Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Most Laid Back Trip Ever, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Full Write up

Hey guys! Recently I've just been to Ho Chi Minh City, and it's a wonderful city. There are so many things to shop, food to eat, cultures to experience, language to speak, history to learn, new friends to make and epic massive traffic to be in Ho Chi Minh. 

We departed from KL at 6am and arrived at Vietnam at 7am (Vietnam time) because Vietnam is 1 hour behind Malaysia time. (Total travel time 2 hours) The night before my flight to Vietnam, I had only 1.5 hours of sleep. Our cell group launched a surprise birthday party for our cell group leader at midnight and we continue to fellowship until 3am.  I barely had my sleep before heading to LCCT. Come to think of it, I was out from 9am to attend Emerge 2nd day conference and continue to be out active until Sunday 3am. It was crazy how much energy I had. The moment I checked in the hotel at 7.30am I collapsed on the bed and dozed off until noon..

My trip lasted for 5 days 4 night and personally I think 4 days is more than enough. We chilled at local coffee cafe and enjoyed Vietnamese coffee at the road side. It was so great to finally get myself away from all the busy life I had in KL. Not that I hated KL's life but sometimes it's just felt good to go somewhere and slack. p/s: Self healing !


This is my first time traveling with good old friend, we were ex-high school mates and we have been talking about traveling around the world for ages. I really enjoyed traveling with good friends because they know me so well that whatever I do, they will understand and I like how straight forward close friend can be. Traveling with high school friends can really be fun, especially when we all know each another so well that we sort of can mind read or predict what they wanna do next when you're hanging out with them. Too bad the other close friends to us could join us this round. 

How was Ho Chi Minh at first impression?
Bikes! Bikes everywhere! Hundreds over bikes are sighted cramped together in a big triple lanes. You can't believe how many bikes population over there, it's over 5 million from what I have been told by the tour guide and it's still increasing! Most of the time I could see one complete family on the bike with 4 passengers on it. Mum, Dad and 2 kids. It's just crazy to see how unsafe it is to be on the bike but surprisingly I heard there are rarely any accidents occur.

Ho Chi Minh

Accommodation - Ruby River Hotel

Ruby River Hotel is well located near Saigon Square 1 which is one of the ultimate place for you to do your shopping when you're in Vietnam. The famous Ben Thanh Market is located just 5 minutes away and Vietnam famous coffee shop Trung Nguyen.It's important to try Trung Nguyen's coffee when you're in Vietnam because its like a Starbucks in Vietnam. 

Review of Ruby River Hotel - It's definitely one of the best hotels that I stayed in before. Their hospitality is at top notch. The best thing about the room is they have a bath tub in it! They served free fruits during dinner and send it to your room. Their daily breakfast buffet is wonderful. 

Faith Crossing aka Jaywalking with Faith
One thing about Ho Chi Minh City is how many how many times you try to cross over the busy city street, you will never get knock over or scolded because they will somehow someway steer around me like a group of fishes. It's pretty neat! because if I jaywalk in Singapore I probably get a fine, and if I jaywalk in Ho Chi Minh, I will be fine, but! If i jaywalk in Malaysia, I won't get a fine nor I will be fine because I will get ramp over or road rage driver would curse me. Yea so, that's how safe is Vietnam traffic.


Ho Chi Minh City Independence Day 
We were so happen to be there during Ho Chi Minh City independence day which fall on the 2nd September every year. We had the chance to watch beautiful fireworks at Saigon River and experience the massive tuna sardine motorbike jam on the street. It was amazing to see how coordinate they were on road.

Cuchi tunnel
The famous cuchi tunnel is one of the places you must go when you're in Ho Chi Minh city. It was one of the most complicated man made underground tunnel that has ever been made during Vietnam war with America. I went down the tunnel and try one of the safe trap doors and they are so tight and tiny! During the tour, we were given the opportunity to try going through 100 meters tunnel route with 5 exits every 20 meters. . The tunnel was so small, dark, hot and humid. I had to squat and walk like a duck with weak light fixed at the sight of the wall. There were some part where the tunnel become bottleneck like and I had to crawl like a baby. Unfortunately I gave up and went up at the first 20 meter exit.

I'm impressed how Vietnamese survive and live in the tunnel during the Vietnam war. The tunnel is 121km-long and currently only a small section of the tunnel is open to the tourist.

A few interesting facts about Cuchi tunnel and Vietnam war.

  1. Vietnamese fighters made their sandal from the tyres rubber, the shape of the sandal platform is reverse because they want to trick the enemy of their direction. Meaning to say, when they walk forward, the foot steps that they left behind is the other way around. Smart right?
  2. The mud that were dug up during the process of building the tunnels were channel out to the open field far from the actual exit and was being construct as termite nest.
  3. The underground kitchen's chimney were channel far from the actual kitchen, so that the enemy couldn't discover the real kitchen when they discover the smoke chimney. Next thing is, the Vietnamese only cook during or before morning dawn, so that the smoke produce will blend into the dawn mist and go undetected.
  4. Back to the termite nest, it seems that I was told some of the man made termite nest actually supplied oxygen air to all the level of the underground. Brilliant. 
  5. To keep the water supply constantly available, they constructed the tunnel connected to mekong delta to provide them fresh water during the war. 
  6. In order to confuse the army dog to trace their scent down the right tunnel entrance, Vietnamese army search for their enemy shower supply or the fallen solider uniform and place it at the entrance to confuse the dog scent. 

