After a night of intense souvenir shopping at Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City and with our luggage firmly loaded with bags of jackfruit chips, Vietnamese coffee and other trinkets, we continued our exploration of Vietnam! An early morning rise and shine was in order since we had to do some travelling by bus. But first: Buffet breakfast!
In Malaysia, we don’t get to eat pork bacon at hotels because all establishments have to be Halal.Here in HCMC, I went nuts over the bacon strips, fried eggs fresh from the skillet done sunny side up, grilled tomatoes and pastries.
We stayed at New World Hotel Saigon, a posh place. It has a small casino next door catering to tourists. Vietnamese citizens are not allowed to gamble.
Had a big room all to myself with a king sized bed and like 15 channels to choose from. I felt much more comfy in HCMC than in Hanoi. It was too… quiet there. Here I could hear the thumping of the bass from at least five different clubs + the honking of vehicles, which slowly lulled me to sleep.
Pork everything and chocolate pancakes. Artery clogging goodness.
We then hopped on a bus to our next destination, Dai Nam Theme Park, which was a good two hour ride from the city. On the way there, we took in the sights of Ho Chi Minh City. So many bikes!
Đại Nam Văn Hiến is a tourist complex and theme park in Binh Duong Province. We were there on a weekday and the place was kind of dead. Most visitors were locals. The complex was huge, divided into several sections such as a ‘historical area’ where they had faux temples and statues of deities, a dry theme park, a wet theme park with the largest artificial sea in S/E Asia. We didn’t go in because the entry price was expensive. There is also a mini zoo in the area.
Visitors can rent tandem/single bicycles, but we decided to get some exercise after pigging it out at the buffet.
But the attractions were spaced so far apart, we finally decided to just go around in one of the free shuttle trains.
Large, elaborate structures showcasing mythical (?) figures. The signs were all in Vietnamese and the staff spoke little to no English, so we didn’t know what most of these buildings were. Visitors have to purchase tickets before going in each attraction.
One of the ‘wet’ rides. It looked really fun, but we hadn’t brought a change of clothes. And since we were writing for work, we stood at the balcony right opposite this ride to grab a pic of it coming down. The splash was HUGE and we had to dodge it just in time or risk being completely soaked.
Dai Nam’s theme park area was a bit of a disappointment because of the lack of signages and lack of staff who could communicate basic English. The rides were small and were few and far between. Perhaps the beach (which it is more famous for) would be a better bet, so skip the dry park altogether and just go there. The zoo was a slight redeeming point. We didn’t get to see the temple area, but I heard that it’s nice there. But for me, I don’t think it was worth the long trip from and back to HCMC – you’re better off just exploring other places nearby.
DAI NAM THEME PARK