Experience · Ho Chi Minh City · Vietnam

AO Show – Best Cultural Show in Vietnam

It was Sunday afternoon and I was lazy to do anything. My friend was in Saigon so I was wondering what would she do for the afternoon. She told me about her plan to watch AO Show and then do massage at Miumiu Spa. I know for sure I can’t do massage because this spa is very famous and always fully booked during weekend. My friend got her spot on 7.30pm. Then how about AO Show? That show is very famous as well and sometime people need to buy the ticket several months ahead of their performance time.

My friend told me that she bought the ticket already online at their website. I was late to check and the online booking was closed already! It was 3.40 pm when I checked, for the 6 pm show. I guess they are closed about 3 hours before the show. It said I need to go to ticket counter directly before the show to check available seat. Oh well..

AO Show Price List

I met my friend at cafe Runam Dór next to cathedral around 4.45 pm. My friend was told to take her ticket at the ticket box in front of the opera at 5.30 pm the latest. After a quick meal, we walked to Saigon Opera House and reached it before 5.30 pm. There are 2 locations at the entrance of the opera to get the tickets. The one on the left (there are 2 counters) is for direct selling before the show, and the other one on the right is to exchange online ticket to real ticket.

Luckily, the seat next to my friend was not taken yet so I bought that one. There are 3 types of prices, depending on which area you want to sit. You can check for the price on their website. They are not available every day, so better do your research before go to Opera House. There are other shows available to watch as well if you accidentally forgot to check the website. But worst case, no show at all on that day.

We bought tickets for W (wow) zone so we got a welcome drink to enjoy before the show started. The options are wine (white or red) or tea. If we chose tea, we would get a traditional snack as well. We picked white wine. It was the Dalat wine. We took a selfie with the AO Show logo and hanging around a bit before went upstairs to our seats.

welcome drink AO show

W zone is located on the 1st floor. Two persons greeted us at the 1st floor’s entrance and ushered us to our seats. Finally got a chance to see the inside of the Opera House! We took some photos before the show begun. We were not allowed to use our phone or camera once the show begin.

Our seats had a not-so-bad view to the stage, but for next time I will choose a different seats. Now that I’ve been inside, I can tell which seats have a good view. The A zone is the cheapest, the view is not on the center of the stage unless you chose between A 9 until A 22. BUT, they are in 2nd floor which will be too high to see for my taste. For the O zone, I think the best one are around E 1-10 until J 1-10. A very center view and just in appropriate distance from the stage. And last, for W zone, it would be around E 11-21 and C 15-24. For me these seats have the best view to watch the show. If you can’t get it, then a little bit to the side is okay, just be aware of the position of the pillar.



Saigon Opera House interior

Before the show started, I moved to D8 on first floor. There is a pillar near by and it really blocked some of my view. I needed to sit a bit up front to see the whole stage, couldn’t relax 😦 Good thing the show was really awesome!

I love the choreography, the acrobatic action, the story line (theme), and especially their teamwork. They played around with bamboo sticks, with bamboo baskets, and other properties. It was well organized and well played. There were times when I opened my mouth and made a sound “wow”. There were times that I laughed. Over all it was very entertaining and well designed. I think every one who visited Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi) should watch this show.

After the show end, visitor can take a group photo with all the performers. It would be a nice memory to keep! Having a photo taken with all those talented young people.

Group Photo after the show

Awesome job to all the AO Show performers!

Have you watched it yourself? What do you think about the show? Let me know in the comment!


Experience · Food · Travel · Vietnam

Mui Ne – A Short Getaway

Have you been to Mui Ne? Do you know where Mui Ne is? To be honest, I never heard of this city before. I heard it from my friends and they said it’s really nice to relax there. Mui Ne is a small city in the north of Ho Chi Minh City. You can reach there via train or car. I used a car, and it took me around 4 hours of driving. There are some hotels which allow pet as well. One of them is the place where I stayed, Canary Beach Resort. They allow pet in the resort and their private beach, but preferably small pets.

Many expat friends recommended Coco Beach resort for being pet friendly. I checked their price and it was very expensive! USD 510 for 3 nights for a 3-star hotel. While at Canary Beach Hotel, I spent USD 240 for 3 nights. Although we didn’t have our private bungalow, I think the room is very comfortable and big! I asked for 2 single beds, and I got 2 queen-sized bed! We have our own balcony as well with sea view (yes, I chose sea view over garden view! :D).

