Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cuti-cuti Ho Chi Minh - Part II

We booked a tour to Cu Chi tunnel at our hotel which cost USD9 per person. Actually, you can get USD4 per person at backpackers area at Pham Ngu Lao st. However, we didn't have time to browse over there. Our plan to go to Mekong Delta was cancelled too as it is a day tour. If we went there, we wouldn't have time to do our shopping.;-).

The tour guide picked us up at our hotel and picked other tourists at a few other hotels. There were 18 of us inside the coach. It took 2 hours from HCM to Cu Chi tunnel. We stopped at a craft centre for a short break.

The entrance fee to Cu Chi  Tunnel is VND80K ( USD4 ). We were first briefed about the tunnel before proceeding to see various interesting spots inside the area. At the end of the tour, we were served tapioca and tea. It was a long walk and I think I burned hundreds if not thousands of calories by the end of the tour...:D. Boleh lagi kurus kalau selalu ikut tour macam ni..

Buying the tickets

Sape2 yang rasa badan terlebih comel, don't try this. Tak jamin blh keluar..:-)

Making rice paper

Inside the tunnel. Hubby tak turun. Takut sangkut..:D. Lutut dia pun dah kong. Gelap giler kat dalam ni...

On the way back to HCM, everybody was so tired. They dropped the 4 of us at War Remnant Museum. Actually, museum is not my thing. But since it is listed as a must visit place, we decided to pay a visit. The entrance fee is only VND8K. We only visited the ground and 1st floor as it was distressing to see those photos.

After that Hubby took over as our tourist guide..& we got lost..:-). Instead of going to Central Post Office, we walked farther away. So, we took a cab to Dong Du Mosque. After solat, we headed to Parkson as we didn't feel like eating at Halal @Saigon which is opposite the mosque. However, D'Anjung ( 4th floor at Parkson ) was closed on Friday. Hubby & I had briyani at a pakistani stall while Liza & Sumai tried the indonesian food at the next stall.

Masjid di Dong Du St

Le Loi St - Kat sini byk hotel2 5 star & branded good outlets eg LV, Chanel etc. Masjid pun just around the corner je.

One of the things that  I like about Ho Chi Minh is its parks. It has parks right in the middle of the city. So, penat jalan2 boleh lepak2 kat park. The pavements are also pedestrian friendly.

Makan delima bought at Binh Tay market

Our hotel lobby

Good bye saigon. We will definitely be back. Trip kali ni memang best ( Semua tempat ada keistimewaan sendiri ) . Si Liza tu sampai cakap if kitaorang nak pegi lagi & if Sumai tak nak ikut, dia nak ikut kitaorang sorang2..:-). To Sumai & Liza, thanks for joining us. Korang memang best & sempoi. The only thing that spoilt the trip is that I lost my sunglassess ( a present from Hubby ) in the night market. May be while trying out the clothes...:-( . Oh ya, During this trip, Hubby had a penchant for red colour. I nak beli jubah, dia suruh beli red. But I did't..:-). Then, nak beli glasses pun dia suruh pilih red, which I relented. Tapi bila dah siap, I rasa muka I macam mak nenek lak..:D. Tp dia kata tak pe, bagi nampak mature sikit muka..hikhik

With the jovial Dr Liza.kat airport..Kan muka I dah jadi macam mak nenek with the new glasses..:-(. Got a new glasses but lost the old one..sob..sob..

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shopping and Eating in Ho Chi Minh

Transaction in Ho Chi Minh can be done in USD or VND ( Dong ) and even RM in Ben Than market and the night market. 1 USD = VND 21300; 1 USD = RM3.145. It's easier to use USD. However, it's better to pay in VND for food. In my case, I prepared 3 currencies in my purse. I used the one that gets me better price ;-) 

We started our day early at 7am. We had breakfast at our hotel. The hotel serves no pork food considering many malaysians stayed at this hotel. The food was okay and there were many choices.

