Monday, May 1, 2023

Ho Chi Minh City

The final destination on our two months trip and from where we fly home is also the largest and busiest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City. 

Old and new

To get acquinted with the city we decided to do a street food tour. Best decision ever as the two guides showed us around and gave us ample of ideas for the coming days 😋


Beef stew, Bo Kho Ganh

Housings originally built for the GIs

Flower street, 24/7 flower sale

Coconut ice cream


Matching helmets 😆

Before selling our motorbikes we decided to visit the Cu Chi tunnels. An extensive tunnel network of up to 250km the Vietcong built to hide from American bombs. This way they could transport people and material from the Ho Chi Minh trail to the doorstep of Saigon. 
There are two tunnels accessible to the public, the one closer to the city is where most tours go. Here the tunnels have been enlarged for „plus sized bodies“ as they call it on their website. Having our own transportation allowed us to visit Ben Duoc where the tunnels have only been slightly enlarged but we still had to almost crawl to get through 😳
The guide showed us the different rooms, traps and entrances which was interesting. 

Original entrance, tight fit 

Squeezing through 
Afterwards we decided to give the shooting range a try. We just opted for some rounds with the AK47, M16 and a pistol.

Kicked more than the Swiss army rifle 😆

Marksman 😂

One night we spent at the walking street and while sipping our beer it dawned on me that I’ve been here before 😆 It had changed a bit, but see for yourself:

The place in the corner now sells overpriced beer and has girls dancing on a podium…

Speaking of girls, we also visited little Tokyo which is full of girls trying to sell you beer or a „massage“… But besides the massage parlors and shady bars are heaps of super authentic Japanese restaurants 🤤

Little alleys 

Lovely eel ☺️



Sake, Soju and Umeshu for us 😊

The girls did not want to get photographed, best way to get rid of them 

Some impressions from the city:

We missed reunification day by a day, flags everywhere and will be a great party

Motorbikes as far you can see

Some temple 🤷‍♂️

Fancy coffee place

The opera

Visiting the Ben Thanh market hall

Best Banh Mi in town!

Hanging out with the chicks 🐥 

BNE still here

Many public places have some kind of barrier otherwise it would be overrun by motorbikes 🤣

What ever you need made out of plastic is on sale in China town

We gave our motos a last wash, took of the decoration and threw away the completely sat trough cushions 🤣

Sponge bath 

Took some pictures and contacted some rental shops

And sold our bikes

With the cash of the sale we then went to pickup Aaron’s phone. He had found a shop which took the phone apart, checked what was broken, replaced a computer chip 🤯 and the screen. As good as new! 

Repairing what would be a total loss in Switzerland 

This had to be celebrated so we returned to the sea food street which we visited on our tour. We had some kind of snails, oysters and then wanted to check out one of the fancy bars. 

Wasn’t that good 😕

But on the way we saw a Bia Hoi place and we couldn’t resist 😛 We ended up meeting some dudes and kept talking (and drinking) late into the night. Bia Hoi comes from the north of Vietnam (rare in HCMC), it’s freshly brewed beer (Zwickel) sold from the tap or in large containers. It’s super tasty and dirt cheap 😍

Only picture I took 😁

On our last day we then visited the Jade Emperor pagoda, rather underwhelming. It’s main feature are ugly dolls/statues but you aren’t allowed to take pictures inside the temple building 😔

Mandatory face mask

Ugly what ever 🤷‍♂️😂

Taking the water bus home

One last Ramen in little Tokyo 

And that was it, off to the airport with a last Banh Mi and flying home

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Ben Tre and the coconut

Having ample time left we decided to break up the ride to Ho Chi Minh City by stopping in Ben Tre.

The city of Ben Tre lies on a big island in the Mekong and is considered the coconut capital of Vietnam. Among its oddities is the so called Coconut Monk. A Buddhist monk who founded his own religion, the coconut religion. He only ate once a day and did only drink coconut water. 😆
He is long dead now (as well his religion) and where he used to live and meditate is now a weird mix of temple/restaurant/theme park with water games, wedding ceremonies as well crocodiles 🤷‍♂️ 
The place is on Phoenix Island and can only be reached by boat or motorbike by using a little exit in the middle of the bridge crossing the Mekong. Was a funny drive 😄

Enjoying a coconut at the coconut monks place.

The temple part

Great A’Tuin?

The coconut monk 

Hihi penis

Crocodiles just meters away from the water games 🫣

Most of the coconut gets processed, famous is the coconut candy. But also the husk get used as char coal or for carvings and the tree trunks for building.
Everywhere are huge piles of coconut husks

Coconut factory 

Coconut farms everywhere 

We slept at a homestay which has only three little cabins, each one different. Bamboo was my obvious choice even though due to the nature of bamboo the walls weren’t closed entirely 😅

We stayed in this nice bamboo hut 😊

They also had this cool A frame. Also cool as in it had AC 😂
And then it was time to continue to our final destination, Ho Chi Minh City. We decided to take a detour to see more of the Mekong delta.

More swallows nest farms

Fish farms using this paddle contraption to aerate the water

Many ferry crossings

Some of the canals are total overgrown 

And too soon we were in the crazy traffic of HCMC!