One of the reasons we wanted to go to Ho Chi Minh city was to buy bags, and we found all the bags that we wanted at Saigon Square. The bags here are much better than the selections at Ben Thanh Market. We actually didn't buy any bag at Ben Thanh, and we bought at least 5 bag each at Saigon Square.
Please do not ask me how we got here as I am so bad at directions, but we passed by Saigon Square during our City tour that day before and the boys were able to find it back the following day on foot (or you may check it here). Or you can just take a cab as it is just so cheap here but just remember to have VND with you. The place looks like our Greenhills or St. Francis Square and they have everything! Too bad I wasn't able to take photos as I was busy with shopping, hahaha! Its so cheap here! But as a tip: I suggest you convert your US$ to VND so as not to lose money in conversion.
So, anyway we bought a lot of North Face bags from US$20-25, as well as Kipling, Crumpler and some more 'pabili' that I can't recall right now. Though I bought 20 kilos for each of us for the trip back home, I am still afraid that we might need to pay for excess baggage!
We are actually very happy with our purchases as we researches the North Face bags and they seem to be original, or in great quality. The stall where we bought most of the bags is actually flocked by Pinoy biyaheras so we know we were good.
Sep 29, 2014
Full disclosure: I received a P1,000 Zalora online voucher for a writing gig that I did last month (and I used it for this purchase but this blog post is purely my experience that I am sharing with you). It was valid for one year and I can use it to purchase any item online ( except for no-sale brands and non-sale category). I already signed up at Zalora some time back but haven't had a chance to check out the site so when I received the voucher, I started checking out the items. And oh boy, was I glad that I did!
I first checked out the Jansport bags, then the clothes, then the shoes. I actually had a grand time putting items on My Bag when I liked something, and then I would go back and remove it when I changed my mind. I did this for 2 weeks, hahaha. I was actually about to check out with some flat shoes, umbrella and wallet, but decided against them at the last time. I had fun "window" shopping, hahahaha! It was quiet easy to remove and add items and when I logged on again last week, I checked out their women's clothes section and fell in love with these basic women blouses and bought 2. Then I finalized my order.
Its so easy I do not have to show you how to do it. Even easier than buying from Metrodeal, hehehe. So before finalizing my order, I entered my online voucher in the box where its says " gift certificate or promo code" and Voila! I just had to pay P98. There were may payment options but I opted to pay cash upon delivery. Then, on September 24, my order was placed and on-process. A minute after, I received an email that my order has been confirmed and delivery (which was Free by they way for purchases above P1,000) will be in 1-3 days. That was a Wednesday.
And surprise, surprise! By the following morning, I received an email that my order has been shipped, and at around 9-ish, they have arrived in my office! I paid the courier the P98 that I still owe them, sign some papers and went to my cube to check my orders! I was so excited! I took photos and then ripped the packaging to get my stuff.
Unfortunately, they were too big! I ordered L because I am a large. But my friend said that I should have checked if the sizes are in US because I would be a size smaller then. Good thing, they offer free return or exchange. So I immediately called their customer service and asked for a free pick-up of the items. I was instructed to fill up the form inside the package and indicate the replacement or exchange details so I changed my items to a M. Then the girl said that they will schedule the pick-up of the item.
I again received a email that my request for pick-up has been acknowledged. And the items were picked up by Friday afternoon.And then lo, and behold, the new items were delivered at around 2pm today, Monday. The woven blouses were in M sized as requested, and they came in this nice resealable bag.
So I again went to try them on, and now the size is just perfect. I was so happy with my purchase because the quality of the blouses were great and because I actually just paid P49 for each because of the voucher, and the even the shipping was free! I thought I would have a hard time exchanging the items but they were delivered just the following work day (pick-up on Friday and delivery again on Monday morning!)
So, yes I was very happy with my first Zalora shopping experience and I am sure to go shopping some more. Their prices are actually competitive. Their Fila rubber shoes on sale are the same with we have here at Robinsons Galleria. The Jansport bag on sale is even cheaper at P1,700. And my orders even came with another Fab P150 promo code that I can use in my next purchase!
