Before I begin, I would like to express my gratitude to my family, work and close friends. Thanks for providing us the tools and values of being a good, respectful citizen to the outside world and for lessons we have often in the past taken for granted. We realise now how blessed we have been to have the love and support from those closest to us.
Without them we haven’t got to this point in our lives to begin this crazy adventure.
In preparation, we have to get sorted with our banks, cancel our bills, clean and lease out our property, adopt out our pet cat and dog, sell our car and most of our belongings, have planned next months of itinerary. Organising a year’s worth of luggage to fit onto our 7kg our carry-on backpacks. Sounds Crazy?… Yes it actually is. But then what is life without a little crazyness and adventure? To us travelling from one destination to the next has to do with more than just changing your routine; it’s about visiting new people, going outside our comfort zones and doing the best to learn and take from the experiences or challenges we encounter each day.
Throughout our posts, we plan to list challenges for ourselves or new things we hope to do. We will also list the costs and details of our itinerary and and final thoughts about our visit.
So without further ado, we bid you a super excited… Good Morning Vietnam !!!
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Our first days begins at Ho Chi Minh City. We arrived in the morning, courtesy of Air Asia via Kuala Lumpur with 5 hour layover in the early morning hours from 3AMto 8AM. We were so tired that we joined many of the other travellers sleeping on the carpeted floor outside the shops of the international terminal of the Kuala Lumpur Airport. Australians are required to obtain a visa to get entry into Vietnam and we had chosen to apply online to get a “Visa On Arrival Letter”(this cost around $7USD). This was a cheaper, more convinient and safer option for us as it meant we did not have to mail our passport to the Embassy in Australia (the Embassy also in excess of $100 for the VISA processing fee). We did have to wait a while at the airport for processing though (just over an hour). There were many fellow travellers waiting with us. We had to pay $25 USD for a 30 day visa and provide one passport sized photo, our visa on arrival letter and complete an application form. These forms require details of your immediate family’s date of birth and addressses and where you will be staying in Vietnam, so we suggest you fill out the forms before-hand to avoid the stress of getting these details on short notice.
The weather in Ho Chi Minh was beautiful; warm without being uncomfortable and with no sign of rain. We came here on the second week of March and was pleasantly surprised as we had expected the sweltering, humid heat that South-East Asia is so famous for. The city itself is suprisingly clean, busy and safe. Just don’t get overwhelmed by the plethora of scooters whizzing by and keep calm on crossing the roads. Although there are “pedestrian crossings”, motorbikes and cars do not stop or abide by these crossings the way you would expect. You just learn to have faith that they will see you and swerve around or slow down to avoid you. The non-stop flow of motorbikes all heading straight towards you and from all different directions without any sign of stopping is quite a confronting sight though. We always breathe a sigh of relief on having safely crossed to the other side!
On a 3 Day visit, here’s our itinerary.
- Eat Pho at Pho 2000 (Former President, Bill Clinton says its the best)
- Try local Street Food
- Do Mekong Delta Tour
- Do Chu Chi Tunnels Tour
- Join free walking tour (including visit to City Hall, Opera House, War Remnants Museum)
- Stay at Backpackers, Mixed Dorm Room (our first experience staying at a Hostel!)
The city itself is a buzz, lots of shops and foodie galores. The Benh Thanh Market is good to shop for clothing and cheap food. Haggling is a must, be sure to go in with a set price you are willing to pay for the goods. Overall, the place itself is wonderful and a lot of sights to see. 3 days is enough time if you’re into pub crawls, eating out and shopping.
- Food: $2-$3AUD per meal,
- Lodging: $7 AUD per night,
- Tours: $5 -$10 per day
Total: $20 – $30 a day per person Rating: 8.5/10