10 Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City
Ever wondered how to time travel or how to live like a millionaire? If you answered yes to both, then it's time for you to visit Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Hop on a three-hour flight, travel an hour back in time (Vietnam's time is one hour behind the Philippines) and spend millions in the city that was once known as Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City exudes a brilliant mix of tradition and modernism. And while it may be small, there are many things to do and experience here!
- Go café hopping.
Known for being morning people, it is not a surprise that every corner and block in the city has a café. Just like the Vietnamese's love for coffee, their java is strong and sweet. Phuc Long, Trung Nguyen, and Coffee Highlands are among the famous cafés and brands of coffee in Vietnam that won't leave your palate and wallets disappointed.
- Wonder, wander, and soak in their art and culture.
This city, found in the southern part of Vietnam, is decked with museums and galleries showcasing their history, culture, and arts. Learn more about the history of Vietnam's independence by visiting the War Remnants Museum. If you fancy some art, go to the Ho Chi Minh University Museum of Fine Arts, whose relics is an art itself with its colonial style and bright yellow walls. This three-floor building also showcases sculptures, woodwork, and different styles of painting.
- Eat healthy Vietnamese food.
High-end, hole-in-the-wall, or the streets, this city offers a lot of different food. If you are into eating like a true viking, you might want to try dining at the ships that were turned into restaurants. You don't just get to enjoy Vietnamese cuisine, but you also get to cruise along Saigon River with the view of the city as the background. Meanwhile, if you want to do as the locals do, go to the streets, which are lined with food carts and low stainless tables and plastic chairs. Here is where you get to try local favorites like the Bánh mì and a hot bowl of Pho.
- Tour the city on a motorbike.
Unlike other cities in the world where you tour the city by hopping on and off a tour bus, in HCMC you get on a Xe ôm, which translates to motor taxis. Weave through the districts of HCMC behind a motorbike—a unique way of sightseeing where you get to witness the transition of the old traditional buildings to modern skyscrapers filling this small city.
- Spend your millions.
It's not unusual in Vietnam to spend millions. That's because their denominations come in big amounts like 100,000s and 500,000s. But in reality, the Vietnamese dong's value is lower than most currencies. If you convert 1,000,000 VND to pesos, you only get a little more than P2000. That said, a lower conversion rate means, more money for shopping! Your trip to Vietnam wouldn't be complete without purchasing a variety of local and international products. Buy souvenirs like local candies and spices, magnets, 3D postcards, clothes, and bags. Get them at affordable prices at Ben Thành Market, Saigon Square, Taka Plaza, or Lucky Plaza. You can also spot homegrown brands from the Philippines, like Penshoppe, which now has two branches in the city.
- Send an old-school letter or postcard.
We may be in the age of technology, but nothing beats the old-school way of communication. Relive this old practice and send yourself, your family, or your friends postcards from one of the oldest buildings in Ho Chi Minh, the Saigon Central Post Office. Like a lot of buildings in the city, the French influence is very much visible in the architecture and interior of the building.
- Hear mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon.
Situated just across the Saigon Post Office, this church is a favorite tourist destination. The façade of the church often serves as backdrop for wedding photo shoots and of tourists' selfies and #OOTD shots as well.
- Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels.
These tunnels in the Cu Chi district are just a part of the vast connected tunnels found all around the country. Pass through narrow underground passages and experience the life lived by the Vietnamese soldiers. You can also try the different weapons they used during the Vietnam War.
- Hang-out in Nhà Ga 3A - Station 3A.
Have a snack, take a lot of pictures, and shop for one-of-a-kind pieces and trinkets at the city's contemporary art district. The shops are owned by young creatives, and the place is covered with Insta-worthy murals. An afternoon at this place would be a feast for the eyes and stomach.
- Explore the rural Vietnamese life.
Drive for a couple of hours away from the city center and discover more about the Vietnamese lifestyle in Mekong Delta. Hop on a wooden boat and cruise along the rivers and swamps of Mekong Delta. Here is where you get to see the simple Vietnamese life, where people fish for their own food, and buy their daily needs at the floating market.
What other cities would you like us to write about? Tweet us @candymagdotcom or share your suggestions in the comments section below!
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"Today, I Won"
I always caught feelings for someone, and hoped so much that one day there could a thing between the two of us. I'm usually the one that makes the effort to buy and/or make cute gifts, chats them every other day, and stays up all night with him.
When I was 16, my childhood crush suddenly came back into my life. We'd constantly send updates to each other, recommend favorite songs and talk even the most random things. He'd even text me as early as 6 to just greet me good morning almost everyday. I hoped so much that when I confessed, he suddenly stopped talking to me.
