Vinh Long to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

It’s the 15th anniversary of the day we met today, and what better way to start the day than with a lovely breakfast by a river on the Mekong Delta, the only guests at the hotel? There were even a couple of little black puppies playing at our feet—Carol took great delight in filming me playing with them (I’m notoriously not a fan of dogs). We relaxed until noon—such a great spot.

At noon, we paid the bill and got into a taxi for a 3 hour drive to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), with a stop at a bus stop on the way (where we were the only non-Vietnamese, and everything was far more foreign than at the service stop we stopped at on the way to and from Lan Ho Bay).

Our hotel in Saigon (I’ll call it that, as it just seems more evocative, and the locals we met called it that) is very well located in the centre of the city near Independence Palace. We had to ask for a change of room as we were initially put next to the cleaning staff room again, but in 20 minutes we were in a much better situated room. 

After a shower we headed out into the balmy Saigon evening, walking past the Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, and Opera House to the Caravelle Hotel rooftop bar, journalist hotspot from the 1950s onwards, where we had a fantastic view over the lights of the city. I had a martini and Carol a Singapore Sling (followed by a beer and a glass of wine, respectively). Then we went to Propaganda, a restaurant near the cathedral, for a fantastic meal in hip surroundings.

Loving Saigon already, it feels very laid back in comparison to Hanoi. We walked back to the hotel and lots of people were out, sitting in little clumps in the parks and on the pavements; we watched the ornate flashing neon of a department store facade, and the endless stream of motorcycle and scooter traffic. The night was warm and humid.

A perfect anniversary.

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