After breakfast, we looked for the bus station near Ben Thanh. We boarded bus no 1 to Binh Tay Market located on Thap Moui Street in District 6, Cho Lon. It is also known as Chinatown. Binh Tay Market is a wholesale market selling various stuffs. You need to bargain at least half of the quoted price. Some stalls do not sell in small quantities as they normally cater for retailers. We bought some cotton here. The bus fare to Binh Tay is only VND 4000. ( RM0.60 ). Bus No 1 goes from District 1 and stops at a bus station just across the road from Bin Thay market.

Binh Tay Bus Station

Binh Tay wet market

Bus ticket

Garlic nicely decorated

The fruits here are so cheap. Mango was sold at VND 15K per kg ( RM2 ). Fruits like Avocado, pomegranate and dragonfruit were very cheap. We were tempted and bought some. Of course we had to buy a knife which was sold at 80 cents!

Then, we went back to district 1 and had lunch at Vn Halal. Hubby & Liza had Pho i.e viatnamese noodle ( pick the spicy 1 as it tastes better and yummy ). Sumai & I had rice. Mine was okay but Sumai's Nasi ayam hainan looked unappetising to me..hehe.. The cost for our lunch was RM70 - 80 for 4 persons.
( Vn Halal, 14, Pham Hong Thai St. Tel: 84-8-38220252 ).

Pho ( pronounced 'fer' )

After zohor prayer at our hotel, we headed to Ben Thanh Market. The famous cotton shop for Malaysians i.e Dam, shop 433 didn't offer good price. So, we didn't buy anything there. Personally, I prefer the night market, may be because there are many muslim sellers. Bargaining can be done in Malay. I didn't buy much at Ben Thanh market coz i did't get a good bargain. Just bought some polo t-shirts and smocking dressess for the princesses.

Tired of browsing in the market, we went to Le Than Ton Road next to Ben Thanh market. I wanted to buy a pair of glasses. There are many opticians along the road. But we went to Nhat Quang ( 126, Le Than Ton Rd ). Glasses here are cheap. Sumai & Liza ended up with a pair each. They said normally they spent around RM700 to do glasses  in Malaysia. But over here it was only RM100++. You can choose a range of branded and imitation glasses. You can get imitation Dior, Gucci etc with latest designs at just over USD30. The glasses can be collected the next day.

Just across the road from Nhat Quang located Minh collection ( 189, Le Than Ton St ). Jubah & beaded baju kurungs are sold from USD10 . But, beaded baju kurungs in the night market are better with more beads. We bought a few jubah & baju kurungs.

Then, we had dinner at a stall in front of Basiroh's fashion. They sell viatnamese nasi lemak; about the same like Malaysian nasi lemak. The food here is cheaper which was around USD3 per plate. 

After dinner , we started our shopping spree. The famous stall for baju kurung is Gerai Aziz located at the street near My Sang tailor & Ha Tam goldsmith. You can ask them to order kopi ais or kopi susu while you browse their collections. Next stall also sells baju kurung and cotton. I bought vietnam simcard here. It was cheaper to call malaysia. I bought for VND80K and got a credit of VND115K. With this credit, I could call Malaysia 5 times.

Night market opens from 7pm - 12pm

Bargaining price: vietnam t-shirt USD2, Polo t-shirt USD5, 3-zipped vietnam purse USD9 for 10 pcs, handluggage USD8, Smocking dress USD5, Trung Nguyen Coffee USD 4 for 1/2 kg. For best price, be friendly to your fellow malaysians. Ask them what is the price that they got and bargain lower..:-) . Normally, mat salleh got higher price...hehe..

Other shopping places that I wanted to go but didn't have time;
Mery boutique, 156 Bui Vien St
Hong Anh Collections, 110Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St & 75 Ly Tu Trong St.
Russian Market. 225,Ben Chuong Duong St. ( Winter clothing )
An Dong Plaza. 18,An Duong Vong St.
Saigon Square. Went there but didn't have time to browse.

