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HO CHI MINH 3-DAY ITINERARY + TRAVEL GUIDE!


In my previous blog post, I wrote about Park Hyatt Hotel - the hotel that I stayed while I was in Ho Chi Minh City. So in this post, it's time for me to share with you my 3-day itinerary (we stayed in Ho Chi Minh for 4D3N, however as we didn't really visit any places on the 4th day, I decided to name this itinerary a 3-day itinerary).

Here are some basic information that you should know before travelling to Ho Chi Minh city:

How frequent does AirAsia fly to HCM?
AirAsia flies from KL to HCM 35 times weekly! Book your direct flight to HCM on www.airasia.com

Is it easy and how to get around in HCM?
Basically, GRAB is widely accessible in HCM. So I would say, it's pretty convenient and easy to get around in HCM. You can also book your private airport transfer from KLOOK from as low as RM29 only. Besides, if you are planning to visit places that are further from the city area, I would strongly recommend you to book a private car charter from KLOOK as well!!

How to get connected in HCM?
You can pre-book the 4G SIM card with data from KLOOK, or you can also purchase the sim card in the airport.

Is there any time-zone difference?
Yes, HCM's timezone is 1-hour behind from KL's timezone.

OVERVIEW OF MY ITINERARY

DAY 1
- Check-in hotel
- City Hall (People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City)
- Saigon Central Post Office
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- Cafe Apartment
- Dinner @ Di Mai 

DAY 2
- Ho Chi Minh Museum of Fine Arts 
- Brunch @ Haan Saigon
- Cafe Lekima
- Ben Tanh Market
- Cafe Terrace, Takashimaya
- Dinner @ Sorae 

DAY 3 
- Buu Long Pagoda
- Binh Quoi Tourist Village
- Tan Dinh Church (Pink church)
- Okkio Cafe
- Check-in Chloe Gallery

DAY 4
- Breakfast and pool time in Chloe Gallery
- Depart to airport 

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City Hall (People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City)
Only a 5-min walk from Park Hyatt Saigon, the City Hall is the first landmark that we visited in HCM. It's a really beautiful French-colonial architecture and we thought this will be a great place to take some photos though this building is not open to the public.
Saigon Central Post Office
This post office is probably the most beautiful one that I've seen! Constructed between 1886 and 1891, this is still a functioning post office that opens from 7am-5pm daily.

Not only can you send letters or postcards here, there are also some souvenir stalls for you to shop and bring some souvenirs home.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Just right across the post office is the Notre Dame Cathedral. Unfortunately, it was still under construction and drizzling during our visit, we did not manage to get any nice shots here.

After that, we visited the famous Cafe Apartment. It's literally an apartment block with about 30 different cafes / stores. Honestly, I didn't think it was worth the hype..mainly because I think the cafes all look rather boring and average. Oh, and you do need to pay a lil for the "elevator fees" to get to the floor you want.

This was taken in one of a random cafes in Cafe Apartment.

On day 2, we visited the Ho Chi Minh Museum of Fine Arts in the morning. The entrance fees is 30,000 VND (which is about RM5.30 only). This museum is a restored home with 16 showrooms displaying paintings and sculptures.

The building is painted in pastel yellow and white, and the architecture is fascinating. The only problem is that it's quite stuffy in there as there's no air-conditioner nor fan. 

Later on, we met up with my Vietnamese friend, Chloe for brunch at this newly-opened cafe called Haan Saigon. A pretty good cafe to sit down, chill and talk.
Also, we dropped by Lekima for a short tea-break. I tried their iced-tea and it was hella refreshing! (Go watch my vlog for more hehe)
Ben Tanh Market
After that, we went back to our hotel for a quick change before heading to the Ben Tanh Market! Being one of the oldest landmarks in Saigon, this market is really lively and offers a great atmosphere that is authentically Vietnamese.
In this market, you can find a huge variety of merchandises ranging from local handcrafts to local snacks, decorative items, jewellery, and even food stalls! 



