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They say the best adventures are spontaneous. On the occasion, of a recent long weekend, I decided to take a leap of faith and travel solo for the first time to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam. And I must say, it was one of the best trips I have ever had. I learnt that travel is more than the places we see. It’s more about the people we explore it with and the memories we make along the journey. I came to realize that it’s about being fearless to taste the ultimate adventure we seek. In the end, we travel to take a break from the ordinary and understand life and ourselves better. This backpacker’s trip was a great way to step out of my comfort zone and introspect.

Ho Chi Minh City also known as Saigon- is a trending destination for backpackers. The food and accommodation are so cheap. The nightlife in HCMC is also lively and buzzing. Here are the best things to do in HCMC-

Staying in a Hostel

The hostel is the perfect place, which gives a backpacker vibe and where one can easily meet new people. I stayed at Saigon Inn in HCMC district 1- I really loved the location of this Hostel. It was right in the middle of the happening district of the city. Amazing staff and people, great rooftop parties and live music nights plus one free beer every day. On the first day itself, I made new friends in my dorm and later, we explored the city together.

Renting a scooter

HCMC seemed to be filled with far more scooters than cars on the streets. It was fun to watch endless streaming of scooters on the bustling street.  Renting a scooter in HCMC was a thrilling experience in the land of scooters. On the first day, five of us, rented a scooter and set off for our adventurous expedition.

War Remnants MuseumLocated in the District 3 of HCMC, War Remnants Museum is a popular site amongst the travelers. The way the museum conveyed its brutal effects on its own civilian victims in the war was powerful and strong. There were documentaries of US atrocities, photos of children who were exposed to chemicals, infantry military weapons which bring out the harsh reality of the horrific war ‘My Lai Massacre’ conducted between the US and Vietnam.

Cu Chi Tunnels

On the second day, we booked a half day tour in advance to the Cu Chi tunnel through a travel agency called The Sinh Tourist. Cu Chi tunnel is located approximately 70 Kms from Saigon. The 200 km long network of tunnels is a historical remnant of Vietnam’s liberation war. We got the hands-on experience to crawl inside these tunnels. I was quite fascinated by how Vietnamese people managed to live in these narrow secret tunnels during the war.

There is also an outdoor shooting range at Cu Chi. People who were interested could shoot guns like AK-47 and MK-16 with real ammunition. Those of you who know me, you know I wouldn’t miss such an adventurous opportunity. It was such an incredible and hair-raising experience to fire off AK-47 at the target. It was totally worth the price paid for the bullets.

Mekong Delta

On the third day, we booked a half day tour to Mekong Delta with the same travel agency. Mekong Delta is a water world located 86 km away from HCMC. We made stops at several places to gain insight into the rich Viet culture. Navigating through lush green coconut palms, floating veggie markets, Buddhist temples, rice paddy fields, mangroves, I found myself immersed in nature. We also got the chance to see traditional music performance.

Transport (Bus): VND 200,000 (USD 8.76)

Bui Vien Street

Bui Vien Street is a popular street for all the backpackers. This street has everything you need- Cute cafes, several food options for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, rooftop bars, clubs, souvenir shops. This was our go-to street for chilling and dining. At night, this street is full of energy, colorful lights, lively music and good vibes. On the last night, we also did a pub crawl – where we hopped onto different bars & clubs located in Bui Vien. We met interesting people and shared with each other our experiences, and of course, had some drinks with new friends.

 

Wish you guys safe adventures,

xoxo,

 

Who doesn’t love summer? We all know that summer comes with great bursts of spontaneity. A trip to the beach can be the best way to forget our troubles and discover new shores. Thailand, a place with its fascinating culture, people and shining temples. Did I mention the breathtaking white sand beaches, amazing cultural shows, the adventures and the water sports? A few days back, I went to the two main tourist destinations in Thailand- Krabi & Phuket. I came to a conclusion that these two places are too different from each other. Phuket is much more of a tourist hub and is known for water adventure sports and its cultural shows. For those who like to get away from the ordinary busy life, and seek spirituality in a rejuvenating atmosphere within its tropical jungles and limestones, Krabi is the place for you!

