Flight Centre's Kate Cent travels to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and experiences the wonderful sidewalk pubs and the delectable cuisine. Kate is also astounded by the masses of scooters and their riders. Kate, tell us about your experiences in Ho Chi Minh City.
Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam's largest City, I was immediately impressed and knew that we would need much more time there than the two days I had booked. We took a taxi from the airport to the Hotel for AUD$6 plus the taxi drivers parking fee of AUD$6. We paid the fares of course in Vietnamese Dong. We agreed that even though we weren't told about the parking fee prior to getting into the taxi, it was still a very cheap taxi ride, so we happily paid our drivers parking fee. Our Hotel was located only two blocks from the Ban Then Markets – this was a fantastic location.
Travelling through the streets of downtown Ho Chi Minh City we were without a doubt impressed by, but somewhat concerned for the Vietnamese folk on the scooters. They would ride their scooters with up to six people on board! It's not unusual to see an entire family including children, grandparents and infants on a scooter. They weave through the traffic with no helmets and going a million miles an hour.
It's surprising the whole family isn't on the scooter as well![/caption]
After we checked into our hotel we went in search of food and beer. We stumbled across some interesting makeshift sidewalk pubs. One of which we decided to pull up a plastic chair at in our eagerness to eat and drink. The best vantage points to witness the overloaded scooters whizzing by are at one of the many makeshift sidewalk pubs. The sidewalk pubs consist of an abandoned shop front, one fridge and kid sized plastic tables and chairs. They served us cold beer for about 80 cents each. Some of the sidewalk pubs offer food, mostly it is the traditional Vietnamese dish of Pho which is beef noodle soup. You should expect to pay about 50 cents for a bowl. It was delicious!
Street corners throughout Vietnam house these remarkable sidewalk pubs where locals and tourist flock to take advantage of the cheap beer and interesting views. In the evenings when the sun is setting over Ho Chi Minh City, the businessmen stop on their way home from work for an ice cold beer and a catch up on the day's events.
Ho Chi Minh City is without a doubt one of the most charming destinations I have ever travelled to. The food markets that surround the Ben Then Markets by night are loaded full of delicious local cuisine. We ate at an awesome food stall right in the middle of the action. It was a sit down table service place that offered a BBQ to our table so we could make our own fresh Vietnamese spring rolls! When ordering it's worth keeping in mind that meal sizes throughout Vietnam are very small. My 6 foot 4, AFL playing partner had to order at least two main dishes and an entrée everywhere we ate!
Looking for more information about Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam? Contact [email]text=Kate Cent[/email], an International Travel Consultant with Flight Centre based in Northern Beaches, Queensland who can be reached at 1300 124 680 or by [email]text=email[/email].