Encore Trip (Ho Chi Minh City) from 11 Nov to 15 Nov 2022

Haven’t had enough of HCMC? I am doing an encore visit again. Partly also to create activity for the month of November. 😀

With a short trip slotted in, it prepares me towards the year end mood ahead. At the same time, it provides the additional motivation and excitement knowing of an upcoming anticipated trip that is coming right up. This is what regaining sanity means to me. What about you?

Always feel good and excited when passing through the departure gate. This is where the real journey begins.

Recharging at the newly opened Kris Gold Lounge prior to departure. The only complaint is that there is no attached restroom inside the lounge, and it is a far walk away if you need to visit. 🙄

Savouring a light meal before boarding as usual. Always looking forward to it for each travel.

The real action starts. Time to board for HCMC. I am extremely delighted to receive a free upgrade to Premium Economy Class for this leg. Woohoo….

Safe arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport as expected.

The traffic is heavy this time round compared to my last trip about 2 weeks ago. Signs of economy picking up. 👍

Checking-in to Hotel Continental Saigon for my next 4 nights. This hotel is conveniently located in Dong Khoi (their downtown area). A hotel with history dating back to 1880 and with rich architecture. Liken to our Raffles Hotel.

The room size is super huge and spacious coupled with the extra big king bed.

After checking-in, headed off to The New Playground. This place is inconspicuously blended with the row of shop houses along Ly Tu Trung.

Here, you will find trendy concept mall specialises in street wear & accessories from local brands. This place is well hidden in the basement area.

Visited Notre Dame Cathedral, and despite many years, it is still in the repair and uplifting stage.

Nearby, there is Diamond Plaza, a medium-sized departmental store, and it has become extremely quiet and empty now.

You may come up to the 4th floor of Diamond Plaza for a nice, beautiful rooftop view.

Further up from Diamond Plaza, you will come across Turtle Lake, a man-made lake in District 3. It is recommended to come in the evening after sunset to enjoy the nice weather. You will find the locals hanging out there carefree and watching the world goes by.

Around the lake, there are many bistro and cafés lining the streets where you can chill out.

Catching a light dinner at Wrap and Roll before ending the night.

Rice Noodle Soup with Crab Paste & Pork
Paper Rice Roll with Dried Shrimps & Mustard Lettuce Roll with Prawn & Pork
Fresh Lime Juice with Lemongrass

Simple yet authentic meal. It has been a while since I last had Wrap and Roll.

Waking up to an anticipated morning, knowing a great spread of breakfast awaits. The breakfast is served in an open space area in their ground level courtyard. Loves the feel of garden dining.

It’s definitely impressive, given the local 5-star standard. 👍

Pho Bo

Needless to say, the soup is super flavourful coupled with the tenderness of the beef slices.

Special Request : Prawn Noodle Soup
Rice Vermicelli with Chicken Soup
Yellow Noodle with BBQ Pork Soup
Banh Mi with Ham Omelette
Spaghetti Bolognese
Western Breakfast

Sunny-side up egg with sausage, hash brown, and bacon.

Fried Noodles, Sautéed Vegetable & Beef Ragout
Ham Fried Rice with more ham and Sushi
Plain Porridge
Sticky Rice & Sweet Crepe
Dragon Fruit & Grapefruit

Sumptuous breakfast spread with good food selection.

Enjoying the country’s beautiful landscape in the morning.

The lotus pond fountain near the People’s Community Building.

The iconic statue of Ho Chi Minh in front of the People’s Community Building. This is the first time I managed to capture a nice shot without photo-bombers. ☺️

While strolling, come across drama filming by the Vietnamese crew. Quite an interesting experience.

Headed off to Ben Thanh Market and got hold of some loots from there as usual.

Spending time at Saigon Centre to break away from the heat.

Chilling out at RuNam, Saigon Square.

I like their interior decoration of this restaurant. Very insta worthy.

Young Coconut Blue Pea Ice Cream

Wow, this dessert simply blows me away. The coconut ice cream is so coconutty rich alongside the coconut strip, sago, jelly, and blue pea chestnut. Awesome is all I can say.

Sand Dune

Double shot of espresso, Kahlua, condensed milk, Baileys, and Amaretto rimmed garnish with crushed coffee candy. This is another level of coffee drinking.