Tip: Be sure to haggle for a better price or do your survey in a few diff stores first because most often the sellers mark up their prices really high to tourists! Also, the stalls facing the main street always have higher price haha! 

Cafe Terrace 
Because the sky was already dark after visiting the market, we decided to visit Cafe Terrace, which is a cafe in Takashimaya mall. Pretty nice interior but it's quite dark.
Sorae (Japanese restaurant)
Chloe brought us to Sorae, which is her dad's Japanese restaurant for dinner! The food was amazing, and the restaurant also offers a beautiful night view of the city.

Buu Long Pagoda
On the third day, we planned to visit some places that are slightly further from the city area, so we booked a private driver from KLOOK and it was honestly the best decision! The driver picked us up from our hotel in the morning, and drove us to our first destination - Buu Long Pagoda, which is a Buddhist temple situated 40 mins away from the city.


I was mesmerised by the beauty and how majestic this temple looks! It's still not very known among the public yet (Chloe, my Vietnamese friend, doesn't even know its existence hahaha), so there's actually not much crowd.

Binh Quoi Tourist Village
Then, we dropped by the Binh Quoi Tourist Village for a quick photo opportunity. It's laidback rural-looking village which you can enjoy paddling, fishing, etc. Because it was drizzling that time, we didn't get to explore the village much, so we just took a picture on the pond.

Tan Dinh Church (Pink Church)
Of course, a trip to Ho Chi Minh will never be complete without a visit to the famous Tan Dinh Church! But it was quite challenging to take a picture here, especially when the street is super busy haha! Oh, and it was not open during our visit so we didn't get to take pictures inside.
After 129180 shots, we finally got some nice ones haha!
Okkio Cafe is our next stop - it's a vintage-looking cafe that serves really good coffee. Oh ya, this cafe is actually nearby Ben Tanh Market!
I was dying to try the Vietnamese EGG COFFEE and it was surprisingly good!! (Go watch my vlog for my review haha!)

Chloe Gallery
After visiting Okkio Cafe, we headed to check-in at Chloe's boutique hotel and spent the rest of the evening chilling there. This boutique hotel is not in the city centre, but it's indeed a very nice place to unwind and relax!


Had breakfast and took some pictures around Chloe's Gallery before we headed to the airport and officially bid Ho Chi Minh goodbye!

So that's all about my trip in Saigon, hope you guys find this blog post helpful!!!

Don't forget to check out my Ho Chi Minh vlog:











WHERE TO STAY IN HO CHI MINH: PARK HYATT SAIGON

Hey guys!! What's up?

 If you guys are following my Instagram, you would probably know that I just travelled to Ho Chi Minh City (a.k.a Saigon) last weekend with my girl, Joanne. Trust me, I've been wanting to visit Vietnam since forever and I think Ho Chi Minh City is a great option to begin with - simply because it's a city that offers a unique contrast of the contemporary and ancient architectures. 

We went for a 4D3N trip, and felt like the duration was just nice! We covered most of the places that we want to go, and even went to a few cafes (which I'll be sharing in my next post). So in this post, I'm going to share with y'all my stay during my trip -- PARK HYATT SAIGON.

Set in an imposing French Colonial building, PARK HYATT SAIGON is located in the heart of the city, and very close to the major landmarks, such as the City Opera House, City Hall, Saigon Central Post Office, Noter Dame Cathedral, etc. Though it's located in the city, the hotel itself never fails to emanate a cozy, relaxing vibe for its guests.

Our room feels really luxurious, elegant yet comfortable - it just feels like home





Another thing that I love about this hotel is that its bathroom is separated from the toilet! Oh and there's also a bathtub in the room for you to unwind after a long day! Heaven.
 

Didn't expect to see a Bose speaker on the side table in our room!! We really enjoyed playing some chill music with the speaker while getting ready in the morning.


