Tag Archives: Ben Thanh

Whirlwind Saigon

5 Nov

This time last year we were finishing up our time in Saigon and heading south to see where Anh was born near Can Tho. Little did we know, I was also pregnant with our little lady. Such a special time then, and even more so looking back. I love thinking that her first days were spent where her father was born, eating the foods he ate and we still love, and seeing all of the sights from his homeland. But anyways, let me (finally) get on with photos and happenings from our amazing travels.

A long, but pleasant flight on All Nippon Airways from DC to Saigon via Tokyo Narita touched down late on a Sunday evening and upon arrival we were blasted with the heavy humid air of the city. It felt so so good. A quick note about flights – if you aren’t splurging for business or first class, look at the equipment for your flight and consider opting for economy plus. We paid an extra $500USD each but were the only two seats by the window and enjoyed the extra legroom, food options and no having to get up for or move away from annoying seat-mates.

Our hotel was near Ben Thanh Market in the heart of District 1, a convenient jumping off spot for our two days of touring. As we would discover over our two weeks in Vietnam, the hotels are certainly dated in relation to our American expectations, but amenities were great. You can get a great hotel for less than $100USD/night, just know that you won’t have a Westin Heavenly mattress.

After only a few hours of sleep, we were roused around 4:30am by a loudspeaker proclaiming “Bánh mì ở đây! Bánh mì ở đây!” Fresh bánh mi (baguettes) being delivered and for sale by bike. I assume this happens across the city, we weren’t on a block with particularly high traffic or concentration of food stalls any more than other districts. Every morning in every city we heard a variation of this – who needs an alarm clock?

Our first food (beside the dragon fruit, baby bananas and lychees from the room) was from the hotel’s breakfast buffet. They had European continental items – powdered eggs (probably), sausages, ham and cheese – as well as Vietnamese options. From this first morning I fell in love with bún (noodles) for breakfast. I still miss it.

Bowl of noodle soup with Vietnamese ham and a bowl of sliced watermelon, pineapple and dragon fruit.

Chả lụa (Vietnamese ham) noodle soup and fresh fresh fresh tropical fruits.

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