Our hotel area is not big but really nice. It has swimming pool, breakfast buffet and private beach.

At first I wanted to make a day-to-day journal for this trip, but I will skip it and just make it easier to look at, which is where to eat and what to do in Mui Ne. That is the most frequently asked question when we go on a trip 😀

Now let’s start with what to do in Mui Ne. The city is small so there aren’t many things to do there. These are what we did on our trip :

  • Relaxing on beach, enjoying sunset

Of course! It’s a trip to the beach.You can’t miss the sunset (and sunrise, if you want). Relaxing on the beach, or swimming, or playing with sands, anything!


  • Red Sand Dunes

This one is a must-visit spot in Mui Ne. A beautiful red sand dunes in the middle of city. Don’t go there between 10.00 am til 4.00 pm because it will really hot. We went there around 10.30 am and the sands were really hot! Use sandals when you come to this place. There were some local people trying to get us rent a board for sliding on the dunes. I bet it’s really fun to do that, but we couldn’t do it because we had our dogs with us and it was very hot as well. Didn’t want to get a sun burn. A sunblock cream / lotion is a must here. We also read on some reviews that this place is good to enjoy sunset.


  • White Sand Dunes

White Sand Dunes is a little far from resort area. It’s about 30 minutes to get there and need to ask the way from local people. I think google map has it as well but it was different location, better ask local.

It’s also known as white lake, because there is a beautiful lake next to it. We need to pay for entrance ticket and parking ticket (if you bring car). The lake is really beautiful. I couldn’t stopped taking pictures.

We can rent an ATV. There are 2 types of vehicles, small one and big one. They have different price, and it depends on how long you rent it as well. We didn’t rent it because we were in a hurry when we were there (it was 12.00 pm! hungry tummy :()

We kept walking on the sand between trees until we reached the dunes. It was really beautiful! It must be nice to stay longer there and explore around with the ATV. Maybe next time I’ll do it! They said that it is a good place to watch sunset as well.



  • Fairy Stream

This place has many entrance which are connected to each other. You can go from any entrance you want. Just find the one nearest from your resort. We found one very close from Canary Beach Hotel, it was on the opposite side. We need to pay for 5.000 vnd for them to keep our shoes/sandals. Note : better use sandals if possible. And then you just need to follow the path there (or follow the people :D). We had no idea which way to go, but we saw many people went to right direction, so we followed them. And it was the right decision! First part will make you question what’s so special about this place. Just a normal river with very shallow flowing water.

And slowly you will enter a new area with natural stones, amazing job by nature.

And next up is the most beautiful part of Fairy Stream. Sands, stones, water and grass all together making a very beautiful view.

My friend read on one of the review that there is a mini waterfall at the end of path. So we tried to reach there but we gave up on the way. Too much water and the area was not nice anymore. We took a note that after the first area where you need to cross a knee-high water, just go back to entrance because there’s nothing to see anymore. The mini waterfall also less tempting compared to avoiding the muddy water on the way.

Stop after you see this area.


  • Champa Temple

Champa Temple is a bonus visit. We didn’t plan to go here, but since we’re in the neighborhood we stopped by. We had to walk to the hill to see the temple. After the entrance there is an area with many statue and intended for praying.

And at the top, there are 2 temple and a rest area. It has a beautiful view to the city.


We also need to know places to eat around Mui Ne. I used Tripadvisor and Foursquare to find a restaurant and see the review or recommendation. These are the restaurant we went during the trip :

  • Sandals Restaurant @ MIA Mui Ne

This restaurant has a really good review. It is located inside MIA Resort, a 4-stars resort. The resort looks really nice and clean. We didn’t find this on our search before because they don’t allow pet here.

It looks luxurious lol. I told my friend this restaurant can’t be cheap by looking at the exterior of this resort. But at least the reviews said the food is good.

These are the food we ordered that night. The grilled scallop was so-so, but risotto mushroom was really really yummy! I was never a fan of risotto, but I like this one very much. Their brownies was so-so as well, too sweet for my taste.

