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TRAVELOGUE VIETNAM

 

 

 

HO CHI MIN CITY - SAIGON

4.4. – 5.4. 2010, travel book part I.

 

Why to go to Ho Chi Min City

I wanted to start my journey where I finished it three years ago.

 

How to get to Ho Chi Min City

Once again, when I landed I had to stand in a long line for the immigration officer, but I didn't really mind this time as I was nice and rested from the plane. We landed before five o'clock in the afternoon and I didn't feel any jet lag. It was the first time that I arrived in Asia in the afternoon and not in the morning [our midnight] and it was also the first time that I didn't have any problem with adjusting to local time. After I've been let into Vietnam I stepped in the heat to find a taxi. There were hundreds of people already waiting for transport and a crowd of Vietnamese girls was organizing taxis for them. I remembered that the last time we paid around 75 000 VND, but the strict businesswoman offered me a price of 150 000 VND this time, with no space for bargaining. When I pointed out the big price raise and said that this is not my first time in Saigon and the last time I only paid half of the price, she said that three years is a long time. I went to check with other taxi drivers but it didn't get any better. In the end I agreed with the price and got into taxi. I kept watching the meter to see how much it's actually supposed to be. It's supposed to be 8 kilometers x 12 500 VND/per km, which is 100 000 VND, which means that not so much changed in three years, apart of the system.

 

Accomodation tip in Ho Chi Min city

I wanted to bring back old memories and decided to stay in the same hotel as last time – Majestic Saigon via agoda.com. It was a bit more expensive this time. Cheaper accommodation can be found on 'backpackers avenue' Bui Vien in District 1. It is similar to Khao San in Bangkok, there are a lot of cheap guesthouses and travel agencies. 

 

My experience in Saigon

After I got checked in, I went for a walk in the streets. I was back and the magical traffic formed by millions of motorbikes completely fascinated me all over again. I went for dinner to the same restaurant ''79'' and ordered exactly the same food as three years ago. Vietnam is the only country so far that I've visited twice. After dinner I went for a walk around the city without a map, just with the help of my memory, towards the War Museum which was under renovation. On the way back, I peeked through the bars into the main building of the Communist party in Vietnam and admired colonial buildings which all seemed to be renovated.

Vietnam Saigon

View from Majestic Saigon

We were surprised, even on our last trip in Vietnam, by the speed at which the country grows. The economy must really work as I remember reading an article that said there's an annual growth of 8 percent. Three years ago, there was not a single bridge over river Saigon in Ho Chi Min City and the traffic depended on ferries. Today, there are two bridges. I also noticed that there are new skyscrapers in District 1, one of them right behind the Majestic Saigon hotel.

Before I went to bed, I stopped on the hotel terrace to witness a Vietnamese wedding and had a local beer Saigon. I was watching the river, new bridge with neon lights, all the ferries, which – bridge or no bridge – still transport thousands of bikers from one side to the other, and at all the chaos on the street beneath me. It was nice and warm and I felt great.

Vietnam Saiogon Bui Vien

backpackers avenue Bui Vien

I woke up at two o'clock in the morning of our european time but I really didn't mind as I went to bed early the previous night. I went for breakfast on the top floor of the hotel on an open terrace, where I had a beer the night before and from where there's a gorgeous view of the river. After that, I let a taxi to take me to the 'backpackers avenue' Bui Vien and found the office of TM Brother agency, where I booked a trip on Mekong river to Phnom Penh [48 USD, 3 days including accommodation and food]. It was a beautiful blue morning and the street was starting to wake up. I noticed a bunch of electrical wires on the street, which locals use to connect to the supply system. There must be a way in all this chaos, it's probably impossible to distribute electricity in a different manner. They knew about me in the travel agency, so I shortened my time by writing few emails. After that, they sent us to another street, where we saw our huge, yet tiny bit old-school bus. I got in with approximately thirty other people, who were my new co-travelers for next three days. Our tour guide was a young man who was getting angry when we didn't listen to him and kept calling us 'my family', which was not appreciated.

 

VISITED COUNTRIES

zeme 100

37

KM ON THE ROADS

km 100

48 560

DAYS ON THE ROADS

dny 100

397