I absolutely loved Da Nang and think two nights is far too short a stay. It was mostly because of the beach though. Ah, China Beach!
I also quite liked Ho Chi Minh City.
Still known as Saigon to most people we met in the south, it felt cleaner than other cities we visited and it wasn’t as … aromatic.
Traffic was still hectic at times but there were plenty of traffic lights and many intersections were small or only had one way traffic to negotiate. You still have to look both ways because plenty of people still drive the wrong way. And on the sidewalks.
Speaking of sidewalks, they were walkable for the most part. Though sidewalks weren’t everywhere. And the city had a ton of construction. Kind of like Ottawa in the months leading up to Canada Day, many buildings or parks of interest were blocked off for repairs.
Rob suggested I liked Saigon because of the area we were staying. Perhaps. Though as usual we walked a lot and wandered far beyond the streets surrounding our hotel.
Not Much Food Adventure (aside from some coconuts)
Although there were plenty of higher end restaurants in the area, I found eating out was a bit challenging. Expensive meals out need to be the exception, not the usual venue. Sigh. And we didn’t find a local option that met a standard which drew us back for a second visit. If we stopped at all.
Fortunately, the Renaissance Riverside Saigon had a great lounge. The complimentary breakfast was extensive and came with great service. Many guests enjoyed the evening spread as their main meal. My only complaint was the wine choice was one red (Shiraz) and one white (Chardonnay), both overly sweet. And no Prosecco. Just as well I guess.
Rob of course was all set with a nice selection of beer. Turns out the Dutch beer giant Heineken brews most of the beers we tried in Vietnam – Tiger (from Singapore), Larue, and Bivina, all great tasting. Of course he tried more than just Heineken brands.
I previously read that wine and spirits in Vietnam weren’t very good. Despite that helpful information, I probably should have tried a local Vietnamese wine. Just because. But I couldn’t bring myself to give it a try. Ever practical, since wine by the glass was four times the price of beer, I opted for the latter. Icy beer is good when you’re hot.
Final Thoughts on Saigon
Ben loved the roof top pool.
Hannah got her stitches out in a spotless International Clinic. She’s still hoping for a scar.
Emma loved the ‘Marriott Bed’. So did I.
Rob enjoyed some fresh coconuts and especially his lunch out with just Hannah and Emma at the Binh Tay market.
We all loved meeting Allison, a family friend of Rob, who graciously met up with us our first night. Thanks Allison! And sorry we were too lame to stay up for the Night Market.
Edit by Rob to add:
Okay! Since Colleen has now made three references to the coconuts, I guess I’ll come clean. In my defence, coconut sellers like to use a bit of skilled trickery and they way overcharge tourists. This guy was particularly clever. He asked me to hold all his coconuts. The whole set up with bar across the back and two large bamboo trays of coconuts hanging on both ends. We said no, no and more no but this guy was slick. Somehow I ended up holding the setup and then an uncut coconut in one hand. Then he cut one coconut open and then another. Knowing I was about to be scammed I grimaced. When he said 150,000 Dong, I rebutted no! But feeling bad that the coconuts were opened I said 100,000 Dong. He grinned and I knew I was out on the deal. The going rate is about 10,000 Dong for one. Worse as I was soon to find out, 100,000 Dong is $5 USD!
Up Next – An Island Vacation
After four nights in Saigon we hopped on Vietnam Airlines to Phu Quoc Island where we enjoyed a well deserved week vacation at the awesome JW Marriott Emerald Bay Resort. But that’s another post.
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