And good morning friends. It’s been forever since I have posted. I promise to post more often even if it is out-of-order as I haven’t told you about so many things that have happened in the past few months. So here is the beginning of my Vietnam story…
The hubby and I took our first trip outside the Philippines on June 8th to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (or also known as Saigon). We flew out late Friday night on Cebu Pacific airlines. The plane had the tiniest seats ever which made the flight very uncomfortable, but luckily the flight was only a little over two hours. I finally got about 15 – 20 minutes of sleep as the hubby leaned on his tray table and I leaned on his back for my makeshift pillow.
We landed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport at around 1 AM. This airport is about 4 miles north of the center of District 1 in Ho Chi Minh, where we stayed. Luckily our hotel bell boy was outside waiting with a sign with my name. I was so worried that our hotel pick-up wouldn’t be at the airport that we forgot to get our money exchanged to Vietnam Dong (VND). So I was a little freaked out being in a foreign country with no local currency. Plus we had no USD, but only Philippines Peso’s which, is not a world currency so we weren’t sure if we would even be able to exchange it in Vietnam. The bell boy and mostly everyone we encountered in Vietnam during our stay there didn’t speak much English at all. I asked him if there was an ATM at the hotel and he said something which I couldn’t comprehend. I had read on the internet that there were usually ATMS either at the hotels or close by where I could get VND. I was hoping they were right.
We stayed at Tan Hai Long Hotel & Spa in District 1 during our time in Vietnam. The location was perfect, but the hotel was not. I’m not sure I would stay at the hotel again. We were on the 1st floor and we were awoken every morning at around 4:30 AM by a rooster and some kind of parrot living somewhere next to the hotel. Also our room was one of those adjoining rooms and I swear the people in the room next to us were smokers because our room smelt like smoke all the time! Ugh! There was also this weird hatch window in the bathroom that led to some opening outside that went behind the elevators. The latch that was used to secure it was not really secure at all. Besides that the room was clean and the breakfast buffet was pretty decent. Just as long as you got to breakfast early to get a table. The hotel also had free wi-fi which was helpful to do searches online through my iPhone. I think they need to think about changing their secret password though as it is the most predictable password ever (12345…). I don’t think the hotel was horrible; however, I think I would prefer to stay on a higher floor and maybe we wouldn’t have had so many issues. Anyways I digress.
When we arrived at the hotel they informed us there was an ATM on the other side of the street. They gave us this black and white map with the historical attractions on it. The hubby tried to venture out at night to find the ATM, but came back a few minutes later saying he would go back in the morning as he wasn’t familiar with his surroundings and didn’t want to be out just yet without really knowing the area.
Another weird thing that happened when we checked-in was that they kept our passports. We were very leery about this. They said you only need a passport to go to a bar or casino in Ho Chi Minh. I didn’t understand why they needed to keep our passports since we had a safe in our room, but we obliged anyways. I seriously felt like when we went to check-out that I might be escorted to some Vietnam prison or something as I’ve seen crazy movies like Hostel and just don’t like not having my documentation with me that proves my identity and where I’m from. I have to admit that everyday I was there I thought about some horrific scene when we were going to check out where we would be dragged to some crazy warehouse where we were blindfolded and interrogated. Let’s just say upon check-out they gave us back our passport. Who knows if there are some other people out there with my information as they had enough time to take my documentation and do God knows what with it.
Anyway’s that was the start of our trip into Vietnam. To be continued…