Also, I love the fact that there are plenty of mirrors in the room so that you and your friend don't have to fight over for the same mirror to do makeup / hair hahaha! Jokes aside, I feel like this hotel really pays attention to all the little details. Every amenity that you never thought you needed, such as the iron, in-room adapters, etc is well-prepared for you in the room.
With crystal chandeliers shining and reflecting light from the high windows, guests can enjoy a high-tea at peace in this beautiful lounge area.





Now, let's talk about the hotel breakfast. As someone who loves hotel breakfasts, I was fascinated with the variety and the quality that they offer. Apart from the usual buffet breakfast style, you can also order anything you want off their menu, which they will cook and serve the meals to you hot and fresh!!




On the first morning, I ordered the Ricotta pancakes.



On the second morning, we had breakfast in Vietnamese style - Pho and Banh Mi. Both were really awesome and we really enjoyed it!


A big thank you to the friendly waitress for helping us to take our shots!! 😻


The swimming pool - which is only open for hotel guests - offers a stunning tropical garden view. Perfect for an evening swim!


Situated in a prime location with sophisticated French-colonial style (which is also very IG-worthy), amazing hospitality, great attention-to-detail, I think Park Hyatt Saigon is honestly one of the best hotels that I've ever stayed. Unfortunately due to time constraint, we didn't get to visit the gym and spa in the hotel - hopefully we will be able to do next time if we come back! ♥

PARK HYATT SAIGON 
Address: 2 Lam Son Square Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam Website: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/vietnam/park-hyatt-saigon/saiph



CHIANG RAI: WHERE TO GO & WHAT TO DO!


Finally ticked off another beautiful destination from my bucket list - CHIANG RAI.

 Chiang Rai may be less known as compared to Chiang Mai, but I must say, Chiang Rai is really a beautiful city. Thanks to AirAsia, we all can now fly to Chiang Rai directly and the flight takes approximately 2 hours 50 mins from Kuala Lumpur. Also, AirAsia currently operates 4 weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Rai.

I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to visit Chiang Rai with AirAsia last week for a short but sweet 4D3N trip. In this blog post, I'm going to share with you my itinerary and some travelling tips in Chiang Rai. Hope you guys will find this guide useful!

ACCOMODATION



Our stay in Chiang Rai this trip was THE RIVERIE BY KATATHANI. I highly recommend this hotel because it's SUPER CLEAN and cozy! Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this hotel is surrounded by lush greenery and the Kok river, that stretches more than 250km. Imagine yourself waking up to a beautiful view and having breakfast by the river - what an amazing way to start the day.


TRANSPORTATION
Grab Car is widely-accessible in Chiang Rai, and the fares are pretty affordable too! Alternatively, you can also hire a private driver from KLOOK to drive you around. I would recommend you to hire a private driver if you are planning to visit attractions further than the town area.

ITINERARY

Here's an overview of my itinerary this trip:

16/03/19 (Saturday)
We did nothing much on this day because it was already nighttime by the time we arrived in our hotel. 

17/03/19 (Sunday)
- Breakfast at hotel
- Visit Chui Fong Tea Plantation 
- Lunch at The Wanderer Cafe
- Visit Singha Park
- Visit Wat Huay Pla Kang
- Dinner at Melt in Your Mouth Cafe

18/03/19 (Monday)
- Wake up at 3am and en route to Phu Chi Fa for sunrise
- Lunch at a local restaurant
- Visit the Tribe village
- Cupple Cups cafe
- Visit the Golden Clock Tower
- Dinner at Manoram cafe
- Visit the night market / go for massage 

19/03/19 (Tuesday)
- Breakfast at hotel & check-out
- Visit White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)
- Visit Blue Temple (Wat Rong Seur Ten)
- Lunch at Chivit Thammada Coffee House


Choui Fong Tea Plantation 
Choui Fong plantation offers panoramic views of lush green that stretch as far as the eye can see. Besides, there are also cafes in the plantation area that serve tastEA smoothie drinks or juices to rejuvenate yourself. 



