EP.1/3 South Vietnam...A Trip to South Vietnam Episode 1 "Ho Chi Minh City"
This trip, we are going to take you guys to Vietnam. It's the 4th trip of CHAILAIBACKPACKER and this time we decided to visit South Vietnam. Our program has been set for 4 days as follows:
Day 1: Going to Ho Chi Minh City, traveling in the city and taking a sleeper bus to Dalat.
Day 2: Arriving to Dalat in the morning, renting a motorbike and traveling around Dalat, staying in Dalat for a night.
Day 3: Taking a bus to Mui Ne in the morning, buying a jeep tour to visit the White Sand Dunes, staying in Mui Ne for a night.
Day 4: Taking a bus to Ho Chi Minh City in the morning, buying some souvenirs and taking a shuttle bus to the airport.
Our group is quite big, as we have 10 persons in this trip...In this trip, we plan to visit 3 main cities, which are Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat and Mui Ne. In fact, the highlight of this trip is visiting the White Sand Dunes in Mui Ne!!
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We are going to fly with AirAsia because we got a promotion from its website. The promotion price was 0 baht (excludes taxes and fees). Hence, we are so glad to be able to book the flight tickets in this price...
Well, let's get ready and fly!!
The weather this morning is quite clear and sunny.
We don't forget to order Nasi, a special menu which is served in international flights only…
Xin Chào (Hello) Vietnam! We spend only 1 hour in the airplane and we finally arrive to Ho Chi Minh airport.
These are our group members. All of us are really lucky to be able to book a flight ticket with a promotion of 0 baht (excludes taxes and fees). That's why we have 10 people in this trip, which is quite a lot!
There is currency exchange service at the airport...We already exchanged money from THB (Thai Baht) to USD (American Dollar) in Thailand. So now, we have to exchange from USD to VND (Vietnamese Dong). Actually, we don't need to exchange a lot of VND because normally we can pay in USD for bus tickets, hotel rooms, and tours.
There are foreign exchange offices inside the airport.
We spend much time calculating the currency rates since we have to exchange twice (from THB to USD and from USD to VND). However, the rate we've got is okay and we exchanged some VND to spend during the trip.
After exchanging some money, we walk out from the airport and turn right to take a shuttle bus to the city centre. We see a bus number 152 waiting for passengers. Let's jump into the bus!!
We will get off the bust at "Pham Ngu Lao" street. Pham Ngu Lao is located in the city centre where we can find many shops, markets, tour offices and hotels. The price of the bus is only 5000 VND or around 7-8 baht, which is so cheap. We spend 45 minutes in the bus until we reach to Pham Ngu Lao. There are many people getting off the bus here so we don't need to worry about getting lost in Ho Chi Minh City...
Inside the bus... I want to say that the bus has been occupied by these Thai tourists (our group).
We arrive to "Pham Ngu Lao". Many tourists also get off the bus here.
After getting off the bus, we suddenly encounter a lot of traffic like this...I think anyone who visit here in the first time will feel so noisy. Although it is my 4th time here, I still don't get used to it. I still feel a thrill of fear while crossing the road!
We walk pass this theatre after getting off the bus (I'm not sure that it's a theatre or a cinema). Once we see this theatre, we turn right to another street and walk to a tour office because we want to book a sleeper bus to "Dalat".
We turn right to this street and we walk a little bit to the tour office...
After walking for a while, we arrive to a tour office called Phoung Trang. This company operates ground transfers with sleeper buses. It's quite comfortable and cheap...
We want to buy sleeper bus tickets to "Dalat". The sleeper bus is quite comfortable with air-conditioning...We book a sleeper bus that leaves Ho Chi Minh City at 11.00 p.m. and will arrive to Dalat round 5.00 a.m. in the morning. The ticket price is 210,000 VND / person or around 300 baht.
After managing our trip, we still have time for the whole day. Our program for today is taking a City Tour by walking...
First of all, we have to book a hotel in Dalat so we visit Vietsea Tour where many Thai tourists usually visit here to ask for a service. In fact, this travel agency is located near Phoung Trang office. In order to reach here, we walk out from Phoung Trang and turn right. Then, walk straight until we reach the end of the street and turn right again. Shortly, we will arrive to Vietsea Tour office. As we are their customers now, we can leave our bags here and we can also ask to take a shower quickly before leaving for a city tour.
We book a hotel in Dalat named Tulip Hotel, which is popular for Thai people. Also, we book a bus from Dalat to Mui Ne and from Mui Ne to Ho Chi Minh City. Overall, we pay for the bus tickets around 28 USD per person.
The service here is quite good since we receive a welcome drink and some light snacks while we spend our time in the office. Also, we can leave our bags and take a quick shower here...Ha ha.
We spend our time in this office until noon. So, it's time for our lunch now!!!
We have lunch at Kim Cafe, which is located near the sleeper bus office (Phoung Trang). There is also a free WI-FI here.
