Note: Most of my travel articles were written offline on my iPhone notes. I just haven’t had a chance to transfer it. (travels done in June 2013)
Greetings from my airplane ride to the Philippines! Let’s talk about the amazing Saigon. So after the 40-hour plus epic bus ride and when we thought we were never going to arrive Saigon we did! We arrived about 6pm at the bus terminal in Saigon. We caught a cab ride to our hostel – Lofi Inn. We pre-booked our Lofi Inn private room ahead of time online while in Vientiane, Laos for $7/pp. Our room had air conditioning and a private bathroom. It also had a balcony with clothes line on it so you can wash and hang dry clothes. The cab ride was d150,000 or $7 give or take and it was roughly about a 30-minute ride from the bus terminal to downtown Saigon.
After freshening up we headed off to eat downstairs. Food around here is cheap as well. We asked the owner of the restaurant where to go to get great deals on shopping after that and he told us Saigon Square so we took a quick cab ride to get there and paid about d33,000. Then we went to the night market Ben Thanh. Ben Thanh is only a block away from Saigon Square so make sure you don’t take a cab like we did because we had no idea it was so close. This place had some great deals and we did a ton of shopping. You can negotiate a lot in this market.
We decided to walk back to the hostel using the map they provided and were bothered by the bike ride guys who scammed us. I kind of knew it was a scam or they just didn’t understand our communication skills in Vietnamese. They tried to sell us a tour package for the next day for d15,000. I told Jiji that it’s too cheap and I don’t want to commit to something that doesn’t really make sense. It didn’t make sense because they promised a full day tour package for only d15,000 or $0.71! This place is cheap but not that cheap! They didn’t believe me and these guys offered them a ride back to the hostel for free. They took the offer but when they arrived these guys asked d50,000 for just the ride alone. What a scam! I knew it!
On day two, we decided to do our own tour by foot using the map the hostel provided us. It was such a long walk but I loved doing these walks. It’s the only way you really could explore the city and take it all in and realize you’re actually living your dream. We first visited the War Remnants Museum and it was hair raising knowing what these remnants been through during the Vietnam War. Whether you’re a war veteran or a history buff or just a regular Joe this visit is a must! It gave me a little bit of idea in terms of what truly had happened during the Vietnam war other than what’s shown on TV. My opinion though that this museum is very one sided and it bad mouths American Soldier.
Along the way to the tourist spots around the city we stopped for cold drinks and smoothies. It was sooo hot, it was necessary. We also did some shopping along the way.
Second stop we went for a short walk to the Notre Dame Cathedral. The structure was very nice and the view inside were even better! If you’re Catholic this visit is a must when in Saigon. The neighborhood is a replica of the real Notre Dame in France! When you use your phone to check in on your Facebook, it even mimics your location as if you were in France too! Weird but cool! On the way back we were able to navigate the city better because we’ve learned the streets. This is why exploring the city by foot can be advantageous!