The Commercial Excess
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
August 29: OH MY GOD!!! I just got off the plane and noticed what a nice modern airport HCMC has however, the A/C was either off or very low and killing me. Alight, time to dig in... I headed to get my visa on arrival which is normally not allowed but I had a pre-approval letter. I waited for a good 30 minutes before getting on my way. Once I got my stamps and immigration card done, the city awaited me. Let me tell you, I was not expecting the humidity here to be as bad as it was. I'm used to it living in Hawaii but this place takes the cake :). I got into a taxi and 40 minutes later through unreal moto traffic and the commercial excess with the billboards and shops, I arrived at Saigon Mini Hotel in the Pham Ngu Lao area. I met the wonderful Smiley at the reception desk who gets my high honors award! She's very helpful and kind though timid. Now, I sit here using their free Internet, printing out maps from Lonely Planet, and updating my various profiles. I toyed with the idea of going out at night but decided I had enough to eat on the plane and was tired anyway. I don't want to use my phone for obvious billing reasons so this is my primary mode of communication with you all. Tomorrow, I'll be taking a trek around town seeing the sights.
August 30: I got up at about 3:45 excited and unable to sleep. Of course, I head down to use the Internet after washing and prettying up. The security at this hotel is tight. Everything is locked down solid. I'm only paying $21 a night but its worth it! I'd be paying easily around $90 or more if this were in Honolulu.To begin my day, I started by getting hopelessly lost in the maze of streets we have here in the Pham Ngu Lao district of Ho Chi Minh City. I eventually headed towards the Sinh Cafe and booked a guide and driver (I know I had doing this but it was so easy and cheap!). I had a wonderful day of sights and sounds with a cool group of people from Singapore, Malaysia, and Chinese transplanted to Australia. The Malaysians loved me so much they may name their first kid after me :-O. I'm not kidding, they really loved me for some reason LOL. Lovely group of people. They changed their tours around so they could go with me tomorrow to the Cu Chi Tunnels and Tay Ninh.
We visited an assortment of sights around town like the Thien Mieu Pagoda, Eggshell Factory, Reunification Palace, The War Remanents Museum, and a few others. A long day with a lot of humidity... I loved every minute of it!
I ended the day with an awesome dinner at an Indian restaurant called Akhbar Ali just around the corner from my hotel. Honestly, some of the best Indian food I've ever had. The owner is Indian and his wife is Vietnamese. He speaks about 4 languages!
August 31: I spent all day out of the city at Tay Ninh and Cu Chi seeing the sights there. Boy am I tired... Not tired enough to scarf down some more delicious Indian food from Akhbar Ali!!