Existing Member?

My Asia I fell in love with Cambodia in 2002. I am fortunate enough to now be able to enjoy regular trips. I hope you enjoy following me and that the information is useful to some!

Days Two, Three and Four

VIETNAM | Tuesday, 7 December 2010 | Views [666] | Comments [5]

Day two see's Bruce & Sam go off to the Cu Chi tunnels on a bus tour. Five dollars each and of course it stopped off at the regulatory lacquer and handicap shops. But they did enjoy their day, especially shooting the guns?

I wandered down to the Saigon River for a coffee (I am addicted)and found all the shopping Malls along the way, you could easily forget that you are in Vietnam and think you were in Paris or somewhere, the exclusive shops are unbelievable, l felt very scruffy and under dressed!

In the afternoon with all of us back together again we enjoy the Ben Thanh markets, viscous shop owners and you need to be good at haggling or at least be confident in what you think is a fair price! We bought our fair share of knock of Ralph Lauren shirts, and a kilo of coconut pastries! 

Day three and we open the Lonely Planet to page 367 and head off on a city walk. We start at Pham Ngo Lao and take in the Saigon River, a lovely street market of fresh food, Cafe X for morning tea (ice cream), People's Committee Building, Rex Hotel, Reunification Palace (15,000 Dong entrance fee) War Remnants Museum (15,000 Dong entrance), Notre Dame Cathedral, French style Main Post Office, Jade Emperor Pagoda, and got scammed by a crazy taxi driver and his mad meter! Along the way we see plenty of gorgeous French styled building and l am sure there is a seller on every corner of every street. Selling post cards, coconuts, water, cigarette's, drugs! lonely planets, cyclo rides, T Shirts, it never stops!

We caught a real taxi back to the hotel about 4pm, was a huge walking day. 

Be WARNED - vina something or other or Mai Linh taxis are the only one's to catch, any taxi driver that approaches you on the street is most likely a crook!!! Go to a TAXI stop and you will be safer! Lesson learnt!

Day Four, bus booked for tomorrow to Cantho. We head off to Diamond Plaza thinking it is a Mall similar to those in KL, but it is a shop similar to a Myer or David Jones and once again, we are scruffy looking and out of our league! Where the hell are we! Head to the River for a bit of a look, nothing exciting! Find a REAL supermarket and we all shopped up a storm. Sam spent $5 Aust and got a bag full of treats, he was so proud of his shopping and also did not buy one western treat! All local stuff, peanut candy, a tea latte, potato chips, and a heap of weird other stuff! A REAL taxi back to Hotel area and lovely lunch in a cafe and more coffee! 

I asked Bruce this morning what he was thinking of Saigon and he feels it is a type of controlled Caos, Sam thinks it is unconsistant, as he likes it one minute and hates it the next! And is also too Beepy!! I could describe it as being Hectic, it never ever stops. 

I am however amazed at Bruce's map skills! Why is it that at home he consistently gets lost! But here with a very shitty map with no street names he can get us from one side of Saigon to the other without getting lost! Down all sorts of interesting side streets and alley ways! Amazing! 

Tomorrow we are off to Can tho, a four and a half hour bus trip. We have paid $12 each for this pleasure and most likely paying a bit more on top of the fare as we booked it at the Hotel tour desk, but the tour man is so sweet and l consider it a fair price! That is the thing with these countries, as long as you consider it a fair price its OK, even though you know you are paying possibly two to three times more than what the locals pay, its still cheaper than home. Although being scammed by a sneaky taxi driver is another storey!

Fruit seller at the market

Fruit seller at the market

Comments

1

I love the shopper in you, we so need to go O/S together, enjoy it

  Tracy Dec 8, 2010 9:44 AM

2

There seems to be an underlying theme of yummy food; well done.

  Bronwyn Dec 8, 2010 5:44 PM

3

You will need to all go on a diet when you get home!

  Desleigh Dec 9, 2010 1:29 PM

4

i am amazed at how cheap everything is!

sounds like you are having a great time......go for it!!!!

  lesley Dec 12, 2010 10:39 AM

5

To clear what Andrea said about taxi in Vietnam and/or Saigon: There's only 2 taxi company you should use: Vinasun and Mai Linh.

Vinasun and Mail Linh was the only two taxi company that has great reputation in customers service. They're very thorough in training their drivers and very very strict about enforcing the company's rules and policies

If you called and complained to headquarter about the driver then look like he/she will be fired immediately afterward. The taxi drivers also told me that headquarter always deploy the "batman team" - (Internal Inspectors who pretending to be stupid tourist/out-of-town peoples) to trap/catch bad driver around the clock.

The "batman" would pretend to forget (marked) baggages on the taxi, to see if the driver follow company procedure to report to HQ or maybe to check if the driver try to have more on meter by to using a farther route to go to destination, etc..

(Next time tell them you're the "batman team" and see how they will react... haha...)

The other "look like taxi" cars really were "independent non-company taxi" which mean you have a car, you can put a taxi sign on top, put whatever name that on the side door, put a rigged meter inside and start pick up customers (aka. tourist).

Vinasun and Mai Linh has the most taxi fleet in town. Always use them.

Also at Airports, there's always an infamous taxi company called "Airport Taxi" waiting for you. Be careful, they are also a taxi company but they do not have good reputations. Do not use them at airports. Request the taxi co-ordinator (the one with the walkie-talkie in hand who control the taxi line) to call for you Vinasun or Mai Linh.

  Third Culture Dec 14, 2011 7:33 AM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.


 

 

Travel Answers about Vietnam

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.