June 19, 2015

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City

Six years ago when my plane took off and flew far far away from Vietnam I knew I would never forgot that crazy country and would love it dearly forever. I have continued to cherish the time I had in Ho Chi Minh City and the chance to call it home. I learned so much about myself and traveling while I lived there and I am forever thankful. Truth: I now compare everything to Vietnam. 

I have spent the last six years dreaming of a trip back to Vietnam. So when the opportunity presented itself with three friends in tow (who lived in Ho Chi Minh City as well) it was a dream come true. I didn't want any trouble at the airport so I arranged my visa before my arrival through the Vietnam Embassy in the United States. It was a more expensive option then getting a visa-on-arrival but it was done and I could relax. 

{ View from our Airbnb at Horizon Towers }
As my Eva Air flight touched down in HCMC I needed to be pinched, I couldn't believe it was real. All these emotions came rushing back, I was smiling ear to ear. I couldn't wait to get back into the traffic and craziness of the city.

After waiting a hour for my backpack at baggage claim, while having a Vietnam reality check, I walked past the airport grounds to find a taxi (a local tip for you - taxis are much cheaper outside the airport). Instead of staying at a hotel downtown we booked an Airbnb at Horizon Tower near our old neighborhood. The drive from the airport to Horizon Tower through the busy streets dodging pedestrians, motorbikes and bicycles made me want to rent a motorbike stat. Having a motorbike when I lived in HCMC made my experience. I was able to truly learn the city streets and say I conquered HCMC traffic. 

{ Drinking cha da! There is no other drink, besides Saigon Green }

Our goal for our three days in HCMC was to eat at all our favorite restaurants and street food. We didn't need to sight-see since we had already lived in the city so we weren't real tourist this time around ;). We didn't need to crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels again or take a boat ride down the Mekong River, we had done that. However, Au Parc, pho, iced coffee and Go2Bar were waiting for us. I just knew it.

After everyone had arrived we needed pho and a good visit with our old neighborhood. I was on cloud nine walking around the busy streets, sweating and drinking coffee. However, we struck out trying to find a pho food stall where we could sit street side on small stools but we found a restaurant near VUS on Vo Thi Sau Street that was just perfect. We ordered cha da and sweated and sipped our way through our first bowl of pho. 

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