I guess that's all that I can remember during my tour at Cuchi Tunnel. Here are some of the pictures and instavideos I made. The second instavideo was taken at shooting range and so happen I had my safety ear plug along from my internship and I went down to take some hilarious video. The sound of the ak-47 firing is extremely loud and each fire made my ear to have tinnitus. Even when I'm with safety ear plug, the sound is still extremely loud. I wonder how does the army withstand this kind of loud noise exposure during war. 

Ho Chi Minh

Mekong Delta

Ho Chi Minh

We had a full local tour to Mekong delta and we book our tour from the hotel. It's always better to get a local tour because it's much more cheaper. Honestly speaking there is nothing much in Mekong Delta because it's really similar to Sabah wetland. But since we were there, we decided to check it out to fill up our time up. We get to try super duper nice coconut candy and drink sweet honey drinks at the end of the trip. They also provide us free fruits and lunch which is pretty nice because they really take the effort to treat us well during the trip. 

Ho Chi Minh


Disclaimer: I did not drink snake wine. I made it because I think it would be cool to prank everybody. 


So there you go! I visited joined two tours to Cuchi tunnel and Mekong Delta during my entire trip. It was really relaxing because we didn't rush here and there like how you would expect from a tour.

Here are some of the Vietnamese food I tried. 

 Normally whenever I travel to anywhere I will do my research on food to eat. However for this trip,I didn't do any research on food before I went to Vietnam because I was too busy and decided to let myself off the hook this time. But I had something in mind and I roughly know some of the famous Vietnamese food must try over there.

Ho Chi Minh

Coi Cuon - Soft vermicelli summer roll. This thing is full with mint stem and leaf and personally I couldn't take the taste of the mint. It's really not easy for me to get it all int but still it's something special and you should at least try one. Plus! It's healthy!

Ho Chi Minh

Banh Mi -  It's a sandwich stuff with cucumbers, tomato, and fried chicken. It's filled with celery and I had to take it out one by one before enjoy it. Ya i know, I'm picky.

Ho Chi Minh

Pho - Soup noodle served with slice beef. This is good! must try!

Ho Chi Minh

Stirred fried pork and herba black chicken. How i ended up having this is a mystery. All I can remember was I was hungry and I randomly walk around my hotel and found this restaurant which the owner is cable to speak Cantonese. 

Ho Chi Minh

Fried mee street food. 

Ho Chi Minh

This food resemble lobak kou but it taste way better than the one we have in Malaysia.



Pandan coconut


Noodle soup with prawn


Trung Nyugen coffee is like the Vietnamese version of starbucks. I could see chain of stores opening around the city and they serve great coffee. We spend our first night chilling and catching up with each another over there and it doesn't felt like we're traveling at all because we are so laid back about everything. 

One of the thing I enjoy traveling aboard is meeting new friends along the way and spending time with them over a meal or two. The last time when I was Bangkok I made two friends from Canada and China and we decided to spend the day together touring around Golden Palace and riding around with tok-tok. It was really great to spend time with them. This time round, we get to meet two new friends from New Zealand. We spend our time over hot steamboat dinner and coffee at one of the tallest tower in Ho Chi Minh City. 

It was great knowing you guys and awesome sharing our culture and experience. I hope I could see them in future!

Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh
So I guess that's it about my Vietnam trip. I didn't really plan extremely well like what I did during my Bangkok trip but I had fun doing random things. I spend a total of RM950 plus including airfare, hotel, food, and shopping for 5 days 4 night. On top of the our tour is sponsored as a courtesy by Indochina Legend Travel (Chu Chi Tunnel Half day tour and Mekong Delta full day tour), the hotel accommodation was on promotion by Groupon and we bought our flight ticket during Air Asia zero fare which makes everything dirt cheap.
It's really great to travel with Denise and I hope next year Vigita, Elaine, Flor and the others will be able to travel together to somewhere far. Currently, I'm caught up with university final year projects. It felt great to come back to KK again but I'm looking forward to return to KL. 

Stay awesome!
Hayden Chan


  1. Yeah, one does not simply miss having Vietnam Coffee while visiting there, the food looks great too! Great post Hayden, gonna visit here soon. :)

  2. Your trip makes me even more determined to visit Vietnam! =D I also love how you explained the traffic in Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia - Major LULZ! ;p

    PS: I just long-overdue-ly followed your blog.. Haha!!

  3. All i came to know about this tour is you have mentioned amazing places to travel in Vietnam, every photo you have posted very well define the places you have visited. Useful details given on Vietnam holiday. Good job keep it up. I would love to travel Vietnam as my excitement level is now many step up.

  4. Ho Chi Minh City Tours will give you a delicious and tasteful tour.
    Ho Chi Minh City Tours