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Ho Chi Minh City Day 2: Notre Dame Cathedral & Saigon Central Post Office

Date of Visit: 2nd April 2012

Right after we done with the tour in Reunification Palace, we went and visited the two French colonial structures which can be seen not far away from Reunification Palace.

The first building that we came across was Notre Dame Cathedral, located right in the heart of this "Land of Motorcycles". Basically besides Reunification Palace, this well-known red bricks cathedral is also known to be another famous landmark and symbolic of Ho Chi Minh City and it attracts many tourist for its neo-Romanesque style architecture and a sacred atmosphere. To be frank, I fall in love instantly with this cathedral right from the beginning I saw it from far.

Notre Dame Cathedral 01
#1: Detail of a side of the basilica

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Ho Chi Minh City Day 2: Reunification Palace Saigon

Date of Visit: 2nd April 2012

Staying in District 1 of Saigon is the perfect choice cause most of those main and popular attractions were tucked around this area such as Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, Reunification Palace, Opera House, and War Remnants Museums. Once we done with scouting around Ben Thanh Market which offered wide range of souvenirs and mementos, we walked to Reunification Palace which we believed that it's not really that far away. Wandering around Ho Chi Minh City seems to be pretty safe but please make sure be extra careful on your belongings especially the valuable one. 

Reunification Palace 02
#1: The ticket hours - 07:30 am to 11:00 am and 1:00pm to 4:00 pm
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All Under One Roof In Ben Thanh Market

One thing I love about Thien Xuan Hotel, which was recommended by a friend of mine was because it was located so close to this largest marketplace that tucked in District 1 of the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh City. Almost every single day my friends and I never failed to visit Ben Thanh Market which is known as one of the most popular and famous symbol of Ho Chi Minh City. And I believed that no one ever leaves this shopping mecca empty-handed, even for those with no intention to shop initially.

Ben Thanh Market 01
#1: The infamous Ben Thanh Market

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Alone to Ho Chi Minh City & Stayed in Thien Xuan Hotel

Date of Visit: 01st April 2012

Initially, it was a trip of two. Then, it became four. Unfortunately one month before, one couldn't make it and so it became three. But how come at the end, only I alone to Ho Chi Minh City?

I went Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam less than a week after back from a week trip to Philippines last year. To be frank, I never thought of going Vietnam until one of my best friends proposed that she wanna go there just for their famous authentic and strong aroma coffee, and so I tried my luck for AirAsia's promotion and surprisingly, I managed to secure the deal that I think might be one of the best - a return for just RM146 as well for my return ticket via KK-KL-KK for just RM12.20 (when can you get this best deal anymore?). Then, when my collegemate know about this, she and her friend interested to join too but unfortunately by the time she wanna book the same flight as mine, the airfare had increased and I advised her to buy the night flight and so she did. Luckily my collegemate did bought cause one month before the trip, my best friend unable to join cause she will having exam on our travel period. Therefore, I went alone in the morning and waited for my collegemate and her friend at night in Ho Chi Minh City. Hereby, I can concluded that this is the first time I flew abroad alone without the companion of any friends of mine.

Vietnam 01
#1: The flight duration from Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) took 1 hour and 55 minutes. In between, Ho Chi Minh City is 1 hour behind Malaysia.

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7D6N Philippines Itinerary (2012)

Here is the compilation for all the post relating to my trip to Philippines last year for 7 days and 6 nights.

Day 1 (20th March 2012)

From Clark to Manila & Friendly Guesthouse (Accommodation)
7D6N Philippines Day 1 - Friendly Guesthouse
Although this guesthouse cost P400 (approx. to RM28) per night, but we had bad experience where one of my friends was attacked by bed bugs and there is no blanket provided in the dorm.

Day 2 (21st March 2012)

Tagaytay City & Taal Volcano
7D6N Philippines Day 2 - Tagaytay City & Taal Volcano
Taal Volcano, MushroomBurger, Sonya's Cottage Inn Bed & Breakfast, Bags of Bean Coffee Shop

Day 3 (22nd March 2012)

SM Mall of Asia
Day 3 - Philippines Mall of Asia 01

Day 4 (23rd March 2012)

Rizal Park
7D6N Philippines Day 3 - Rizal Park
- Admission fee for adult is P20 
- Between 8:00 pm to 8:30 pm, the admission fee is P50 cause these statues will become part of the light-and-sound presentation

Fort Santiago & Manila Cathedral
7D6N Philippines Day 3 - Fort Santiago & Manila Cathedral
- The admission fee for Fort Santiago is P75 (adult) and P50 (children and students)

Quiapo Market Manila, Jollibee, San Agustin Church and Casa Manila
7D6N Philippines Day 3 - Quiapo Market Manila, Jollibee, San Agustin Church & Casa Manila
- The admission fee for San Agustin Church is P100 whereas for Casa Manila is P75

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
Day 4 - Philippines American Cemetery and Memorial 01

The Singing Cooks & Waiters Restaurant
7D6N Philippines Day 3 - The Singing Cooks & Waiters Restaurant

Day 5 (24th March 2012)

Manila Ocean Park
7D6N Philippines Day 5 - Manila Ocean Park
- There are many kind of package rates that you can choose from and we opted for the PH900 (approx. to RM63) which includes entrance to Oceanarium, Sea Lion Show, Marine Life Habitat, Fish Spa, Jellies Exhibit, Trails to Antarctica and Musical Fountain Show.

