Our flight to Saigon was fairly smooth (despite Keith being pulled up about something dodgy in his case- turns out it was Aldi deodorant!) and the afternoon was spent doing some sight seeing and shopping! We enjoyed a walking tour with Tien and saw some historical sites and then checked into our hotel, the Grand Hotel.
We walked with some of the group down to the market and did some souvenir shopping, enjoying a good old haggle and some street beers on tiny plastic stools too.
We went up the Saigon Skydeck and enjoyed views across the city.
Our first impressions of Saigon were good- we enjoyed its European ness yet it still felt like we were a million miles away from home, especially when we tried to cross the road! The mopeds were relentless and in their thousands.
Next day, we had an early start as we were to catch the train to Nha Trang. This was to retrace some steps which should have happened had our tour not been diverted over central Vietnam. Our train journey was long but pleasant as we love to travel by land- you get a great sense of the local life. We passed fields of dragon fruit, lotus flowers, went rough tiny communities. It was also an opportunity for us to catch up on some sleep as the jet lag was hanging on!
Our arrival at Nha Trang was exciting as it soon became clear that our hotel (and our room) had terrific beach views. We wasted no time and after a beer on our balcony we hit the beach, enjoying time in the sea – although it was rough! And some beach beers too.
The next day we had a free day, and Keith and I wasted no time in getting out and about on the streets. We notched up 13 miles on foot, and had a terrific time exploring. We walked all the way down to The Po Nagar Cham towers- impressive ruins of former Cham temples dating from the 12th century.
We then walked back through the local neighbourhoods, with some refreshment stops and took in the market and the giant Buddha perched up on the hilltop.
We’d fallen for Nha Trang, but it was the second night Buffett which we got that completely did it for us- a sensational seafood banquet – we were in heaven. What a terrific place, and one in which we would have not seen had our programme been disrupted.
The next day we made our way back to Saigon the same way in which we had travelled there two days previous. Again passing fields and fields of water buffalo and produce. Travelling by train is our favourite! Video highlights here
Back in Saigon and back to the Grand Hotel, we enjoyed a meal out and some rooftop drinks at our hotel which afforded great views of the city.
The next day we made our way for our trip to the Cu Chi tunnels which were fascinating but rather moving. We had the opportunity to try out the tunnels- and whilst Keith ( I didn’t try!) couldn’t fit in the original sized entrance, we both managed the ones slightly adapted for tourists and managed the full 120m inside on our hands and knees. See our short video HereIt was a fascinating place.
From here we visited the American war remnants museum – which was horrifying in places- particularly the section about those affected by the chemicals used in the war before spending our final evening in Saigon.
We enjoyed cocktails in the hotel in which Western journalists reported from.
We’d really enjoyed Ho Chi Min City but we were looking forward to seeing more rural Vietnam from tomorrow.
Until next time