And you can get 15% discount on your first purchase if you use this voucher: ZBAPz9R
Our full Day 5 and 6 were spent in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. We had the whole of Day 5 doing the tour and the whole of Day 6 to shop. Out flight was due to leave at 1am of Day 7 so we really had a full day of shopping. But on our Day 4 and 5, we already visited the night market in Ben Thahn which is the largest marketplace in HCM. There were just so many things to buy, and many places to eat!
I can't believe that I didn't have that much photos of the stuff that can be bought at Ben Thahn market. I think because I have my hands full with shopping so my camera and phones were stuffed inside the bag! In Ben Thanh, we were able to buy North Face jackets and hoodies, blouses and shirts, wallets and coin purses, ref magnet, caps and a lot more!
We also had our lunch here having some more (what else!) Noodles! It was a fun and tiring day, and we went back to our hotel for a little rest, then we went out again to Saigon Square for (what else again?) shopping!
Sep 28, 2014
We had 3 dinners in Vietnam, and 2 of them were spent at Com Tam Cali. First, because I already ate here with my friends in 2013, Two, because it was near our hotel and three, because it was good and the servings were huge. I think a meal costs around US$4-5 per person and they have an English-speaking server so it was a lot easier to order food.
Yep, they serve rice in different flavors, and they accept dollars so it was also convenient.
Our last stop for the DIY city tour was a stop at the Saigon Opera House or the Municipal Theatre. I think there was something going on inside as there were ushers by the lobby.
The architecture was just beautiful. I feel sorry for our own Metropolitan Theatre which sets in neglect while this one is so beautifully and functionally preserved!
In this area also was a beautiful hotel called the Caravel Hotel and premium shops like Louis Vuitton.
Next stop: Dinner
Sep 27, 2014
After seeing the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral, we walked a little more to see the Saigon Central Post Office. It was built when Vietnam was under French Rule and is done in Neoclassical style.
It is an actual post office by the way and is a tourist attraction as well where souvenir items are sold.
This was constructed by Gustave Eiffel of the Eiffel Tower! It's so grand, isn't it?
Sep 26, 2014
After that failed visit to the Reunification Palace, we walked some more towards the Notre Dame Cathedral. We passed a beautiful park and our first glimpse of the church made us stop and stare for a moment. The cathedral was beautiful!
Simply breathtaking! Too bad we were not able to attend a mass, but we did say a prayer of thanks for the chance to see it!
Just beautiful! And I have no more words! The bricks were said to be imported from France. Just beautiful.
Next stop: The Saigon Central Post Office
Sep 25, 2014
This was an epic fail! We didn't get to visit the inside of the Reunification Palace because it closes at 4pm. We took our sweet time at the War Remnants Museum, and then we had to walk a few blocks. So by the time we got there, they wouldn't let us in. Let us just all read about it here and here and here! Well, another reason to go back to Ho Chi Minh!
Next stop: Notre Dame Cathedral
Next stop: Notre Dame Cathedral
After the Cu Chi Tunnel tour, we asked to be dropped off at the War Remnants Museum. We paid an entrance fee (cheaper when you have VND Dong with you instead of USD) of VND15,000. It was a huge museum, with various floors and different displays. The outside was used to display military planes, tanks and helicopters used during the war.
Suffice it to say the visit to this museum was really, really depressing. Nobody ever really wins in a war and everybody is a casualty. Even unborn children of parents afflicted with the effects of Agent Orange suffered tremendously!
There were times when my breathing would hitch and I would have trouble suppressing a sob and a few did escape, especially when I saw the photos of the children. It was that depressing, yet educational at the same time.
The artwork above was made from materials from the war such as bombs, bullets, etc. And I couldn't stay a minute longer inside :(
Next stop: The Reunification Palace (fail!)
Sep 24, 2014
1. Thankfully spared from Typhoon Mario.
2. Emergency leave
3. Tokwa't baboy
4. Spicy lechon belly, but not the accompanying hyperacidity, hahahaha!
5. Done with my steroid medication
6. Almost done with 6 papers due on Saturday, yay!
7. No class last Saturday!
8. Warts removed, beautiful face restored, hahaha!
9. Bought and paid massage for the Superfriends! Yey!
To see how this started and for credits on the image, click here.