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Profile image Riffa Juffiasari tried pho hoa at Phở Hòa Pasteur 5 years agoHo Chi Minh City

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  • Long Weekend? Go On A Slow & Steady 3D2N Trip To Saigon

    What's the next best thing after chocolate ice cream? Let me give you a hint; it's a trip. With this 3D2N itinerary to Ho Chi Minh, get ready to experience a trip that will make you discover and explore the history of the country as well as its gastronomy. And count on us to get you some interesting addresses. Buckle up! Here we go. Day 1 Cu Chi Tunnels Start your adventure with a trip back in time, 1948 wartime. Be in the shoes of the Vietnamese soldiers, fighting for the people of Vietnam. During those hectic days, a 120km tunnel was dug underground, having enough space for them to live. Today, the Chu Chi Tunnels is a tourist attraction which shows the lifestyle of soldiers underground. Whilst you venture inside the tunnels, you'll discover living areas and kitchens. Don't forget to keep a lookout for the deadly traps they built for their enemies. **Disclaimer: Visitors with a tendency of being claustrophobic or may experience breathing problems should abstain from going inside the tunnel. Lunch at Shamsudin Cu Chi Restaurant Credit: Halal Food - Shamsudin Restaurant on Facebook After spending all morning outdoor at Chu Chi Tunnels, it's time to fuel up and hit the road for lunch! Located 20 mins away by car, Shamsuding Cu Chi Restaurant serves Malaysian dishes such as fried rice, traditional dishes, seafood and many more. Don't worry about your prayers! There are small rooms for visitors to perform their prayers.  Address: Nhà hàng gần trung tâm Q.1 địa chỉ tại 53 Hồ Hảo Hớn, P.Cô Giang, Q.1, Tp HCM và 761A Tinh Lo 15, Ben Dinh, Xa Nhuan Duc, Huyen Cu Chi. Ho Chi Minh City, VietnamOpening Hours: 6.30AM to 10.30 AM (Daily)Contact No.: +84 90 339 94 30 Facebook After a scrumptious meal, time to head back to the hotel and freshen up! Maybe you could even squeeze in a nap before dinner and your shopping spree at the Ben Thanh Market.  Dinner at Musa Kariem Restaurant Located along Malaysia Street, Musa Kariem Restaurant is definitely our favorite halal restaurant so far! They serve a mix of Malaysian cuisine, Thai cuisine,  and the local Vietnamese cuisine as well! Expect good food at affordable prices. Not to mention, they also come in filling portion sizes. Address: 47 Nguyễn An Ninh, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOpening Hours: 6AM to 11.30PM (Daily)Contact No.: +84 28 3823 9288 Facebook Cua Tay Ben Thanh Market Shop, shop & shop! In this part of Saigon, women go craaaazy over the cheap tailoring services. When you enter the market you'll find souvenirs that you can bring back home after your holiday. However, further in, you'll find tailoring services that offer a wide range of cloth together with tailoring services that absolutely affordable. Most tourist flock to this part of Saigon to splurge on tailor mad ethnic costumes such as the traditional Baju Kurung. Now, don't be surprised! These tailors are so efficient that they will be able to deliver your completed costume the next day to your hotel! Day 2 Mekong Delta Who doesn't enjoy a boat ride? Well, at the Mekong Delta, you're going to find much more than just a regular boat ride. The Mekong Delta is a floating market where you can find all kinds of fruits and flowers. Ride along this 40,000 square km long river and discover the originality of the markets which are by the way huge contributors to the economy of the country.  Halal Mekong Restaurant Hop on a tour package for today and sail your way to the Halal Mekong Restaurant. This restaurant mostly caters to large tour groups or family. They serve Malaysian cuisines that are prepared warm for you. Address: Thới Sơn, Châu Thành District, Tien Giang, VietnamOpening Hours: 8AM to 6PM (Daily)Facebook Then, head back to the hotel after spending the whole morning exploring the rural areas of Saigon. Get a quick bath and a nap before really diving into the real Ben Thanh Night Market! Dinner at Halal @ Saigon Located in District 1, Halal @ Saigon offers Vietnamese, Malaysian as well as Vegetarian Food. With dishes ranging from 50,000Đ (SGD 3) to 370,000Đ (SGD 21), Halal @ Saigon is perfect if you want a sharing meal or a one-serving meal.  