Category Archives: backpacking Vietnam

Breakfasts around the world while backpacking- by backpackies

As you travel and backpack around the globe, you will soon learn that breakfast is not having it at a ‘FAST FOOD’ joint!
Rather it is more about being more adventurous and heading out to find and eat what the locals have for breakfast.
Here is a list of what some people in their country eat. 🙂

backpackies breakfast

Are you dreaming about the Mc Donalds breakfast in your sleep??

backpackies backpacking asia

A full English Breakfast – it must have beans, sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, hash browns and toast. Of course, it should all be knocked back with a cup of tea, but black pudding is optional as far as I’m concerned.

backpackies backpacking asia

Breakfast in Iran – it usually features some sort of naan bread with butter and jam. When a light breakfast just isn’t going to hit the spot Iranians eat halim. Halim is a mixture of wheat, cinnamon, butter and sugar cooked with shredded meat in huge pots. You can eat it hot or cold. You can also see the Iranian version of an omelet here too.

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A Cuban wake up meal – usually consists of sweetened coffee with milk with a pinch of salt thrown in. The unique Cuban bread is toasted and buttered and cut into lengths to dunk in the coffee.

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Polish Breakfast – known locally as Jajecznica, a traditional Polish breakfast consists of scrambled eggs covered with slices of custom- made kielbasa and joined by two potato pancakes.

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 Quick Spanish breakfast – Pan a la Catalana, or Pan con Tomate, in Spain is simple but really delicious. Just rub some bread with fresh garlic and plenty of ripe tomato, then drizzle with olive oil and salt. Top with cheese, ham or sausage for an extra bit.

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A yummy Moroccan breakfast – usually consists of different breads with some chutney, jam, cheese or butter. They have a really delicious crumpet-style bread which they make in huge slabs for you to tear a bit off, and a semolina pancake bread called Baghir – both are really tasty.

backpackies backpacking asia

A healthy Hawaiian breakfast – I couldn’t imagine Hawaiians eating anything but fruit to be honest. Of course, there’s the bagel but I’m sure they’d burn the energy from that off in a few minutes on their surf board anyway.

Nope! Sweedish people do not eat Sweedish meatballs for breakfast!

backpackies backpacking asia

Swedish breakfast – often involves a Swedish pancake, known as a Pannkakor. It’s a thin flat cake made from batter and fried on both sides – much like a crepe. It’s usually served with a sweet, fruity filling.

backpackies backpacking asia

Icelandic breakfast cuisine – a hearty and hot breakfast to fight off the dark, icy mornings is what’s needed here. Hafragrautur, or oatmeal, is served with a sprinkle of brown sugar with a few raisins or nuts on top, perfect.

backpackies backpacking asia

Breakfast in Portugal – a delicious and simple affair with stuffed croissants and plenty of coffee served in the sun.

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Filed under Air Asia, backpacking, Backpacking Kuala Lumpur, Backpacking Langkawi, backpacking london, backpacking melaka, Backpacking Nepal, Backpacking Sarawak, backpacking Vietnam

Saigon Mini Hotel review by backpackies

We arrived in Hi Chi Minh aka Saigon on a late evening Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Clearing customs was pretty easy so it took us about 25 minutes from the time we landed, cleared customs, collected our bags before we were off on a prepaid taxi to town.

We took a taxi to apparently where the ‘backpackers hung out’ which was the “Western Quarter” on Pham Ngu Lao street in District 1.
Walking around we found Saigon Mini Hotel 1. Saigon Mini Hotels is actually a chain of hotels, so you have Saigon Mini Hotel 1,2,3 and 5. All of them are within the walking distance from each other. So if one didnt have any space, most likely you will be diverted to another one with similar rooms. Each hotel had different room types. Im not exactly sure which one has which. If you contact them via email, im sure they will put you up in the right one.
Looking at the location of Saigon Mini Hotels which was pretty near to the famous BEN THANH MARKET (the inside opens from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm; and the outside opens from that time till midnight) coupled with the fact that it was already late and that they only had only one room left available for the night. We took it!
We just couldn’t wait to start the next day as we heard a lot about Ben Thanh Market and all the delicious Vietnamese cuisine you could find there as well as the souvenirs to buy home.
The food at Ben Thanh were priced to cater for the tourists. And the souvenirs, you needed a third lung to bargain with the traders there. But that is another story.
So before resting our tired bodies on the bed, we as dedicated backpackies reviewers, decided it was only right to let you guys see, what the room looks like. Here is what we think.

saigon mini hotel

nice and simple sign board

saigon mini hotel

entrance to Saigon Mini Hotel 1

Make sure if you are out exploring the city, its best to bring along a hotel name card and a map. Just in case you need a taxi to take you back, at least you know the address or a phone number which you can call.

