The Chaos Of Saigon : The Beginning | Vietnam

Ah Vietnam! Entering Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon. I love to reference Vietnam as the Dragon due to the shape it has on the map. I can truly marvel in the country's river tributaries from the sky. Since i'm in Southern Vietnam, that means i'm at the Dragon's tail. Oh well, i'm ready to embark in this journey filled with scams, grumpy faces and also tears and laughter. Its not that bad actually.
So here i am in Ho Chi Minh City as i queued at the immigration quite long enough and observing my surroundings. I saw a bunch of Malaysians filling up the queues really fast and start to wonder why are there so many of them!? After about 15 minutes or so i came face to face a not so friendly man stamping my passport.

"Lie-yeh-na" the man in green called to me.
"It's Lee-yah-na" I tried to correct the way he pronounced my name.
He gave me a blank face. Okay....

From that on, not trying to be judgmental, i know my trip here will be filled with unfriendly looking faces. After exiting immigration, i went to the money changer and got a good deal of SGD$1 to 16750k. Yes, it really was a good deal because in Singapore the rate was about 14000k which is shit. Some thing really weird happen while we were counting our money using the money changer calculator, the lady came out of her booth and snatched the calculator. We were just a bit confused over the currency. A bit stunned, we walked out of the airport.

But of course all happiness have to come to an end when we later realized (like 7hrs later) that we were scammed. She had actually given us the exchange rate of SGD$1 to 16705k! Congratulations woman, your honesty has built a lasting impression on me. Not saying that i'm petty but looks like that's how business run in this city, isn't it?

We were directed to a non existent looking bus stop under the shade outside the airport and waited about 15 minutes to take a public bus to Ben Thanh Interchange. This bus is about a 20 minutes journey. It cost me 5000 Dong which is like 25cents. I have to put my money in a container next to the bus driver and he will pass me a blue paper ticket.
Crossing the road in Ho Chi Minh City is totally another different story because it was crazy, chaotic, overwhelming and actually perfectly safe. When we were in the bus, we were amazed by the number of motorbikes on the road. Its like a ratio of [ bikes: taxis/cars : buses ] 100 : 5 : 6 in that line of road. Not exaggerating, i swear. I will cover this on a different post next.

Once we reached the interchange and feeling clueless, even though i have a paper map with me, a local guy from Hanoi was nice enough to show us the way to where our hotel is. I later find out that we are staying at the backpacker's mecca. Really interesting.
We met a lady whom also showed us the way to Bui Vien as well and then she followed us for a few minutes. With the motive of promoting her hostel which cost SGD$1, of course we nicely turned down her remarkable offer as we already had ours booked earlier. 
Then a few seconds later, a man in his bike came riding beside me and asking where i want to go and then asking if i was from Thailand. Errr.......thinking that he is going to start promoting about his business (whatever that is going to be) we walked off quickly.
After settling our stuff at the hotel, we were too early to check in because it was only about 10am? We chilled a little bit at the first McDonald in Vietnam! Wow, lucky us. They even have motorbike parking for the outlet! After this we are going to head down to Dai Nam theme park and a lot more chaos starts to unfold.

Stay tuned for more backpacking Vietnam stories here x

1 comment:

  1. I lived in Saigon for about three years and had an absolute blast. Some of the best years of my life to be honest! The people there are just so lovely and it really makes you so grateful for what you have after listening to their stories.
    I'm no expert on HCMC, but if you did need any tips or restaurants/places to visit I'd be happy to help out! Unless you've already been and gone! xx

    Emily ⎜ Daisy Locks


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