Address: 31 Đông Du, District 1, Ho Chi Minh CityOpening Hours: 10AM to 10PM (Daily)Contact: 0901 442 773 Website | Email | Facebook  Banh Tahn Market We all travel to find unique souvenirs and discover the culture of a country. Banh Tahn Market happens to be the place to find local crafts, branded goods, and souvenirs. Don't hesitate to walk through the different stalls and discover what the Vietnamese lifestyle has to offer. And if you want to enjoy some local food, you'll find food stalls all around to enjoy the local cuisine. But the best part is at night, the whole market is magically transformed into a vibrant place at night, buzzing with life. Don't forget to get yourself a cup of Vietnamese Ice Coffee! You'll find a few sellers by the road with their mobile push cart. Day 3 War Remnant Museum If you want to travel back in time and understand those days when the war was still deeply anchored on the Vietnamese ground, look no further. Opened in 1975, the War Remnant Museum is a historical gem that has more than 20,000 documents and artifact, all providing a close look-up to the consequences of war. You will get to see films, as well as exhibits based on the theme of the day. Address: 28 Võ Văn Tần, Phường 6, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, VietnamOpening Hours: 7.30AM to 12.30PM | 1.30PM to 5PM  Contact No.: +84 28 3930 5587 Website | Email Pho Muslim After tiring walks in the sun and sightseeing, end off your day with some local food prepared with all the goodness that Vietnam has to offer. If you want to enjoy a good meal and have a culinary experience, Pho Muslim is the place to be. Get lazy and cozy at this small local restaurant which will surely maze you with its Vietnamese soups and for the more daring ones, you can order the spicy squid. Address: TK25/18 Đường Trần Hưng Đạo, Cầu Kho, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOpening Hours: 6AM to 12PM | 4AM to 10PM (Daily)Contact No.: +84 90 879 71 58 Lastly, to end off your trip, explore Ho Chi Minh City and walk along its busy streets. There you go! Have fun on your Ho Chi Minh City getaway!...

  • It's Time To Start Planning For Your 2019 Long Weekend Escapes From Singapore!

    As November looms around the corner, we are already on the homestretch of 2018! It doesn’t matter if you’ve had a fantastic year or not because we can always look forward to a new year full of hope and possibilities! Some of you have probably booked a flight for your year-end trip and just counting down the days to that long-awaited vacation. While waiting, you should try planning for great weekend getaways in 2019!  Great news: There are FOUR LONG WEEKENDS spread out across the year, making sure you'll always have that well-deserved break! Plan for your long weekend trips with our travel inspirations: 10 Muslim & Children Friendly Destinations To Visit in 2019! GOOD FRIDAY (19 - 21 April) Krabi, Thailand This is the perfect time to visit Krabi because it is just before the monsoon season where blackouts are a norm. This is your chance to relax on the beautiful beaches, go island hopping, indulge in dirt-cheap body massages, and feast on awesome Thai street food! If you prefer to live near Ao Nang beach, Ao Nang Princeville Resort is the place for you! Completely Muslim-friendly, this resort offers halal dining options so you never have to worry about finding halal food. Definitely a great place to stay because of its central location! In fact, this resort offers convenient Spa services, a restaurant, outdoor pool, hot tub, and a sun deck—perfect for lazy days! Address: 164 Rural Road Krabi 1010, Krabi Chang Wat Krabi 81180, ThailandContact: +66 75 637 971 VESAK DAY (18 - 20 May) Jakarta, Indonesia Picture: University of Melbourne Jakarta is a beautiful, bustling city that is great for a quick weekend getaway. Sometimes, we all need a shopping holiday and this is just the perfect