Monday, August 08, 2011

Vietnam trip, Part 1

It has been a long time since hubs and I took a trip alone, just two of us, any where since the kids arrived. C'est la vie! That's why while planning our Malaysia trip, I took the liberty to book us a little  trip to Saigon AKA Ho Chi Minh city.
REALLY tiny in with! It looks like being SQUEZZZEEEEEEDDDDD!
I thought that since hubs was born there, I thought that it'll be nice to go for a visit. It'll be his 1st trip back to his home country ever since his family got out of there late 70s. And besides, it'll probably be one of those trips to one of these countries that we'd rather take alone, minus the whatever hazards the little ones will bring. :p

HCMC was surprisingly refreshing despite the fact that it has about 8 million people just in that city alone. Weather isn't that hot and humidity is not as high as in Kuala Lumpur. I think it's just a fact that its facing an open sea that helps to "chase" out all the hot air?

My 1st impression of this vibrant city is that, there's sooooo..... MANY motorcycles! The streets are full of them. Cars, lorries, buses and vans we could only count a few. But I can see there's a lot of growing population of the wealthy as there's no less amount of luxury cars cruising about the busy, busy streets of Saigon on our way towards our hotel.

It took us about 1 hours to reach our hotel in district 1 in the not so heavy traffic jam. When we arrived, they had a small problem with the room so they had to check us into another hotel, a sister hotel of theirs and we got an upgrade. Nice! This room at this other hotel was an equivalent of a suite for a 3 star hotel, my guess is. They paid for our return transfer to that other place.

I don't really care for a bigger room when I travel, since I'm only there at night to sleep in. What is most important for me is that the room is clean with reasonable sized bed (I've slept in really, really SMALL single bed made for kids in Verona, but that's another story), has a clean toilet and shower, and with no flying/crawling around insects of any kind (had a BAD experience here, unless of course if its sleeping under the stars in the jungle).

What is so nice about this city is that, even if its a 3 star hotel, we get Internet WIFI access for FREE!!And one could even get Internet WIFI access for free as well in most restaurants. And its just not slow a** connection but pretty fast ones. Malaysian hotels should learn a thing or two here.
The green, green fields of paddies.
At the pier for our Mekong river tour.

Anyways, since we were there for only 4 days, we didn't get to visit a lot of places. Did a day trip to visit the Vietnam part of the Mekong river and its 4 islands and another day trip for its city. We were joined by a couple of lovely New Zelanders for our river trip.
Already for the trip! :)

The river itself flows from the borders of China off the Tibetan plateau. So one can just imagine how many thousand miles it has travelled to get to the South China Sea. As we travel by boat, there were catfish farms (which I refrain from eating), boats pushing/pulling sand from Cambodia to Vietnam, along this wide and long river.

The 1st stop was at Turtle island, where we got to visit a honey bee farm; got a taste of their honey tea - which is not bad. And then they even have a snake farm.. The snakes were breed to make snake wines. Don't ask me how it tastes like, I'm not very much into snake wines. :p And then it was a visit to their coconut candy "production line". There's this little girl helping her mum warp the candies. And she's just 5 years old! I wish Owen would help me pick up his toys... :p

Next stop is at this fruit farm where we were entertained by local Vietnamese folk singers backed up by a 3 man band, playing traditional Vietnamese instruments. I know, it's kinda cheesy. But hey, it gets touristy here! Plus I've never seen so many longans along the pathway to the horse drawn carriage we take next. The carriage ride through their small village and we next hopped into a sampan (long boat) at the end of the ride. The canal runs through this island and there its really small and tight with traffic. Hubs helped the lady row the boat up front while she navigates through tight spots... We then hopped back to our river cruise boat towards the Phoenix Island.

It rained by the time we went for lunch at Con Phung Island (Phoenix). We were the lucky ones to reach the restaurant before it was pouring! LOL! The restaurant was quite interesting, it was built on a marsh full of water lilies! The sight itself was so pretty. And what with the pouring rain, I got to play around with the camera while waiting. :)
Our ride after lunch to the other side of the island where we'll take a boat ride along the tiny river.
The rain didn't really stop by the time we finish our day trip. It was still drizzling. But the skies cleared when we got to our hotel to reveal a calm and cooling night out with hub's uncle who lives in Hamburg. This uncle happens to be on his vacation trip with wife and 2nd son. And guess what? They all were down with diarrhea and vomiting on the 2nd day they arrived. What a way to began a trip. :( Good thing they've recovered a little by the time we meet up with them for drinks.
Drinks at this bonsai garden with hub's uncle & family
Don't worry, he's just interested in the desert rose bonsai plant. Don't mind the doggie! ;)
After that we decided to go towards the wholesale market area for a meal nearby. It was within 20 minutes of walking and dodging traffic to get there. LOL! The market is close of course but there was their night market that is open. Had dinner of grilled pork with rice, Vietnamese Phô (noodles with vegs in meat broth), crab & prawn meat  on sugar cane, Viet style spring rolls, deep fried squid with pork, and to finish off, a refreshing young coconut drink. It was ALL YUMMMY food.... :p  I just wish I still had some place left for dessert. Well, make that courage to try out street vendor desert! LOL!  

1 comment:

Astrid said...

My tea got cold! Loved reading about your adventure and see the photos!