can try cafe hopping.

Ho Chi Minh City doesn’t have much places designed for kids. If you are hoping for some Australia’s Dream World or Sea World Resort kind of amusement park, most probably you will leave disappointed. But we guess you can still find some activities for kids. We chanced upon this arcade centre at Vincom Centre.

This arcade centre is really really huge. At the far end corner, kids can play bumper cars. The rest of the arcade centre is filled with countless game machines.

Each credit cost about VND $5,000 (SGD $0.32). We visited this arcade centre for 2 days as this is the ‘best’ we could find to entertain the kids🙂

Address: 72 Lê Thánh Tôn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

BEN THANH NIGHT MARKET

The rain continued and we took a cab back to Ben Thanh to explore the night market before returning to hotel.

3D2N Ho Chi Minh City Travelogue – (Part 1): 8 Tips Before Visiting Ho Chi Minh City

3D2N Ho Chi Minh City Travelogue – (Part 2): Day 1 Ben Thanh Day and Night Market

 

If you enjoy reading our travelogue, do give a like on Katong Kids Inc Facebook Fan Page by clicking here.
Disclosure: All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

3D2N Ho Chi Minh City Travelogue – (Part 2): Day 1 Ben Thanh Day and Night Market

We made our trip to Ho Chi Minh City by catching an early flight. Our destination is an hour behind Singapore’s time so that means we “saved” an hour in our stay at Ho Chi Minh City.

We were excited for this trip as we were looking forward to hunt down new places and discover a new culture that we did not experience before. The flight was short and it just took 1hr 45min. We arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (IATA: SGN, ICAO: VVTS) which is the largest airport in Vietnam. It is located about 6 km north of the center (District 1) of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

Having heard of many horrid stories of being scammed by taxi drivers in Vietnam, we went online to book an airport transfer to our hotel. Although it meant needing to pay more, the comfort part was starting our trip on a positive note🙂

Some interesting finds that greeted us upon stepping foot into this country was the number of motorcycles on the roads which is an astounding 4 million! The streets were chaotic but this is their way of life.

Selling dogs on the streets.

ACCOMMODATION

So much is heard about the famous Ben Thanh Market that we eventually decided to stay near this tourist attraction. Avanti Hote is a 3 star hotel which is newly opened this year.

A newly opened hotel equates cleaniness.

BEN THANH MARKET IN THE DAY

This is our Day 1 which we actually covered far too many places so we had to split the blog posts.

Bến Thành Market is a large marketplace in central Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam in District 1. So much has been said about this market that every tourist would make it a checklist for them to explore when visiting HCMC. Well, that was the reason why we chose to stay near to Ben Thanh Market as we wanted to explore this place.

Ben Thanh Market was pretty much lively in the morning with the locals coming to buy groceries, seafood and fresh produce from the market.

Walk deeper into the market you will find indoor food court where you can get to try local dishes.

The stall owners are not shy. In fact, they practice touting over here. There are plenty of choices to choose from. If you have no intention of patronizing, just put on a smile and continue to walk ahead!

Since our hungry pangs are here, we decided to try out some Vietnamese dishes.

This will give you an idea what to order.

If you do not recognize Vietnamese words, remember to ask the stall owner whether VND $30,000 is the price of 1 or 4 Pork on Chacoat. We thought paying VND $30,000 for 4 sticks was a good deal until we were told it cost VND $120,000😦

Thit Nuong (Grilled Meat) for VND $15,000 X 4 = $60,000.

It would be a shame to visit Vietnam without trying Pho at least once. Phở or pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat, primarily made with either beef or chicken. You will get to see more later in our blog posts.

Banh Xeo (Pancakes) for VND $50,000.

I hopped over to a dessert store to try out their local “Chendol”.

Tastes quite nice I must say. It cost VND $15,000 (SGD $1).

We continued to explore some food stalls and came across this selling huge grilled prawns. Tempted by the color and size, we decided to try out although we were quite full.

A closer look. See how big they are…

One wondered if the glass has “magnifying effect”. After picking out the 2 prawns, they seemed to shrank and didn’t taste fresh! We left the food section with an overall rating of 2/5.  We discovered later that for such prices, you can actually get cleaner, better and more tasty treats in HCMC.

In all fairness, Ben Thanh Market is really huge. It has literally everything you want to find as a tourist. Collectibles, cheap apparels, souvenirs, dry food products, Vietnamese coffee and many more.

Let’s take a mini-tour around Ben Thanh Market.

Dry products and coffee powder.

Giant durians!

Caps for kids.

T-Shirts at VND $50,000 each.

From our hotel room, we could view Ben Thanh Market.

In a few hours time, the street below is going to transform into a night market…

BEN THANH MARKET IN THE NIGHT

When evening comes, cars parked at the sides of this street beside Ben Thanh Market start to vacate to make way for the street vendors to set up the night market.

We were able to have close-up view of street vendors appearing with their motorbikes and pulling their carts.

Some carts are heavy that they need to use their motorbikes to push them along.

Time is money. In a short span of time, the street vendors need to set up their stalls for the night market. As you can see, they have to sweat and toil to earn their keeps.

