Monday, August 30, 2010

Nhien Spa, Ho Chi Minh

Places like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam - you walk around the streets you see plenty of spa and massage places. They may range from the uber cheap (approx RM20 per hour) to the downright high class poshy spas.

Picked up some spa brochures in HCM yesterday but was recommended Nhien Spa - not sure if the lady gets commission from recommending them, but she did mention that they are reasonably priced with excellent service and popular amongst the tourists.

I decided to give it a go anyway as they offer free hotel pick up from District 1. (Call: 091 8169043 for reservation and free pick up).

The spa is only about 5 minutes drive from the Sofitel. The spa on first impression - nothing too impressive or attracted by it, but you will be greeted by friendly staff as you step into their spa.

A range of services are offered - from facial to massages and packages. I wanted to try the 1 hr ginger massage (USD 16) but the lady there cautioned that it may be too hot and suggested the hot stone at USD15 (which is more or less like the prices of a decent massage in KL). Tea and ginger sweets are served while the lady recommends you one of their many services offered.

Strangely, they had 2 people in the room all times during my massage, one to position the stones and help around and the masseur herself. She did a good job the whole 1 hour and pressure was just right (they would ask you before hand). It's probably one of the better hot stone massages I've tried. The best - they have that hot little beanie case they put to cover your eyes, totally relaxing. And if you tell them to focus at problem areas (back, shoulders e.g - they actually do listen)

Overall, it was a really relaxing experience and would love to go again if I have the time. Truly recommended if you're willing to pay a bit more and not fussed about an average looking spa.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

La Cantine, Ho Chi Minh

Thinking that HCM would have a strong French influence, of course we wanted to try some nice French food. To my surprise, not many people can actually give you a name of a decent French restaurant. Nevertheless, after asking around for almost a week, we stopped by La Cantine (On the 6) on Dong Khoi for lunch after Cu Chi tunnels on Saturday.

You could opt for either ala carte or the set menu. We opted for the cheapest set (USD 15++) on the 1st floor. Ground floor serves Vietnamese food mainly, we were told whilst 1st floor is Western/ French.
A post looking place with professional waiters/ waitresses, we sure hope the food would be as good as the place looks.
Bread and butter was served before the set. Boy, was it delicious. Fresh from the oven .
The starter was a choice between some vegetable (brocolli if I remember correctly) soup or Chicken Caesar Salad. The dressing was not too rich, greens were fresh and chicken portion just right.
Then we could choose between sea bass or beef. Although, we had ordered the beef bedium rare, it came out a tad too cooked, but nevertheless, the gravy was delicious. Beef however, was not as tender as we'd expected it to be.
Frofiterols for dessert. Best of the lunch! Topped with chocolate sauce and accompanied by ice cream - the perfect way to end a delightful Saturday lunch.
If you're not extremely particular about food, this is a good place to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon in HCM after a city tour or shopping around District 1.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pho 2000

I've decided to put a post on Pho 2000 instead of Vietnam House as dinner last night turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Have had much better stuff in HCM these few days and once I get around to it, will be putting up more stuff...

Pho 2000 - a franchise rest, should be one of A's must eat things in as soon as we checked into the hotel, we rested for a bit and headed out to take a look around Ben Thanh Market just about 1 km from our hotel. Pho 2000 situated beside this touristy market place was where we decided to have a late lunch. (BTW, Ben Thanh market - I was told you can actually bargain even if they put up displays of 'fixed price' - things there are not cheap)

Looks like a local joint but food is not dirt cheap there - reasonable though - I hope you can roughly gauge the prices from the menu picture I snapped. (USD1 approximately VND19,000). Sauteed Beef and Vermicelli -40,500 VND.
As we already had brunch on the plane, we opted for a not-that-heavy lunch, 2 of us, which consisted of fried prawn spring rolls (yups, can't run away from em in Vietnam), beef Pho and curry chicken with bread. Apart from Jakarta, I've never really seen Avocado juice anywhere else. HCM prob is the other place...

Overall, I thought food was pretty tasty, spring rolls - way better than the ones we get in KL. The curry chicken, however - probably I was not used to the taste, but I found it a wee bit too sweet. The pho - nothing to shout about but it's a good place to go if you want to get a quick inexpensive bite in a decent HCM restaurant.

XoXo - coming up will be pics from Cu Chi Tunnel and some awesome lunch....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Greetings from Ho Chi Minh

My very first pho meal at Pho 2000 in HCM - A's recommendation

It's been almost a week now in HCM and I have not had the time to blog because I have been so swarmed with work. A typical day includes work work work, lunch, work work work, dinner, back to hotel, work work work - ok throw in a little swimming, gym, sauna and steam at our very awesome Sofitel hotel (that Oh uses L'occitaine toiletries!)

