“Remember, the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability.” – Ho Chi Minh
Last week, I was at Ho Chi Minh City for work. As it was just an hour and a half flight time, I took the window seat that I may take some pictures while on the flight. When the pilot was making a descend to Ho Chi Minh City, I whipped out my iPhone and took a picture of the city.
It has been more than three years since I last visited Ho Chi Minh City. The road has become more congested with more cars on the road. Motorcycles seem to have reduced and I did not see any bike with more than one pillion. It used to be a common sight to have a family of four or more on a motorcycle or scooter that always amazes me.
Upon checking-in to the hotel at District 1, we had pho for lunch at a local eatery. In fact, I had pho for breakfast for three consecutive morning. Definitely got my pho craving fix. Though the pho is not as good as the one at Hilton Opera, Hanoi.
After lunch, we took a taxi to the Saigon Centre, a short walk away to Ben Thanh Market. As it was raining, we had coffee at Saigon Centre to wait for the rain to stop. I had Vietnamese drip coffee and my colleague has caffe latte with a beautiful flower art.
After a relaxing cup of coffee, the rain stopped. We made our way to Ben Thanh Market to catch up with the rest of the colleagues.
Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is situated in District 1 in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City at the intersection of Le Loi, Ham Ngh, Tan Hung and Le Lai streets. Ben Thanh Market is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most famous landmarks and a great place to buy dried fruits, nuts, coffee, local handicrafts, branded goods, Vietnamese art and other souvenirs.
Most of my colleagues bought nuts and coffee powder. We spent so much time at the stall and bought so much that the stall owner offered us stools to sit on while waiting for them to pack the goods. As for me, I left empty-handed to everyone’s surprise. I am glad I did not buy else I will probably end up giving them away after lugging them back to Singapore.
After all the shopping, it was almost dinner time. We made our way back to the hotel to freshen up. The blinds were up in the hotel room and we saw the sunset. A sight that I enjoy looking at always. Glad I managed to take a few pictures. That was the only time we managed to see the sunset at our four days stay. The rest of the days, our meeting ended after 6.30pm.
In this picture, did you notice a tall building that seemed to be abandoned? This building is right in the heart of District 1, a prime land in Ho Chi Minh City. Wonder what happened to the developer. Perhaps gone bankrupt after bidding for the project. Just my guess.
After freshening up, we took a short walk from our hotel to a traditional Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. There was a live performance on the ground floor of the restaurant. Unfortunately, we did not get to watch the performance as our reservation was on the third floor. The musicians very kindly posed for me when I was leaving the restaurant.
Dinner was good. One of the best meal we have for the trip.
We spent the next few days in the hotel ballroom. Our meeting started from 8.30am till 6.30pm daily. Glad we managed to check out Saigon a little before our meeting started.
On our last evening at Ho Chi Minh City, we headed to District 7 for dinner and ended the night with a good massage.
Life is good.
The Lowdown – Ben Thanh Market
Address: Le Loi, Ben Thanh, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Tel: +84 83 521 0004
For further information, go to chobenthanh.org.vn.
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