place to get everything done under one roof! The iconic roundabout at the Selamat Datang Monument is the place for all things convenient because right beside it lies Plaza Indonesia, a shopping heaven for locals and tourists alike! For accomodation, you can stay at the Grand Hyatt Jakarta right next to Plaza Indonesia. Take as much rest as you can in their classy rooms so you have sufficient energy to shop till you drop right after. This grand hotel is decked with luxurious furnishings that will make you feel like royalty. They have all the amenities in place to ensure that you are comfortable throughout your stay. They offer a fitness center, room service, outdoor pool, laundry service, a spa, and even an airport shuttle! Address: Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.Kav. 28-30, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10350Contact: +62 21 29921234 NATIONAL DAY & HARI RAYA HAJI(9 August - 12 August) Bandung, Indonesia  Picture: OhFact! Coincidentally, National Day and Hari Raya Haji fall on the same weekend so this means that we are rewarded another long weekend. However, this time it's an even longer one that lasts for FOUR DAYS! Bandung is definitely perfect for a four-day getaway because it has so much to offer. Since we have covered beach destinations and shopping paradise so far, let’s head for some nature time as you bask in the beautiful landscapes that Bandung has to offer! Bandung is home to magnificient mountains, gorgeous green landscapes and many more natural tourist attractions such as Lake Patenggang—a picturesque lake with stunning views. Picture: GH Universal Hotel Bandung You’ve probably seen the GH Universal Hotel circulating around the internet—an architectural beauty right in the heart of Bandung with European-style (more accurately, Italian Renaissance) furnishings. You should try staying at this hotel at least once. You will feel like royalty from the moment you step into this beautiful plush accomodation. This hotel is fully equipped with an outdoor pool, a spa, a fitness center, a patisserie (yes, desserts!), a rooftop bistro offering majestic panoramic views of the city, and yes—airport shuttle! Address: Jl. DR. Setiabudhi No.376, Cidadap, Kota Bandung, Jawa Barat 40143Phone: +62 22 2010388 DEEPAVALI (26 - 28 October)  Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Picture: Consolato Generale Take a step back into history during your trip to this city. Ho Chi Minh City has so much to offer in terms of historical monuments. Make sure you set aside a day to see the Cu Chi Tunnels (and crawl in one too!) that the Vietnamese used during the Vietnam war. You should also visit Mekong Delta and marvel at the beautiful rivers while sipping a fresh coconut drink on a small boat. For café-lovers, this is a city filled with affordable cafes! Simply take a stroll down the city and you will find great cafes offering really refreshing coffees (yes, Vietnamese coffee) for your caffeine needs. Do visit the Café Apartments along the Saigon Walking Street. This historical building used to be a home to government and military personnels (also the only building that wasn’t bombed) but is now a hipster haven full of eclectic cafes. You will be greeted with majestic views of the city from the café balconies as you sip some good old Vietnamese coffee. Perfect for a late-night wind-down. Picture: Ostrovok This is a crowd favourite hotel because it is right next to Ben Thanh Market (The place to go to for your grocery needs and night market!) as well as the Malaysian Street. The Malaysian Street is packed with halal food options from Malaysian food to authentic Vietnamese food. You will be happy to know that some diners even offer free food delivery services right to your hotel! The hotel offers a spa, a fitness centre, and airport shuttle for your convenience. There are also a few major mosques nearby. Address: 289-291 Lý Tự Trọng, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamContact: +84 28 3828 2888 Start planning and get yourself ready to explore all these amazing getaway destinations in 2019! Read more about destinations to visit in 2019...