Shiso Grapefruit Tea

This is indeed refreshing from its name.

Runam’s Refresher

Concoction of lime, lemongrass, and mint. It’s refreshingly good, too. Perks you up immediately.

Settle for a super late lunch at Pizza 4P’s, one of my favourite go-to joint whenever I am in HCMC.

Complimentary Appetiser, Pear from Japan
Burrata with Parma Ham & Mixed Tropical Fruits
Italian Meatball Tomato Soup with Mascarpone Cheese
Fried Chicken with Oriental Spice & House-made Jalapeño
Truffle Burrata Pie with Parma Ham

Satisfying meal as always (without fail).

Managed to catch hold of a rehearsal performance at Saigon Opera House.

Statue of Tran Hung Dao

A nice monument, right across Bach Dang Wharf, dedicated to a famous Vietnamese 13th-century military leader.

Visited Bach Dang Wharf for an evening stroll. Nice weather for a leisure walk after a heavy downpour.

Having a fun time at the riverside walk and enjoying the cool evening breeze.

Thereafter, I came across a big GS 25 outlet (Korea No. 1 convenience store) that provides a place for diners to consume hot food.

There is no prize in guessing what happens next as I couldn’t resist the temptation. It’s simple but deliciously good somehow. ☺️

Walked past A Guo Izakaya and decided to give it a try since I am looking for light dinner.

Complimentary Appetiser, Cabbage with Soy Sauce
Teriyaki Grilled Salmon
Shrimp Tempura
Assortment of Grilled Skewers

Grilled pork belly with asparagus, grilled welsh onion, grilled pork intestine & grilled shitake mushroom.

Food quality is acceptable and value for money.

Catching the live performance at Saigon Opera House to celebrate Techcom Bank’s achievement for the past year.

Enjoying the spectacular moment.

That brings me close to another wonderful day spent.

Made a trip to Kho Nha Minh Café on Day 3 morning. This is a new café (located in District 4) that has garnered attention of late in social media and insta worthy too.

This café is well hidden and not visibly noticeable from outside. You need to look out for the main signage from the main road.

From there, walk about 10m, and turn right immediately thereafter, and you will see the café.

It also houses a vintage clothing store that sells used vintage clothing, and who knows, you may pick up some gems from there. 😉

Café Menu

I loved the cosy interior settings of the café especially given the Christmas decoration that gives one a nice feel that the year-end festivities are just round the corner.

Kho Nha Minh Café Specialty Coffee
Special Matcha Latte
Cheese Croissant

Both drinks are refreshingly nice coupled with the softness of the cheese croissant bun.

Since the weather forecasted heavy rain this afternoon, I have decided to spend my afternoon at Crescent Mall to take shelter.

Catching a quick lunch at San Fu Lou, another Chinese cuisine go-to place other than Dim Tu Tac.

Double Boiled Chicken, Bamboo Pith

Rich and flavourful soup broth with the essence of chicken well infused.

Duck, Black Truffle Dunpling

Unique and refreshing. One of their Chef’s Signature.

Prawn & Pork Wonton, Sweet Vinegar Sauce

Oh mine, this is another power item to have.

Stir Fried Chicken with San Fu Lou Sauce

Boneless chicken chunk that comes with a nice wok hei.

Hong Kong Style Steamed Fillet Garoupa

Champion and fresh. The gravy goes extremely well with a bowl of piping hot Jasmine rice.

Another value for money meal. 👍😋

Headed over to Rang Rang Coffee for another chill out session.

The setup is minimalist, simple, no frills, and transparent. This is exactly what is captivating attention from the crowd.

Mint Mojito Espresso

Best seller. Intense from fresh mintial leaves combined with a little sweetness from cream and coffee create a great taste.

Iced Rang No. 5

Another best seller. The greasy but not too sweet layer of the cream foam is whipped up from milk blended with the strong coffee flavour.

Wow, I guess you really can’t go wrong with coffee in Vietnam. 😀

The Café Apartment

Interesting place for café hopping. Can you spot % Arabica?

Decided to go for a carbless meal at Som Tum Thai. Have been seeing this restaurant almost everywhere I go to (proclaiming serving authentic Thai cuisine).

