It’s not often that one comes across Hyderabadis who prefer a warmer holiday destination over a cooler one. But that was exactly the case for Ankit and Ritika Sondhi, who chose Vietnam and Bangkok as the perfect spots to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. For a couple that shares a love for exploring new places, cuisines, and even shopping, this was a short yet satisfying getaway. Read on to find out more about how this trip set a high bar for their many future adventures together.
“While we did have to brainstorm quite a bit while deciding on a tropical destination for our first anniversary,” said Ankit, “Bangkok and Vietnam were the two options we kept coming back to.” As both Ankit and Ritika had already visited Bangkok before, they were well aware of its reputation for beings a shopper’s paradise. This was followed by some quick research on what Vietnam had to offer, including its warm weather. And then, the couple set out on their short and sweet trip.
With Ankit being Managing Partner at Kwality’s Outdoor Catering and Ritika working in the fast-paced real estate sector, the couple’s holiday definitely required a fair amount of time management. “Keeping in mind our busy schedules, we only got to spend three days in each of the places” shared Ankit. Nevertheless, the duo made sure to make the most of the time that they had. The first stop on their list was the ever-evolving Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
As they were based in District 1, a central and urban area, it allowed them to explore the best that Ho Chi Minh City had to offer. “Everything was more or less within walking distance, right from their local boutiques, restaurants, and bars,” said Ankit. The two were also impressed with how the local Vietnamese cuisine takes pride in the fact that they use fresh ingredients for everything, be it seafood items or even vegetarian dishes. “We also got to check out the Bitexco Financial Tower. The tallest structure in the city and the third tallest in Vietnam, it allowed us a stunning view of the city’s skyline,” he added.
One of the many factors that impressed the couple about this city was its remarkable rooftop bars. “We then celebrated our anniversary at the Chill Skybar, which was one of the best in the city,” he reminisced. To their surprise and amusement, the bar even regaled them with Punjabi and Bollywood music.
In addition to enjoying these modernised attractions, the Sondhis also made sure to check out the Ho Chi Minh City Hall,
otherwise known as the Saigon City Hall. It was built between 1902 and 1908, and was originally called the Hotel de Ville de Saigon. Whilst maintaining its original French colonial architecture, since 1975, the structure has been used as the headquarters of the People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City. Although the City Hall can only be accessed by government officials and the cleaning crew, it has been beneficial for the building to have been utilised rather than letting it decay like a forgotten showpiece.
For the second part of their journey, Ankit and Ritika were set up in the very heart of Bangkok, the Siam area. An upscale district that is now a shopper’s dream come true, Siam is filled with shopping malls within walking distance from each other.
“We also explored the Pattaya Walking Street, which was a kilometre-long pathway of nightclubs, trendy bars, and restaurants,” shared Ankit. The couple was also quite taken by the river facing promenade called Asiatique The Riverfront. It was a treat for shoppers as well, as the place brimmed with small stalls selling their locally made fashion wear.
However, it was the culinary treat that awaited them in this city that made it the best part of the trip. Being major foodies, the couple’s most memorable moment was dining at Gaggan, a famous restaurant run by Chef Gaggan Anand. “We made sure to book a table months in advance to try out his molecular meals,” said Ankit. “We were even surprised with a pre-set 21-course menu which made the evening truly perfect,” he added.
“This is a trip that we would recommend to anyone who loves to shop, eat, and party! Both Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City offered a variety of dining and clubbing options, and we definitely have a few more places to explore on our next trip, including Koh Chang which is half-a-day’s drive away from Bangkok,” said Ankit. He added, “Yet another thing that we would love to return for is to soak in the cultural significances of the two cities, the simplicity that the people exuded and more importantly to experience their welcoming nature once again.” – as told to Roshni