Catching up on how our holiday is going after our first few days in Vietnam.
We landed in Ho Chi Minh on Wed 9 Dec pretty well on time at 7.45pm. The transfer in KL went OK, out and back through immigration picking up and checking our bags in for the next leg. I tried to arrange a flythrough but no luck with Air Asia after we had made two separate bookings. It took about 90 mins with the main hold-up being queuing to drop off our bags. However we were feeling good after our business class leg to KL. Spoilt for trips in the future.
Our transfer to our hotel went smoothly, feeling the heat though as we cleared the terminal, even though night time and supposedly winter!
Our first day on Thursday started with a visit to Viet Thanh Silk for a measure up for a black suit for me and a dress for C. All good and will be ready to pick up the day before we fly to Manila.
We then wandered up the road towards the Independence Palace looking for the park. Got stopped a couple of times taking a wrong turn into buildings.... Have to be careful we don't get arrested!
Got pestered by s shoe shine, not for the last time as we sat and rested. Ended up bumping in to Notre Dame Cathedral and Post Office, two big tourist attractions in HCMC. Then walked down Dong Khoi where all the exclusive shops are towards the river. Thought we might find some place nice on the river for a coffee, but disappointed. Our first big road crossing across Ton Duc Thang was quite an experience! Busses, cars may slow down but motor scooters just buzz past you either side! A local helped us for this first time. But now after 3 days we just walk out there and sidle across any busy street!
Forgot to mention that we saw the Opera House and noticed an interesting cultural show from north Vietnam - AO Show, and after some consideration decided to book WOW tickets for Friday night.
After. The river disappointment we headed back to Dong Khoi and found a coffee shop that served "the best coffee I've tasted" (according to C.) it was Trung Nguyen Coffee, a local chain.
I tried a local dish wit my coffee.
Went back to the hotel for a rest and decided to go to the Ben Thanh Markets and try some local food ad recommended by Rusty Compass website.
Walked straight through and enjoyed the flower shops at the back before deciding a beer might be a good idea before we ate. So found out wat over to the area recommended by the hotel when we arrived. Found a small place with beer and food in a laneway between Pham Ngu Lai and Bui Vein - Lucky's - became instant friends wth Keit (?) - finally stayed and had dinner there - claypot after eating some of the best tasting spring rolls. Beers were 15000 dong ($1) - so all was good!
Our first lesson in taxis in HCMC followed - Keit hailed us a cab - looked legit until we got back to the hotel only 29 mins later with over 1 million dong on meter! Went to reception and advised that this was way too high and di I went back and gave him 100,000 which another hotel person said was still too much - should have been more like 50,000.
Day 2 we walked to Tao Dan park , met another shoe shine who became abusive when I obviously offered too little for his services - maybe 2000 dong was a little low but we didn't really need his attention. He came back to C later when I was photo'ing and then went away saying 'f*** you' over and over again!
After the park a better taxi experience - 60000 dong to get to BItexco Tower - to the top for a view ab expensive coffee and cake - triple creme brulee for me.
Back to the hotel for ab afternoon rest - needed in this heat Later I went to Independence Palace to have a kook inside - then back via Notre Dame, post office and rooftop bar at the Rex Hotel - beers 10 times more expensive than last night.
That night we went to the AO show - pre show drinks - and it was a great show!!
After the show we had dinner at the Mountain Retreat restaurant right near our hotel - up 6 flights of stairs, but the food was good - local crepes, pepper chicken wings and a beef/ seafood warm salad.
That brings us to today - a fitting for me at 10am, back down to Dong Khoi area where we bought a hanging print and had coffee at the nice coffee ship again. Lunch was back at the local place just near the hotel, then out to withdraw so e money for the next few days. coffee at Coffee Bean where the regular latte is the biggest ever!!