Complimentary Appetiser
Steamed Sea Bass with Line Sauce
Fried Chicken Wings with Lemongrass
Stir Fried Water Grass with Dried Shrimp

Overall, food is pretty authentic. 😋 The only item that doesn’t go well with me is the stir fried water grass. Texture tasted like welsh onion than vegetables. 😲

This weekend, there are 2 happening events going on at Saigon Opera House.

Yesterday night was the Techcom Bank event, and tonight is the Saigon Chill event. I am extremely impressed with the way they turn around the event setup. Efficiently fast and professional. 👍

Always seem to be mesmerised by the beautiful night view shot of the People’s Community Building.

Another beautiful evening lighting at Saigon Centre. There are so many people out and about enjoying the evening. Guess this is what being simple and bliss is all about. 🙂

Look at how quick the Saigon Opera House has transformed overnight. It’s really impressive!

Took a leisure stroll to The O’Palm Café & Bistro in District 3. A café that combines a tropical paradise exterior and a sumptuous interior for a unique coffee sipping experience.

The front of O’Palm is a richly decorated tropically themed open air space with an assortment of shaded seating areas. It’s beautifully arranged to create an oasis effect and is highly photogenic.

Stepping inside, you’re met with beautiful vintage treasures; exposed brick, high ceilings, painting collections, bookshelves, leather couches, wood furnishings, and interesting architecture.

Berry Fizz
Dried Fruits Kumquat Shake

What a better way to enjoy a round of refreshing drinks after a long hot walk. 😎

Proceeded for lunch at Kobe Teppanyaki near to The O’Palm Café & Bistro which I happen to chance across.

I loved the exclusivity of having a teppanyaki lunch in a private dining room setting. Feels good, special, and grand. 😘

Salad with Salmon Slice
Rolled Beef with Onions & Garlic
Oyster with Miso Sauce
Cuttlefish with Spicy Sauce
Grilled Head & Belly Salmon
Hokkaido Scallop
Fresh King Prawn (Grilled King Prawn Head with Onions & Nori)
Australian Rib Eye Steak
Pickles & Miso Soup
Fried Rice
Hojicha Ice Cream
Yuzu Sorbet

A surprisingly great lunch that was not planned for. Thanks to the walking trail that leads me to this wonderful restaurant.

From there, I took another leisure walk to Dumm Café. This is another insta worthy café and is located off the beaten path as it is well hidden in one of the small street alleys in District 3.

The decoration is all deck in white tones and minimalism style.

Dumm Café Menu
Dumm Coffee

This coffee is dumm power! You really need to experience it for yourself if you are a true blue coffee connoisseur. 😉

Hibiscus Tea

It has got a nice flora tea taste and tastes a bit like ribena too.

Interesting Fact Uncovered

Dumm actually means Do yoU Miss Me. So catchy! 🥰

You may also head off to The Box Market in District 3 for some shopping too.

This is an outdoor venue featuring merchants selling trendy clothing, stylish accessories & cool, local art. Do note that this box market is only opened on weekends from Fridays to Sundays if you plan to pay a visit.

Settled for a light dinner at Ngo, Saigon Street Café being the final night in HCMC.

Signature Platter

Ordered the Saigon Street Favourite, assortment of items comprising of grilled minced prawn on lemongrass, Vietnamese barbeque lemongrass beef, grilled sausage, fried spring rolls with seafood and shredded pork skin spring roll.

Stuffed Stick Rice Balls Sweet Soup

This dessert is exactly what I am here for. Damn good. Likened to our 汤圆. Yum yum.

Final stop for the night, enjoying a nice cuppa at 43 Factory Coffee Roasters.

This is the grand entrance that you notice upon stepping into the speciality coffee shop.

Very minimalist in design with just black and white tone for the settings.

Iced Black Coffee

Here, they only have 2 types of coffee served, black coffee or coffee with milk with a choice from 4 types of coffee beans selection.

Iced Coffee with Milk

So, only true coffee lovers will enjoy this place.

Time flies it’s time for homecoming again. Another good decompression break.

As usual, I visited Minh Chau to pick up my favourite Vietnamese sausage and ham.

It’s always good to go as fried rice condiment.

As I will be taking an early afternoon flight, it is time to check out of the hotel for the airport to catch my flight back.

One for the road meal at Le Saigonnais Lounge prior to boarding.

Have a quick and enjoying lunch. Great food options, as always.

Time to depart for home coming. Farewell HCMC and I will surely miss this lovely country.

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