Destination Vietnam | Ho Chi Minh City Day 2

Today is the last day of our long weekend away from Singapore. My friend and I decided to walk around and see as many landmarks as possible. Surprisingly enough, the city has plenty to offer, maybe not as much as it rival in the north namely Hanoi, but enough to satisfy any international traveler looking for exoticism.

But first thing first, FOOD. It was 11am and we were very hungry. We checked-in at a restaurant in Pham Ngu Lao area. There I ordered Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, a Pho, and a veggie salad for my friend.

The coffee was strong and bitter but sweeten by the condensed milk. Also, I found that coffee glass design nice, simple but nice. The food was okay; nothing special to mention there; when you’re hungry you eat!

Okay, belly full, camera battery charged, and caps on, we were ready to explore Ho Chi Minh City.

We walked towards the Ben Thanh market, a large marketplace popular with tourist seeking local handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs. You also can get wet products such as fruits, meats, and even taste local cuisine.

Ben Thanh Market

As we kept walking heading North, we pass next to the Ho Chi Minh City Hall. The building was in renovation. It was built in the early of 20th century in a French colonial style.

Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee (Ho Chi Minh City Hall)

Two minutes away from city hall is the Municipal Theatre, also known as Saigon Opera House. It is the main opera house in the city; its architecture is another example of the French heritage of the country.

Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City

Next, we were heading west to the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica officially known as Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception. French colonists established the cathedral during the second half of the 19th century. The cathedral is splendid and very noticeable with it reddish color from the bricks.

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

Right next to the cathedral is the Saigon Central Post Office, with its neoclassical architecture. The building was designed and constructed by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel. It’s a beautiful building, outside and inside.

Saigon Central Post Office

Our next landmark is the Unification Palace, to get there we go through a public park call Cong Vien 30-4. The park is cool and relaxing. There, kids, youngsters, couples, and families chilled with many street foods, music, and folkloric atmosphere. We were there on a Sunday so you can imagine the ambiance, just imagine yourself in Hyde Park or Central Park on a Sunday afternoon. (Okay, the park isn’t near close to these two but you get the picture)

The Reunification Palace or Independence Palace is a landmark in the city; it was the site of the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

The Reunification Palace or Independence Palace

Our final landmark or rather visit was at the Xa Loi Pagoda, simply put it is the largest pagoda in the city and was for a while the headquarters of Buddhism in South Vietnam.

Xa Loi Pagoda

Nearby the hotel, I had for dinner chicken with curry Vietnamese style, accompanied with rice.

We went for a last drink, and shortly after back to the hotel, as our flight to Singapore was early in the morning.

Overall, Ho Chi Minh City is more live, busy, and crowded than Hanoi. It is also more Americanize as oppose to “Frenchnize”. Some will like it other will dislike it. I’ll say it depends on what you are looking for. If you want to party, enjoy some good food, but still be in a local setting where you can have local flavors on anything — Saigon is the right spot. If you are looking for the same but want to add a tiny bit of cultural stuff, want to learn more about the French heritage, then I strongly recommend a visit to Hanoi.

I came for a quick getaway from Singapore; Ho Chi Minh City offered me what I needed. Some sightseeing, cool weather, food, and a great night scene!!

Northern Indian Cuisine @ Jaggi’s

jaggi-indian-restaurant-singapbyart.com_.jpgIndian food is found everywhere in Singapore. The city even has a neighborhood call Little India where you will not only find Indian authentic food, but you might think for few seconds you are actually in India. The people around are all Indians, Bangladesh, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans; the stores, languages you hear, and obviously restaurants are mostly Indians. No wonder if I say my favorite Indian restaurant is
in Little India and is called Jaggi’s Northern Indian Restaurant. However, they have two shops in Singapore, and I often go to the one in downtown Singapore on Shenton Way.

Jaggi’s cuisine is the best Indian food I ever have outside of India. Surely there are a lot of great Indian places elsewhere, and I have not tasted all of them, but from my mere experience of a foodie and a trier Jaggi’s cuisine is fantastic, and if you are wondering, they have food for everyone including vegetarian or vegan.

Jaggi’s experience starts with the restaurant environment; within Shenton house food court it is located at the end of the alley right next to a Chicken Rice shop. The place is cozy, the kitchen is just behind the counter, and although there is a wall, the smell from the kitchen easily spread out in the eating room.

The way Jaggi’s works is similar to a cafeteria, where you go up and select from many items on display. My favorite combination is the mutton masala with rice, and cheese naan.


It is simple, easy to eat, and has great taste. The portion of rice in the image is half, ordering full give you a nice plate large enough for one person if hungry. The mutton masala is delicious; some might find it spicy, for some it has just the right dose. I loved it.

Oh, one last thing, a regular set of dish at Jaggi’s should not cost more than 10 SGD. That is pretty sweet considering the quality of the food.

Thailand and Thai people

Thailand is a nice country to visit, being the second economy in South East Asia after Singapore; it is quite developed compared to the region, and tourism is already well implemented. Thai people are genuinely nice and welcoming. The only thing I regret is they usually don’t speak English, so I found it quite hard to communicate with them. If I compare with Cambodia, which is poorer, people there speak English, I remember I could even joke with Cambodians kids.

When visiting Thailand, plan it for several days or weeks if possible, (it will probably depend on where you coming from). The country is large and although I’ve seen a bit of it there are many parts of the country I have miss. I can think of the Southern part known for its beaches or the North with places like Chang Mai where you can do a lot of outdoor activities among other things.

My last comment is about the food; it is good, better than good, exquisite.

They have it all, rice, noodles, meat, fish, spices, sauces, vegetables, fruits…you name it. I cannot remember a particular dish I like but generally speaking a foodie in Thailand will not be disappointed.

Cambodia and Cambodians

My thoughts on Cambodia and Cambodians…

Cambodia is a great country to visit; I highly recommend it to anyone visiting South East Asia. Despite the poverty, people are nice, friendly, and welcoming. I also think they are genuinely honest – of course you will sometimes bargain, but it is not comparable to other countries in South East Asia.

If you visit Cambodia, try to do it all, cities, villages, beach (I didn’t). Travel using buses, taxi, tuk-tuk, and boats if you can, and while exploring the country, try the Khmer cuisine. If you are an adventurer, and you meet the right tuk-tuk driver, you will even get to try real exotic food such as dog meat and local rice wine (2nd and 3rd picture).

Kampuchea as the locals call their country is an amazing place with plenty to do for all tastes.


It is a safe bet if you are looking for a trip with adventure, History, architecture, food, or just looking for an inspirational trip.