Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Time to pack up and leave this lovely place. I slept late, had breakfast on my patio and at 11am sharp I was on the boat to do the reverse journey to HCMC. The lodge called my previous hotel for me and they are full for tonight! Damn! By now I know the area though, and I know there are plenty of places to stay so I will have to walk around with my heavy backpack (filled with coconut candy!) until I find somewhere to stay. My plan is to try and get a flight to Phu Quoc Island and have a few beach days. It that doesn’t pan out, then I’ll head to the more built up Mui Ne beach on the east coast.
Arrived back in HCMC fairly easily and caught a scooter taxi back to Saigon Zoom, even though I knew they were full. Nothing had changed so Mark, the manager, called around for me and found somewhere nearby in the same price range. They came to pick me up and took me to my hotel for the night: Nam Long Hotel. In one word: gross. I couldn’t believe the price was the same. The room was really shabby and old and had cobwebs hanging down the walls. Luckily the linen seemed clean enough so I stayed there the night but looked forward to the next day when I could go back to Saigon Zoom.
The Nam Long hotel has the plus of being very central to the “backpacker” area where Saigon Zoom is more on the outskirts. I went and found a laundry that washed and dried clothes in a day for 15,000VND per kg. I also discovered, next to them, the best little fresh fruit stand EVER! The husband and wife owners are very friendly and the juices are totally divine. For 20,000VND you can get a freshly squeezed, iced juice. My new favorite is the green mango juice. So sour but sooooo delicious! I wanted to try everything on the menu and hopefully by the end of my stay here I will have!
I also went to find somewhere I could book a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels (almost everywhere does this – $5) and the helpful lady there also found me a cheap flight to Phu Quoc Island – my next destination. Bonus!
I went to the same Pho restaurant as I did on my first night and chose the chicken pho this time, asking for only a little chicken. They didn’t understand. At least this time I knew more of what to do with all the sprouts, leaves and limes they give you! I had a Saigon beer and dinner was 57,000VND. I found my way back to the hotel and went to sleep in the grimy Nam Long room. Long day!