Molly clearly didn’t want to leave Hoi An and decided to fall asleep on our ginormous bed just moments before check out and our transfer back to Da Nang.
Marcus loved the airport and enthusiastically declared that all airports need to follow the same layout. We had a good flight (totally loving these short domestic flights!) and arrived in Ho Chi Minh City safely.
We had our first hotel issue. When we saw the beautiful room we realised that there would be no way that Molly’s cot would fit anywhere so we had to negotiate a new new at a new price. They wanted an additional $40 per night taking us way over budget!!! We managed to wrangle it down to an extra $20 in total so all parties ended up happy.
All the room swapping did take up some time so we jumped in a cab to take us to the nearby War Remnants museum before it closed. I knew it would be harrowing to see all the images but I hadn’t quite prepared myself for how emotional I would feel seeing the photos of the atrocities.
I had to leave the Requiem exhibition (a collection of photographs curated by Tim Parks) as quite frankly, I’d seen enough. Fortunately Molly slept through the entire place, it would have all gone over her head but we wanted to be respectful to the other patrons in the museum.
After seeing the museum we did feel like we needed to have a lift in mood. We headed towards the Saigon Centre and took Molly up to the 4th floor where her eyes lit up. TiniWorld. Ho Chi Minh City’s answer to kiddy heaven – so much more than soft play. The centre was heavily recommended to us by our NCT friend Lucy and the mum I met in Dingo Deli, Hoi An.
Molly couldn’t wait to get going and ran off before they could even put her wristband on. There were crazy coupes galore, a huge room designated for baby/toddlers, a cafe (with low cost food), book corner, crafts, sandpits, arcades, two soft play zones, barbie world, Thomas the tank engine zone, hot wheels tracks – the list is endless. Molly had an absolute blast and I wish we had these in London – especially as it only cost £2 for all of us!!
Due to the lack of time we decided to knock off the Mekong Delta on our itinerary and instead took in a walking tour of the city. It’s so very different to Hanoi and I’m surprised the two are often compared.
We ambled down D Le Cong Kieu, a thriving street full of antiques, tried to find Molly some sandals at a street market, saw the impressive Bitexco Financial Tower, statues of Tran Hung Dao and Ho Chi Minh…At Notre Dame Cathedral I came across a Vietnamese ‘The Amazing Race’ checkpoint which made me very happy – I miss that TV show!
After our pavement stomping Marcus took us into Shri for a completely ostentatious cocktail. Never seen anything like it! The views from this 23rd floor bar were incredible too.
After this jaunt we went our separate ways for a couple of hours. Molly and I took a looksie in the Reunification Palace which has some very kitch 60s decor! It is where the first tanks arrived in the mid 70s. Molly loved running around and thought it was hysterical to be chased when she went into the cordoned off rooms.
On our final day we headed north out of the city to the Cu Chi tunnels. Where the Viet Cong lived during the war. Seeing the traps made me feel quite squeamish. It was fun trying out the tunnels – if a little hot!!!
After a refreshing swim on the rooftop pool we headed to afternoon tea. All the sugar may have contributed to Molly’s hyperactivity that afternoon!
We had a delicious dinner at Ben Thanh street food market which was a fab way to end our trip to Vietnam. Molly loved dancing to the acoustic music in her new disco shoes (they were holding a party for Tet) and sampling the last tasty Vietnamese treats.
All in all we’ve had a great time in Vietnam. It very much wasn’t what I expected and I’m still undecided whether I’d rush back-if we did, I’d certainly spend more time in the Southern part of the country where the weather is better and the people are friendlier.