Life as a Millionaire in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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@ Reunification Palace

Nine o’clock in the morning and I was in another country all by myself.  I hate long lines, but I did not mind queuing up to the immigration desks, as I know after these, new and wonderful experiences awaited me.

 

Tan Son Nhat International Airport is not that big, all new and clean.  I waited at the airport luggage carousel for my backpack.  It was like almost one hour and I noticed that I have not seen co-passengers.  I thought to myself that lucky for them, they got their baggage already, and my backpack, just a small backpack, was still no where to be seen.  I panicked.  They cannot lose my backpack, my clothes!  So I reported to the airport’s help desk that my bag was missing.

@ Notre Dame Cathedral
  The friendly Vietnamese girl at the counter asked me, “Did you check the other carousel?” and pointed at a nearby baggage carousel with a few bags in it.  It hit me that I was actually waiting at the wrong place.  I wasted almost an hour, doing nothing inside the airport.  And there it was -- my backpack.  There were two bags left unclaimed in that carousel, so I guess I was not the only stupid passenger.  :)

 

Now with my backpack with me, I went to one of the foreign currency exchange counters that lined up in the airport.  I got the shock of my life when I was handed over one million Vietnamese dong in exchange of HK$500.  I was carrying a million in my wallet!

 

Going out of the airport, I was swarmed by taxi and motorbike drivers, which I all declined as I was taking the public airport bus to Pham Ngu Lao, Saigon’s backpackers area.  For VND 3000, I was able to get to De Tham Street in District 1.

@ Ben Thanh Market

 

Once I got off the bus, my search for a budget hotel started as I have not made any reservations.  Actually, I already have a few hotels in mind as suggested by fellow TravBuddies, but I wanted to check out first the other much cheaper hostels that I have researched.  I ended up at Phi Long Hotel on Bui Vien Street, pleased with the room that I got.

 

After freshening up, I grabbed a quick bite at some restaurant near the hotel and went to the hotel a friend of mine was staying.

 

And so I met up with Dimple, my classmate way back in high school, who’s now living in Saigon, and she accompanied me, together with her hubby Andy, in visiting the usual sights in Saigon.

 

First stop was the War Remnants Museum with its exhibits on war crimes and its aftermath.

@ City Hall
  There were a lot of morbid photos, definitely not for the squeamish.  I had goose bumps all over me when I saw the pictures of the Agent Orange victims and deformed fetus.  Another corner showed off the imprisonment system used during the war with replicas of the tiger cages and a Guillotine.  Outside of the building were the US weaponry used during the Vietnam War.

 

After that disturbing museum, we visited the Reunification Palace, which, for me, was not that impressive.

 

Moving on, we went to the lovely red-bricked Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the opposite Colonial-looking building, which was the Post Office.  We did not stay long in those places as it was scorching hot that afternoon.

 

Next stop:  Ben Thahn Market, a huge indoor market selling almost everything.

De Tham @ night
  I was warned by Dimple and Andy not to touch anything inside the market, unless I have excellent bargaining skills, as I will be harassed by the persistent shop owners.  With that in mind, I just feasted my eyes on the sights that surrounded me.

 

As we can no longer bear the Saigon heat, we decided to chill out at Parkson Plaza and ate halo-halo (Yes, they also have halo-halo!!!) at their food court.

 

Before getting back to out hotels, we passed by Saigon’s City Hall, which, for me, is way better than their Reunification Hall.

 

Later that night, after trying out Saigon’s pho and coffee, Dimple and I went to my hotel where we chatted till the wee hours of the morning.
vicmayor says:
Just finished your Blog about Ho Chi Minh. We will be going to Saigon Next week. Will definitely visit the places you went to. Thanks
Posted on: Feb 21, 2009
jen_proudlypinay says:
Huwaw! Got your first million in vietnam, huh? bongga! =)
Posted on: Oct 14, 2008
ice9van says:
Yep! Me fridge na alang laman! Me balcony pa! Hehehe
Posted on: Jul 27, 2008
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@ Reunification Palace
@ Reunification Palace
@ Notre Dame Cathedral
@ Notre Dame Cathedral
@ Ben Thanh Market
@ Ben Thanh Market
@ City Hall
@ City Hall
De Tham @ night
De Tham @ night
@ Tan Son Nhat International Airpo…
@ Tan Son Nhat International Airp…
My poor Columbia
My poor Columbia
Via Airport Bus to District 1
Via Airport Bus to District 1
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
@ War Remnants Museum
Dimple trying out the Guillotine
Dimple trying out the Guillotine
@ Reunification Palace
@ Reunification Palace
@ Reunification Palace
@ Reunification Palace
@ Notre Dame Cathedral
@ Notre Dame Cathedral
@ Post Office
@ Post Office
@ Post Office
@ Post Office
@ City Hall
@ City Hall
With Andy @ City Hall
With Andy @ City Hall
With Dimple @ City Hall
With Dimple @ City Hall
@ City Hall
@ City Hall
@ Ben Thanh Market
@ Ben Thanh Market
@ Ben Thanh Market
@ Ben Thanh Market
De Tham @ night
De Tham @ night
De Tham @ night
De Tham @ night
Ho Chi Minh City Hotels & Accommodations review
Phi Long Hotel
When the airport bus dropped me off along De Tham Street, I was shocked with the guesthouses and mini hotels along the street; just like the Khao San … read entire review