The Mussells + 2 take on Ho Chi Minh
By Shez Horn
Day One: Ho Chi Minh is calling!
The planning of our whole Vietnam adventure began when our amazing friends from Australia, Rob and Kel, decided to come and visit us, and the first thing we discovered was that travelling in a group of five people (soon to be six) can be challenging especially when two of the six are teenagers!
First impressions of Ho Chi Minh. Wow! I thought the traffic in Phnom Penh, Cambodia was hectic… but this is next level. The number of motos on the road is huge, crossing the road is definitely a physical challenge. The children are familiar with crossing busy roads but being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of traffic means that we had to really stick together and be aware of where everyone was.
Ho Chi Minh Challenge #1
We googled the address for our hotel and headed in the right direction thinking our driver should find it easily enough. WRONG he had no idea, we had to show him on the map where it was and unfortunately for us, our location appeared to be smack bang in the middle of an intersection. So much of Ho Chi Minh in little hidden laneways and we discovered that our accommodation was down one of these.
Ho Chi Minh Challenge #2
After finally finding our accommodation, we found that it had been closed for renovation, having, even though we had paid received confirmation of our booking and paid, we had no idea that this was going on.
Ho Chi Minh Win #1
As the booked accommodation was not available, they put us up at another hotel that was in a better location and brand new, so a win for us.
Trip Advisor was our bible throughout our whole Vietnam adventure and after settling in we headed out in search of food, before checking out the Ben Thanh markets. They are truly a wonder with plenty of souvenirs, clothes, the obligatory good luck cats and food. After being ‘marketed’ out, we found a great little rooftop bar which has amazing burgers per Niamh’s request and enjoyed some well deserved cocktails and an amazing view of the city in lights. Truly beautiful.
Day Two: Cu Chi Tunnels
We had another early start for the Cu Chi Tunnels, the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnamese War. When we arrived, we were taken through a long tunnel through to the area where the tunnels and information videos were shown. It was fascinating to see just how the tunnels were accessed by the soldiers during the war, and we had the opportunity to climb through the tunnels ourselves to experience just how difficult navigating them was. Niamh was uncomfortable with the first tunnel, but Declan was eager to challenge himself and gave it a go. We all went through the other tunnels and it was claustrophobic and dusty. It was so hard to imagine how they must have felt at war and see the horrific traps and devastating ways in which they fought in combat. After this, we opted to take a boat back to the city so we could see how people lived on the river.
Ho Chi Minh Win #2
After being in hospital in Bangkok for almost two weeks, Rach surprised us in the middle of the night and joined us for the rest of the Vietnam adventure. We had to be really conscious of her pain levels, but just to have her there completed our family, and our adventure in so many ways.
Day Three: Ticking off the ‘Must Dos’
We continued to navigate the city, with much more ease thanks to Grab! We only had the morning in Ho Chi Minh before heading north so hit up what we had left on the ‘must see spots’ in the city, beginning with the War Remnants Museum.
After the museum, the children were in total information overload, so we headed to the Jade Temple which was interesting to say the least. It’s a really fine example of a Vietnamese temple, but has an enormous enclosure with so many turtles! It really was totally random.