saigon mini hotel

the double room

The en suite room was air-conditioned because it would be madness to get a room without one. Bloody hot outside!

saigon mini hotel

the bed was soft and comfortable

The bed was just nice and soft, as were the pillows and sheets. Bliss! Oh i need to mention how nice and think the towels were too! Like what you usually get in 4 star hotels.

saigon mini hotel

a small tv with some local channels and a fridge

The fridge was very handy to keep the local wines at the supermarket or mini market.

saigon mini hotel

a kettle and a hair dryer

saigon mini hotel

the mini toilet with shower 😛

The rooms might be a little pricey for backpackers standard which is why we only stayed for one night.
We still stayed in the same area but in another dodgy-ier hotel. Will upload that next.
Till then if you are interested in staying here, here is the website. Saigon Mini Hotel
If you need more reviews, you can find them on Tripadvisor.

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Have a safe and fun trip where ever you are going!

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Filed under Air Asia, backpacking, backpacking Vietnam

Ben Tre and My Tho Tour in Ho Chin Minh with backpackies

Backpacking around Ho Chin Minh soon? Or if you are old school,we should actually say “Backpacking Saigon soon”?
We got feed back that the one day Mekong river tour wasn’t that good. So we asked the tour counter of which tour to follow. They recommended the Ben Tre and My Tho One day Tour. So we decided to go for it.
We referred to the Lonely Planet Guide, and apparently The Sinh Tourist Tour Company seems to be reliable and quite popular among travelers. So we decided to check it out.

backpacking saigon

The sinh tourist is famous and runs well-organized tours in Vietnam

There are brochures that come in different languages that explains the different tours that The Sinh Tourist Agency offers.
There are pictures on the walls but they don’t tell you much. Just a pretty picture of one of the places that you will be visiting in the tour. Most likely the photographer chose the best place and angle to take the picture, to give you the impression that it is a beautiful place. So as a tourist, you can’t really depend on the words and single picture framed up on the walls to tell you what you will be expecting during the tour. It is usually a sales gimmick!!
We hope you don’t mind, that this blog is a little too long, because we took everything and anything that could help you visualize what to expect on the Ben Tre and My Tho One Day Tour.

the sinh tourist tour

ben tre and my tho tour

The staff at the counter seemed helpful enough. We paid 240,000 dong (~13 USD) for the Ben Tre and My Tho Tour per person. We are about to know if was worth our money. Read on.

ben tre and my tho tour

queuing up to be served by English speaking tour staff

Instead of the usual blog of just telling you what to expect. We decided to do the tour, with a scenario. And today’s scenario is “What if you forgot to bring your slippers for the holiday and all you have are hotel bedroom free slippers” . So we try

ben tre and my tho tour

Doing the tour with disposable hotel bed slippers

At first when the slippers came out from the plastic bag, it was all new and comfortable. It seemed to draw a lot of attention from other tourists tho.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

Seem to stand out from the crowd in my slippers

On your receipt, you will be told what number is the tour bus, that you will be boarding. So take note and stay alert because plenty of times where they change the bus numbers, just to fill the buses up. So you might end up having to board another bus. So be attentive. Last thing you want is to be left out.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

Let the fun begin! All the tourists get hurdled in to air conditioned express buses

The bus ride took about 1 hour 30 minutes. Then you need to board a motorized wooden boat, that will take you up the Mekong River.

ben tre and my tho tour in vietnam

Taking the boat along the Mighty Mekong

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

Proving that the slippers are still on board!

The boat is a simple wooden boat. The cute thing about it is that there are wooden seats just put on top of the boat. So make sure you don’t topple over.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

all aboard!!!

Plenty of vegetation around the banks of the river. “The tour guide told us” that most of the plantations beside the river were palm trees and sea coconut plants.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

scene from the very front of the boat as it cruises along the Mekong

Please ignore the feet. The feet were enjoying the cool village breeze.

ben tre and my tho tour

Coconut plantations by the river side

We went under bridges and past locals riding bicycles going about their daily routine.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

panoramic view of the river

ben tre and my tho vietnam tour

drying coconut husks under the sun

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

view of the banks of the river

The  banks of the river is lined with sea coconuts.

ben tre and my tho vietnam tour

for those who haven't seen a sea coconut

After the boat ride. You will need to get off and walk through the village to have lunch.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

walking in the country side

Lunch is served at one of the local village huts. There are people there to serve you. Take note that the food is paid with the tour fee. But you will need to pay for the drinks. (So don’t go too happy when you see that they serve beer)

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

stopping at a local village hut for lunch

One of the specialties served is the fish that they call “Elephant Ear Fish”  that is found abundantly in the Mekong. Maybe the fish is flat and wide which reminds them of elephant ears 😀

