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Pulau Ubin Just a stone’s throw away from Singapore mainland, about 15 minutes away on a “bumboat” lies Pulau Ubin or Ubin Island, an untouched sanctuary of tropical, untamed wilderness where time seems to be remembered only by the rising and the setting of the sun.

This small 10km2 island is essentially the last ‘kampung’ (village) in Singapore. A stroll through Ubin takes you back to Singapore in the 1960’s with the simpler pleasures of life…vegetation, lush forests, no electricity or running water. Today, about a hundred villagers still live there, happy to leave behind the bustling, fast-paced metropolis that is mainland Singapore. With all the conveniences of today I find it so impressive that someone would choose a more difficult life per say. I mean, once upon a time that’s the way things were so people made the best of what they had but today, choice is so abundant…to willingly choose that sort of life says a lot about these people and how little they need to make them happy. But that’s a story for another day…

The adventure starts as soon as you join the queue for the bumboat at Changi Point Ferry Terminal. As you pull in, just a short ride later, all cares are left behind. It felt a little Robinson Crusoe to us as the difference between mainland Singapore and Ubin Island is very striking. It really did feel like stepping back in time.

Ubin makes for a fun day-trip excursion if you enjoy the outdoors. We spent it cycling through rustic roads and sometimes rough terrain under swaying coconut palms and through lush forests exploring shady trails, secluded beaches and flourishing mangroves. To be honest, there’s really not much to do but to cycle your way through the island where you can then explore certain parts on foot. We walked the whole length of the boardwalk and climbed to the top of the observation tower for a beautiful uninterrupted view of only the sky, trees and the sea with its ombre of blue and green colors.

While we do enjoy the rustic, we found the island to be really under-potentialized in its offerings. There were not many dining options and what water-side restaurant and “resort” they have are really 1-star. Definitely a lot of potential for a charming seaside restaurant or bungalows that can lure people to Ubin for the weekend. Nonetheless, it was a lovely escape from our daily life and a fantastic way to spend a day off.

If you do plan to visit, make sure to read my small tips below and check out the signboard below for bumboat fares and details!

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Admission to the island is free. There are no opening or closing hours for the island per say however the bumboats only run during daylight hours so plan accordingly. Trust me, you do not want to be left behind there! We were joking that being stranded in that forest at night would be terrifying, a little bit reminiscent of that horror movie whose name I can’t remember for the life of me! The truth is there is nothing to be afraid of but my imagination likes to run away with me sometimes! lol

Be prepared for rough trails, a lot of bugs and harsh sun (and probably humidity). Dress accordingly, don’t forget sunscreen, insect repellant and lots of water! Stay hydrated.

There’s not much to do on the island besides cycling so keep that in mind. Don’t expect a walk in the park, especially in that weather!

Dining options are extremely limited so if you’re a fussy eater, come prepared with a few snacks or even a picnic basket, which is actually not a bad idea if you can manage to find a spot on the small grassy lawn facing the water.

Voila…have fun!

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SeoulSeoulSeoul DSC_0008 SeoulSeoul There is a majestic calm upon descending into Seoul, or perhaps it was the time of day that our plane touched down; very early morning. The sky was slightly overcast, covered in haze as though slowly awakening from a long and deep slumber. In the distance, the silhouette of several mountains dotted the landscape likening it to a scene out of “The Last Samurai”. It was utterly magical. This was our first foray into Northern Asia and we had a very good feeling about it even before exiting the airport. In hindsight I’m thrilled to say that our intuition was spot on but for different reasons. If I had to summarize Seoul in one word, it would be “unpredictable” because this city surprised us in many ways.

We were expecting to see a mad and chaotic urban jungle; Tokyo’s twin sister, if you will. Almost an exaggeration of NYC’s Time Square. What we got instead was a calm, slow-paced environ where (very) well-dressed men and women go about their daily lives as if without a worry on their minds. This of-course is a superficial assessment because anyone who does business in Korea is privy to the madness that occurs behind closed doors. But I was happy not to be a part of corporate Seoul. And I was utterly content with the sleepy rhythm of this up and coming city that is clearly leading on every front: fashion, electronics, cars, you name it. South Korea is a rising pioneer, ferociously challenging its neighbors, China and Japan, and with a lot of pride. There is an air of sophistication about everything here. People dress very well. They speak calmly and politely. They are gracious and very respectable. Roads are clean. Actually, they are spotless. Road signs are practical and simple to navigate. Metros are orderly and shockingly quiet. There is no shoving, no pushing, no loud voices. It was wonderful and a sharp contrast to other experiences we  had had in Southeast Asia. I even found myself comparing our metro experience in Seoul to that in Paris, which is leaps and bounds apart like an underground zoo. And I say this with a lot of love for my city of love & lights. With double the population of Paris squeezed into its admittedly mammoth 605km2 frame, this was impressive to say the very least.

