A Glimpse of Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City at night

Vietnam is considered as one of the affordable tourist destinations in Asia. Aside from its rich and deep history, it offers a profusion of flavors, landscapes, and people. A vibrant country, bud –tingling Vietnamese dishes, passing through motorcycle–choked roads, and even getting lost in narrow lanes - you’ll definitely have your own “Vietnam Moment” at it never occurred to me that I will have my own too.

Last October 2019, Rakso Travel made it possible for me to travel to this beautiful and lovely city - Ho Chi Minh, together with my very own clientele, we take pleasure in everything Saigon has to offer.

Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, first things first – fast internet connection. For a less expensive price, we get to enjoy a 7-day internet connection without lag.  Yes! You read it right, no lag at all. Then we were greeted by our cheerful tour guide and began to start our city tour.


DAY 01

Getting blown away by the history in the War Remnants Museum, you will be able to see weapons, tanks, and even jets in front of the building which was used during the war. This place has given exceptional attention to the Americans. It is an interesting subject indeed and really worth a visit.

Tank from Vietnam War at War Remnants Museum

Passing through Reunification Palace, we’re given a glimpse of its story. A few minutes away, we stopped at Notre-Dame Cathedral for a quick group photo, one of Catholicism's last strongholds in a largely Buddhist Vietnam. At the side of the cathedral is the old post office; embellished with an artistic façade and perfectly laid out services to which it is intended. 

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City

Old Post Office

Finally, after our quick tour of the city, we had our lunch at a local restaurant.  This is the moment we were all looking forward to.  We lose ourselves tasting authentic Vietnamese dishes like spring rolls along with stewed chicken with lemongrass and cucumber soup with shrimp and its very own Cho Dao steamed rice. After lunch, we headed to our hotel located in District 5; Windsor Plaza hotel. This 4.5* hotel is centrally located in District 5, just walking distance from An Dong Market. The hotel room is spacious and has lots of amenities. We had enough time to take a rest after a tiring day and do our own thing just before dinner. Some would rush into the nearby market to go around and do a little shopping. Others would just enjoy the facilities in the hotel. At dinner we were picked up at the lobby and transferred to Buffet Gahn Bong Sen. Here we were overwhelmed with more than 60 delicious dishes and friendly staff. The rest of the night went smoothly and full of laughter.

DAY 02

On our second day, the sun is scorching hot, but it doesn’t stop us from visiting My Tho. Taking a full day trip to the watery world of Mekong Delta, we take a cruise on the Mekong River to visit some islands. We had a chance to taste fresh candy specialty, enjoying tropical fruits, honey tea while listening to Southern traditional music performed by locals. We got together with the locals and took a small boat to discover a natural canal of Ben Tre province. After this unique watery experience, we had our lunch at Mekong Rest Stop and taste the island’s delight. The day doesn’t end there. On our way back the city, we visit Vinh Trang Pagoda, an ancient and greatest pagoda of Tien Giang province. The beautiful construction is a mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Angkor (Cambodian) architectural styles. From afar, the pagoda resembles the five-tower Angkor Temple.     Back to Ho Chi Minh city, we freshen up and took a few hours of rest before our dinner. This time, our dinner is quite exceptional and we had it on Indochina junk while cruising the Saigon River. Eating our dinner while listening to musical performances couldn’t get any better. Nice view, great performers, beers, and perfect dinner on the cruise, name it! We all get to experience all these that night.  After an hour of sailing, we had a group photo to remember the night full of fun. Going back to the hotel, others extended their happy hour in our hotel’s rooftop.

DAY 03

On our third day, we made sure to pay a visit in the most iconic “Jesus Monument” in Vung Tau same like the Christ Redeemer of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. Climbing 1000+ steps to reach the top is not a joke, but very exciting as well. Rest stops are provided along the way. As this is a religious place, one may consider praying while on rest or you can just take a moment to breathe in and enjoy the gardens. As we reached the entrance going to the top, only a few were lucky to get in. We get to arrive a few minutes before the closing time. Good enough, I was small enough to sneak in and pass through the gate. As we reached the top, seeing the entire country and feeling the cold breeze were the nicest and scariest experience I’ve ever had. After that thrilling experience on top, our group went for lunch at the Quan Tre Restaurant.  Offering a cozy ambiance, the place didn’t fail us. We were served with fried oysters, pork chops, spinach with garlic, and fresh fruits in season. The portion of food was enough to satisfy our empty stomach. After lunch, we had the energy again to maximize our day. We visited Thien Hau temple, a Chinese-style temple, believed to protect and rescue ships and people. Spent an hour getting around the pagoda while praying deeply for our wishes to come true, buying souvenirs on the side, and enjoying a cold drink. 

Thien Hau Temple

After almost 2 hours of driving going back to the city, finally, we reach the famous Ben Thanh market, which is always loaded with varieties of goods and welcomes more than 10,000 visitors per day. There, I’ve mastered bargaining with sellers. You can haggle as much as 50% off to the sellers and they wouldn’t argue more when they know you’re a Filipino, that’s a tip.  Exhausted with all the goods bought and getting around the whole place, we decided to have dinner already at Viet Heritage Restaurant. Making the last night memorable, others spend their time on the rooftop drinking some beers and wines.

DAY 04

It’s our last day in Saigon, just after breakfast others couldn’t stop themselves going back to Ben Thanh market and do last-minute shopping for their loved ones.  After doing our own thing that morning, we met in the lobby for departure and took our last group photo thanking everyone for following their heartbeat and choosing Rakso as their travel partner.

What are you waiting for? Plan your Vietnam trip and fly with us soon.
Blog Contributed by: Wendy P. Rondilla
Photos by: Rakso Travel


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