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

Girl serving some "elephant ear fish"

Nicely decorated standing up, but a bit hard to eat. We ended up lying it down on its sides.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

elephant ear fish with Vietnamese spring rolls

You will be served with fresh fish wrapped with a thin rice film, with some rice noodles, mint leave, pineapple and cucumber strips. Dip it in the sweet and sour sauce for a yummy experience.

ben tre and my tho vietnam tour

wrapping up the "elephant ear fish meat" to make fresh spring rolls

Next on the menu is cat fish. Cat fish meat is very rich and has very high fat content. And it tastes very smooth when you put it into your mouth.

ben tre and my tho tour in vietnam

steamed rice with cat-fish and vegetables

P/s: Again we would like to stress that the meal comes with the price of the tour. But you will need to pay for your drinks. They serve can drinks and also beer.

After lunch, you will have to walk past coconut plantations and local village huts to the main road.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

taking a short walk with a full stomach

Then you get on the carts which are waiting for you. We saw the same cart, carrying a bunch of squealing pigs, most probably headed to the market. Got us thinking if the same cart ferrying us, was the same before it came and fetch us. O.o scary!

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

carted away on make shift carts attached to motorcycles is an experience

The ride was very refreshing because you get to see the local countryside and also enjoy the fresh breeze.

Here, you will get the chance to experience, how to row your own boat along the Mekong River, while you wear a Vietnamese conical hat!

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

after lunch you get to row your own boat along the Mekong!

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

6 to a boat. Of course they have a boat man sitting behind just to make sure you dont take all day to reach the other side

After competing to see who could row faster along the river. (This is a great place to take pictures of each other). It is hard to take pictures of your self because, a slight movement on the boat can cause it to rock really violently.

Next visit is the coconut candy factory! This is only one of the many produce from the coconuts they plant here.
This first picture shows a man, slowly stirring the coconut mixture to caramelize it.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

visiting the coconut candy factory

The caramelized paste is then molded into long strips and then manually cut into small cubes. Very delicious chewy cubes! Not too sweet and fragrant. Just the way we like it.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

Sticky yummy coconut candy! Fresh from the stirring pot! Sticks to the hand

Here they sell the wooden craft you can find in the markets in Saigon. What is interesting is the thin pancakes they sell. They have different flavors. There are free samples for you to try. You will need to BBQ or gently pan heat it to make it crispy. Goes well as a snack.

ben tre and my tho vietnam

Some souvenir shopping at the Coconut Candy factory

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

Tour guide explaining and selling coconut candy to the group

Offer offer he says. Buy 4 packets get 1 free. (Nice as souvenirs) However we did see some other coconut candy for sale in town that had better wrapping. The taste is the same.
The bottles on the left are coconut wine. It is similar to “Todi” or Coconut Liquor found in Malaysia. Warning: Coconut wine are very strong stuff. You can ask the guide for samples. Samples come in shot glasses.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

The visit to the coconut candy factory ends with: You get to sit down and sample the different local fruits and also fresh local honey

Clockwise: Round brown fruit: Longan, Pineapple, Dragon fruit, banana and rambutan.
After sampling the fruits and the coconut candy factory visit. You guys will take the slow big boat back home.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

taking the big boat back home

Plenty of scenery along the river. The river was a bit brownish, and dirty. Its amazing that the Vietnamese use the water for everyday usage.

ben tre and my tho tour

houses along the river

On the way back, the boat will make one last stop before heading home. A visit to the red brick factory. Here you will get to see how they make bricks in Vietnam.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

Last visit before heading back. A visit to the brick factory

Nothing goes to waste in Vietnam. Rice husks are being used as fuel to burn the fires in the kiln. Then the burnt husks are sold off as fertilizer for the crops.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

Man using rice husks to slowly burn and heat up the bricks

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

from inside the kiln, looking up!

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

red bricks being stacked in the kiln before being cooked for few months

After a short visit to the brick factory. Its time to head home.

ben tre and my tho tour vietnam

taking the river boat back

The  slippers SURVIVED!!!. Though half the thread has already come off. And the worse part of the trip was that it rained. We would be in deep trouble if the tour lasted another 2 hours. The mud kind of got the better of the slippers.

Overall: We fare the Ben Tre and My Tho tour trip, as relaxing with very little strenuous activities to do. If you love nature and would like to take a break from the “Chu Chi Tunnels” and horrific war torture and history attractions, then you might want to consider this tour. It was a one day relaxing tour!

If you are interested, you can always find any of the Sinh Tourist Tour Outlets at The Sinh Tourist .

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Filed under backpacking Vietnam