Saigon, Vietnam (August 2008)

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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Vien Dong Hotel, Pham Ngu Lao - Location was wonderful - Hotel was very clean and comfortable - Staff was helpful
Finally, I had some time to update my travel journal for my recent trip to Saigon, Vietnam this August 2008.
It was a memorable 6 days trip.
I had chosen to go to HCM city at the spur of the moment as Jetstar airways were having a promotion and I just had to go somewhere. Kinda regretted it a little later coz i should hv done more research and stayed more days and went up to Nha Trang, Hoi An, Halong Bay and come back frm Hanoi instead!
Nevertheless, I still enjoyed myself tremendously in this charming city especially at the very romantic Mui Ne beach (though unfortunately, i didnt go wif a loved on to fully enjoy it :D)
My itinery was as below
8 August 2008 Depart Sg to HCM City Vietnam
Accomodation; Vien Dong Hotel at Pham Ngu Lao St (the backpackers' place)
Ben Thanh Market
Book Day Tours and transportation to Mui Ne Beach

9 August 2008 Mekong River Tour

10 August 2008 Cuchi Tunnel & Cao Dai Temple Tour

11 August 2008 Take transportation to Mui Ne Beach

12 August 2008 Come back to HCM CIty

13 August 2008 HCM City - Singapore

We booked our day tours at Sinh Cafe (located conveniently at Pham Ngu Lao St).
The streets of Pham Ngu Lao...
There are many such operators in the area but i chose Sinh Cafe as they had wonderful reviews al over the internet. The tours are pretty cheap though (about USD8 for full day including lunch).

Mekong River
I can only use one word to describe the river - very muddy. It was murky yellow and looked quite dirty. haha! but i enjoyed the tour of the various farms at the islands near the river. Though the farms seem to only survive on tourists' visit and appear pretty superficial but I enjoyed myself at the bee farm, coconut candy making factory ( it just looks like a small family biz), ricepaper making factory. We sat on the small sampan where the demure ladies rowed us along the river and also had a chance riding on a horse cart. For a city girl like me, it was a lovely time with nature.

I didnt go to Cuchi Tunnel despite booking the day tour :( My friend was down with gout and he was unable to walk.
A veg place spotted!!
As the people had problems communicating in English, we went to the International SOS instead. The doctor was very very nice (very grandfatherly figure) but it cost us a whopping USD$150++ for some anti-swelling cream. No choice as my friend was unable to walk at all :(

Luckily he was much better after a lot of rest and he is able to limp to Mui Ne Beach (not literally!! haha..he managed to hop on the bus). The 5 hours bus ride was pretty terrible with the bad traffic, the horning, the uneven roads and i was quite relieved to reach my destination. Mui Ne Beach was beautiful!! It was just miles and miles of white beach with few people and huge waves :D. Mui Ne Sailing Club (a 3 star beach resort) was very cosy, staff was delightful and i fell in love with the place immediately. Not to mention its resident dog, Thambi who was always around the corner.
Ben Thanh Market
There were also a no. of quaint eateries outside the resort and i had a nice dinner. I was pretty sad that I only booked a nite's stay at the charming place and had to take the jittery bus ride back to HCM city the very next day. :( Next time i must come again and stay at least a week!

Back in Saigon, we visited the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Church and the Post Office. Reunification Palace was worth a visit, take the guided tour! My tour guide was very knowledgeable and I learnt a lot about the history of Vietnam during this visit.

I love Vietnam. As a vegetarian, i'm surprised to find a number of vegetarian eateries wh served relatively gd veg food!
I also find Vietnamese very friendly, pleasant and very helpful.
Hope to go there again and this time, i will make sure that I go to Hanoi too!
Sin Chao!

travelman727 says:
Cassandra, great blog and photos :-D
Posted on: Jan 10, 2009
callufrax says:
Wonderful account of your time there! Thanks for providing a taste of what I will experience in a couple of years time. I can't wait!
Posted on: Dec 23, 2008
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Vien Dong Hotel, Pham Ngu Lao
- L…
Vien Dong Hotel, Pham Ngu Lao - …
The streets of Pham Ngu Lao...
The streets of Pham Ngu Lao...
A veg place spotted!!
A veg place spotted!!
Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market
Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral
Me in front of the post office :)
Me in front of the post office :)
Me at Reunification Palace next he…
Me at Reunification Palace next h…