Guest Blogger: Maggie Wu's Travel Tips to Ho Chi Minh City
When my husband and I moved to Singapore due to his job assignment a few months ago, we wanted to take full advantage of the fact that Singapore was so close to so many destinations that would normally be 20+ hours away for us to visit if we had to visit them from New York. The first place we visited Ho Chi Minh City, the capital of Vietnam formerly known as Saigon. A mere 2-hour flight from Singapore, it was the perfect weekend getaway to immerse ourselves in a different culture and eat lots of fresh amazing food.
Fusion Suits Saigon
Within the hustle bustle of the city center, this modern oasis was the perfect place for us to stay with easy walking distance to major locations. The modern design and the wood furniture gave us a sense of calm and serenity every time we came back from the busy streets. The upstairs restaurant offered fresh and delicious choices of food for breakfast every day, while the roof top terrace was the place to be for cocktails for a beautiful night view of the city.
I simply just love the food in Vietnam! Fresh, light, and full of herbs and vegetables, just the way I like it. The coffee there is amazing too. There are lots of cafes that you can just walk in a grab a cup of iced Vietnamese coffee, which will instantly wake you up from that Southeast Asia heat!
Guc Gach Quan
Walk past the lush green water filled courtyard, you will find this old villa turned restaurant offering home cooked Vietnamese dishes that you don’t normally see at Vietnamese restaurants in America. With an extensively long menu, you can ask the waiters to give you recommendations on their best dishes. Everything we ate there was yum yum yum.
Of course you have to eat Pho when you are in Vietnam. We ate at Pho Le, which has a few locations in the city I believe. They will bring you a big bowl of fresh bean sprouts (my fav) for every order!
Huynh Hoa Banh Mi
Another must eat in Vietnam is Banh Mi, Vietnamese sandwiches made with French banquettes. This is a tiny shop on the street. When we got there, there were lots of locals lining up with us, that’s when you know it is good! We got one to share and just munched on it on the side of the street.
A beautiful cafe and lifestyle space in the heart of District 1 on Dong Khoi Street. It is a coffee shop/restaurant/bar/select shop of local and emerging designers. Housed in a 1890s building that was once the Hotel de Saigon, you have to walk through a building courtyard and walk up a flight of stairs in order to find it.
I love vintage shopping, and one thing I miss the most about New York is the abundance of vintage stores, flea markets, and vintage trade shows in the city. When I googled and found this store while I was in Ho Chih Ming, I knew I had to check it out. It is very well curated and most items feel very new, probably appealing to Asian customers who usually doesn’t like clothing to feel too “second hand”. I bought some white blouses that I absolutely love.
There are a few street vendors selling basket bags on the side of the street. I got one for $6 USD!
War Tunnel Tour
My husband insisted on going on the war tunnel tour an hour outside of the city. It was actually quite fascinating to learn about the “American War” (what they call the Vietnam War in Vietnam, for obvious reasons) from a different perspective.
Notre Dame & Saigon Central Post Office
Right across from each other, you really get to see the French colonial influence at this central square in the city. Right next to the Notre Dame, there is a beautifully decorated café called RuNam D-Or which really exemplifies the Indochine style design that I fell in love with…
Thank you, Lark & Ives, for having me as a guest blogger! I hope you've enjoyed the travel tips xox Maggie