The Wanderer Cafe
Chiang Rai is full of exotic cafes, and The Wanderer Cafe is definitely a hidden gem! Surrounded by lush greenery, this cafe exudes a cozy yet mystery atmosphere. Not only for its looks, this cafe also serves pretty decent fusion Thai-Western food!





Singha Park
Singha park is a family-friendly attraction with landscaped flower gardens, cycle routes, walking trails and mini zoos! The park also hosts an annual balloon festival in February so it's an unfortunate that we didn't get manage to catch the festival. If you are an adrenaline junkie, you can also go for zip-lining and wall climbing.

Petting a pony!!




Wat Huay Pla Kang
Standing 79m tall, the Big Buddha statue in Wat Huay Pla Kang is really a magnificent sight. 





Melt in Your Mouth Cafe
I absolutely love cafes that are surrounded by nature! It feels as if you are entering a secret garden in a fairytale. This cafe also serves a mixture of asian and western cuisines! 




Phu Chi Fa
Overlooking the Lao border and 2.5hours drive from Chiang Rai, the 1,442m-high Phu Chi Fa mountain is a popular attraction among hikers for its sea of clouds and amazing views. 

Unfortunately, it was too hazy on the day we visited, so we didn't really get to a clear view. So I strongly advise you to check the weather before heading here to avoid any disappointment.

Photo credits to @zippyzipeng.


TRIBE VILLAGE
The union of hill tribe village is home to 5 hill tribe villages, namely, Lahu, Kayaw, Long Neck Karen, Yao and Akha. Originally from Burma, these villages have lived in this area for generations after escaping from the longtime conflict in Burma.

It was quite a rare and eye-opening experience for me as visiting them allowed me to learn more about their culture, tradition, living habits - up close and personal. All of them were really friendly and they also welcomed us with warm hospitality. 

It seems like each household has its own little thatched hut where they sell handicrafts like scarves, accessories and souvenirs to earn a living and support their family.  
 

This kind lass from the Long Neck Karen tribe even helped me to put on the brass ring around my neck. Even though I've barely worn it for 2 mins, I could already feel a soreness around my shoulders! It's honestly so inspiring that they still preserve this exotic tradition from generation to generation until today.
The villagers performing their traditional music and dance to welcome the visitors.
How adorable are they?!

 
Couple Cups Cafe
We dropped by Couple Cups cafe for a quick coffee break before dinner!





Chiang Rai Golden Clock Tower
Designed by the same artist that constructed White Temple, the Golden Clock Tower is located in the central district and also used as a roundabout. There's also a short nightly light show which occurs at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm!


Manoram Cafe
Another picturesque restaurant that offers a beautiful garden view. After a long day, this restaurant is just the perfect spot to relax.




White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)
Designed and constructed by Thailand artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, The White Temple is one of the most recognisable temples and tourist attractions in Chiang Rai. Unlike the traditional colourful decoration of Buddhist temples, Wat Rong Khun is just an absolute whiteness complex with intricate and ornate details. The colour white symbolises the purity of the Buddha. 

Entrance fee is only 50baht. 
Do take note that appropriate dress code is required. Sleeveless AND short garments are not allowed.



Blue Temple (Wat Rong Seur Ten)
Next, we visited Wat Rong Seur Ten, a.k.a, Blue Temple. This Buddhist temple is beautifully painted in blue and is rich in colours and gold embellishments. 




Chivit Thammada Coffee House
This cafe is the last cafe that we visited before heading to the airport. And it's my personal favourite among all!! I love both the exterior and interior of this cafe - it just exudes so much London countryside and vintage vibes! Besides, food is delicious here!






So this pretty much concludes my Chiang Rai trip!

Do I think Chiang Rai is worth a visit?
Absolutely YES!

Honestly, this beautiful city has so much to offer - it's a doorway to experience the cultures and scenic sights of Northern Thailand. 

If you are planning your next wanderlust vacation to Chiang Rai, I hope you find this guide helpful! Do share this post out if you enjoyed reading! ♡

Thank you so much for reading, and I will see you in my next one!
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