TGIF. Probably may have to work over the weekend but it'd be great to check out Cu Chi tunnels, the Notre Dame and other local attractions - and of course locate a spa , desperately need that back massage, over the weekend. Have been having great food so far (very fresh seafood) but pictures will come later. We might head down to Vietnam House for some vietnamese food tonight and hopefully there'll be a foodie post soon.
I did manage to bar hop a little on Wednesday night with one of A's friends living in HCM for a little over 5 years now. Kinda reminds me of those agogo bars we see on TV. It's pretty cool really to sit on those stool-like chairs (but with cushion padding and you get to rest your back comfortably) by the roadside drinking a draft Tiger, with Viet music blaring in the background (or maybe even some English pop music) and just guessing the nationality of people passing by.....
Can't wait to start the weekend...bring it on baby!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Walk in FRIM

Did my maiden visit to FRIM (Forest Research Institut Malaysia) last Sunday after being a Malaysian for 28 (and oh well, almost 29 years now) last Sunday.
I must say it did come as a pleasant surprise and I really enjoyed walking through the many trails - climbing up the stairs, balancing my way through those high ropes, almost slipping at times. I'm normally more into the gym, dance stuff. Got lost on the way out and spent 1/2 and hour walking under the drizzle to locate the car park.

At the end of 3 hours (including getting lost), I must say that it's really enjoyable minus the 3 mozzie bites I got on my arm. Seriously, being this close to nature and observing all these wriggly crawlys on the ground might not be the best way to spend a Sunday morning, but when you're with the right group of company, it really makes all the difference! And the best part, it took me less than 1/2 hr to get there from home.

Still nursing an cough, I've decided to remain alcohol free before I infect another with this dreaded itchy cough.

XoXo..ending my post with a recent pic that really cracks me up now - of my son 'Bert' in an oversized robe.

Till my next post from Ho Chi Min. Off for 1 1/2 weeks soon for work! Can't wait to do some great food reviews then!

BTW here's a really good link:

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Fail Food Guide

Came across this site today..
Ha ha something refreshing...your guide to bad food!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

1-Altitude, Singapore

Yet again, I had the chance to go try out a spanking new place in Singapore, 1-Altitude on the rooftop of the UOB Building. Occupying the top 2 floors of UOB - I had some finger food and beer on the 61st floor (282). I have not managed to take any pictures because
1) again, I never expected to go off to some fancy looking bar after work in my awful work clothes and messy hair

2) kinda rude to snap away when you're out with people you arent that close with

All I can say about this place is that they have really tasty finger food and a wide selection of whiskey/alcohol....

Just took a quick look around Stella, one floor up, which is a fine-dining concept and finally to the top 1-Altitude. Just a view from the top I managed to snap. Really reminds me of the Lebua State Tower in Bangkok, but of course the view ain't as gorgeous.

Just did a google search on this place and a pretty good write up can be found at

Friday, August 6, 2010

OTTO Ristorante, Singapore

Never took any pictures when I was here last night.

Never expected to go to somewhere like this too - so left my ever faithful LX3 in the hotel.

Awesome little place and check it out if you're in Singapore.

They really have fantastic pizzas and super delicious cheese dips - and also guinness and erdingers on tap! Next time I'm in town, gonna head there for a decent meal and drinks.

Next stop Ho Chi Minh for work ...yeah baby! bring on those Pho!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Travels, Travels and Travels

I have been so caught up with my 'activities' in Singapore lately and hanging out with 'da gang' back in KL that I've got no time to blog. ** more like the lazy bug strikes**

I've been pretty excited the last couple of days mainly due to a few reasons:

1) 9 days more till ... (let's keep this a mystery for now, k!). After all the hiccups and what is, what not, my wait's finally paying offffff!!!

2) a last minute self-invite brings me on a family trip to Tokyo in October. Yippieee I'm estatic but going to be very broke after that. Been sorting out the air flights, my hotels etc. A colleague recommended this over the Gotemba outlets. Planning a trip to the hot springs in Hakone too! Wauw!!!

3) Got round to confirming the dates and countries for our biggest trip so far - to Europe (out of Asia we go), with the YellowChimp of course. 2011!!! All that Enrich frequent flyer miles expiring in 2011 will come in to good use finally!

4) Someone's also getting married in Bali in June 2011! And I'm invited....ha ha. Bloody awesome! Giving me an excuse to go on a short trip.

No more bags, no more shoes, well, less clothes for the remaining of the year.

Adios! Just 3 more days and back to KL for the long weekend! And 9 more days till I'm finally back in KL and enough of Singapore!