Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City

So this has been one of the coolest past two weeks ever. Let's start with Ho Chi Minh City.

Arriving and Staying in HCMC

Okay, here's the deal on taxis from the HCMC Airport. We didn't know the city going into it (most don't) and we didn't want to worry about getting taken to the wrong place or taking the long way to jack up the fares. So there's a great booth in the airport as you're leaving for Song Viet, and you can get a 220k prepaid taxi (like $11 USD) and not have to worry about it. It's a lifesaver.

Our place was amazing. We used AirBNB this whole trip and it's been amazing. I think this place was $40 USD a night? Totally worth it.

Motorcycle Tour to Cu Chi Tunnels

So we got to our place and a guy that worked there said he knew of a really good motorcycle tour up to the tunnels put on by some university students. He said it wasn't for everyone because it was over 9 hours long and covered over 150 k. Basically we had to do it.

Here are some fields where they're drying out a rice mixture to make noodles. They don't stray from the old-fashioned way here, not if it still is the best way.

I just really like taking pictures of Mom talking to tour guides. :)

So this video is  going to look weird, and I thought that was only when I posted snapchat videos! I guess it's just when I don't specially have a video attached (so much work). 

We were stopped in this rubbertree forest for about 3 minutes and in that span of time I got 90% of the bug bites I had for the rest of the trip. Yeesh.

Here's the building before the tunnels! Luckily our tour guides also doubled as tunnel guides because we had no idea where we were going. Also, WC means bathroom. Fun fact!

Here's the most chill entrance. And by that I mean...

...that this is the craziest one. Heaven help us. 

He just dropped himself right in. Kinda ridiculous.

Mom was the crazier braver one and decided to go through that tiny tunnel too. 

Here's a fun after-tunnel snack that most of the people living here at the time ate: tapioca dipped in heavily salted peanuts. Another fun fact: raw tapioca + alcohol = death.

Mom's favorite food: longans! (she ate these non-stop in Hoi An)

Yes, on the smaller stretch of tunnels a bat got CAUGHT IN MY HAIR. For like 4 seconds, but still. Terrifying stuff. The guide kept saying, "Oh they're fruit bats, they won't suck your blood! Nothing to worry about." Excuse me sir, that did nothing to help me.

This was the largest and longest section of tunnel that we went through. Yes, it got a bit smaller than this, but this was the part with the light.

General City Sight Tour

We got another tour with our University tour guide and this time his girlfriend (we assume).

Here's the view from one of the front balconies at the Reunification Palace. We thought this was a wedding photoshoot, but it turned out to be a tour guide service photoshoot.

And then here's the front of the Reunification Palace. :)

Do not go to the War Remnants Museum. We lasted about 30 seconds inside and it is awful and horrific and I don't understand the people that like going there. That's all I want to say.

The food in Vietnam was overall amazing. That's a common theme.

Also VERY cheap (when going to the right place). This food is so delicious and so cheap it was reason enough for me to stay forever.

So the exchange rate is a little weird, but you get used to it. They love to take USD but DO NOT bring USD. They up the price so much, it's a better deal to pay with dong.

Here's the post office! We totally meant to send stuff from here, but we ended up just not having time.
And then we were off to Hoi An (which is another blog post) and we came back to HCMC for 3 days.

Car ride from Hoi An to the Da Nang Airport :)

We came back to what felt like a completely new city! On the other side of the cathedral from our last place, this was in the nicer part of town, and was so much cleaner to just walk around in. It's harder in HCMC where you have to walk everywhere for safety. 

So it turns out we just can't handle fried foods like we used to. Bleh. Everything was so fresh and crisp here and used minimal amounts of oil, except for the Americanized fried spring rolls.

So at this new place (which was around the same price as the first) there was an internet TV that had thousands of free movies, including ones we had always wanted to see. It was hard not to stay in all day, I'm a sucker for a movie marathon!

And then we were back to beautiful Singapore after what felt like a day, or maybe 2 years. ;)

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