Seoul, we found, has everything to offer. History, culture, architecture, entertainment, greenery, shopping, dining, authenticity. We did so much in 6 days, I had difficulty recapping it while writing this guide. The diversity offered in Seoul is impressive and I can assure you we barely scratched the surface. But what scratching we did, was absolutely rewarding. We also loved how relatively low-rise the city appeared. High-rise buildings seem to be concentrated in specific areas, especially in the southern half of the city, and the hilly landscape in certain parts makes for a dramatic skyline and a beautiful erratic display of buildings and hills, like a screenshot from a hospital electrocardiograph or the fluorescent green plains of a Playstation game.

With over 10 million inhabitants in tow, Seoul is huge and very well-developed. The Han River runs through the city dividing it into “North of the Han” and “South of the Han”. The North is definitely the more beautiful and bubbly half. There is a definite change in scenery when you cross the river South. I found the landscape became more drab as we moved South. Buildings were less beautiful, signs less colorful, the landscape suddenly more homogenous. But always always civilized and quiet. The only time we experienced a surge of loud voices and what felt like an explosion of people was on Saturday night in the bubbly district called Itaewon. Apart from that, life trots about at an easy pace, oblivious to the pressures around it, or so it felt to us. That said, Itaewon on a Saturday night is a must-do!

We expected to be completely lost in translation and while a large part of the population does not speak English, we did not suffer nearly as much as we expected to or did in Vietnam. The youth naturally spoke more English and most hotels and restaurants managed well (albeit often difficult to understand). Taxi cabs were probably the hardest bit but even then, it was not impossible. The key we learned was to have a Korean translation of wherever we wanted to go noted down somewhere. That was usually sufficient to get to where we needed to be. Since most maps were in Korean-English, that meant a simple point of a finger on the map was all we needed to do before we were whisked off in our cab with some version of animated Korean pop (K-Pop) or a gentler Korean ballad crooning in the background. That said, the language was impossible to pick up and this is difficult for me to say as I have a knack for picking up languages, at least the essentials while on vacation. It took me a full two days to memorize the Korean word for “thank-you”: Kamsahamnida. Yes. It’s long. Yes, it’s complicated. Say it again, slowly now. Kam-sa-ham-ni-da. This lengthy word was full of promise and gained us smiles and nods for effort wherever we dropped it. This word was the start and the end of all our efforts. Fullstop.

We regretted not being able to experience a local concert as K-Pop is so big here and popular across Asia! We also hoped the now-famous “Gangnam Style” song would come to life in some way, shape or form animating a simple road-crossing or something with some crazy dance moves! Lol That was of-course a far-fetched whim but you can always dream! For those who don’t know it, Gangnam is actually the name of a neighborhood in Seoul that sits south of the Han River. And “Gangnam Style” refers to a lifestyle associated with that neighborhood. We learned that people from Gangnam will never announce their origins. It’s only the attention seekers and image-obsessed who will do that so this song essentially pokes fun at those people who try very hard to be something they’re not. The singer (Psy), now a global sensation, originates from Gangnam. His world-renowned K-Pop single refers to the perfect girlfriend who knows when to be refined and when to get wild. Ha! “Oppan Gangnam Style”, which is the phrase most English-speakers remember from the song means “big brother is Gangnam style”, where Psy, apparently refers to himself. This crazyyy song apparently became the first You Tube video to reach a billion views! Since then, it has well surpassed that figure and is still widely recognized and appreciated for its catchy lyrics and (what I believe is a) hilarious choreography! haha Hopefully for our next visit!!

