Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Travel Notes: Ho Chi Minh City

Blogging has been slow like usual. Well, what can I expect from myself who is greatly swayed by emotions, mood and everything else in between in order to write something or to do anything for that matter? It must be a blessing in disguise that I end up in another profession otherwise, I would starve myself to death for being a procrastinator. On second thought though, I still do write in my work but writing codes is a totally different beast altogether. Uhm... I have no idea where this paragraph leads so, this is its abrupt end. Sorry.

Now back to Ho Chi Minh City. I can't believe that in a few weeks time, it will already be one year since Breinn and I had a quick visit to this Vietnamese city! And now that I think about it, we are almost at the third quarter of the year! How time can easily slip away just like that, huh?!

But before time makes a clever pass at me again, let me go straight ahead to this post's main topic. My travel notes about our weekend in Ho Chi Minh City.

★ Getting There (Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City)

Ho Chi Minh City is merely 2 hours away by plane from Singapore and expect many airlines that ply this route. This is one of the places which can be decided at the last minute due to its close proximity and fares don't go all too insanely high, except maybe during holidays.

This city usually tops in my search list every time my impulse gets the better of me. There are recurring instances in my life when I search flights from Singapore to "Everywhere" and Ho Chi Minh City will likely have the cheaper fares. Do you also have that certain momentary urge where you feel like going anywhere? One crazy idea that I still have to do is to go to the airport and book whatever is the next flight out (to countries that I don't need to get a visa though...)

Since I was able to snatch a good deal with Jetstar this time around, Breinn and I started our day in a daze for our early morning flight to Vietnam.

 Getting to Ho Chi Minh City from Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport

The airport is very close to the city and that by hiring a reputable metered taxi to get to our hotel which is about 8KM away only cost us VND150,000 (USD7).  You can hire a taxi at the leftmost end outside the Arrival hall through a uniformed personnel of each taxi company. Way safer than hiring a random taxi which I still can vividly recall what happened to my trip in Hanoi. Huhu Anyway past is past.

In the future however, the international airport will be moved far from the city in order to make way for expansions. Vietnam's target is in 2020 and that's 6 years from now.

★ Where to stay?

Ho Chi Minh City is a famous destination of many foreign tourists and it obviously follows that a plethora of accommodations can also be found here. Surely, I didn't have a hard time finding one. Because my trips are likely to be short, I always find myself staying in the midst of the hubbub where everything is within reach. Staying at the center may be tad more expensive but considering the commute from a much further location can be counterintuitive.

So we ended up staying at Sanouva Hotel. Our stay was pleasant and a free breakfast buffet was something we couldn't complain about.

★ Food

Of course, food has to be in a single post. Could someone teleport me back to Ho Chi Minh City this instant? I could make use of a good bowl of pho!

★ Getting Around

Can I just say that we only walk? haha Because we really did! The only commute that we had was getting from and to the airport. We were only around District 1 though and with only a weekend, we'd rather go at a relaxed pace, delighting on food and Vietnamese coffee while running around under the rain.

★ Safety

As there were many tourists at that time, the feeling of being really scared did not ever come. However, there was that incident with a peddler of fresh coconuts that he carried with a wooden pole on his shoulders. At first, we were equally chatty with the man when he asked where we are from. So, we conversed with him a little bit and then all of a sudden, he put his heavy load on Breinn's shoulders, thinking we wanted a photo. We might have given him false encouragement since he expected us to buy a coconut after that. The only thing was that we were too full after lunch and we seriously couldn't accommodate more. His reaction sounded almost like a tirade to us and since it's in Vietnamese, we could only wonder what it was. It was a little scary since we had no idea what he could do but it was something we could have avoided. We should have been more careful and should have politely said no to the man in the first place.

Even with that little incident, it certainly didn't mar our grand time in Ho Chi Minh City and we can't wait to be back!

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