Halal restaurants:
Parkson. 4th floor. 3 halal stalls; D' Anjung, Pakistani food & Indon food. 45, Le Than Thon St.
Halal @ Saigon. 30, Dong Du St
Sulayman Restaurant. 40, Tran Hung Dao St.
Kedai Shamsudin. 445, Le Hong Phong, District 10. Delivery; tel 84-8-62717494.
Bombay Restaurant. 66 Dong Du St.
Pro Doner Kebab. 169, De Tham,Pham Ngu Lao Ward.
Satay House Malaysia. 307/25, Nguyen Van Troi St, Phu Nhuan Ward.
Zam Zam. 26, Bui Vien St.
Masala Kitchen. 28 / 21, Bui Vien St.
Mumtaz Restaurant. 226, Bui Vien St.
Mohamad Aly. Delivery; tel 01218747096 , 0933799621.

Ho Chi Minh city

Ly Tu Trong St. Look at all the motorbikes being sold!

Bui Thi Xuan St where our hotel is located

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cuti - Cuti Ho Chi Minh : Part I

Ho Chi Minh is a paradise for shoppers..provided if you have great bargaining skills. For this trip, we have new partners i.e Sumai & Liza since our usual partners are in the process of adding a new family member ;-) ( To whom it may concern; Ghugi ooo tak p..;-) ). We drove from Penang after 7am and parked the car at Tune Hotel. ( RM20 per day ). Alhamdulillah, there was 1 parking slot available when we arrived.

We departed for Ho Chi Minh on Wednesday 19 Oct at 2.55pm and arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 3.50pm ( Vietnam time ). We had a smooth custom & immigration process despite having heard bad stories about them in forums. By 4.30 pm we were ready to catch a taxi to our hotel. There were many taxi companies. Since we were advised to take Vinasun or Mai Linh , we waited for quite some time as these taxis are popular amongst tourists and even viatnamese. When we got into one, we immediately requested for metered fare.

We safely reached our hotel with a fare around VND125K ( about rm20 ). This time we stayed at Hoang Phu Gia Hotel which is a nice hotel. But, I would rather stay at other hotels nearer to Ben Thanh Market such as these hotels ; Tan Hai Long, Hoang Hai Long 1 & 2, Gia Huy, Saigon Pink 2, Hoang Gia Huy or Ngan Ha which are located at Pham Hong Thai St just next to Ben Thanh Market, the heart of the shopping paradise.

After maghrib prayer ( Maghrib starts around 6pm ), we walked to Ben Thanh Night market which is 10 -15 min walk from our hotel. Yeay! we passed the test of crossing the roads swarmed with thousands of motorcyclists. Ho Chi Minh with a population of 7.1millions has 5 millions motorcycles! So, it was a challenge to cross the roads. The trick is to cross the road at a steady pace so that the motorcyclists can avoid you based on your pace. If you are afraid, just follow any viatnamese to cross the road.

Ben Thanh night market started after 7pm. There are 2 streets of stalls selling various items, from the famous Trung Nguyen Coffee ( Viatnamese delicious coffee ) to the beautiful beaded baju kurungs. A word of advice, if you are tempted to buy some fruits there, just ask a viatnamese to buy for you or bargain hard. The fruits here are expensive compared to Binh Tay market in Cholon.

If you are hungry here, there's a stall in front of Basiroh's fashion ( where many hotels are located ) selling viatnamese nasi lemak at cheaper price than other halal restaurants. There's also Vn Halal  not far from there although the price is a bit expensive ( Roti canai at RM 5-6, Nasi goreng & mee at Rm12, drinks around RM5 in a small glass ).

 During our first night there we only bought some clothing for the princesses and browsed the stalls. We also change our USD to VND as the rate here is better. 1USD = VND 21300 ( c.f 1USD= VND20800 at banks or in Malaysia ). You can change at Ha Tam goldsmith shop in Ben Thanh located at the same street as many hotels.