During our time there we met up with a few friends in Seoul who were there as expats assigned to the massive Korean conglomerate, Samsung, and we were extremely inspired by their new way of life and nuances to the culture. Talk about a culture shock! For us coming from Paris, moving to Singapore was a breeze. One of these Samsung gentlemen spoke impressively well, it blew us away every time! We hiked, we biked, we shopped, we explored and we ate sooo well. I personally fell in love with Korean BBQ although 4 days of red meat in a row was starting to make my conscience feel a little guilty. We also ate fresh seafood bought fresh from the Noryangjin fish market that by the way is open 24/7!! I can’t wait to do that again! What a crazy fun experience!

It was a very special trip and we even found ourselves contemplating the thought of being expatriated there for a year or two, imagining which neighborhood we would love to live in, where we would shop and how our life would look. Not unimaginable I will confirm. Which is, I suppose, always a positive sign of a place. Seoul is a definite must-do in our eyes! That city whet our appetite for more of what South Korea has to offer. Hopefully soon… for more details on what to do, where to eat and general tips, scroll down!

Oppan Gangnam style!

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Recommended hotel: IP Boutique Hotel

Set in Itaewon – which we believed to be the coolest district – the word “eclectic” best describes this property. Funky art installations mark the outside of the somewhat Stark-esque property whose facade stands tall and colorful. Green swings hang from the high ceiling of the lobby inviting you to be a child. Stay away from the buffet breakfast. It looks deceivingly good but is not worth the $20. Lovely minimalistic clean rooms all decked in white with fun art murals that differ from room to room. Excellent location!

Recommended itinerary: This list is certainly not comprehensive but outlines what we did.  We spent 6 days which was a good amount of time but we certainly didn’t cover everything and would have loved to further explore outside Seoul.

  • Seoul Tower & Namsan Park – the tower is set at the very top of the park so you can hot two birds with one stone. Take a bus all the way up or hike it like a true trooper as we did. Start at the base of the park and make your way up, about 1.5hrs for a wonderful reward. The views from the top are beautiful and confirm the hilly beauty of this green city. Lots of fun boutiques and food shops will keep you entertained and help you catch your breath at the top!
  • Bukchon Hanok Village – wander about this beautiful enclave of restored Hanok houses (traditional houses) to see the old but fast disappearing Seoul. Start at the Bukchon Cultural Center and grab a map for a detailed route
  • Gyeongbokgung – a beautiful, vast and majestic palace. Surrounded by mountains you forget that the bustle of cars is just outside the palace gates. Open courtyards, pagoda rooftops, lakes and lots of walking. Prepare for the sunshine if you visit in the summer
  • Changdeokgung – the highlight of this palace is Huwon, the secret garden. I’m very sad to say we didn’t have time to see this but I regret it as the gardens are apparently something else. If you have time for only one palace, start with this one. No doubt.
  • Namdaemun Market – a very local massive market selling everything under the sun! A wonderful local frenzy of shopping and exchanging and a very colorful backdrop for photos at least!
  • War Memorial Museum – free entry to a very comprehensive and well-done look back at the wars that have touched SOuth Korea. The gardens are lined with tankers, fighter jets and even a scary B15! My hubby stood near the wheels for a photo and even is 190cm height was dwarfed by the wheels alone! I would not like to be caught under that!
  • Leeum Samsung Museum of Art – A beautiful trio of 3 artsy buildings tucked on a hilltop on a backstreet of Itaewon. One building houses ancient Korean art, another houses modern local and global art and a third is used for exhibitions. A great way to spend a morning.
  • Cycle by the Han River – one of the highlights of our trip. A 2.5hr cycle around the Han River and we only did 20km! It is long but incredibly scenic and a well done route. Enjoyable but sporty, be prepared!
  • Dongdaemun – shopping mania in the form os massive multi-storey “Doota” and the Dongdaemun Shopping Complex. Don’t miss the DDP, renowned architect Zaha Hadid’s architectural masterpiece.
  • Noryangjin Fishmarket – another highlight. Open 24/7 this fish market is absolutely massive. Buy anything your heart fancies, wriggling and live, take it to the restaurant upstairs where they will prepare and cook it for you. Don’t ask for a style of cooking. You don’t have a choice. They know best! lol
  • Insa-Dong – “Disney on kimchi”. An incredible street of nifty boutiques, museums and eateries. Indulge your eyes and your palette. An absolute must do!
  • Samcheong-Dong – just east of the palace (Gyeongbokgung) is a lovely area of galleries, fashion and cafes. A wonderful stroll.
  • Garosu-Gil – Vogue village. A gorgeous ginko-tree lined strip of Korean and global fashion labels. Original, funky, hip, awesome! Some excellent food options here as well. Loved this!
  • Itaewon-Dong – once a tacky street in the middle of ‘expat land’ this neighborhood is in the midst of a massive renaissance with a growing number of eateries, clubs and bars. A happening place on Saturday evenings and an enjoyable walk.

