Cara eating Japanese food at Hokkaido

Following our time at the resorts, Melia in Ho Tram, New World Phu Quoc Resort, and the Sailing Club Signature Resort, it was time to finish up the holidays in the city. There’s no better way to continue eating than in Ho Chi Minh City, where you can order whatever you want to eat and go wherever you want to go from the press of the Grab app. Be sure to check out the Ho Chi Minh recommendations of what we ate below. 

Date Visited: Overall stay in Vietnam from 15th December 2023 to 3rd January 2024

Locations: Vietnam – Ho Tram, Phu Quoc and Ho Chi Minh

Getting There: London Gatwick to Ho Chi Minh City via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. A 14-hour flight with an unfortunate long layover, albeit at the expansive Istanbul airport. 

Cost: Return flights for were roughly £1,200 per person this year, booking made in March 2023. Accommodation varied depending on location. It was a mix of standard hotel rooms, serviced apartments and resort villas. Average prices varied between £200 to £450 per night, sleeping between 3 to 6 people, and made up the bulk of the overall holiday cost. Food and drinks were relatively cheap, especially while dining out.

Keep on eating

We decided to stay at Sedona Suites for a few nights after flying back from Phu Quoc. Main reason was for convenience since it’s above Saigon Centre where there’s plenty of shopping and food available. After eating so much seafood and Vietnamese food, Cara’s first meal there was McDonald’s. It’s roughly 30 minutes from the airport with traffic and offers convenience to shops, whether that’s the main shopping centre, or the markets like Ben Thanh. Be sure to practice your haggling skills if you do visit any of the markets. I’m not a huge shopper, but there’s plenty for everyone, including high grade knockoffs. 

For Cara, her favourites were all the ‘cute’ stores, Moji and Miniso. There’s a Miniso in London now, but at three times the price!

Cara shopping at Moji store Cara shopping at Moji store stationery

Cara enjoyed the stores that much, we went back twice!

Cara shopping at Moji store plushies

Food-wise, there’s anything and everything you want. From the quaint, eating on the side of the road street vendor, to the fancy sit down fine dining. During our stay, we opted to eat locally (within 10 minute walk of the suites). Meals included Chinese, lots of Japanese, and pizza. We ventured slightly further out to have Korean BBQ which you can find pretty much every few streets. List below of some Ho Chi Minh recommendations of the restaurants and outlets we ate. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for and don’t feel like venturing out, there’s plenty of options on the Grab app. 

Cara eating Japanese food at Hokkaido, Ho Chi Minh recommendations

The suites were comfortable and spacious, we opted for a 2 bedroom suite to share with grandparents. One big plus was it had a washer/dryer machine with laundry powder included, which meant we could enjoy fresh clothes. Breakfast in the morning is still way beyond those in UK hotels, but not as good as Melia or New World. The pool has plenty of room and wasn’t too cold. However, once the sun went behind the building, it did get slightly chilly. As with most accommodation in Vietnam, the service was friendly and prompt. 

Pool at Sedona Suites View from hotel

Celebrating in style

After a few nights at Sedona Suites, we switched to The Reverie Saigon for the final stay. Of all the stays, this was by far the most opulent of them all. With most rooms facing the river, it was ideal location to ring in 2024. On New Year’s Eve, the main road is closed off and packed with revellers enjoying the free concert and fireworks. Even on the 25th floor you can hear the hum of the music. We didn’t get breakfast with this stay, choosing to eat out each morning so unfortunately can’t provide too much feedback on the food. Cara did however try room service and said the penne pasta was ‘the best!’ They brought it in and set up a private dining table for her!

 Cara eating room service at Reverie Saigon View of NYE fireworks from The Reverie Saigon

The main reason we stayed there, in addition to celebrating New Years, was the pool. Warmer, yet still refreshing, compared to Sedona, and open until 10pm each night. Cara loved the night swims. There’s even a couple of hot baths, which were too hot for me. There’s also music if you pop your head under water. During the daytime, the staff bring you fresh fruit and water. 

Pool at The Reverie Saigon

Appreciate it’s not to everyone liking and budget, there are plenty of other great choices to stay at. The next time we come back we’ll most likely stay at the Sedona Suites as we found that more convenient and comfortable. Perhaps we can just sneak across the road to use The Reverie pool!

Not just eating

There’s plenty of other activities you can do as well. If it’s your first visit, be sure to hit all the historical sites. As it’s a hustle and bustle city, book some time out to pamper yourself. Cara and her cousins enjoyed getting their nails done, while I got a nice hour long head and body massage for about £10. 

Ho Chi Minh recommendations – Food visits:
  1. Banh Mi Huynh Hoa – famous bread roll with your choice of meats
  2. Yamazaki Bakery – various locations, but we went to the one in Saigon Centre. Their sugar toast and donuts were delicious and fluffy.
  3. Hokkaido – Japanese mainly service fresh sushi and seafood.
  4. Pizza 4Ps – if you’re missing Western cuisine, serves tasty pizzas with a variety, and some different, toppings.
  5. Boat Noodle – Thai cuisine. If you like crispy pork, try their deep fried pork. And for dessert, their mango sticky rice.
  6. Dim Tu Tac – Chinese serving dim sum and normal dishes, including roast meats. 
  7. Com Nieu Sai Gon – upmarket Vietnamese cuisine available at various locations, famous for their flying claypot rice.
  8. Bros Korea – Korean BBQ with good selection of meats and sides. 

Can’t wait to go back for another visit, but will need to detox and hit the gym before booking again. 

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve been before and have more suggestions of places to eat or shop for Cara!