What made my trip, a memorable one:

1.  COCONUT WATER BY THE SEASHORE- Sipping natural Thai coconut water by the beach is one of the pleasant experiences that I had in Thailand. Coconut water keeps one away from dehydration in the humid weather of Thailand.

2.   SHOPPING AT AO NANG BEACH- I loved strolling around the colorful street market here, which welcomed me with its chill vibe and warm smiles of the people.  If you really want to experience what the local culture of Thailand, then a street would be one of the perfect places for you!  You’ll find local products here ranging from clothes to boho accessories. And yes, you can also bargain! There are all types of foods from Thai to Indian available here too.

3. ISLAND HOPPING- This was one of the BEST parts of the trip.  I just loved exploring a different range of Islands. And by the looks of it, I can say Thailand is a land of Islands! The islands here are famous for its recreational purposes, relaxation and plunging into new adventures. Phuket is well known for the base for all its Island trips, however, you can visit the same Islands through Krabi as well because Phuket and Krabi are only separated by the distinguished Phang Nga Bay. While I was in Krabi, I took one of the famous 4 Island trips (half day trip)  through a speed boat which included Phranang cave at Railay Beach ( One of the famous beaches in Krabi), Tup Island, Poda Island, Mor Island and Koh Gai (Chicken Island). I was fascinated by the individual beauty of each Island and different forms of limestones.  The islands were beautiful with clear white sand and lush greenery all around me. Those who were interested in snorkeling also got down in the clear water. While I was in Phuket, I took an Island trip to a famous tourist spot, an Island which was named after the featured 1974 James Bond movie “The man with a golden gun”. The world renowned  James Bond Island is especially known for its dramatic limestones set between the tropical forest and turquoise water.  We took a small boat to reach this Island from our ferry.

Discovering new shores at Koh Gai
Railay Beach
Poda Island
James Bond Island

4.  CHILLING BY THE POOL- I stayed at Amari Vogue, Krabi which is located beside the peaceful blue Andaman sea, in the most ultimate beach front setting at Tubkaek Beach, Chilling by the pool was refreshing and the ocean view through tropical paradise slowed down the pace of the time.

5. SUNSET EXPERIENCE AT TUBKAEK BEACH – I loved the feeling of freedom, which I experienced when I was sitting on one the rocks in this ultimate sunset experience at Tubkaek Beach in Krabi, I could feel the tides of the ocean stroking in between of my toes. The sound of waves, crashing on the rocks, helped me to let go of all thoughts and allowed me to appreciate the present.

6. COFFEE BY THE TUBKAEK  BEACH- A perfect beach escape comes with a coffee. There’s nothing like wearing an oversized T-shirt, listening to chic music and sipping on a cappuccino.

7. DINNER BY THE BEACH- What a delightful night it was, just to listen to waves of the ocean and have a delicious dinner with drinks at the open bar restaurant at Amari.

8. DESERT ON MY MIND- What on earth can be more magical than having a dessert with a loved one with a live music band in the backdrop?

9. THE SWING – Swings brings joy to all the ages! There are many swings and hammocks in islands around here. The swing below is located in the area of beautiful paradise Tubkaek Beach, This was my favorite place to go in the early mornings and evenings and reflect on myself.

10. PAMPERING MYSELF WITH SPA- A beach vacation also comes with a pursuit of self-rejuvenating, pampering oneself with luxury and relaxation of a spa.

Source: Breeze Spa at Amari Vogue, Krabi

11. CANOE ADVENTURE-  On our way to James Bond Island, we also got the opportunity for canoeing. This was an unforgettable adventure under the mysterious unseen world of caves and stalactites. 

12. PHUKET FANTASEA – Phuket Fantasea is a cultural theme park, which opens in evening till late night. It is known for its amazing fantasy show which shows the culture, music, magic, and dance put up by theater artists. I could not believe my eyes when I saw an elephant flying!

13. SIMON CABARET PHUKET– An exclusive Ladyboy show. I was really convinced by their makeup and dance.  Also, the high-tech sets, lights and oh boy did I mention their extravagant costumes?

14. EXPLORING THE ISLAND JUNGLE- A wise poet Henry David Thoreau said “Sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from any worldly engagements”. It’s true, that a daily dose of wildness can help maintain health and keep up with high spirits.

Hope, this summer brings you with unforgettable adventures and cherished moments with Family&Friends.

XOXO,