Monday, June 28, 2010

Ho Chi Minh - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

I'm still posting about my first day in Ho Chi Minh...

Ho Chi Minh is located near the Mekong River and is the largest and most exciting city in Vietnam. Its population is currently exceeding 7 million people, with over 3 million motorcycles plying the major streets, no wonder it is one of the densest cities in the world. Here, it is typical to find houses where several families live together and true enough, as Jem and I were passing by those narrow streets near where we stayed, we saw many family members sharing one small living space. But they looked quite happy and comfortable and they seemed to keep their stuff organized and clean.

Today, locals still call Ho Chi Minh Saigon. Saigon used to be the capital of the French colony. Later, it became the capital of the former state of South Vietnam until the end of the war in 1975. Because of its rich cultural history and style, you can still see some elegant boulevards and historic colonial buildings around town.

The city is divided into many districts where District 1 is the most famous tourist hub. If you want to tour Ho Chi Minh, better tour it on foot like we did. It's considered to be the best way according to tourists and locals alike.

Anyway, after we rested for a few minutes in our hostel, we headed out and looked for a place to eat.

We went inside the first decent looking restaurant we saw and asked for a menu. We were famished! I laughed when I saw one of their dishes named Peter breakfast. Haha!

Jem had coconut while I ordered coffee shake. I still haven't slept for more than 24 hours by then I needed all the caffeine and sugar I can get.

Yum yum!

I had some of Jem's coconut meat too.

We ordered more food...

After our late lunch, we went looking for Ben Thanh Market coz we wanted to do some shopping. It is one of the most major tourist destinations in Ho Chi Minh located in District 1.

Walking around Ho Chi Minh, we kept seeing these low tables and chairs set up at the side of the streets where locals eat and drink.

We passed by this park where there were stalls set up selling all kinds of stuff. It looks like the tiangge I frequent before in Quezon Circle when I was still living in Quezon City.

We kept walking, looking for the bus station.

Finally, the city center! This is the place that felt like Monumento, Manila for me.

Then we figured, we can just keep walking until we can reach the city market. After several more minutes, it was shopping time!

I bought one of these wooden figurines.^_^

Jem had one of these lamps. So beautiful.

Jem is a very spiritual person and practices Buddhism. It is from her that I learned to meditate and be a little bit more spiritual myself. Being a follower of Buddha, she bought one of these Buddha statues for her new house in Utah.


I wanted to buy one of these toys but I stopped myself. Teehee.

I wanted this set of chopsticks too. The thing is, I don't even want to use chopsticks. They're just pretty to look at. Teehee.

I bought a bookmark instead.

After shopping, that was the time we went looking for the bus station. We needed to go back to the airport to have some money changed since it was so difficult to find money changers that can change Peso to VND. Plus, crossing all those streets, we almost got hit by the multitude of motorcycles speeding by.

We felt like one of the locals as we waited for our bus. Their buses are numbered which signifies the destinations.

While riding the bus, we were surprised to pass by a branch of Jollibee. Then it felt like we were back in the Philippines!

We also passed by this interesting structure...

Again, more low tables and chairs.

As the night was falling, Jem got hungry so we dropped by this restaurant for some tofu and tea.

This lamp inside the restaurant had me enthralled. Doesn't it look exotic?

Afterwards, we were back near our street. Before finally heading to our hostel, we passed by a travel agency and booked for our Mekong Delta and Cao Dai tours which we did the next two days of our stay here in Ho Chi Minh City. I will share them with you on my next Vietnam post. ^_^

For more photos, please click: Ho Chi Minh Trip Day 1

To be continued...

Read here the rest of our Saigon / Vietnam / Ho Chi Minh adventures.

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