Posted in TRAVEL


“There’s nothing to do in Vietnam.”

I probably heard this from at least 3 friends after I’ve already booked my ticket to Vietnam. I thought I was in for an uneventful weekend but boy were my friends wrong! I had so much fun! True to its claim, Vietnam really is the hidden charm of Asia.


Country: VIETNAM

Currency: Dong

Exchange Rate: 10,000 Vietnamese Dong = 20.63 Philippine Pesos = 0.50 US Dollars

For easier mental computation since their bills can be overwhelming:

1) Take out the last 3 zeroes. Or divide Dong by 10,000 VND. [ 1,000,000 VND in your mind should become 1,000]

2) Multiply by 2. [1,000 x 2 = 2,000]

3) Answer is value of Dong in Pesos. [1 Million Dong is a little over 2 thousand pesos]

For benchmark, 1 beer in Vietnam is about 44PHP = 1USD.

Best to bring a calculator that can handle more than 8 digits.

Airport: Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon)

Estimated Expenses:

Manila to Ho Chi Minh City = 11,000PHP Plane Fare + 1,600PHP Travel Tax + 750PHP Terminal Fee = 13,250PHP / 300USD

Hotel =as low as 700PHP / 15USD per day

Meals = 150-300PHP / 7USD per day

Tours = 3,000PHP for 3 days/ 70USD

Shopping Money = 2,000PHP/ 50USD

TOTAL = P20,000 for 3 days/ 450USD

Days to stay in Vietnam: at least 3 days. Include Cambodia (to marvel at the Angkor Wat) in your itinerary and add 2 days.

What you can do by day:

Meet the monks at the Cai Dao Temple

Explore the cleverly-designed Cu Chi Tunnels  

Make a wish at the Notre Dame Cathedral

What you can do by night:

Taste the Bia Saigon at any bar along Pham Ngo Lao (Backpacker’s area)

Haggle with the friendly vendors at the Ben Tanh Night Market

Watch the Water Puppet Theatre Show 

Other cool things you can do:

Crash a wedding photo

Ride a cyclo

Dine like royalty at one of the floating restaurants then take your best “I’m the king of the world!” photo. 

Learn the art of “tea cup clicking”

Befriend a Wall’s ice cream man, borrow his bike and pose in front of the landmark Post Office

Take artsy photos of street vendors. Don’t forget to try the food they sell–from mangoes with chili dips to rice cakes, donuts, French baguettes to waffles!

Visit the War Remnants Museum and gain a deeper appreciation of your own freedom

Learn How to Cook and Spice up your Pho: 1)Put Tuong Den Pho soy sauce 2)Add chili sauce 3) Squeeze some lemon into the mix!

Souvenir Ideas:

Statement Tees and Customized Ai Daos (National Costume) 

Paintings, vases, plates made of cracked egg shells and mother of pearl

What I learned about Vietnam:

There are about 4Million scooters in Ho Chi Minh alone.

Their population is about 87Million (The Philippines is close to 90Million) and their GDP growth is one of the highest in Asia for the past 2 years.

Whenever they win a football game, the 4 Million motorbikes come out to the streets and celebrate!

There are no volcanoes and thus, earthquakes, in Vietnam. But the day they won against Brunei in football sure felt like one [motorcycle] seismic upheaval! 🙂

Generation Gap
Our Vietnam crew was composed of 4 kids (when I say kid, I mean my age. LOL) and 4 kids-at-heart. Regardless of age, we all felt like our stay was too short. Next time we come back, we will stay longer and go to the white sand beaches and waterfalls.


d. 🙂



Hi, I'm d. My blog, Cool Detour, is all about refreshing breaks from the usual. Follow me for travel, makeup, and lifestyle stories. :)

Thoughts on this one? I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s