Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Our first morning in HCMC was one of discovery. We discovered that whilst our hotel room was more than satisfactory, the hotel location was not. This detail did not feature during any of my searching or reading of travel reviews.
It wasn’t until after breakfast that this issue became apparent. We had decided to go for a walk to see some of the sights and we realised, then, that the hotel is a bit more remote than we had thought it would be and for what we would have liked. Our other hotel of choice for HCMC though was ideally located!
Anyway, we walked around and saw Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post Office. Land marks of note here. The boys then went on to look for a laundromat whilst I visited the tourist office to check out possible tours for the afternoon. Our hotel only offered private tours and our preference was for a small group tour. Some luck went our way here as there was a small group half day city tour available for us that afternoon.
We headed back to the hotel to wait until the 1.50pm tour pick up time. During the wait I investigated options for relocating hotels but this wasn’t possible as we had pre-paid the current hotel and they weren’t very sympathetic. So it seemed we were to have another 6 nights here 😦
The afternoon tour was enjoyable though and we shared this with a young and friendly Canadian couple. The tour included a visit to Jade Emperor Pagoda ( Temple), Ben Thanh markets, Reunification Palace and a Lacquer workshop. There was also a cyclo ride through Chinatown included as well. This rather scary 15 min ride, weaving through traffic and narrowly dodging cars and buses, seemed to be the highlight for the boys. Not so me! Thoughts of money wasted on cancer treatment to simply end life on a cyclo passed through my mind!
The Ben Thanh markets were a bit disappointing though and Mark noted that they stock exactly the same junk at these markets as they do in the shops at Eastwood. So he told me to do any desired souvenir shopping once home!
The Reunification Palace was an interesting visit and made more so by the cute young Vietnamese girl who approached Tom. Tom thought she wanted him to take her photo BUT what she really wanted was to have a photo taken with him in it too! There was much giggling from her and her friends when Tom realised the confusion.
We arrived back at the hotel by about 6 pm and with every intention to venture back out for dinner. We headed to the lounge area first though and, with food and drink on offer there, we soon changed our minds.