Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hotel Review: Alcove Hotel - Ho Chi Minh City

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I've always loved boutique hotels. Aside from not being grand and huge, it's as simple and as chic. Yeah, sometimes we go le chic! 

Alcove hotel matched my Google search for a couple of minutes of realizing I want a boutique style, of course there were a couple of others, I chose this because I love it's interior from the photos as well as the books in the receiving area. I'm not a bookworm though, to those who are, check this out!

Cool eh?!
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The hotel is situated in a small neighborhood in between low-rise buildings but has a short distance passage way to the city. Once passed a couple of houses like 100m, you will see all the establishments that you might possibly need from grocery stores and restaurants. Even a small fruit vendor, we loved to get a fruit shake for 2 consecutive nights. The sugar was just right and I loved the sour sop and avocado shake.

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The lobby.


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Here's the room and accessories such as soap and shampoo. Sometimes we don't get to use them since we always bring our travel packs with our preferred brands. This room is their deluxe and it's the cheapest one but as you can see, it's very decent. The hallway is clean especially the room and bathroom.

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They call their restaurant, the Bookmark. They reserve dinner dates for your special occasions. 

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Free Breakfast: Though theere's not much to choose from since this is a small hotel.  There are like 3 menu available for breakfast which include their "pambansang meal" authentic vietnamese beef noodles, omelette, scrambled or sunny side up. Dry noodles. Congee. All three comes with drinks to choose from: coffee, milk or juice. 3 kinds of sliced fruits like dragon fruit, banana and watermelon that comes with the best-tasting yogurt I've tasted in my whole life. I wasn't exaggerating, it was the best yogurt but it's home-made.


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No issue with the heater nor the air conditioning. The staff were very friendly and approachable. You've got to see this hotel. It's conveniently near the airport and economical!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

War Remnants Museum - Ho Chi Minh City

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I can't believe it's been a month! I am pregnant with our first child and I've been couchsurfing on my own couch like forever. All I want to do all day is sit, sleep and eat. Anyway, enough of my current status. This entry is the continuation of our Ho Chi Minh City trip. 

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Remnants of War. If you're into musems, you will have a great time here. I am not a museum type but I can say that I had an interesting time well spent in this premise. Hubby was too eager to see the photographs on the wall as well as the unexploded grenades and bombs. I am aware of the gruesome reality of wars but there is always something more into it.

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The gate is where you pay for the ticket worth 2,000 Vietnam Dong. Armory displayed in and outside of the building. Outside are where all the helicopters and war tanks are. With a nice coffee shop on its side before you walk out of the premise. Once you stepped inside the building there are all kinds of collective pieces of papers like books, posters and souvenirs of all sorts are sold. 

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A three-tiered building with fascinating collections of military hardware. Each of the corners were exhibits of war paraphernalia, the incredible photos of warfare but rather sobering and as they say, the American war atrocities true stories.

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This is agent orange in a missile.

What's interesting in this museum for me is the story of Agent Orange whereas the walls reflects orange lights. It is like a bio warfare used by Americans to destroy the Vietnamese. It's not the soldiers that you will be more concerned about. It's the innocent people who catched all the hatred of the so-called enemies. Agent orange is mixture of chemicals with a soul purpose of endangering someone else's life. Not just human but including plants and animals. It was all devastation if you see the photos. After all the years have passed after the war, the effect of agent orange was still there. Residents were the one who suffered from the diseases like skin abnormalities and unlikeable genetic mutations. Affected babies were mostly posted in the walls and it was heartbreaking to think of war itself.

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It's not the time of playing blaming game now. War is something we don't need. (Affected pa rin hanggang ngayon!)


      Hours:     
      7:30 AM – 12:00 PM1:30 – 5:00 PM

      Phone:    +84 8 3930 6325
      Owners:  Government of Vietnam

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Streets of Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon was the name of this city was named after the Communist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. I didn't know until I went there and saw the huge banners with his photo in it. He ruled the foundation of the country of its being a democrat by defeating the French Union. The meaning? -- "bringer of light" - "enlightened will"; Chí meaning 'will' (or spirit), and Minh meaning 'light').


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Flight duration from Singapore is 2 hours and 5 minutes. We didn't plan this at all but we needed to go out for some reason. We probably booked the flight and hotel 3 days earlier and off we went. We immediately went to the taxi bay where a couple of red painted cars are lined-up. We hopped in and a woman dressed in a semi-Vietnamese themed dress gave us a small note of the cab's plate, just like the ones they give in Manila. When we arrived at the front of the hotel, we were having a hard time counting the bill since they amount of numbers here are high. We were showing the no-habla Ingles driver and had him took the supposedly right bill for us. He took about 200,000 something from us. We were feeling ripped off so we asked the warm-welcoming staff of the Alcove hotel where we stayed. Turned out, we were right, if converted he took about 6 more SG dollars from us. The staff were very helpful and called the taxi company to raise a complaint. As a return, they received a reply but the driver denied and said he only got the right fare. We didn't need to action further and let go. The staff advised to either go with Vinasun or Mailinh. They said it was safer, and they have honest drivers, turned out its true for we did not experience any more trouble for the rest of our stay.

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On the other news, we were too early and our room was not yet ready. We had to leave our stuff behind and had to go somewhere else.  Good thing there was also a this small brochure where there is a map to see some tourist attractions. We ended up seeing 50% of our to go to on this same day and came back to the hotel in the late afternoon.

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Ho Chi Minh City or Vietnam (as what I've heard) is the busiest street of scooters. Everyone probably 90% of its population are using motorcycles/scooters as their primary transportation. Everywhere you look, there are scooters. 

There's a lot of vendors selling local food and that familiar feeling of huzzle buzzle. The streets are just like of Manila.
 
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Street vendors are everywhere but I kinda like the establishments where they have their own distinct style of ambiance. Not too crowded compared to Manila but the weather is just as hot!

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Updated with a video taken approaching Ho Chi Minh City Hall
 
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