27 Feb - 05 Mar 2009 Saigon

Southeast Asia
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon
40/11 Bui Vien Street
Nhu Lan Hotel +84838360566 dangnhulan@yahoo.com
Clean double room, with air con, for VND 262,000.- or US$ 15.- per night.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Nhu Lan Hotel in Saigon, which we would recommend, and for directions:


Southeast Asia
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Can Tho City
Huy Hoàng Hotel
Double room, with fan, for only VND 120,000.- or US$ 6.90 per night.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Huy Hoang Hotel in Can Tho City and for directions:

Strolling through the heavily noise-and-air polluted urban bustle of Vietnam’s largest metropolis, practising how to cross collision-free the never-ending stream of 5 million Chinese (advertised price: only VND 5,000,000.- or US$ 285.-) and Japanese motorbikes which mercilessly dash along and watching the world spin by (with the help of 333 Beer [“ba-ba-ba”] - the leading local beer) in several of the many open-air sidewalk cafes in this “Pearl of the Far East”.

Exploring the colourful Chinatown of Cholon (districts 5 and 11) by means of cyclo (3-wheeled bicycle rickshaw), visiting centuries-old temples and pagodas (Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda - dedicated to Me Sanh [the Goddess of Fertility], Giac Lam Pagoda - the oldest pagoda in greater Saigon, Giac Vien Pagoda - boasting some 100 lavish carvings of various divinities), bargaining at the teeming local markets (our favourite: Binh Tay Market, a Chinese-style architectural masterpiece with a great clock tower) and always wondering what life in this area had been like in the late 1970s, when - after the Communist take-over of Saigon - our Chinese-Canadian son-in-law’s Hoa parents fled the country.

Regularly using the excellent city buses (a bliss in this crowded city: clearly marked bus stops, air-con busses were always almost empty, with helpful drivers and honest attendants) of the Saigon Bus Company for VND 3,000.- or US$ 0.17 per ride per person; despite the official, nonsensical travel tips from the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security: “It is not recommended for foreigners to travel by bus because they are more suited for locals”.

Buying two excellent “genuine” Deuter internal-frame backpacks (locally made under license): Air Contact 65+10 (for VND 360,000.- or US$ 20.-) and Air Contact SL 50+10 (for VND 270,000.- or US$ 15.-) - real bargains.

Touring the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s “rice basket”, by bus and motor/rowing boat: (i) exploring the lush river islands, orchards and small stilt-house hamlets along the creeks and canals between My Tho and Ben Tre, (ii) testing fierce local spirits such as snake wine, banana wine, rice wine, ginger wine and honey wine, (iii) feasting on tropical fruits, (iv) watching locals playing traditional music, cooking coconut candy and manufacturing banh trang (rice paper, something of a misnomer: this stuff is not very good for writing on, but is very good for eating - people use it to wrap Vietnamese spring rolls) and (v) cruising the Cai Rang Floating Market, the biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta.
Flying with Air Asia (“Now Everyone Can Fly”) in an Airbus A 320-200 from Saigon's Tan Son Nhat International Airport back to Kuala Lumpur's KLIA-LCCT for all inclusive MYR 183.- or US$ 50.- per person, one way, and being issued with another 90-day-visit pass for a “social visit” to Malaysia on arrival - free of charge; tạm biệt, Saigon and once more selamat pagi, Malaysia.

Click below for more blog posts about South Vietnam
22 Jun - 24 Jun 2010 Hue
16 Jun - 22 Jun 2010 Hoi An
13 Jun - 15 Jun 2010 Nha Trang
07 Jun - 13 Jun 2010 Saigon
05 Jun - 07 Jun 2010 Chao Doc

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

Recommended books - click below for your Amazon order from the United Kingdom:

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For Amazon bargains from Canada, please click here