Recommended restaurants: We LOVE to eat well as evident through the identity of this blog!  Our selection below includes a mix of local flavors and western eats that were well ranked in the city and that we know you’ll enjoy:

  • Between – a beautiful space decked with floor to ceiling glass windows and comfy seats. Delicious western menus with a complementary salad bar for main courses chosen from the menu. Simple, quality ingredients, luxury standards at affordable lunchtime rates
  • Maple Tree House – amazing decor bringing the outdoors in. The best Korean BBQ we had in Seoul! Delicious beef options complete with your own little BBQ plate and chimney to suck away the smoke. A complementary array of sides is served with your main, excellent food and a fun and memorable experience! Sadly, I cant recall the names of the other Korean BBQ restaurants but your concierge will certainly help
  • Paris Croissant – one of the most beautiful bakery’s/patisseries I have ever seen. The interiors, the packaging, the selection, the pastries…swoon. Makes me want to open my own bakery right now! Perfect for an afternoon snack or breakfast.
  • The Restaurant Cafe – pastries, chocolates, panini’s, salads. A great lunch option in an artsy space
  • Noryangjin Fishmarket – don’t expect luxury. Buy your fish in the fish market downstairs and head upstairs to devour. Shoes off. Sit on the floor and dig in! A true Korean experience!
  • All That Jazz – a fun jazz bar in Itaewon. A fun and relaxed way to spend an evening post or pre dinner.
  • Vatos – BEST. MEXICAN. EVER! Combined with some local flavors for an explosive Mexican-fusion. We were licking our fingers to preserve the taste!

General Tips: 

  • Have your hotel business card or address (in Korean) on you at all times. Language can be an issue and your driver will not be able to understand or read your English characters.
  • Exchange money in advance. The currency is the Korean Won. As a general rule of thumb, 10,000 Won = $10!
  • Some restaurants and temples may require shoes off so be prepared with socks if you are easily grossed out (like me!)
  • Choose the time of year you plan to visit wisely as they get four seasons and winter months can be very cruel
  • Try Korean BBQ and Kimchi (pickles) at least once. What an awesome experience and the most tender beef I have ever eaten!
  • Don’t be wooed by plastic surgery in this Plastic Surgery Land

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Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh Cityphoto 4Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) or Saigon. You choose. While HCMC is now the official name of the city, renamed to celebrate the reunification of north and south at the end of the Vietnam war, Saigon is still very much used daily, especially in the South. We asked one of our tour guides which one the locals preferred and it seems Saigon takes the prize. It is shorter and easier to say in daily speech. Not exactly the rationale we were expecting to hear but makes perfect sense if you ask me. Still, there remains a lot of sensitivity around these two names, an inevitable and constant reminder of the long and ugly war. Vietnam is a country with a complicated history. Our tour guide on day 2 broke it down perfectly:

  • 1000 years of war with the Chinese
  • 96 years with the French
  • 21 years between North and South
  • 3 years with the Khmer Rouge
  • 2 years with the Chinese (again!)

That’s a combined total of 1122 years of war. It is just unimaginable. Their history is way too complicated and way too complex to understand or to even try to explain. But what is clear is that this is a country whose people have suffered a lot. And they have suffered badly. Remnants of these atrocities remain scattered across a few key museums…some of the only sights to see in the city. This is even depicted in their flag, a daily reminder of what Vietnam stands for. The ominous red background, a symbol for the blood shed during these many years of war. The star, a symbol for Vietnam’s ultimate victory; its yellow color representing the color of the people.

Despite these unfortunate happenings, people seem to have moved on. The youth happily sip Starbucks lattes and the elders go about their business. Life has advanced. As it should. The streets are busy. Businesses are booming. Restaurants are full. And high rises are scattered across the landscape like confetti. But the history is unforgotten by no-one, especially the older generation.

