Vietnam Travel Diary #04: Last day in Ho Chi Minh City

We woke up in Ho Chi Minh City for the last time and headed to breakfast, where we ate a hearty helping of Pho. I got two pork balls in my broth, so I knew it was going to be a good day. We packed our bags and left them at the hotel reception, and we then travelled to the Buddhist Institute (Minh Dang Quang). We travelled by taxi and it took around 20 minutes. Our driver actually got a bit lost and dropped around the back of the institute which was completely walled off, so it took us about 15 minutes to walk all the way around and finally get inside! Once we were there though, it was a wonderful experience. It was a very hot day but we took our time exploring the grounds and climbing the many steps to the top of the institute.

Buddhist Institute Tower

Buddha Statue

Buddhist flags were lined like bunting all the way up towards top of the institute, and lotus flowers (Vietnam’s national flower) were placed all over the grounds. It was a really colourful, peaceful place. A gentle breeze blew the smell of intense around. As the city bustled around us, this seemed like a den of tranquillity and stillness.

The Buddhist Institute

Lotus Flower

When we got to the top of the institute we went into the alter room. The floor was cool and cold on my feet, and the entire room was quiet and peaceful. We sat on the cold floor of the alter room, calmly and mindfully resting and taking in the atmosphere.

In the Alter room

After exploring the rest of the institute, we headed back down to the entrance and got a taxi to Ben Thanh Market. Stepping out of the taxi and into the market was like going from 0-100 in a matter of seconds. After sitting in the taxi and letting the calm of the Buddhist institute wash over us, we then jumped head first into narrow rows of clothes and bags and jewellery and food. Ben Thanh Market was pretty intense at first. Sellers were very keen to approach us and beckon us towards their products. Eventually though, it became easier and we got used to the chaos.

I felt uncomfortable haggling, even though I was well aware that many of the starting prices were inflated because we were tourists. There’s just something about haggling that I am absolutely terrible at. Luckily my boyfriend is an amazing haggler and we realised that we could easily always walk away from a sale if things were becoming too overwhelming. I ended up buying some trousers from a woman who convinced me by saying “They have two pockets, the one’s you’re wearing now only have one pocket!” She was very observant and she had a point, it’s all about the pockets!

After getting a few souvenirs we headed back to the hotel and booked a taxi to take us to Saigon Railway Station. The concierge at the hotel was considerate and reminded us that we should eat some dinner before getting on the sleeper train. We headed to the station and got a quick bite to eat. As we were eating the heavens opened and it started to pour with rain.

Whilst we were at the station I spent a while searching for toilet paper; every travel blog and Vietnam travel guide seemed to suggest that this was a good idea, and they were right. If you’re taking a long train or bus journey in Vietnam then definitely take your own toilet paper. We then walked over the train tracks and onto the train. I’ll go into more detail about our journey on the sleeper train in the next blog. Next stop, Nha Trang!

To see my previous post about tasting Pho for the first time and seeing breathtaking views of Ho Chi Minh City click here


19 thoughts on “Vietnam Travel Diary #04: Last day in Ho Chi Minh City

  1. Ok now! I’m just going to follow your post. I can’t afford to take trips like this so I’m just going to live vicariously through you! 😂😂 This was a great post, and your pictures are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 😊 Vietnam is actually cheaper than you may think once you’re there! Hotels, food and travel are really reasonable. The flights were the most expensive aspect of the trip, which is frustrating for me since I’m terrified of flying, so that’s my least favourite part 😂 Sometimes I wish I had a teleportation machine, it would make travel so much cheaper and easier!

      1. Hmmm then I might look into it next year! Oh girl I can only imagine how that long flight was for you. I don’t mind flying but I definitely don’t want to be on the plan too long. But again beautiful pictures & detailed post

  2. Woow I would love to go to Ho Chi Minh City.. I have never been to such an intense Asia as China or. Hong Kong or Vietnam, only to Georgia, Russia and Armenia.
    About the haggling, it’s really great to know some basics, glad your boyfriend knows how to do this.. Mine isn’t really good at it, but I really enjoy it. I also noticed many westerners can’t do that at all.. They absolutely overpay. But good for the locals haha. 🙂

    Visit Glowing Passport

    1. Very true! I do wish I was good at haggling but I’m slowly getting better! Thanks for reading! I hope you visit Ho Chi Minh City one day! 🙂 x

  3. This looks great, I’ve been to Hanoi and the areas around there but didn’t go south to HCMC, I’d love to go from there to Cambodia next time. How was the weather when you went?

    1. We were in the South in August so the weather was very hot and humid! I’m from the UK so definitely felt the heat. We only got rain in Ho Chi Minh City on the last day for about an hour. Thanks for reading x

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