Day 6 (25th March 2012)

7D6N Philippines Day 6 - Shopping Malls in Metro Manila

Day 7 (26th March 2012)

Farewell Philippines - KFC in Manila, Bus from Manila to Clark Airport & Airport Terminal Fee
7D6N Philippines Day 7 - Farewell Philippines
- From Pasay to Clark International Airport, it cost P450 (approx. to RM14)
- Airport tax is not included in the airfare, therefore must pay before depart

Extra Features

If you plan to hire a local tour guide/driver around Manila and maybe outskirt of the city, here is the detail and contact: 
Abel Dava - Contact through sending message via email to abeldava@yahoo.com or through mobile phone: +63 908 256 3818
He charged P3,500 for unlimited of time and this fee including petrol and parking fee. His car could fit up to 7 people. 

Finally I done with my Philippines travelogue. Oh boy! I still have so many travelogues in queue - Ho Chi Minh City, Bali, Hong Kong & Macau, Melbourne, Bangkok, Singapore-Malacca-KL, Johor Bahru, Bangkok (second visit), Siem Reap and the latest one, Hatyai! Wondering when will I ever to finish them. #facepalm

For more of my travel updates, follow me on Twitter and Instagram.
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    My Travel Haul & Expenses of Philippines (2012)

    Philippines might sounds like nothing to shop for but you will be shocked that there are plenty of shopping malls in Manila city itself. Although we didn't manage to visit of them, at least we did visit few of them such as SM Mall of Asia and even few malls which situated in Ayala Station. I had to admit that it's really hard for me to resist myself from shopping when I travel abroad but in the mean time, I did refrain myself from shopping too much cause I do have my own budget when comes to shopping.

    And now let me reveal what did I bought when throughout my 7 days and 6 nights trip in Philippines:

    Philippines' Haul 01
    #1: As usual, this is all my shopping and foods haul from Philippines.

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    Philippines Day 7: Farewell Philippines

    Date of Visit: 26th March 2012

    After spending a week in Philippines (mostly around Manila), it's time for us to pack our bag and leave this fun-going and adventurous country. And because our flight back to Kota Kinabalu was in the evening, therefore we still had more time to loiter around before going to the airport. Check-out from Friendly GuestHouse and brought along our heavy luggage to Robinsons Place Mall. Decided to have our brunch here as well as, another last minute shopping here. Really couldn't get enough of shopping!

    Day 7 - Philippines KFC 01
    #1: Decided to try their KFC cause it's totally different from our Malaysia KFC

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    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013

    One of the event that I won't miss out if I am around Sabah - non other than MATTA Fair, the no.1 travel and tourism fair in Malaysia. I went two years ago (click HERE) but as for last year, I didn't went because I was away for my trip. Fret not, cause MATTA Fair is happened annually and this year, it happened again for three days this year, starting from 5th of July until 7th of July at Suria Sabah.

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 01
    #1: Most of the booths are located on basement floor

    I can see this year MATTA Fair Sabah is mostly dominated by Malaysia Airlines. But as for AirAsia, Royal Brunei or even Malindo Air, I didn't spotted any of them this year. Wondering why?

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 02
    #2: Impressive exhibition booth of the world class airline located at the ground floor

    If you need advise, tips and guides, there are few booths of these tourim organisation to help in answering all your doubts and queries.

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 03
    #3: Taiwan Tourism Organisation

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 04
    #4: Korea Tourism Organsation

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 05
    #5: Macau Tourism Organisation

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 06
    #6: Wonderful Indonesia

    Besides that, this year exhibition booth for cruises are getting more and more compare to last few years. Mainly because the well-known cruise operator, Genting Hong Kong's Star Cruises will soon to homeport in Kota Kinabalu in this coming November.
     MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 07
    #7: Genting Hong Kong's Star Cruises

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 08
    #8: Trafalgar Cruise

    Besides cruises line, I also noticed that Muslim Packages in this fair are getting popular and offered by most of the travel agencies.

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 09
    #9: Affordable and friendly Muslim Package

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 10
    #10: Tabung Haji Travel Service - Never knew about this until now

    Oriental countries like Taiwan, Japan, China, Hong Kong & Korea seems to be the most popular and almost everyone favourite travel packages like every other years. Whereas Indochina countries like Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar seems to be limited of choices. Eventhough most of the offers were focus on outbound packages especially, there are few inbound available but not as much choices compare to the outbound packages. 

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 11
    #11: Borneo Rainforest Lodge - Adventure to Danum Valley

    MATTA Fair Sabah 2013 12
    #12: Borneo Paradise Holidays for Borneo Hospitality

    To be frank, I kinda prefer the one that held in Kuala Lumpur cause there are more booth especially on the  tourism board such as Japan and Thailand and even on the Korea Tourism Organisation booth itself, I tends to get more information, tips and guidance from them. My experience on MATTA Fair KL 2011 - click HERE.

    So for all KKians, what are you waiting for? Head over to Suria Sabah within this weekend to search for your perfect and ideal getaway that comes in a great and best travel deals during this MATTA Fair.
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