I returned from HCMC feeling slightly troubled. I say this because it’s rare that I visit a new place and leave unchanged or unaffected somehow. Despite an obvious sadness for the peoples suffering, HCMC, as a place, did not move our hearts like many places do; and we are very easily moved. It left no lasting impression on us. If I have to be completely honest, I would even go so far as to say we were disappointed by our first trip to Vietnam. We didn’t find HCMC representative of the images we had grown up associating with this remarkable country, nor did we feel that we experienced its soul. Except for the 1st district (among 24 districts), we found the city lacked character and charm. Perhaps our own expectations were somewhat to blame as we were expecting to see more French influence or colonial charm by way of architecture, infrastructure, food and dress. Flashbacks from Michael Caine’s The Quiet American and travel programs I had watched zoomed past my grey matter as my confused brain mentally scanned the databank of memories, images and associations I had built with this country over time, futilely trying to match it to what lay before my eyes. Movies are hardly the benchmark, I know, but the city lacked an identity in our opinion, and we tried very hard to look for it.

Suffice it to say, we found the city huge, difficult to navigate and very crowded. This is a massive city containing 7.4 million inhabitants. That’s bigger than the whole of Singapore and almost the same size as the whole of Switzerland! It’s huge! A significant majority of the population does not speak English making it extremely hard to do simple things like getting from A to B. From what little time we spent there, we guessed there must be at least 5 million motorbikes to match. It is a motorbike mecca! If you are a motorbike vendor in HCMC, you must be a very wealthy man (or woman!)

Crossing the street was like playing a game of live Frogger. Do you know that computer game from back in the 80’s? An innocent little froggy tries to cross the road with all sorts of mad traffic coming at him at varying speeds. That’s what it felt like. We each almost got hit at least 6 times over the past 3 days! It was absolute madness. Not a single car or motorbike stopped to let us pass, instead, swerving around us as if inconvenienced by our mere presence. Mind you, this was the case whether the “walk” sign was red or green. There is no safe place from motorbikes. Except for district 1, even the pavements were infested with these 2-wheelers. Just standing on the side of a pavement was a feat, motorbikes zoomed everywhere, on and off pavements, zig-zagging 1/2 a millimeter away from us. When there was no motorbike action on the pavement, we had to dodge those parked back-to-back, forcing us onto the road to bypass these bulky “side-walk blocks”. It was really something else. And don’t get me started on the pollution. We were happy to see that most motorbike drivers wore surgery masks. And helmets. They were concerned for their own safety at least!

I apologize in advance if I have painted a bad picture of HCMC. Everyone we spoke to before we left had great things to say. And we certainly had our share of fun. But culture is something we crave and the inability to grasp it in HCMC frustrated us somehow. Except for the occasional Vietnamese hat, we could have been in any large city in the world. There was definitely some great stuff however as is the case absolutely anywhere on earth. What few people we met and spoke to however were wonderful. We walked a lot and did everything we could do in the city. You can find a more detailed snapshot in the tips below.

We had three main highlights: First, our visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels was absolutely unforgettable. We took a speed boat to get there and back, had a wonderful lunch by the Saigon River and had an excellent guide who explained the in’s and out’s of how and why this elaborate tunnel system came to exist. In the case you haven’t heard about them, they run 250km long, on 3 levels  that are up to 10m deep. There was no design plan when the digging began during the war with the French but it evolved, with need, over time and became a shelter during the war with the Americans, serving as a place to hide, live, study, get hospitalized, cook… it’s incredible. We walked past plenty of hidden entrance doors, teeny tiny spaces wide enough only to fit one thin person. Some travelers in our group were brave to try it; it was too claustrophobic for me! They even built trap doors for the American soldiers, out of bamboo sticks and the remainders of the shells that were dropped on them; they created ventilation holes so minuscule, they were unnoticeable, it was an unplanned stroke of genius. It was impressive walking through the forest imaging how terrifying life must have been like for them at the time, witnessing the size and impact of a crater bomb and contemplating the idea of a whole life lived underground. Unmissable.

The second highlight for us was definitely the food! This is food capital! We had some great tips and ate very very well. Vietnamese food is fresh, flavorful, green and full of herbs. It’s light, healthy and delicious. We didn’t have a chance to try any street food, which is recommended, but what food we did eat, we enjoyed tremendously. The food and night scene is advanced, trendy and diverse. Plenty of options and you can have a really good time if you are a food obsessed traveller like me!

