This post is kind of overdue. I had been wanting to write about my 2nd trip to Vietnam as soon as I got back but never managed to get around to it.
The plan to visit Saigon city was made quite hastily and me being me, I thought I could sort the things I have to do as I go along, whatever they are, only to realise nearing the trip that I have 2 wedding invitations to go. The 2nd wedding was on the same day I was to aboard the flight to Vietnam and it was in Sekinchan, some driving distance from the airport. I ended up not going to the wedding and joined my friends who went first much later. Bad, bad planning on my part.
It was Sunday evening by the time I reached our hotel and met the girls. We had pho’ and spring rolls for dinner (been craving for authentic pho’ since my last trip there!). After dinner we walked past a travel agency outlet and decided to buy a half day tour package. Reasonable price I’d say.
Next, we went shopping at the night market right outside Ben Thanh market. It helps that the sellers accept Ringgits as I had trouble converting into the local currency haha! Bought a fake Nike slip-on shoes which was very comfortable (pretty sure it was fake lah considering how much I paid for it). One thing people will always tell you if you shop here, and I agree – you can haggle for lower prices, but they would not like it if you eventually decide not to buy once they do lower down their prices. So think many many times before you bargain!
The next day we took the cab to Binh Tay market which was a huge market selling stuff in bulks at cheap prices. Everything you want is probably there, you name it. The walking paths from one seller to the next were very narrow we kept having to stop to give way or squeeze ourselves past.
After a quick lunch, we went shopping at Ben Thanh market (I know they sound alike,we almost got our cabbies confused!). This market had more breathing and walking space, though still easy to get lost if ever you get separated from your group. Bought a few fabrics and pretty pouches to give as souvenirs. Ain bought boxes of coffees (Vietnam is famous for their coffees).
Walking back from the market to the hotel, we decided to take a breather at a park nearby. The weather was warm but still quite nice to stroll around. We could see a few people chilling at the park while we were there too.
Our travel agent picked us up from the hotel in the evening. First activity on the list was a water puppet show. There was no translation provided so we could only roughly guess what the performance was about. I admit I nodded off a bit during the show because I was tired from our day adventure. But overall, it was an enjoyable show about the life and culture of the Vietnamese people.
Next, we were taken on a cruise where we will be having dinner. We were first quite sceptical that it would be merely dinner on a ship that will not set sail, but the ship did sail as food was served hehe. Quite a lovely experience having dinner with the slow sea breeze as well as live music and dance performances. That really made a nice end to our short trip in Vietnam.
Such nice view of the sea and the city from the cruise.
Although the trip was short (I had effectively only one day to enjoy Saigon), I was glad it turned out well. It probably helped that that was my 2nd trip to Vietnam and so I had a little clue of what to expect. It is also useful to buy a phone data once you get there. When interacting with the locals, expect limited English, though passable. And oh, one important thing, if you are exploring on foot, you need to have a strong heart and mind to cross the roads. Nobody will really stop for you. Nobody!
Ah well, all for the experience =)