  • Bao Tran Restaurant (Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street)

We were looking for Bao Tram (from Foursquare), a Vietnamese restaurant, but ended up at Bao Tran, also selling Vietnamese food. The owner was really friendly and helpful. The food was so-so, but good price. _DSC5552

  • Bao Tran Guesthouse (89 Huynh thunc khang)

This one is close from our resort. It was quite famous in backpackers group. We tried fried fish and also veggies spring roll. Food was so-so, but cheap. Maybe we should’ve tried their grilled fish. It looked delicious and smelled yummy as well!


  • Sindbad (233 Nguyen Dinh Chieu)

This restaurant is number 1 on tripadvisor for restaurant in Mui Ne lol. A middle east restaurant, selling kebab. But I must admit their kebab was really tasty. It also come in big portion, even for the small size. And the price was quite cheap as well, so it was really a good deal for meal.


  • Bo Ke Lam Vien

There are many seafood restaurants along Nguyen Dinh Chieu street. We had a hard time to pick one because all of them looked crowded. Our driver dropped us at Mr Crab, he said it is the most famous restaurant there. But I was hesitating because the review of that place is so-so, and also the night before I saw another restaurant really crowded. So we decided to move to Bo Ke Lam Vien.



We ordered several dishes for just the 2 of us! They cooked it very well. Our favorite was scallop with butter and green onion, and grilled squid. The fish with lemongrass was actually not bad, but it was a bit bland, need to add some soy sauce. Shrimp tempura was so fail in term of shape lol. It was not like the one we were imagined. The last dish, baby squid with lemongrass, chilli and garlic was good to eat with steam rice. We didn’t order rice so it was tasted a bit too much of spices for us. But overall the foods were yummy! Happy tummy on last night in Mui Ne.


That’s all I can share about my trip to Mui Ne. Thank you for reading this very long post lol. Will update you on my next trip 😉 Ciao!

Experience · Food · Travel · Vietnam

Da Nang Trip Diary – Day 1

This is it, the tour day. Started with breakfast at hotel. We got breakfast included in room rate so it’s very convenient because we didn’t have to go out to find breakfast. The food from hotel was okay. Many choices to eat. For the drink, you can get from drink counter or order ice coffee to the waitress.

We were supposed to meet a friend and her family today. She will be arrive at 10.30 am. While waiting, we decided to walk around the hotel towards river area. The view was really nice. Should go there at night or at least choose a hotel with this view. I heard the skybar in Novotel Hotel has the best view of the river, but I didn’t have chance to try it. The weather was really nice, the sun was sooo bright I felt really hot.

We walked back to hotel, and met our friend. The tour guide was already arrived as well. We introduced ourselves, talked for a bit and ready to go. The tour guide told us to bring warm clothes or jacket because it’s going to be cold on BaNa Hills. So we brought our jacket and ready to go for the adventure!

But before that, we had to have lunch first, early lunch at 11.00 am. The tour guide brought us to Apsara, a Hindu restaurant. They are serving vietnamese food, and it’s good. The menu was already been decided by the tour, so we only need to wait for the food to came out.

They were all delicious! Tummy full and it was time to go to BaNa Hills.

We arrived at BaNa Hills Mountain Resort after 45 mins driving, not so far from the city. We need to take cable car to reach the resort. The entrance fee for adult tourist is 550.000 vnd. For more details, you can check on BaNa Hills website. The cable car there got a guinness book of record certificate for being the longest and the highest cable car. It is 5 km long and 1.2 km high!

One cable car can fit 8 adults, so our small tour can get into 1 cable car together. Our tour guide said it can fit 10 adults, but as we sat in it we thought it’s not possible lol. The cable car moved quite fast! Even faster than the one in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong. It swing a bit too, maybe because of the wind. I was scared sometime when it swing. The view is really gorgeous, I can see mountain, river, waterfall, forest. Enough to differ my attention from the swing. Too bad it was raining half way to the top, couldn’t take picture nicely cos of the water on the cable car’s glass.

bana hills cable car

The journey took around 20 mins. Yes, it is long. If you are afraid of height or acrophobia, don’t look down. Ever. Just enjoy the view around, talking with friends or taking pictures.

Arrived at BaNa Hills, we walked through some kind of tunnel and when we reach the end of the tunnel.. *gasp*. It is europe! Very beautiful landscape, gorgeous building. Love it! I saw many couples in wedding outfit, shooting for pre-wedding pictures. Also, there were many people taking pictures with style. Well.. can’t help it with that kind of surrounding. We did it too! xD

First building we visited was the church. It’s a smaller version of Notredame Paris. It’s a real church, not just a decoration. We have to maintain the silence inside. Many people were praying as well.