The third highlight for us was seeing HCMC from above. We visited the tallest tower (Bitexco Financial Tower) and took a speed lift up to the 49th floor where we enjoyed 360 degree views around the city. This gave us a perspective we didn’t have being on the ground. It allowed us to appreciate how big the city really was, to see the mad traffic whizzing below us like colonies of tiny ants and to see how the Saigon River snakes its way through, dividing one bustling part of the city from another. We then went up to the Sky Deck. Beautiful space for drinks and dinner and a real escape from the manic streets of the city.

Would I go back to HCMC? Probably not. Would I go back to Vietnam? Definitely. I left feeling hungry to know more, to explore its heritage and the more rural areas off the beaten track. HCMC did not satiate my appetite for what I know Vietnam has to offer. Hanoi and Halong Bay will be our next Vietnamese adventure. Personally, I can’t wait!Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh City The AlcobeHo Chi Minh City (HCMC)

Recommended hotel: The Alcove

Adorable boutique hotel set outside the city center, a mere 10-15 minutes by car. You are welcomed into the lobby of the hotel through the library, a very warm and homey welcome away from home.  The beautiful tiles, photo gallery and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves had me at hello. The hotel was functional, the rooms roomy and well equipped. The breakfast was wonderful, set in the American style diner (Roadhouse) on the 5th floor with views overlooking the rooftops and pagodas of HCMC. A great option if you choose not to be in the center of the hustle, bustle and action.

Recommended itinerary: This list is certainly not comprehensive but outlines what we did.  We thought two days was the perfect amount of time to discover HCMC. The extra day was great to venture out to the Cu Chi Tunnels. There are also excursions to the Mekong Delta and the Can Gio Mangroves for those staying a little longer. Make sure you book in advance though, we missed our chance to visit the mangroves, which I was super excited about for the monkeys and crocodiles. C’est la vie!

  • Reunification Palace – one of the main highlights and a great starting point to understand the history. ask for a guide, it’s worth it!
  • War Remnant Museum – difficult for the soft-hearted (like me!) but so important to better understand and appreciate what the locals suffered
  • Post Office – an architecturally stunning building inside and out. Beautiful pale pink exterior with ornate detailing and a huge clock. Famous for the huge portrait of Ho Chi Minh hanging inside and for the beautiful vintage map renderings on the walls
  • Notre Dame Cathedral – striking building in an impressive red color and the site of many selfies
  • Ho Chi Minh Square – a beautiful green space, the heart of District 1, also close to the opera house
  • Ben Thanh Night Market – a hustling bustling local “souk” if you will. Bargain your little hearts away. They sell everything and anything
  • Dong Khoi St – one of the main streets in District 1 and a nice street to zip in and out of boutiques and galleries
  • Cu Chi Tunnels – a must-see, must-do excursion out of the city. Do it by speedboat for extra adventure. I recommend Les Rives
  • Bitexco Financial Tower & Sky Deck – worth the $10 a head. Spectacular eagle-eye views over the city. The Sky Deck is just lovely for drinks, dinner or dessert!
  • Cholon (Chinatown) – this didn’t feel like Vietnam at all, expected I suppose. Crowded but interesting for the temples and local market (Binh Tay market) with a garden courtyard. Beware the overpowering smells of dry fish and shrimp. Gag-worthy for me! ) : It is a wholesale paradise for everything, they also sell to individuals. I walked away with some adorable cupcake liners!

Recommended restaurants: We LOVE to eat well as evident through the identity of this blog!  Our selection below includes a mix of local flavors and western eats that were well ranked in the city.

  • Cuc Gach Quan – the best food experience we had during our stay! Modern Vietnamese. Delicious food, excellent knowledgable staff, we ate our tummy space away!
  • Hoa Tuc – Vietnamese fusion set in what used to be an opium refinery, this is a beautiful restaurant with a lovely outdoor courtyard. They offer cooking classes as well
  • Nha Hang Ngon – fresh, authentic Vietnamese food prepared live in stations around you, set in the courtyard of a beautiful ochre-yellow colonial villa
  • L’Usine – cafe come lifestyle store. A must! What a fun experience, and super cool store and employees!

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