We came to Ho Chi Minh city for the New Year. We kind of picked a random place. We thought Ho Chi Minh may be exciting but we didn’t know anything about their new year celebration.
Like a typical large international city, the accommodations here are expensive especially comparing with our last place. An average hotel costs close to 40-50 Canadian dollars not including breakfast. The city is very big and the traffic is chaotic. There are some cheaper hotels in the remote areas but the transportation would cost a lot.
That was the morning of December 31. We sit in a crappy hotel close to the airport not sure what to do and where to go next. Our hotel search went like a disaster, nothing felt into our price range. We also checked about where to go for the new year and there were only a couple of blog posts talking about fancy hotels and restaurants which we can’t afford.
Yes, our last day of 2015 started not so great. Finally we decided to book a low-end hotel (still costs 32 dollars) in downtown area close to the river. It seems a central area and walking distance to some interesting places.
Of course the room was not so good. The room is old and the bed is sinking. At least we had something to laugh about. Rian was in a serious bad mood and I was trying my best to stay positive. Going out was a must at the moment. We didn’t have any plans, so just walked around the neighborhood.
Ho Chi Minh city is one of the biggest city in south east Asia and has the most population. No double it is a concrete jungle and a people sea. Walking on the streets didn’t make us feel very good either. I was overwhelmed by the millions of motorbikes and chaotic traffic. (Wait a moment, am I from China? Can I say the traffic here are worse than in China?)
We were a bit soothed eventually by finding a large park but we did have a few hours to kill until 12am.
OK, let’s look for a restaurant for dinner. We noticed quickly enough that we walked into in a fancy area where the malls selling Louis Vuitton and all the luxury stuff. The street view was beautiful. We spotted a couple of French restaurants(Ho Chi Minh is famous for French food) and realized something silly. We were in flip flops checking on the fancy French restaurant’s menu.
It was another moment we can joke about ourselves besides the sinking bed. We fast switched to a local pho (Vietnamese Noodles) fast food type of restaurant. Cheers and Happy New Year!:)
Things started get interesting after supper. The party feel began to rise. Actually the whole city seemed partying. The streets were full of people everywhere. We never seen such a massive motobike crowds. Can they really move?
We were walking and walking for maybe an hour. The crowds never ended. People were gathering everywhere, by the river, in front of Saigon Opera House, in the malls, by Rex Hotel… There was marching bands, live music on the streets hosted by a few hotels. It was exciting!
We kind of figured out there is a firework at Bitexco Financial Tower. I thought we could just stay by the river in front of Hotel Majestic to see the firework, but Rian saw some performance earlier in a city square by Phạm Ngũ Lão Street. So we decided to check it out.
It proved that we accidentally chose the right spot to celebrate the new year. By 11pm, the city square was fully packed. There were live DJs and other performers playing techno music. They handed out 10s of 1000s of lighted sticks and it became a massive public rave party. People were super excited and dancing crazily. We have never seen such a marvelous New Year celebration! We have been to Seattle for New Year’s Eve but it was not comparable at all. I even think that it may be a better experience than at New York Time Square at least the weather is too good to beat (32 degree!).
Our family had the BEST New Year’s Eve in Ho Chi Minh city. In the morning, we were even not sure why we came down here. The universe then told us this was why. Sometimes you just need to stay positive; the good thing will happen :).
Here is the map about where to walk around for New Year’s Eve. The fireworks happens at Bitexco Financial Tower and the best spot to watch is by the river close to Hotel Majestic besides all the fancy sky bars, but the city square by Phạm Ngũ Lão Street has the best party!