Second visit was the temple. A lot of stairs, a very good exercise but also tiring. There are many places in the temple site. We went to all of the places there. My favorite is the high tower on the left side, where I can see the whole park and temple site from above. It was a very nice view from the tower (if it’s not foggy).

Next visit was Fantasy Park. An indoor game center. Everything here is free to play. Except for Wax Museum, or game with prizes. Entrance fee for wax museum is 100.000 vnd per person. It is not madame tussaud. The quality of wax is okay but still can’t match madame tussaud.

After that we tried a 5D attraction. The story was about cowboy. We sat on a horse saddle, put on 3D glasses, and held a toy gun. After waiting for some people to came in, the movie started on screen. We can shoot on the screen and get a point if hit the right target. The saddle also moving like we were riding a horse. At the end of the show will have the highest score and top 10 scorer with picture of the person. Quite fun experience.

Our tour guide hurried us to see flower garden, even after we said we didn’t want to see it. So we moved to exit and on the way we saw a Dinosaur park. We decided to take a look. It was a small area full of dinosaur statue. They made it pretty good though.

After exit the fantasy park, we saw a cable car ride on our right-hand side. I wanted to go but they were closed already, due to maintenance. It was nearly closing time for all attraction as well. They were closed at 5.30 pm, all of them except for restaurants. That is why our tour guide hurried us to go. We took a cable car again to the train station.

bana hills cable carbana hills cable car

We need to take train / funicular to flower garden and paid for 70.000 vnd per person. Last train to go back from the garden is at 5.30 pm.

DSC04511 DSC04512

Arrived at the garden after 1 minute funicular ride. We saw many people on the line to go back from garden to the peak. We were the only group that came to the garden at that hour (It was 5.00 pm). So.. we walked faster to see around the garden. There are old wine cellar, that was used before by French family. We saw the gardens. It’s like a miniature of Versailles (a very small version of it though).

Took some pictures then went to secret garden. It’s a maze.. we were a bit lost inside, but fortunately we could go out fast enough.


Next we went to see the temple. There is a big Buddha statue, and if we go down the path we can reach the monk area. Yes, real monk lives here.

We hurried back to the funicular to take us back. Noone else around, only us. This is the first time I become the last guest in a place lol. When we arrive at the station, the plan was taking a direct cable car to entrance area but they were not operating anymore, already on a break. We need to go back to the park area and take cable car from there.


I thought last trip to entrance was at 9.45 pm but why were we in hurry?! Apparently they are closing the cable car at 5.30 pm for maintenance and to relax the wire. They will open again at 7.00 pm, so if we missed the 5.30 cable car, we need to wait til 7.00 pm there. That was why we were in hurry. We were the last guest to leave the park at that time.


Going back to the city took another 45 minutes. On the way we were thinking about where to eat. We wanted to eat somewhere with river view because it’s really nice at night. Many ideas were coming from tripadvisor and foursquare, but we still not sure which one is good, so we decided to ask the tour guide. She recommended a restaurant, seafood restaurant. At first we thought the restaurant has river view, but it’s not. When we asked her where is the river view, she said “You can’t see river from here, but they have a show inside and good seafood”. Okay..so she only got the “good restaurant”, while we asked for “good restaurant with river view” lol.

Since our stomach already really hungry, we decided to try it out. Their price is quite expensive, but some of the foods are good. From our table, we could see the small stage where singer and dancer are performing. We could feel the local atmosphere, but the restaurant itself doesn’t look local. It is very extravagant design. From the entrance to dining tables is quite far, and we need to passed by a bridge as well with many marble statues.

After dinner, we headed back to hotel. Sore body and legs. Time to use the spa voucher. We made the appointment first via phone (recommended to do so). The spa is on 4th floor of the hotel. For complimentary spa (which we did), we can choose between leg relaxation, shoulder neck back massage, or shoulder neck head massage. The massage lasted 30 minutes, and it was a good massage! This is the first time I felt sleepy while getting massaged, and not in pain.

That was all for first day, happy tummy, happy legs, happy me ^^.

View from my room
View from my room
View from my room
View from my room