  • Explore The Heart Of Ho Chi Minh City As A Muslim Traveller

    Ho Chi Minh or Saigon as the locals still call it today is the most popular and largest city in Vietnam. Located in the southern part of the country, Ho Chi Minh was the last city to be recaptured by the Vietnamese during the American war in Vietnam which ended in the year 1975. Ho Chi Minh today is among the fastest growing cities in Asia with tourist flocking in to witness amongst others, the remains of the war besides shopping for inexpensive goods. Ho Chi Minh is separated by districts with the most popular being District One where you will find most of the tourist attractions there. Entering Ho Chi Minh, unlike the northern Vietnam where you can enjoy the usual four seasons, the weather in Ho Chi Minh is generally hot and humid all year round besides the occasional rainy season. You would need to wear something comfortable so that you will not be affected by the heat. The Bermudas will be a good choice for men while light clothing is recommended for ladies. Ho Chi Minh City as a whole is unexpectedly clean and this can be seen once you arrive at the airport. Although the technology may not be of the latest one the airport is sufficiently equipped and well maintained. Getting to the city from the Airport Picture Credit: spicegasm.com Ho Chi Minh City is also quite safe generally. Nevertheless, do not take things for granted and we have to always remember to respect one’s culture. The local currency is ‘Dong’ although US dollar is widely used. Ho Chi Minh international airport, Tan Son Nhat International is located just around 7 kilometres from District One. You can either take a public bus number 152 or a cab from the airport to get to District One. If you’re taking a taxi, go for the reliable metered cab (usually the big white ones named Vinasun) with metres starting at 10,000 Dong. Alternatively, you can also go on a motorbike especially if you are alone with no large luggage. These motorbikes are available outside the domestic airport nearby but you would need to ask around just to make sure that you are on the right bike. Where to stay Ho Chi Minh District One offers a lot of locally owned hotels besides the international five stars hotel like Sheraton, Hyatt, InterContinental and so on. Bookings are generally not required especially if you decide to just stay at the local hotels but to play safe, book it during holiday season such as during Christmas, New Year and so on. I would recommend you to stay at hotels along Le Thanh Thon Street as it is near the shopping belt area especially the Ben Thanh market, the main shopping area with night bazaars where you can get good and cheap stuff. All over Saigon, you'll see A&EM hotels at different streets of the city. The A&EM hotels are generally low priced and we recommend that you plan your stay at the A&Em Hotel just opposite the Ben Thanh Market. The Ben Thanh Night Market will open along the streets just outside the hotel. While the rooms may be small, it is definitely clean and comfortable for the right amount of people. For backpacker’s, guest house are available along Phan Ngu Lao Street. Please ensure that you carry around the hotel business card anywhere you go as not all taxi drivers understand English. Whenever you take a cab to go back to the hotel, just show the taxi driver the hotel business card. Moving around Ho Chi Minh's main transportation system is not fully developed yet. The roads are filled with thousands of motorcycles as the local's usual mode of transportation, which creates traffic jams, especially during peak hours. Busses and other four-wheel drives are fewer as compared to these bikes. In fact, bike rental is more popular than cars here in Ho Chi Minh with rates from USD $15 per day. There are also the traditional ‘Cyclo’ that can bring you around but be very careful with the prices as they may ask you for more money. Our recommendation is that you move around in foot as District One isn’t that big with all the attractions within a few hundred metres from one another. Alternatively, you may want to take a taxi during off-peak hours to move around in comfort. Where to eat There are more than 600 thousand Muslims in the whole of Vietnam made up mainly the Malay Champa communities similar to the ones in Cambodia. Halal food is available at certain locations in District One that serves both local and international cuisine. Dining out, by the way, can be considered more expensive by the locals. Halal@Saigon, 31 Dong Du Street Picture Credit: Adairoy Located just opposite the Indian Jamia Muslim Mosque is among the most popular in District one. The restaurant owner, Dr. Shimi from Malaysia started the business in the year 2009. The restaurant is certified halal by the local authority and serves some really nice local dishes besides Malaysian and western cuisine. Lion City Café & Restaurant, 45 Le Anh Xuan Street Picture Credit: Lion City This restaurant is a three-story restaurant is owned by a Chinese Singaporean, Mr. Harry Ang who had been at this location since the year 2000. Level 2 of the restaurant is (local) halal certified that can fit around 200 people. You can choose from more than 150 dishes covering the Malay cuisine, Chinese cuisine, seafood, etc. Malaysian Street It would be a waste if you miss this part of Saigon. The Malaysian Street is a food paradise for Muslim travelers in Saigon because the street is lined up Halal restaurants like Hjh. Basiroh, Kampung Melayu and Haji Osman. We definitely recommend the Restaurant Musa Kariem. If you happen to be from Malay Archipalego, you don't have to worry about adjusting your tastebuds in Vietnam because this restaurant offers both Malaysian and Vietnamese cuisines all under one roof You might even find yourselves going back to the restaurant everyday during your trip just because it is so convenient! The Malaysian Street is located adjacent to the Ben Thanh Wet Market. Super accessible if you're looking forward to continuing your shopping spree after a feast. Along the Malaysian Street you can also find hotels for your accommodation and travel agencies that hosts Muslim travellers. Where to pray The Indian Jamia Muslim mosque is located at 66 Dong Du Street and is near to the Sheraton hotel. The caretaker for this mosque, Imam Yusoff is a local Malay Champa Muslim and is of 95 years of age. The mosque was built in the year 1935 by the Indian Muslim immigrants who were working there at that time. The Friday sermon is delivered in both the Malay and local Vietnam language. Attractions not to be missed Cu Chi Tunnel Picture Credit: Chum Travel 45km from Ho Chi Minh. This underground tunnel located at Cu Chi is part of a larger network of underground connecting tunnels and is preserved by the government as a war memorial. This tunnel had been used during the Vietnam – American war where the Viet Cong guerrillas hid whenever a bomb was dropped and to do surprise counterattack once the bombing stop. The 250 km long underground tunnel was built in 1954 and could fit around six thousand people at any one time. The tunnel was used between six to seven hours per day during the war. The tunnel consists of 3 layers in term of depth. The first being 3 metres deep and the next ones 6 and 10. Due to its size engineered for local usage, the entrance to the tunnel would not fit a tall adult! To visit this very popular tourist attraction, book an inbound day tour from the many travel agent that could be found in district one.  Reunification Palace Picture Credit: Saigoneer This presidential palace that was built during the French occupancy and renamed after the war ended used to house the President of southern Vietnam that supported the Americans during the war. This is the actual site of where the war between Vietnam and American ended when a tanker from the northern forces crashes into the gates on 30 April 1975. Inside the palace compound, you could find many wars remains such as the strategic unit secret room, the escape route for the President, the official guest receiving area and many more. This palace is open for the public viewing but you need to get a ticket at the entrance to go in. Expect to take some really nice pictures here. Cultural Park This is a place where the local socialize. In the morning, this park is being used for sports activities such as jogging and practicing martial arts. Expect to see hundreds of local citizens moving and dancing. It is part of the local culture. Central Post Office or Opera House Picture Credit: Viet Fun travel If you love building architecture and design, this is the place to go. Both the Central Post Office and Opera House building is still in operation today and is located nearby each other. You could still buy local stamps at this post office and catch a play at the Opera house. Both buildings were built by the French. Shopping There are plenty of shopping malls available that you could visit which sells both local and international well-known brands. It covers both extremes. You can get a USD$ 5 ‘copy’ Coach bag or the real stuff at its boutique nearby at the usual international rate. Just be careful about this. There are also cases of snatch theft, especially at the night bazaars. Just keep on a lookout. Cho Ben Thanh (Ben Thanh Market) Picture Credit: Saigoneer This is the biggest and best place to shop. You could find thousands of items and souvenirs here from the hundreds of local shops available. In the morning, the wet market which is still active extends to the outside part of the market. Slightly later, the other part of the market opens and you could find items such as textiles, scarves, shawls, shirts, shoes, sportswear, children wear and many more available for sale. Ao Dai (pronounced as Aw Yai), a local popular daily costume is also available here. One thing good about buying these dresses is that they can tailor make it for you within 24 hours. At night, the external part of the market turns into a night bazaar. Stalls’ operating there closes late at night and may even extend till the wee hours. You could really get some good bargains here especially for items such as tee shirt, sportswear, undergarments, bags, local souvenirs and many more. Dong Khoi Street  Photo Credit: Where Is Fat Boy This street is the place for branded goods and well known international brands. Expect to see air conditioned departmental stores big enough just like in any other well-known cities in the world. Also available are the many cafes and eateries catered for the better off locals and expats. Pack your bags and don't hesitate visit the beautiful city of Saigon!...