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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.