1. Saigon the hotel and streets

When we got to our hotel the lift was stuck and they told us it would be 5 minutes. So taking that with a grain of salt we went around the corner for some lunch. When we got back all was well and they set us up in our room. I think they played with the ruler when they measured it and put the size on Agoda’s web site because as I told the manager in the lobby two minutes later “That is NOWHERE near 20sq mts. and there is nowhere to put your cases other than on the floor which with cases on would not have left any room to move”.

So after a bit of discussion he showed us a VIP room on the fifth floor with a huge window views over the city LOTS of room, large computer desk, mini bar, A/C lovely bathroom and (after a battle) two suitcase stands !!!!. So we haggled a bit and I agreed to pay another $2 a night and stay for 5 nights. Done deal … The Wombats were happy. 🙂

The hotel is immaculately clean and modern having been built in 2013. It is typical of Vietnamese hotels having a street frontage of about 4 mts making them very tall and very narrow.

So Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, we are here so lets start exploring. 🙂

OK… have been out for something to eat. Met the guys off the plane in “The Spotted Cow” bar which is a VERY noisy wine/beer bar with three TVs going, all on different channels, one on football one on car racing and the other.. beats me. They had been there all afternoon and had drunk two bottles of wine while watching rugby from Australia. NSW v Vic.  When they left we went down the street and into a street-side cafe/restaurant sitting on the roadside and ordered a pizza and beer.

So Imagine this: Close your eyes, well maybe you should read it first: 🙂
The street is just six metres, (twenty feet) wide. EVERY minute there were between 60 and 80 motor bikes went past. One had mum dad and three kids on. There were about 10 cycles and about 8 cars every minute. About 40 people walked by every minute, kids of 3 – 14 wander on the streets with trays of souvenirs around their necks, coming up to you in the restaurant to get you to buy. Some kids were in their pajamas probably told by mum to go and sell before bed. Other kids played chase on the street among the bikes and cars. There was even a crippled guy in a wheelchair moving slowly up the road in the throng of bikes and cars. The tourists ranged from young 18+ Aussie and English, European girls and guys to 70-80 year old guys some with wives (like the Wombats). One guy from Townsville, Australia in his late seventies said he comes back three times a year and pays $12 a night for a room over the chemist shop opposite. ?????

Add to this the talking, mothers yelling, kids yelling, dogs barking, horns blowing, music blaring and you will start to understand Vietnam.

Actually we tried to do a vehicle count at the cross roads we had to negotiate to get home. Impossible to count but we guesstimate going both ways 300 motor bikes 50 cars and goodness know how many cycles every minute. Trying to cross this is a skill you soon learn… or you stay marooned on the side of the road. Basic rule, walk slowly and let them manoeuvre around you.

How to cross the roads in Vietnam

Saigon traffic. How to cross the street from Tassie Wombat on Vimeo.


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Click here to go to: 2. China Town Saigon.

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