Much like the title suggested, I really do think HCMC is the Little Paris in Vietnam for it's well organised and structured town planning, all thanks to their French counterpart back in the day. Even the compact sized tall buildings were are build according to a standard measurement to keep the consistency of look and feel of the city. Like the French, HCMC has many parks for everyone to work out or wind down.
Any place with parks around is good for me when I feel like walking among the greens and not worry about crossing roads or cafes closing. Parks are perfect when you need to collect your thoughts at any time of the day or night, one thing that KL will never have due to certain regulations. Once, my Science teacher once said if my eyes are tired, all I need to do is look at the trees or anything green to relax. So yes, parks are a definite sight for sore eyes :)
This particular section of the city in Dong Khoi Street, District 1 (opposite Majestic Hotel, where I stayed) definitely resembles the French flair. The cafes are all around the city; left right, up down. It's everywhere! And I realised they love their New Zealand Natural ice cream too. Food wise, there are a whole selection to choose from whether you prefer your food to be served in restaurants, markets or by the street. This particular part reminds me a lot of Malaysian food. Vietnamese food is a mixed of Chinese, American, French, Japanese, Thai and a bit of Malaysian. So, don't worry if fried insects or snake wine isn't your thing, there are a lot of other edible food around too.
They have this concoctions to make drinks and desserts. They could make Ais Kacang (Red Bean Ice)!
If you haven't heard, Vietnam is synonymous with Phở bò - a type of beef noodle soup. Oh so very delicious. And if you choose to have it from the small stalls, your eating area will be the streets itself. Anywhere you like :) The prices ranges from very affordable to very expensive. Pretty much caters to all.
No city can get away without having a go-to market. It's your one stop to do all kinds of shopping, at least that's what Cho Ben Thanh is about. Front part of the big market will satisfy your clothes/shoes/accessories/souvenirs and the other half is dedicated to all kinds of food/drinks you can imagine. It's a mad world in there. So, if you do go in, put on your best poker face and make sure you survey the prices before bargaining. They can be very aggressive to sell you anything and sometimes, it pays to be nice and talk to them to distract them from selling you things you don't want.
I'm horrible at bargaining. Seriously. But I do enjoy chatting up with the sellers, some of them are really friendly. When they found out I'm from Malaysia, they put on this big smile and get so excited. It's an amazing energy just being around them.
I was snapping her photo when she told me she's shy then proceed to make conversations with me. The owner of this stall is the guy who was waving in the picture asked if I had taken his picture, and thank god for this one! :)
You know, now that I realised it..wherever I go, I'll bound to discover a piece of Malaysia around me. I don't know why but it's just one of those things. Like being in this very chaotic market, so chaotic, I had to remind myself to focus..lo and behold, I heard someone speaking in Malay out of the blue. Turns out to be one of the many sellers who happened to marry a Malaysian or something like that selling material cloths.
:) No matter how many times something like this happens, it'll always manage to surprise me. Possibly one of the reason why I love traveling so much - the further you are away from where you come from, the closer you get to it.
Ok, I underestimated. It's more than 2 parts :/ It's obvious I love my stay while I was there and there's just so many things I experienced that I can never put it into a few words.
I'll sign off with this quote that I can relate to :)
“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake.
The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson