Ho Chi Minh: Coffee Shops

31 March 2014

Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world, so trying out the local brew was on the top of our to-do list. Well, I'm not into coffee so my friend Abigail did all the drinking.

All of the coffee shops listed here are walking distance from the Liberty Central Hotel where we stayed.


The iced coffee that looked like coke. Their Vietnamese Coffee (VND 40,000) was so bitter that Abbie had to ask for extra ice (though she skipped the milk). I ordered the Watermelon Pressed Juice (VND 50,000) which was not too sweet.

We decided to share the Apple Crumble with cinnamon cream and berries (VND 80,000) and the Pulled Pork Baguette with BBQ sauce and coleslaw (VND 125,000) both of which were a little on the tart side.

We agreed that the baguette was just okay - enough flavour to say it tasted like something, but we wouldn't order it again. Maybe they should lessen the vinegar and make the meat more tender? As to the dessert, not sure where the berries were located, but Abbie liked it. For me, it needed more sugar.

I wouldn't mind going back though as I liked the décor and the place was cozy.

Trung Nguyên

This is the local version of Starbucks and they have branches everywhere. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures. Here Abbie ordered their hot drip coffee with condensed milk (VND 154,000) and we shared a cheesecake that our server suggested (VND 60,000). I wasn't too fond of the dessert as it had gelatin mixed in it - I prefer cheesecakes made purely of cream cheese.

i.d café

This was another nice place to just lounge around and talk to friends, though it was rather dim when we entered (maybe because it was cloudy outside?).

As to the coffee, Abigail had their version of Vietnamese Coffee (VND 60,000) and said that of all the java she's tried during our trip, the one served here was the best.

I ordered a Chocolate Cupcake (VND 40,000) which they served with tea water (really watery tea). The water was interesting though I doubt if it will be to everyone's taste. The cupcake was quite ordinary - not dry or too moist, neither bland nor too sweet.

Ho Chi Minh: Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel

24 March 2014

Every time I asked the concierge agent about taking a cab to go somewhere, he always told me not to bother and just walk. Yup, the hotel was so centrally located that, airport transfers aside, we only used a taxi on two occasions during our four day stay.

The tour guide that we hired even skipped going to the Bến Thành Market since it was literally just a few steps away from the hotel.

The hotel itself is nothing fancy, but all things considered, it was quite comfortable. The bathroom was basically clean, and while there were a few mold spots, there was nothing that would make you cringe in horror.

Their breakfast buffet was more than adequate - neither huge nor tiny. On the whole, breakfast was enjoyable, though with room for improvement as their fried rice was a bit dry, omelettes had too much oil, and the muffins were rather crunchy.

I would recommend this hotel to anyone looking for an affordable and convenient place to stay in Sài Gòn.

Fort Siloso

12 March 2014

One of the reasons why we chose to stay at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa was because it's next door to Fort Siloso.

As mentioned before, Earl loves anything related to World War II so this was definitely on our to-do list. We both enjoyed this tour and would recommend it to those who like history. I would suggest though that you board the tram at Beach Station so that you won't miss the interesting commentary as you drive through Sentosa island.

Silver Shell Cafe

07 March 2014

Remember the dinner buffet I mentioned in my last post? Well, it turns out that Saturday is seafood night at the Silver Shell Cafe.

The only thing I regret is not asking if they had lemon butter sauce as I couldn't find any, and it would been great with the shrimps.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa

02 March 2014

Earl and I decided to spend our seventh wedding anniversary at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa. They currently have the Rasa Family Fun promo which includes both breakfast and dinner for two adults and two children.

I compared the rate of a regular room with two buffet breakfasts, and it's just an additional SGD 65 for the promo. Basically, it's like paying SGD 65 for four dinner buffets inclusive of free-flowing soft drinks, chilled juices, house wine or beer. Considering the regular buffet price is SGD 90+ for just one person, that was a steal.

I liked the look of our room, but when we first entered, we found a note and a gift box addressed to another guest. The envelope had our room number written on it so it made us wonder if Front Desk had made a mistake. We called to inform them of the mix-up and after some time, they told us that we could keep the room and the box. Someone then came over to pick up the letter and also gave us a box of chocolates. That was nice - we now had Peranakan sweets and chocolate to start off our weekend aside from the usual fruit!

Oh, and the first round of drinks in the mini bar were all complimentary which was another point in the hotel's favor.

The next thing we noticed was that the room smelled musty. There was a small machine on the floor and when we asked about it, the housekeeping staff explained that was an electric air freshener. We turned it off soon after as we didn't think it was working.

The room was clean in the obvious places, but I noticed that there was a lot of dust in other areas. I always bring Lysol and alcohol with me to disinfect all the surfaces that we will be using (i.e. door knobs, telephones, faucets, etc.), and found quite a bit of dust in the gaps of the light switches. I don't remember seeing that in other hotels we've been to which is why I was surprised. But the clincher were the dust clumps hanging from the ceiling above the bathtub.

The view from our room was nice, and the service wasn't bad, but Earl was not too comfortable. The next day, he was already very vocal about going home as soon as possible. I think that the bed was not soft enough for him was a factor aside from the initial smell (which disappeared after I sanitized the place). He told me that it doesn't compare to our stay at the Parkroyal and I definitely agree with him since I loved the bed there.

Would we come back? Maybe once we have children and they have a similar promo as it's a pretty good deal especially if you have kids.