Vietnam Without Dong

You can still very much survive without dong...coz they also widely accept USD...hehehe...


I had been to Ho Chi Minh (or previously known as Saigon) once in 2007...but didn't had that travellers bug that time yet...so there's a lot of things that i missed out...this time around...we specifically choose the date in conjunction with my travel buddy's birthday...Jaja...as usual...got a very affordable ticket (it was RM156 return plus tax)...spread the news to my other travel buddies...by the end of the day...we end up with 10 of us (supposed to be 11 but Ned had to pull out due to work commitments)...it was a very short weekend getaway trip...we didn't even take any leave days...the flight was on Friday nite...we got back to Malaysia on Sunday nite...


For the two nites we stay at La Jolie Hotel & Spa in District 1...very near to Sheraton...very near to the Saigon Mosque...halal food were aplenty...there were even 2 halal restaurant next to the hotel...cool...we booked over agoda for RM125 per room per nite...the room was immensely comfortable...for the price it was worth it...it comes with breakfast...


When we arrived in Tan Son Nhat International Airport...there's no hassle...went to the immigration check...then straight away to the taxi counter at the arrival hall...paid USD7 per cab (it was innova MPV)...then we were taken by the counter guy to wait for the cab...he reminded us that there are no extra charges...its a flat rate of USD7 from the airport to our hotel in District 1...


Once we checked in and freshen up...we immediately went out to find place to celebrate Jaja's birthday...we walked for about 15 mins from the hotel to Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chi Minh...some of us bought the HRC stuff then we went back to the restaurant next to the hotel after much deliberation of where we are going for the birthday dinner...the price was not that expensive but neither it was cheap either...but it taste good anyway...so we don't mind that much since there's certain limitation towards finding halal food in a non-muslim country...


Then we walked again...this time to a different direction...we were heading to Pham Ngu Lao area (the backpackers area) to find tour for Mekong and Chu Chi tunnel...my sis told me that some of them open 24/7...worry not even though it was quite late already...got both tours for USD11 and USD10 respectively (when i was browsing the internet they charged more than USD25 for those tours)...they will pick us up from the hotel at 8.00 a.m the next day...we walked back to the hotel...rest for the nite as the next day will be tiring...


After breakfast...the bus arrived...fully air-conditioned...comfortable enough...it was 2 hours ride from the city to the pier...we were taken on the boat crossing the Mekong river to the islands...the first one was where they have this coconut candy...then we were taken on 1.5km (more or less) ride by a horse carriage...but i kinda feel sorry for the horses as they are thin...seriously...and we are rather...errrrr...big...hahaha...then we walked back to the boat to another island for lunch...in which they have crocodile farm as well...had veggie lunch...very simple lunch...included in the tour price...


Then off we go to the final island...we were taken to this tea joint where we were served with honey tea...taste kinda good...we finished our pot mind you...hahaha...then to another joint where we were served with tropical fruits accompanied by performance by the local in Vietnamese language...the finale of the trip was seriously cool...we were taken on a 'sampan' ride crossing the small river of 'nipah' to the mother boat...it was a nice experience...hehehe...then we headed back to the mainland to take the bus back to the city...one thing i regretted was not buying the souvenir bag at the pier...it was USD2 per bag and 7 pieces for USD10...i thought that i could get it cheaper in Ben Tanh...but seriously i was wrong...so one should just buy it there and then...


We asked the bus driver to drop us off at Ben Tanh market...this is where we all split up to find things that the hearts' desire...i went with Hadi to buy some fridge magnets as usual...and headed to the nasi lemak stall nearby while waiting for the others to finished...and my owh my...those girls really can shop till they drop there...Yantie and Aliya end up buying 10 backpacks each...Ina and Ryn end up with tons of cottons and silk...Jaja had tailor-made suit...Farah Amy and Jepp...i was not sure what they bought...but Amy then bought telekung for USD10 per piece...ermmm...me? ermmm...not much...just bunch of fridge magnets...hahaha...


That nite we went for massage nearby the hotel area...it was 2 hour massage for less than RM50...seriously cheap...and its already stated that its inclusive of tips to the masseur...i rather enjoyed the hot stone massage...its my first time to try it and i think it was relaxing...hehehe...we also had late nite supper in the indian restaurant next to the hotel...kinda pricey...but the taste was good enough to overcome the thought of the price...if i can remember correctly...seafood fried rice was about RM15 per plate...errr...but as i said before...there's not much argument when it comes to halal food...


The next morning we went to Chu Chi Tunnel after breakfast...it was roughly 1 hour 30 mins ride from the city...this is some unique experience that is only exclusively in Vietnam...the tunnel was built during the war times...and one can only respect the determination of those vietnamese to live in this tunnel during the war times...i was a bit scared to go into the tunnel as it was small...but i can easily fit in no worries...hahaha...there also a shooting range...if one wants to try shooting they only have to pay USD5 for 5 bullets...when we were back to the city...we split up again...as the girls wanna do their final shopping spree as Hadi and I took a walk to the post office to send postcards to our friends and family...


We went on to have some vietnamese coffee in Highlands Coffee...owh there are no Starbucks yer...we went back to the hotel...pack  our things and headed to the airport as our flight is at 8.20 p.m...


It was one tiring journey but satisfying one as well...for such a big group...we managed to get along well enough with each others company...we managed to cram in shopping and touring for such a short time...cool huh...some of us left with lots of cash...some left Saigon with excess baggage...some finished up their last cents and had to do short loans with others...some even willingly be 'ah long'...hahaha...but end up it was a great weekend getaway cum Jaja's birthday celebration...looking at how these girls shop till they drop in Saigon...its a little wonder why they all left Vietnam without Dong...hehehe...

T.Y.S

Comments

Lily Riani said…
nice hotel, i stayed dist 1 & 3 before but non of the hotels look as good as this and for rm125; it's super worth it.
hahaha..siot! sempat perli lagi ada yg berhabis sen segala ek? weh.. aku rasa ko silap la...

"Yantie and Aliya end up buying 10 backpacks each...Ina and Ned end up with tons of cottons and silk..." <-- bukan Rin ke??? ahahhaha
Lily Riani :
Yeah it was really nice...for the price it is worth it and really easy to find food around this area...
Hasina :
Oooopsss...silap...diperbetulkan segera...
YanTie AhMad said…
waaahhh..gambar aku berposing nak masuk dlm tunnel tu and menembak tu so cool!..love it!!..:)
marmalade said…
macam ada je benda yang tak diceritakan di sini? hihihihihi :p
Al Hadi said…
kaki shopping memang la habis Dong. tapi yang buat hal si Jepp lak hilang last minute. hangin woi
Yantie :
Kan kan kan...aku mati mati ko tak muat weih masuk itu tunnel...hahahaa...tapi gambar ala cikgu shida ko tu memang vokssss...
cik hayati :
well...some things are better left unwritten but you'll hear it every now and then...hahaha...
hadi :
hahahah...rilek bro...hehehe...
xetxet said…
i benci u ols! but it's a big wonder that en. akmal can fit in that tiny tunnel. or was that for picture only?
Mrs Bawang :
cessss...i memang muat hokey...demmm...

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