Date of Visit: 01st April 2012
Initially, it was a trip of two. Then, it became four. Unfortunately one month before, one couldn't make it and so it became three. But how come at the end, only I alone to Ho Chi Minh City?
I went Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam less than a week after back from a week trip to Philippines last year. To be frank, I never thought of going Vietnam until one of my best friends proposed that she wanna go there just for their famous authentic and strong aroma coffee, and so I tried my luck for AirAsia's promotion and surprisingly, I managed to secure the deal that I think might be one of the best - a return for just RM146 as well for my return ticket via KK-KL-KK for just RM12.20 (when can you get this best deal anymore?). Then, when my collegemate know about this, she and her friend interested to join too but unfortunately by the time she wanna book the same flight as mine, the airfare had increased and I advised her to buy the night flight and so she did. Luckily my collegemate did bought cause one month before the trip, my best friend unable to join cause she will having exam on our travel period. Therefore, I went alone in the morning and waited for my collegemate and her friend at night in Ho Chi Minh City. Hereby, I can concluded that this is the first time I flew abroad alone without the companion of any friends of mine.
#1: The flight duration from Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) took 1 hour and 55 minutes. In between, Ho Chi Minh City is 1 hour behind Malaysia.
Travel Tips in Saigon:
Beware of the rip-off taxis scam. Do not simply take any taxi cause it will hurt your wallet so badly. The most reliable cabs are MaiLinh and Vinasun. Beware of the letters as well cause some try to fool you by placing Vinasum. See the difference? To get more info on how to avoid Saigon's rip-off taxis - read this article.
#2: Took MaiLinh cab from the airport's counter to hotel and it cost USD$10
#3: Thien Xuan Hotel in District 1
From airport to Thien Xuan Hotel (which recommended by my friend), it took less than 20 minutes via taxi. I noticed that most Malaysian and Singaporean love to stay in District 1 cause it nearby most of those popular and main attractions of Saigon such as Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, Reunification Palace, Opera House, and War Remnants Museums. There are more than 20 budget and affordable hotels around this district.
After done with all the check-in procedures, I was allowed to check-in into the room earlier. I though I have to wait until 2pm like most of those typical hotels but then I was being told I can check-in as early as 8 am. On top of that, the full amount of the hotel fees were paid when we check-out.
#3: Cozy and modern design superior triple room
#4: Clean and well-equipped with a bathtub and hot water
#5: All basic toiletries were provided in each and every room including bath towels and hair dryer
Although there is a free Wifi inside the room but unfortunately maybe because our room was located at very corner end, hence the connection was very weak. Sometimes I can access to Internet, sometimes I can't. Most of the time I access internet at the lobby or using the hotel's computer which located besides the hotel small little so-call cafe. To my surprised was besides China, even country like Vietnam is unofficially blocked Facebook.
#6: Famous Ben Than Market is located less than 100 meters away from the hotel
I can see Ben Thanh Market by just standing right in front of the entrance of the hotel. This is what I like about the strategic location of this hotel. Besides Ben Thanh Market, there are also many restaurants nearby. And when the day turned to night, a bustling and happening night market set up outside Ben Thanh Market. [Will blog more about Ben Thanh Market in next post]
After scouting around Ben Thanh Market alone for almost two hours, I went back to the hotel and took a nap. Imagine I woke up as early as 3 am to catch my flight and I was extremely tired and exhausted.
#7: My first dinner in Saigon - Rice with roasted pork [USD$3]
When I about to step out from the hotel hunting for my dinner, the weather was really bad with heavy rain and strong wind. Out of sudden, the whole District 1 including the hotel I stayed was blackout. Scary to the max cause this is my very first time of experience this. Therefore, my last resort was having my dinner inside the hotel's small little so-called cafe. By that time as well, I received message from my friend that her flight will be delayed until the next morning due to the bad weather conditions.
#8: Whole night alone in the room wrote postcards cause of the bad weather conditions
Overall, this hotel is ideal and perfect choice for traveller and tourist at leisure as it tucked right in the center of the city and only few walking distance to most attractions like I mentioned above. The amount that we paid for 6 nights was USD$294, which it cost roughly USD$16 per person per night, this room is absolutely affordable and friendly to our wallet. The rate that we paid was including breakfast as well. This hotel is highly recommended for those who travel on a budget - clean, convenient, cheap and excellent services.