For short, he ghosted me. Those 6 months I spent talking to him, allotting my time for him, and staying up until 3 am for him - all gone in a simple confession. Although I had a few crushes before him, he's the only one that got me in real pain. It was the kind of pain that I never thought I'd experience. It was the kind of pain that I couldn't believe.
After 7 years (it happened back in 2017), I thought he came back into my life to stay, but I guess he's just one of the guys who distanced. I felt a complete loser that time. But during this quarantine, everything was different. I caught feelings for someone else, but he treated me with the best kindness yet.
It happened at 2 am, May 30, 2020, when I impulsively confessed my feelings through messaging him. After saying my feelings, he responded with genuine and kind words. We both even complimented each other. Although the feelings didn't reciprocate, I still found a connection that can't be replaced with any guy.
To my 16 year old self, here I am, 18 and happy. You may have felt that time was the biggest regret and loss, but I'm here to tell you, we won. Today, I won.
Why our high school barkada is the best?
Remembering our high school years entails quite a lot reminiscing of the things we all been through when we were younger. You’ve experience a lot of new things during those 4 wonderful years and did most of them with the few people you consider your barkada. And through a series of all the lunch breaks you had together, the walks you took on the way home, and taking the same classes, you never thought you’d survive, you have made your life’s greatest friends.
Here are some of the reasons why your high school barkada is the best:
1. You figured out early teenage life together. The transition one have undergone from being a kid to a teenager wasn’t easy. For a moment you are not sure whether you should have played with your friends during recess or you should have just sat down and ate your food because you were too old for games. But whatever it is you chose to do, having friends who were as clueless as you make everything feel easier because you know, deep down, you’d figure things out eventually. You just need good company.
2. They were with you during your “jeje“ days. I bet you have pictures taken with Camera360 and Retrica. You also have pictures edited using Pizap with embarrassing captions and you somehow kept some of them so you could have something to post online during their birthdays.
3. They know all your exes. They will never EVER forget the name of an ex-boyfriend, an ex-fling, an ex-crush, and an almost you had. They will remind you of your every questionable love decision but you’ll just laugh anyway while saying “Past is past”.
4. They never judge you. They have welcomed you to their lives when you thought jelly shoes and checkered polos were the bomb! They were quick to have told your teachers that you were not feeling well so you could go home when you really just needed to poop. You tell them every embarrassing story you have and were fine with it.
5. You can always count on them. From the moment you first fell in love and the moment you first had your heart broken, they were with you. They were with you the moment you lost a parent and at moments when you thought you had nothing. Through every break-up and breakthrough, they were there to be your support system.
6. They are your family. Your high school friend’s family is your own family’s extension. Their parents are like your own. Don’t you feel a little kilig whenever your friend’s parents call you “anak”? And then eventually calling them mama and papa became so natural? I felt that, all the time.
7. They will always be your home. They are your place of refuge and security, the place who offers you their hands when you feel lost and the place you run to when you need saving. No matter how much time and distance separate you, they will be the one’s that you always long for and they are the one’s that you will always return to.
You're gonna bend and break and then at some point in your life, you feel like you don't want to fall in love again.
Not because you're no longer capable of loving but because you're so afraid to get hurt again that you don't want to take a risk anymore. And you're gonna wake up one day and realize that you're not the same person as you were yesterday. The heart aches, heartbreaks, frustration, you'll see, those will transform your whole being into something better.
Honey, move forward. Let go off all the things that are not meant for you. Let go of all the people who hurt you and take you for granted. Don't be stuck feeling miserable.
And don't turn that love into hate when you resent someone for hurting you or for breaking your heart. Just wish them well and let them go. Welcome the possibility of a beautiful love that will come your way. You're worthy of love that you keep on giving to other people. Keep that in mind.
I wish you well and all the happiness. You deserve it.
Here we are — with rough hands entwined, damned hearts at peace, broken souls resting with ease —savoring each passing moment before we part ways...hoping things will turn out to be okay. Here we are — standing still, keeping our earnest desire and ardent passion for each other at bay — hoping the Universe will finally grant us of the day that we no longer have to pretend... that things will no longer have to end.
Here we are — with crooked smiles, lingering touch that will last for a while -- gathering all the remaining courage to set each other free. Wishing for the day that our hearts will no longer have to worry. Here we are letting each other go. Even though we both know that the future is uncertain. Even though we're unsure if our paths will cross once again.