The street is beginning to transform into a night market.

Vibrant night market at Ben Thanh.

The street is filled with tourists. Street vendors will flash their goods for you to buy. Do bargain 50% to 70% and may you get the best prices.

Adjacent to Ben Thanh Market is the Muslim street.

Glutinous rice seller.

Our hotel located in front of night market.

If you enjoy reading our travelogue, do give a like on Katong Kids Inc Facebook Fan Page by clicking here.
Disclosure: All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

3D2N Ho Chi Minh City Travelogue – (Part 1): 8 Tips Before Visiting Ho Chi Minh City

We kick off a long weekend with a short getaway trip to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. We have heard so much about the local delicacies and attractions that we need to see it for ourselves. And what an unforgettable experience it was. Before delving into our travelogue series, there are 8 tips to share when planning your trip to Ho Chi Minh City.

#1: PLAN YOUR ITINERARY

We spent 3D2N in Ho Chi Minh City and managed to cover quite a number of places. I will be blogging these attractions in the follow up to this travelogue series so stay tune. Back to planning itinerary. While friends and websites can recommend you interesting places to explore, you need to settle down on one itinerary that suits your requirement. As we were travelling with kids, visiting attractions like Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels and such will certainly bored them to bits.

Our priority is to have a relaxing getaway – half itinerary and half rest and relax. We eventually settled our itinerary on exploring street markets, shopping centres, tasting local authentic delicacies and most importantly, strolling along the streets of HCMC like a local. The experience was amazing!

Selling poultry at Ben Thanh Market

Be your own tour guide by strolling along the streets.

The famous roundabout on Pham Ngu Lao just straight in front of our hotel. The trick is to book your accommodation where all the actions is.

#2: Language Barrier

So hear us out. It would be a blessing to find local Vietnamese who can relate to you in English. Most of the time, it doesn’t happen to us during the trip. Now that you are in Vietnam, remember to bring along your hotel card or printed itinerary (with addresses) so that the locals can recognize and advise you, especially when taking taxis.

#3: Travel by Taxis or Not

Why not? We heard many stories of taxi scams and we were definitely wary of this. However, a viable way of navigating around Ho Chi Minh City is by taking taxi. It is practical provided you are not being scammed. As advised by the locals, it is highly recommended to take taxis from these 2 reputable companies – Vinasun and Mailinh.

However, that doesn’t mean you are completely safe. When taxi drivers try to engage into small talks with you, just be cautious and fix your attention on the price meter. During one of our short rides, the taxi driver tried to engage conversation to distract me, only for me to find that the meter jumped by more than the usual. My suspicious was aroused when I noticed our driver kept looking at me nervously while he was driving (he was supposed to concentrate on the road!). Good that I spotted it earlier and we reached our destination without getting ripped off🙂

Vinasun Taxi – Recognised by its shades of white, red and green colors.

Minlinh Taxi – Recognised by its green color.

#4: Bring An Adaptor

Remember to bring along an adaptor. You can get one from local hardware shops for $1 before heading to Vietnam.

#5: Money Changers

Unlike Bangkok, we seldom see money changers along the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. There is one near to Ben Thah Market where we stayed apart from local hotels (but prepared to lose on exchange rate if you decide to change at hotels). Other than that, the only place we come across a money changer was at Diamond Plaza.

#6: Book a Local Tour?

Booking a day tour is not cheap. It usually cost at least USD40 per pax for a half day trip. Some travellers fancy the idea of booking popular bike tours to experience an authentic and unique adventure riding on a bike and breezing through the chaotic streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Besides exploring the streets, you get to be brought on local food tours where you have the opportunity to taste the best dishes recommended by TripAdvisors or Lonely Planet.

We didn’t book any day tour and using Google Map is our preferred way of checking out some of the famous local dishes, notably Pho and Banh Mi.

Banh Hoi Thit Nuong (Grilled meat rice vermicelli).

#7: Bring Face Mask & Mosquito Patch

If you are travelling with kids, some useful pointers here – bring along face mask and mosquito patches. It is said that there are at least 4 million bikes in Ho Chi Minh City. The traffic is chaotic and we must say the motorcyclists and drivers are really skillful to navigate their way on the roads with traffic coming in all directions!

Imagine the amount of air pollution and dust generated from the carbon monoxide.

We brought along face mask and mosquito patches and it come in handy!

#8: Bring Your Umbrella

Yes, it sounds troublesome. Somemore adding to your luggage weight but hey, you will know how useful a simple item can bring when you need it the most. While you can control which travel items to bring, you can’t control the weather. This is a short trip but the 2 nights were marred by heavy rain.

Family travelling with kids. How priceless can umbrellas bring to you!

A new place to explore, a rich culture to understand. We would be forgiven for thinking that Ho Chi Minh City was all skyscrapers and shopping malls (afterall, it is a popular tourist destination). We have a chance to step back in time and discover Ho Chi Minh City at its best. Stay tune and subscribe to our blog for more travel discoveries!

If you enjoy reading our travelogue, do give a like on Katong Kids Inc Facebook Fan Page by clicking here.
Disclosure: All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.