A day in the (HCM)City

Day 3. Wed 5/12

Ho Chi Minh City

Ben Thanh Market, Le Loi, Saigon Skydeck, Saigon River, L’Usine, HCMC Opera House, Propaganda, Independence Palace, Uncle Thai, Nha Hang Ngon

Good morning, Vietnam! Kicked off our first true day of the trip with fried eggs and banh mi at the hostel and then took off for the Ben Thanh market. Today our goal was to get around and check out many smaller areas because we fly to Thailand in the morning and will be back for some more time in HCMC and day trips in Vietnam in mid-June.

The market was a little overwhelming and we weren’t totally sure what we were shopping for so we stopped at Koi Cha off Le Loi Street. I ordered pure peach tea with fresh peach, normal sugar (50%) and aloe vera and enjoyed it upstairs by their small pond with Koi fish. How cute!


For the next few hours we wandered.
We made it to the Saigon skydeck but decided to go another time for a view of the city with a gorgeous sunset.We followed a path along the Saigon river and stopped at picture-worthy views of different landscapes.We stumbled upon L’Usine, a store (a coffee shop and clothing store) once owned by Uncle Thai and Aunt Tib.Then we walked to Independence Palace, stopping at the Opera House (where Mike tried ripping off a young girl by getting 3 packs of Mentos for 8 cents) and then stopping at Propaganda for lunch.

Propaganda, also called Au Parc Saigon on their WiFi channel, was fabulous. We ordered as a group so everyone got to try some new foods! We ordered:
– Mike tried Vietnamese iced coffee, called ca phe sua da for the first time
– Fresh rolls with omelette, advocado, brown rice & soy sauce
– Fresh rolls with tempura prawn, rice noodles, advacado & coriander fish sauce
– BBQ pork with rice noodles, fried spring rolls, fried shallots & peanuts
– Sautéed prawns with Vietnamese basil served with rice noodles, fried shallots & peanuts
– Crunchy trio coloured rice with seafood & vegetables
– Pho noodles with chicken breast
– Sticky coconut rice with fresh mango & coconut cream

All of that food and our bill came out under 800.000 dong, which is less than $36 USD. Split 5 ways. 😎



We checked out Independence Palace and had our first shoe issues. Josh tried to put a bandaid on his foot and it wouldnt even stick because of how sweaty his foot was. The temp all day was about 101°F and we couldn’t drink enough water. Unfortunately, this is one of the cooler cities we’ll visit – Bangkok will feel like 120°F tomorrow.

Later this afternoon we went to visit Uncle Thai at his place. It was so nice to see him, Tib, Trang and little Addison 😊 They gave us some great advice (and a Saigon beer 🍻) for the rest of our Vietnamese excursion later and for the trip in general. My heart is happy because of the time I got with them ❤ I wish they would be in town once we come back to HCMC later in the trip!

Dinner afterward at Nha Hang Ngon was when the jetlag truly kicked in for everyone – we were all groggy and loopy throughout the entire meal. We scarfed down some food (I ate some of the smallest shrimp I’ve ever seen!) and took a taxi home because my fitbit said we had already walked seven miles. We ended the day with almost 15,000 steps, a much needed shower, and ear plugs. I swear I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

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