So, as I mentioned last week, I managed to break away from the Truman Shown culture of Singapore and actually go see somewhere intreresting! My destination of choice was Vietnam and the place there - Mu Nei.
I departed Singapore in the evening and spent the night in Saigon. As soon as I landed I knew I was in the real SE Asia. The hustle and bustle was intense, beepnig horns, weaving mopeds, people asking you for all kinds of things....believe it or not, it was actaully enjoyable! Unfortunately I arrived at night and didnt get to see much of what was on offer, but from what I could tell, there wasnt a hell of a lot. Saigon is very low rise with the odd taller building thrown in for good measure. 1000's of shops selling anything and everything, mainly fake of course. I did venture to one of these taller buildings (all 25 floors) to which a bar is located at the top. It was billed as "Vietnams place to be seen", well, I went alright, but left after a beer......wasnt "that" exclusive, just very cheesey! I have to say, the 2 most entertaining things happened on the way, and leaving. When I left my hotel, I must have been all of 20 seconds out on the street, when from behind I could hear a slow "vroom vroom", at first I thought nothing of it until the vroom vroom turned into "You want massage" ha-ha, to be honest, I just burst out laughing, those moments are so cliche but they really do happen, she must have caught a whiff of the westerner and thought she would try her luck, epic fail. That, I thought, had to be it for those weird moments, especially as I was in town for a matter of hours......but no......upon leaving the bar...."squeek squeek squeek".....I could hear the sound of a bike in serious need of oil....then......yeah you guessed it "You want massage" ha-ha, who'd have thought? Lets not forget, this bar was 3 mins from my hotel as well. Unfortunately, this time round, not only was the mode of transport a downgrade, so was the vendor! (for the record, no massge accepted on either occasion!).
So, the next morning arrived. I was on the 06:50am train to Phan Thiet, due to arrive 4.5 hours later. Theres something about train travel abroad thats really quite interesting. Its a great way to see the surroundings but also a great way be a local for the day and be amongst it, even if you are the only white guy and no one else speaks english! The train was old and not in the best shape, but hey, who cares? it had air con, you got free water and the chair reclined, not bad for £8 return. I arrived late morning and the journey was fine, it had the odd wait while other trains went past (there is only one trainline) but apart from that, all good. Phan Tiet was a nice town, very costal, you could tell the difference right away from what I had left 4.5 hours ago. As I left the station, I was swamped by dudes wanting to take me and my bag on the back of the awaiting moped and drive me 20-30 mins to my hostel......not this time thanks. Mu Nei itself I thought was very "cute". It had that typical by the beach feel and everyone seemed very relaxed and chilled, just what I needed. The place I was staying in was a hostel but quite possibly the best one I have ever come across. It had a range of places to stay, bungalows, shared dorms, single rooms and double rooms, all with options of sea view or pool view, not bad for the price. I opted for the double room, sea view for £16, and I was not let down. I wasted no time exploring and quickly set about taking to the streets, or shall I say, street.
Pretty much the entire "strip" so to speak was full off hotels (small scale), bars, places to eat, shops etc but not your typical "costa del sol" crap. It was all very tasteful, very local and very enjoyable. During my exploration I came across about a 100m length of street that was full of outside bbq sea places. At that time of day, everyone was still catching the food for later and thats exactly where I intended to be.
What I loved about the hostel was that it literally backed onto the sea, I had to walk all of 10m from my door and I was in the water, it was perfect and just what I needed. I just wished I had longer there and as I told the owner, I will defintely return! I spent the rest of the day literally lounging by the sea and taking it all in. I fully intended this trip to be a battery recharger as the previous weeks have been hell (ever worked until 9-3am? I have)....if only I was a contractor out here! The night seafood bbq was one of the highlights for me, the food was out of this world and the guy literally would throw his rod over the edge to re-stock anything that was running low, cant beat that huh? My entire meal and drink came to £7.50, back in singapore it would have been $75!
Ok, I wont bore you anymore. The next day was full of travel, similar to day 1. To be honest I didnt want to go back, Singapore really isnt all its cracked up to be and if you really want to see this part of the world, visit the surrounding countries!
Until next time