02 HONG KONG, VIETNAM, SINGAPORE – A Panorama A Day (Pt. II/II)
(Click HERE to view Pt. I/II of A Panorama A Day or HERE to go back to Vietnam+ 2015 photo albums)
PHO & SHOPPING DAY, Saigon, VN. Day 9. Enjoying a Vietnamese noodle soup with beef, a staple in our cuisine. What makes the food in Vietnam delicious is that everything is fresh as a result of the high volume of restaurant goers as well as the ingredients being grown locally.
GARDENS BY THE BAY, Singapore. Day 11. After spending a week in Saigon, I was on my way to Singapore to visit my former Contiki-mate in his hometown. An amazing tour guide, he took me around all the important districts in the city within a time frame of 12 hours. As a student of architecture, the most significant site was the Gardens by the Bay, a reclaimed land area that utilizes an integrated green and sustainable site strategy system and has won numerous awards and recognitions. This photo was inside the Flower Dome, a green house that houses hundreds of exotic flowers and local plants.
The Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay… the forested mound and the steel bracings made me feel like I was in Jurassic World.
BEACH EXCURSION, Mui Ne, VN. Day 13. After missing my flight to Phuket, Thailand and having a horrible time to and from Singapore Airport, I ended up foregoing my trip and made my way back to Saigon. Fortunately, things seemed to work out in my favour and I was able to join my cousin and her friend on a trip to Mui Ne beach, about three hours northeast of Saigon. We left around 2 AM in the morning and arrived for a cloudy sunrise at 6 AM.
It’s interesting to find a naturally formed dessert in Vietnam. The Mui Ne sand dunes is a must visit if you want to drive ATVs and sand sled. Just do your research before hand so you don’t get ripped off… as much.
Finally arrived to our spontaneous beach spot. Though the service was worse than 1 star, the seafood was extremely fresh. We had a couple of crabs and sea scallops from the South China Sea, with some beer (bia in Vietnamese) of course.
On our way back to Saigon, we stopped by Phan Thiet for some food and some photos.
MEKONG RIVER DELTA, Cai Be, VN. Day 15. The one thing that I really wanted to experience most this time around in Vietnam was to see and visit the fruit farms of the Mekong River Delta. What makes this area so great is that not only is it a very fertile region and is a mere 1 hour drive outside of Saigon, but is also a geographical trade area right in the heart of southeast Asia. It is also interesting to note that prior to these fruit farms, this area was once the former hideouts and battlegrounds of the Northern Vietnamese troops during the Vietnam War. Once the war was over, some of the Communist soldiers remained and settled here.
Making a small excursion through a fruit farm forest to get to a family friend’s relative’s plantation. Along the way you can see several fruit bearing trees such as coconuts, jackfruits, bananas, and rambutans. You can also spot several free-range chicken and duck that were running around as well.
Perhaps the most memorable moment in my trip was stumbling upon this irrigated rambutan swamp as we made our way through our excursion. Everywhere you looked, up, down, left, right, was filled with these furry red, lychee-like fruits. They were all ready to be picked and were sweet as can be. My only regret in this trip was not taking higher resolution photos of this area.
Back in Saigon after the Mekong excursions and at my grandmother’s place – where your home is your restaurant… and your restaurant is literally your home!
DISTRICT 4, Saigon, VN. Day 16. On my second last day, I spent a lot more time with family and with friends. This was also the last panorama that I took on my trip which shows the burgeoning Saigon skyline as the sun starts to set at my friend’s rooftop. The tallest building in the view is of course, the dynamic Bitexco Tower.