Thursday, 5 March 2015

Ho Chi Minh City


As we descended into Ho Chi Minh city with an outlook of pink clouds and city lights our excitement levels rose and the fact that we were about to embark on a month of backpacking in South East Asia finally started to sink in. 

After luggage collection and passport/visa checks we stumbled out to the taxi terminal where we were bombarded by taxi drivers trying to reel us in.
Google gave us the rough idea that we should be spending between $150 000 – $250 000 dong. We were offered a taxi to our hotel half an hour away for $700 000 dong (we mistakenly thought he said $70 000)and thinking what a great deal we'd got, jumped in. When asked to pay a portion of the fare before leaving the airport we began to count our money and luckily realised we were being majorly ripped off. We leaped from the cab grabbed our bags from the boot and headed back to the terminal where we bargained a cab down to $350 000 (Still quite pricey, but when you're jet lagged and in a foreign country after travelling for 12+ hours you take what you can get.)

Tip 1: For a taxi in Ho Chi Minh pay around
-       $50 000 - $80 000 for 5-10minutes
-       $100 000 - 150 000 for 15-20minutes
-       $150 000 - $300 000 for 30minutes

I think both of us spent the whole taxi ride staring out the window in awe at the traffic situation. I saw families of 4 on one motor scooter, and parents with babies on their lap riding along. Not to mention the fact that lanes are non existent and the traffic merges in every which way. This mental system somehow seemed to work, which I think is what shocked us the most.
After arriving at our accommodation and buying some water we pretty much hit the hard mattress and went straight to sleep.

Tip 2: Buying water in Ho Chi Minh
-       Between $3 000 & $9 000 dong for 1.5Ls
-       Check to make sure it has a plastic seal. If not your probably being sold tap (dirty) water in a bottle. (Applies for all of Asia)

The Jet lag had us rising with the sun and we wandered around the slowing awaking streets snapping some obligatory 'good morning Vietnam' photos. After breakfast we set out to explore the cities sights and would definitely recommend paying a visit to The War Remnants Museum which although quite shocking sad and is an interesting insight into culture and history. 

We had lunch on Bui Vien Street, which we discovered was part of the backpacker area. I would highly recommend this street for cheap accommodation and restaurants. We ended up coming back here for dinner and went to ‘Viet Restaurant’ (59-61 Bui Vien Street, D1, HCMC) which was amazing and well priced.

Safe to say Ho Chi Minh's bustling atmosphere and crazy traffic situation made for an exciting and interesting start to the trip. 

Next stop: Phonm Penh, Cambodia 

Julia & Rachael

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