Mediocre at Best: My morning in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Friday, June 5, 2015


When I arrived in Ho Chi Minh the day before (Thursday), I was a little overwhelmed to be back in a big city, but my amazing hostel, Town House 50, and my amazing dinner made me think that my short stay in Ho Chi Minh might not be so bad.

Wanting to squeeze in as much as I could before I caught the bus at 11:30 am, I left the hostel at 7 am. My first stop was the local market. Talk about overwhelming. I am a market fanatic, but this market had me on edge. Hard to explain the feeling, but not only was I overwhelmed by the excess of items, but I also felt like my every move was being watched.



Feeling “icky”, I spent only a mere 15 minutes in the market (hence the small amount of photos), and headed to my next stop, breakfast. As you know from my previous post, I have been trying to eat as many traditional dishes as possible, and for breakfast I was going to try Bun Bo Hue, a soup with vermicelli and beef. Obviously, I probably should have tried this when I was in Hue, but oh well.



I loaded up on veggies (bean sprouts, banana blossom, and herbs) and added some spice. Reminded me a lot of pho, but different noodles. Flavors were “ok”. Wouldn’t need to go back…

Next stop was the Independence Palace. I didn’t have time for a tour but I did grab a quick shot. I also pulled up a photo of what it looked like on April 30th 1975 also known as  “Fall of  Saigon”. On that day a North Vietnamese tank bulldozed the main gate, marking the end of the Vietnam War.


Ho Chi Minh


Ho Chi Minh


The picture below reminded me of the movie “Up” 🙂


Ho Chi Minh


On my way to food stop number two I FOUND THE BEST THING EVER! A man selling SUPER CHEAP coffee off of his bike! SO GOOOODDDD.



The next item I wanted to try was Banh Tam Bi, a dish of thick rice and tapioca noodles, tossed with herbs, veggies, and pork, and drenched in a thick coconut cream dressing.


Ho Chi Minh


I did not like this dish. Surprising, right?!? I love me some sweet BBQ any day of the week, but sweet coconut with veggies and pork? Not my thing.

On my way back to the hostel I walked through a park 😉



Overall, Ho Chi Minh was a “miss” for me. Perhaps if I had had more time to truly explore I would have found the diamond in the ruff.


Ok, so clearly I wasn’t feeling Ho Chi Minh, but good thing I was catching a bus to Phnom Penh, Cambodia!


The trip was awful.

THE BUS WAS SO PACKED. Also…Why do men feel the need to spread their legs as wide as possible? Squished between the window and a guy who felt the need to spread out, I was 100% not comfortable. The bus was “air-conditioned”, but it was barely working, and with the large quantity of people on the bus, it was definitely warm.

The border…

When leaving Vietnam, the bus attendant collects all our passports and pushes his way to the front of the immigration line. The immigration officer then checks and stamps everyone’s passport, handing them one by one back to our bus attendant who then calls our name. This took about 30 minutes.

When leave the Vietnam office, get back on the bus, drive maybe 500 meters, and get off the bus again to get our Cambodian Visas. The bus attendant again collects all our passports (and visa fee), and processes our visas for us. Once he returns our passport with our new visa to us, we can enter Cambodia, which requires a photo and fingerprints (all 10 digits).

Phnom Penh…

We arrived in Phnom Penh and I was expecting to see a driver from my hostel. Not seeing anyone, I called the hostel.

“Yes, yes, we will send someone”

Waited 20 minutes. Called again.

“Yes, yes, we will send someone”

Waited 20 minutes, gave up, and got my own transportation.

FUMING,  I got to my hostel and demanded that they pay me back for the tuk tuk ride I had to pay for BECAUSE THEY NEVER PICKED ME UP.

Not sure if you have ever seen me angry….

but not many people say no to me when I am angry…

And sure enough, they refunded me for my tuk tuk ride 🙂


After checking in, I was hot, grumpy, tired, deflated, etc. I took a quick shower and went straight to bed. Um, yeah. That is how bad my day was. I skipped a meal.


Hopefully, tomorrow is a better day!



Love always, Arianna the Wandering Pipette


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