Episode 4: First night in Ho Chi Minh

We only had two actual nights in Ho Chi Minh.  You would have thought we would have lived it up and we did…in a way.

We started walking through the city, past the opera house, past where their train is being built (looks like it will be pretty awesome when it’s finally complete) and to the Sheraton in District 1.  The boys had stumbled upon this hotel the day before and found that it has really nice public restrooms.  I know it’s weird, but at the same time sometimes you have to take advantage of bathrooms when you can. Especially when you’ve experienced paying for restrooms or exceptionally dirty bathrooms. After exploring the Sheraton and trying to pretend like we belonged we made our way to dinner.

I need to figure out what this restaurant is called but one of the great things about going to eat with locals is that they know great little places to eat that have more of a local flavor.  We went to this adorable noodle restaurant with a rooftop area.  It was still very hot in Ho Chi Minh at the time so eating outside was a little rough but sometimes you just have to deal with the heat so that you can eat amazing foods.  In this case, the outside terrace was cooler (but not by much) than the downstairs restaurant.  This was a great little local place that is known for it’s noodle soup.  It is like the perfect combination of beef noodle soup and pho.  It sounds slightly strange since beef noodle soup has a tendency to be a bit thicker but it was amazing.

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This place is also famous for their various desserts and beverages.  My beverage was a dessert within itself.  I had a coconut, grass jelly concoction that required an ridiculous amount of self control to not chug it. Especially since it was iced and I was burning up with all the heat and the noodle soup.

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After the dinner, we took a stroll to Ho Chi Minh Square which was full of people.  It’s the place to hang out at night.  There’s fountains, buskers, people walking around with samples, things for you to buy and so much for you to see.  At the end of the square is the Parliament building with a statue of Ho Chi Minh standing in front of it.  Surrounding the square are shops, hotels and bars that you can check out if you don’t feel like strolling through the square and would rather just people watch.

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After walking around the square and trying a few samples of coffee, we headed to the backpackers district.  This is the most common area for backpackers and it’s covered in hostels, tour buses and tour offices.  It’s super hectic but if you need a cheap place to stay that is fairly central, it is definitely a good place to check out.  There’s also a huge park across in the center of the district that has live performances and great little restaurants to check out.  We went to one of the tour offices and booked a tour for the next day to go to the Cu Chi Tunnels which is about two hours outside of the city.

We people watched for a bit and decided that we were tired since it had been a jam packed day and headed back to our hotel to pass out for the evening.

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