The city's most prominent landmarks, is now somewhat incongruously the home of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee.
Sale..sale...sale...every where SALE
It was stress alright that impelled both Muni and I into making that pronto decision to go for a quick holiday in Ho Chi Minh City. Muni was in a meeting at her office in Melawati and I was in a boring discussion in my office in Subang. A few sms exchanges went across town - between Subang and Melawati, and the next thing we knew we had booked ourselves tickets to Uncle Ho’s Land.
That was in June I think when it happened. Our busy schedules kept us occupied. There were times when we were so unsure if we could actually release ourselves from work commitments. We braved the storm alright and when the day finally came, there was no looking back, no remorse feeling what so ever, and HCMC here we come!!!
Our plane landed safely at Tan Son Nhat International Airport about 8.00am local time. I dozed off for a short while during the flight, not enough considering I hadn't slept over the last 24 hours. Never mind, I knew I’d be ok. Got all the adrenaline pumping into my system as my retail therapy will start in just a bit.
Entrance of our hotel
We took a cab from the airport to our hotel in down town HCMC. Our hotel, Hai Nam Hotel was a modest shop lot sandwiched between a jewelry and shoe shop. A few steps to the left led us to the Ben Thanh Market place and to our right, a few blocks away was the city centre. One thing good about these small hotels is that one could negotiate the check in and check out times. We got our rooms the very instant we checked in at 9.00am. Wow..talk about good service huh??
Roses in HCMC...beautiful!!
After having a quick breakfast in our room, both Muni and I were all recharged to venture the streets of HCMC. Maka keluar lah the maps and the notes on shopping places that we have compiled before coming. Muni had earlier gotten tips from a colleague who had just returned from HCMC. Wahhh…macam orang mengantuk disorong bantal. All the information feed that we could get was most welcome.
Ben Thanh Market entrance
First destination for the day was the Ben Thanh Market place. We went round “surveying” what was good and interesting. Ohhh…banyak lah benda yang we knew we’d do damage on. From cotton, chiffon and silk fabric to beaded handmade bags to cotton bed sheets to the strong smelling Vietnamese coffee to many, many other stuffs, we just had to control our splurging urge.
We spent a good two hours just looking around and collecting business cards as we hopped from one shop to the other. There was also one occasion when we met a group of ladies which was together on the same flight this morning. From the big bags they were lugging we could see that they had made good progress with their shopping. Later we learnt that the three ladies were on a day trip, buying all they could get hold off before their return flight in the evening. Whoooaaaa....ini sudah bagus!!! Macam gi Penang balik hari je. And what they were doing gave both Muni and I lots of crazy ideas afterwards..heh..heh (read : ade cita-cita nak buat the same stunt….)
Lunch crowd at Ben Thanh Market
The walking around made us hungry so we headed back to the hotel for lunch and solat. Lunch was instant noodles and serunding, the bekal we brought from home. The plan was to eat light and then go have dinner later in the evening.
Motorbikes every where in HCMC
Our next destination was Binh Tay market. I learnt from my research on the Internet that this market was a fabric heaven. Ahhh…a must go for fabric hunters like us!!! We took a cab to Binh Tay, and what happened when we got there was pretty much expected. There were lots of “oooooossss” and “aaaahhhhsss” as we scouted the place. Within minutes, we did our “damages” and happily carted away bags of good bargains. Happy nyer…happy nyer….