Back in Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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Descending into Vietnam
  

The front desk phoned my room at midnight to inform me that I would be on a 6:00 a.m. bus back to the Taoyuan Airport. The 24-hour stopover in Taipei really broke the long trip up nicely after the 14 hour flight from Los Angeles. From here on it would be a cakewalk. Escorted through immigration, we reached the China Airlines information counter where our passports were returned along with new boarding passes. Mine was for a 7:30 departure to Saigon with a connection that would put me into Phnom Penh around one in the afternoon. Boarding went surprisingly smooth, though the actual departure was about an hour late. But that, too, was greatly appreciated, allowing time for a quick breakfast.

 

The China Airlines flight took three hours .

Boarding the flight to Phnom Penh
Descending toward Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) offered kinder views than on similar approaches during the war. Forested terrain seemed greener with fewer red clay clearings. The countryside had widely developed with grids of organized farmlands and villages tied together by paved roads. Most noticeable was the lack of water-filled bomb craters. Upon landing too, memories of that world were stirred by the semi-circular, concrete revetments lining the Tan Son Nhat taxiways. Once protecting U.S. F-4 Phantoms, the structures now housed fire trucks, airport maintenance equipment, and an assortment of helicopters - both Russian and American built. With the hour-late departure from Taipei, I had about an hour to make check-in for my connecting flight to Phnom Penh and the transit went quickly.

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Descending into Vietnam
Descending into Vietnam
Boarding the flight to Phnom Penh
Boarding the flight to Phnom Penh
Concrete ghosts of the past
Concrete ghosts of the past