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Published: January 18th 2018
Sitting in the departure area at the domestic terminal in Saigon feeling a bit whaaaaaat just happened, and why was it OK! The morning started OK, a late dash to breakfast as for once we were sort of asleep, arrived too late for fried rice but just in front of the large Chinese group who decimated what was left. No pho today either, very disappointed in that. We paid our bill, converted from dollars quoted on booking.com into vnd, I checked on the xe app and it looked more or less OK. The night before we’d been told there was a 3% credit card fee but this didn’t materialise. Check out was 12 so we left our bags all packed in our room and walked over to Ben Tanh Market to see if we wanted any of the clothes. No haggling there, prices more or less fixed. We let the waves of offers wash over us, didn’t fancy anything or it was the wrong size, exited at the back through the meat and fish area (poor frogs and crabs, not having a great time) and wandered back for a coke. We thought about trying grab or uber. I have both apps
and you could save just over a pound by using them, so it looked like. Wimped out and got a Vinasun. The traffic was deadly and we crawled for ever but the price was the same as coming, more or less, 131,000vnd.
None of the emails I had said which terminal to go to. I assumed the domestic one but when I googled the flight it said International. Seemed a bit odd, but maybe Vietjet had a special arrangement. No, they didn’t, rubbish information on google, so we had to walk to the domestic one. This is easy, come out and turn right, down to the ground floor and there’s a walkway, well-signposted. It takes less than 5 minutes.
So this good part. Then it went a bit weird. We looked at the screen to see which check in desk and our flight was not on it. The only flight, a different number, was at 16.30 and not 15.15,but we had managed to check in yesterday and had boarding passes on our phones. Time to be calm. Sam said, I was to do the talking. Am calmer in a crisis, Sam, not so much. I decided it was
best to assume there was nothing wrong. We gave our passports, showed her the passes and were on pins waiting for her to say our flight was cancelled and the next one was full. I was already preparing Plan B in my head. Drum roll while she looked at her screen and then......... please put your bag on the belt! And breathe....... No problem, it looked like the flight still existed, handed us paper boarding cards and we are now waiting. Won’t feel really relaxed until we are on it, though. More later...
The flight did exist, how very dare they scare us by not putting it on the board!
8pm, no longer disconcerted, sitting in our hostel having a drink. Yes, a hostel, get us!
Arrived at the airport and googling suggested going upstairs to departures and getting a small island taxi, cheaper than the other companies. It was teeny tiny, one bag in the boot, another on the back seat, me in the front showing the driver the address. He knew Rory’s Bar, which is on the beach down the same road. Lots more development on the road along the beach. It will be unrecognisable
in 5 years. 84,000vnd, so we may have saved a bit. There was a meter. He loves Manchester United. It was quite a basic conversation.
Antinho Hostel is a bargain, £15 for 2 with breakfast in a twin room, air con and private bathroom. Fairly low key welcome, 100,000 deposit each for towel and room key. The room is just behind the bar, but hopefully the music won’t be a problem, can’t be, after our last 2 nights! We plugged in 2 mozzie machines as there were a few around and one of the staff was going around with a can of spray the size of a drainpipe. Walked down to the beach, sort of got it right but it is a bit of a maze and I went a bit wrong despite having been here 2 years ago. Loads more ongoing development. Trudged along the beach to Rory’s Bar for unspeakable expensive wine and to watch the non-existent sunset. It was heaving, bigtime, obviously the place to go. As we were starving by then more drinks would have been foolish so we went back up to the main road and found a place with loads of hungry farangs,
more vile wine, improved with a bucket of ice, and ate well for £5.73 for both of us. It is called Anna Trang and is run by a family, everyone helping. Worth giving them our Then missed our turning down to the hostel, about turn, now we know. There are loads of places to eat on the main road, not expensive, some empty and some heaving.
Transport info: tickets for Cambodia from here, the price depending on whether you want a 3 hour wait at the border or not. Not, in our case, we’d rather poke holes in our eyes than wait at at the border in Hat Tien 19$ for the quickest route, minibus-fast ferry-minibus-border crossing (not inc visa fee)- minibus, dep.7am arr. Kep 12.30, options to go on to Kampot or Sihanoukville also. We will see if we want to do this on Monday or stay a few more days, depending on the weather.
Tiger beer in the hostel, 63p for a bottle of Tiger, double on the beach.
Hostel information: the beds are rock hard and there is one tiny pillow each, supplemented by my sarong and plane neck pillow. There are loads of
sockets, but our adaptors plus plugs and cables make the whole thing too heavy and they fall out, so I wedged the whole contraption in with some screwed up paper and sellotaped it onto the wall. We will have heart attacks if it falls off in the night. Feeling super pleased with myself for remembering sellotape for the first time. It can come in very handy! The sheet isn’t a sheet, more a large brown table cloth, clean though. The shower wets the whole room (no problem once you work out where to leave your towel) and has a few funky jets coming out sideways, previously mended with sellotape (not mine). Not much pressure hair washing will be tricky. On the plus side, there are free toothbrushes.
Really hope we sleep well tonight.
Apologies for any typos but it’s dim and we can barely see!
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