So Not A Nice Day in HCM City

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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the only pic i took of myself today. not obvious that im having such a bad day huh?
I'm skipping a good 4 days worth of blog (about Ha Noi and Ha Long) to write about today.

Who would have thought that my brief stay at Than Son Nhat Airport about 2 weeks ago would be the perfect example of how I would feel about Saigon in general. (refer to...

Now that I'm here once again, to finally explore the city, I wish I didn't include it on my itinerary. Big Mistake. For me, there's nothing special about this city. I just do not feel the vibe. Yes, it's quite not there around Dong Khoi, and Saigon does look nice when it lights up at night, but still it doesn't impress me at all. I don't even want to compare it to Hanoi. It's no contest which city is better.
in pham ngu lao
.. in a lot of ways. In Saigon, I have yet to find something that I really like.

Anyway, my not-so-good relationship with Saigon started at the Airport, it's quite right that events would continue at an airport too - this time at the airport in Hanoi where I had to wait for 3 years to get checked in by Jetstar. I think I transfered counters 3 times just so they could accommodate me - but apparently they were too busy doing nothing. They were all just staring at their computer monitors for the longest time. What the hell is going on people?!?! During the flight, I had to be seated beside a breast-feeding mom with her husband who i think has been choking on his phlegm all the way to Saigon. Halfway through, the woman behind me started clearing her throat too. Man, someone's spreading a virus! Aside from the turbulence, that flight was so third world.
saigon centre

At the arrival section, here came the cabbies once again! This time I know better, I got some tips from people i've met in Hanoi. They want to charge me 200,000VND for a short ride to the city. The first one to offer me that cab fare, I laughed so Hard like "HAHAHA! 100,000VND ONLY I WILL PAY ANYTHING MORE THAN THAT IS BULLSHIT!"

Once I've gotten to see the city - it was disappointing really... after Hoi An, Hue, Sa Pa, Ha Long and Ha Noi... I wish I could have just skipped Saigon and moved on to Dalat or some beach, or just stayed in Hanoi. Other things that makes me think that this is going to be my least favorite city:

1. For dinner, I took a cab to Restaurant 31, Lonely Planet says they have the best BBQ.
buy from me. book seller in pham ngu lao
.. well they've moved to god knows where. Now I had to walk and look for food. I settled for Pho 24 where I got to each lunch upon arriving here in Pham Ngu Lao. F****** idiot waiter gets my order wrong. Now I have to eat the same food I ate for lunch. It's not even about the language barrier because i ordered spring rolls and beef balls... they both have pictures on the menu. How can one miss that? It was also the first time I encountered "out of stock" items in vietnam. And this is the most "happening" city in Vietnam huh? I told the waiter that I will have to cancel the spring rolls since the 45,000 VND Pho they mistakenly gave me was too much food for me already. Next scene, he brings the spring rolls to me.
retouch? pham ngu lao
What the !?!? How can one be such a complete idiot in less than 2 minutes?

I love Buddhism and according to them, it's not appropriate to leave your chopsticks crossed after a meal because it signifies death? Well, I intentionally left it in that position. To hell with it Pho 24.

2. The only day trip I'd like to make while in Saigon is the Cao Dai Temple. But apparently the tour comes with Cu Chi Tunnel... and I'm not interested in that at all. I tried to look for one, apparently Kim Travel can arrange that for me. But the private tour would cost me $100. Are you kidding me?!? That much for half day to see one sight of interest. Uhm, In Hoi An I got a private tour of Hue with my own private car, driver and guide for the whole day making a lot of stops for $95. There's no way I'm going to see the temple with a bunch of strangers specially when I want to take my time taking pictures. A day trip to Mekong is even out of the question. I don't want to see a river and I've had enough of poverty for this trip.

3. In Hanoi, "ride moto, 1 hour" in every street corner can be quite annoying. Well in Saigon add "you want boom boom" to that and let's see how much of it you can take.

4. The hotel where i'm at is quite new and nice... but I somehow don't like the area of Pham Ngu Lao. I wanna get out of here. It's an ugly area of Saigon. It's definitely no Khao San nor Hanoi Old Quarter.

5. I've never sweat so uncomfortably during this entire trip until now. Yes in Sapa I did get all tired and sweaty from the trek, but It was a cool way to sweat since the weather was perfect.

Tomorrow I have to do something about my situation here. So probably I'd check in one of those nice hotels in the center to make up for this horrendous day. As for tonight, I will be staying in and just plan for tomorrow. It's pointless going out there tonight.

If you're the person who loves Saigon, good for you. I love Vietnam, so far I am having the best vacation here but I don't have to like everything about it. Saigon is just like Manila..."nothing to see here, so better skip it".

Jopin says:
I'm happy to read your last comment, Jae. I love Saigon. I'll be going back with the whole family next year. The last time I went was nearly five years ago, and I traveled with colleagues in an air conditioned bus, a great guide and stayed in a 5-star hotel. This time, i'm looking forward to spending more time moving around the city without passing it by in a glance.
Great blog!
Posted on: May 18, 2010
BMatital says:
LOL, thanks for the info again!
I think I will skip it, haha :D
Posted on: May 31, 2009
jegs76 says:
U really hate this city! hahaah
In polish we had that saying - Saigon = total deasaster, chaos and crap ahahhaha
fit's pretty good into ur story, pare! haha
Posted on: Dec 16, 2008
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the only pic i took of myself toda…
the only pic i took of myself tod…
in pham ngu lao
in pham ngu lao
saigon centre
saigon centre
buy from me. book seller in pham n…
buy from me. book seller in pham …
pham ngu lao
retouch? pham ngu lao
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