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Published: February 23rd 2018
Our 15 hour flight to Hong Kong was smooth, sleepy and uneventful. A short layover and a couple more hours saw us land in Saigon.
The Visa on Arrival process had blips. Our passport-sized pictures had been safely stowed in the suitcase, still unclaimed beyond the visa granting area. A few wrong choices of waiting lines had us return and recycle through a few. One plus was that the VOA documentation was ordered as a nice-to-have before leaving home - it turned out to be essential to being granted boarding passes. All said. All done.
Our familiar Signature Saigon hotel greeted us and we settle into our room. Four hours of afternoon sleep later, we check out the night market and grab a pho for dinner. Back at our home base, a new top floor breakfast room, with stools outside for gazing around the skyline, becomes a fav spot. Choices include pho, fried fish, tofu and seaweed soup, spaghetti, spiced duck eggs along with fruit and regular egg choices. We sat out on the deck after eating and enjoyed our coffee overlooking the city.
A pleasant walk to the Opera House, on the the way to ANZ, one
of the international banks that have higher limits for ATM withdrawals. We meet Tran, a vietnam-born Australian who strikes up a conversation and shares his suggestions for our stay, casting shade on the places we had planned to hit. Pho Quoc is just a resort strip. Mekong Delta is jammed with traffic and limited to agricultural endeavours. A temple near Cu Chi tunnels (which we experienced Last trip) is worth checking out. Cao Dai was founded here based on an eclectic combo of Islam, Hindu and Christianity and claims Buddah, Jesus and Winston Churchill among its prophets. The two hour drive each way deterred us, but it did get us googling.
Tran translates a few phrases for us - one being “does this bus return to this stop?” - in case we decide to take a city bus circle tour, favoured by my parents in their host cities.
Taking another Tran suggestion, we walk to Wrap and Roll, a Vietnamese eatery that offers small plates of makings to construct rice paper rolls. Delicious, fresh and well patroned by locals.
Another 4-hour nap in the afty put down to jetleg, and finally a night market walk and another
tasty Vietnamese dinner. A gentle return to a special place.
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