We got back to our hotel at midnight feeling exhilarated and also tired after a long day. We were excited about exploring HCM the next day.

On the way to our hotel

Adalia's 3rd Birthday

 Happy 3rd Birthday my sweet Baby Adalia. At 3 y.o , you are sweet, cheeky, intelligent and you already know your ABC. It makes it easier for you to search for songs in youtube or games in google search. You just love to play games in mama's iphone. When I got back from work, you'd request to play games in mama's phone. If your requests were declined, you'd then opt for computer games..:-)

 You're especially closed to Kak Ngah be it playing toys or games or drawing together. But, you slept with Baby Airis at night. You are attentive to Adik Baby's needs although you bullied her sometimes. You adamantly want to be called Baby such that we had to call Baby Airis Adik Baby or simply Airis. You speak in a melodious tone and trying very hard to pronounce words and speak correct sentences.

My dear Baby Adalia, We love you to bits. May Allah bless you always and may you grow up into a beautiful person inside and out.

The cheeky Baby Adalia

With the sisters. Hubby & I were unhappy when we were greeted with this sight upon reaching home from Ho Chi Minh. Alysa & Ayra's short hair. Cut by Tok..:(

Birthday cards from the sisters

Thursday, October 13, 2011


  Pagi ni hari yang kalut! I terus ke premis baru to check out the repair of the roof. Bumbung dah tak bocor tapi ada 1 ceiling lopong coz dah bertakung air quite some time. Ceiling tu dah melengkung.

Lepas check ceiling tu baru my staff bukak cerita. Last nite, at closing time ada sorang flasher datang kat our premis.  This staff ke counter nak serve that customer. Tetiba dia tunjuk his private part! Terus menggigil si A ni. Dia terus duduk konon2 nak ambik barang. Meanwhile, another staff , M tak sedar coz she was writing at the desk. Bila dipanggil si A baru le dia tahu what happened. They did't know what to do. Menggigil je kat situ. The flasher tu pulak, bila dah nampak diorang ni kat counter dia pegi tunggu dekat pintu & tenung je diorang. Si A recognised his face eventhough he was wearing full face helmet. Si A ni dah ready dgn gunting in case dia bertindak ganas!

After he was gone, diorang baru lari keluar. Tak sempat ambik his plate number. Masa ni pulak, diorang baru je off CCTV. So, tak de evidence la. The shops next door pun tak perasan coz roller shutter kitaorang dah tutup since the staff pun dah nak balik.

Tgh cerita pasal incidence tu, I got a call from K.Jun tanya ada orang nak repair paip bocor ke? I told her tak de & suruh dia kunci semua pintu2. Terus pecut balik rumah. Nasib le it was just 2 min away from tempat kerja. Sampai rumah je K.Jun dah gabra. Orang tu datang masa dia nak sidai kain. Tp dia baru bukak pintu nak keluar. That guy asked " Ni rumah * nama hubby*ke?  Dia suruh repair paip bocor." K.Jun pelik le coz I tak de pesan apa2 pun. She called me. Lepas I cakap tak de. K.Jun terus capai golok & instructed the guy to leave . Dia gelak je. Kebetulan hubby called ( I informed hubby ).Bila K.Jun cakap ni Dr ke? Terus the guy blah. Nasib le K.Jun sempat masuk rumah & kunci pintu.

Bila I sampai rumah je, the guy dah tak de. At the same time our friend pun sampai ( lepas hubby mintak tlg dia tgk2kan ). I pun informed our neighbour suruh tgk2 kan rumah. When this happened nasib le Baby Airis tengah tido & Adalia tengah mandi..

According to descriptions, both guys are in their 20s. Badan sedang2..Jangan le orang yang sama. Seriau je kalau org yang sama coz tau where we work & live. Siap sebut nama Hubby lagi.

Baby Airis slept blissfully thru this incidence