Our first meal in Vietnam..with Saigon Beer for refreshing ourselves..
It's time to walk for the City Tour. As long as we have a map, we can walk anywhere without being worried about getting lost. Also, each place is not for from the others.
Now, we have a problem in crossing the street. We will be lucky if there are not many cars in the street.
There are many big trees alongside the road... They look so green.
"Let's measure the size of this giant tree".
We walk to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre. Since we have time in Ho Chi Minh City until 11.00 p.m., we shall watch the show here...As a result, we decided to book our seats at 5.00 p.m. and it will take 45 minutes for the show.
There is an open-air market near the Water Puppet Theatre. It looks similar to open-air markets in Thailand with various kinds of things and activities.
"Fresh Lemon Iced Tea". The price is 7,000 VND
We feel quite tired from walking around the city, so we decided to make a pause in a coffee shop.
We order "Vietnamese Coffee". It has a very strong taste...The price is 25,000 VND
After that, we continue our city tour by walking again...I want to say that "there are many trees here".
We are walking to Notre Dame Cathedral.
As long as we have a map in our hand, we don't need to worry about getting lost. Finally we arrive to Notre Dame Cathedral..!!
The beauty of Notre Dame Cathedral.
There is another famous place for tourists beside the cathedral, which is "The Central Post Office".
Inside the central post office.
Many tourists are visiting this place.
I think they are coming inside the building because they are tired. I don't think they come here because they want to travel around.
The air-conditioning inside these telephone boxes is quite cool, so each of us takes a seat inside the box to relax...Ha ha.
We don't want to go anywhere since the air-conditioning is so cool in here.
It's coming to the evening time and there are many people visiting here. So, let's go somewhere else!!!
Since the weather is really hot, going inside a shopping mall would be a good idea…
It seems like these guys really want to stay in this place last forever.
The prices of these alcoholic drinks are about half of the prices in Thailand...Wow!
The time is almost 5.00 p.m. now...It's time to come back to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre again... Let's watch the Water Puppet show.
There is a giant water puppet welcoming us at the entrance.
The theatre is not so large...We book our seats in a front row, so we will be able to watch the show clearly.
All seats are fully booked. Luckily we arrive here on time.
The whole show is describing in Vietnamese language. So, we don't completely understand any words they are saying...Just guessing what the story is...
We guess that the story is about the lifestyles, believes, traditions and the culture of Vietnamese people.
These musicians are playing instruments and telling a story at the same time.
A puppet is coming from behind the curtains...I think the puppeteers is excellent to perform this...
The show is amazing and exciting as it has such a good combination of light, color and sound. Sometimes, the water splashes from the stage because the show is exciting and the puppets move so quickly.
This show is similar to a boat racing. Ha ha ha...Besides, it takes about 45 minutes from the beginning to the end of the show.
Sometimes, there is a fire coming out from dragons' mouth.
These two dragons can emit both fire and water from their mouths.…It's so amazing.
A dance show before the end of the water puppet show...
Once the show has come to the end, all puppeteers come out from behind the curtains to greet and thank to the audiences. I think these puppeteers are so excellent to perform the puppets like they are alive...
After finish watching the water puppet show, we walk back to Vietsea Tour office where we left our bags.
We are still having the same problem in walking across the street.
Before taking a sleeper bus to "Dalat", let's eat Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) for dinner.
As we are visiting Vietnam, we should sit down and order some street food like this... It's such a good feeling!
Let's eat something before continuing our trip to Dalat!
A dish of hot Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) served with a big dish of fresh vegetable on the side...The soup is really good...The normal price of Pho is 30,000 VND or around 45 baht...So delicious!!
We come back to Vietsea Tour office to get our bags and take a shower before taking a sleeper bus to "Dalat". Since we have to spend long hours in the bus, we have to make ourselves comfortable...
Anyway, you guys can see that the office is fully occupied by our group...Ha ha.
Then, we walk out from the office to wait for our bus...I can see that there are many people waiting for the bus like us. Besides, our bus will leave at 11.00 p.m.
Our bus is coming and parking nearby the office...All of us reserve the top level of the bunk beds. Below is the advantage and disadvantage of choosing this.
The Advantage is that we have our own spaces and we don't have to be worried while someone is passing our beds.
The Disadvantage is that the road to Dalat has many curves, so our beds sway a lot…Plus, we almost fall down from our beds!!
This is the atmosphere of the sleeper bus tonight...All of us reserve the top level of the bunk beds as we want to sleep well during the night without disturbing from anyone who may walk pass these beds.
A blanket and a bottle of water are provided for each one. Unfortunately, there is no toilet in the bus. Moreover, before stepping on the bus, we have to put our shoes in a plastic bag.
We spend time on the sleeper bus around 6-7 hours until we arrive to Dalat.
Everyone gets his / her own space and sleeps through the night… See you guys again in Dalat.. !!!
Please fasten your seatbelt while you sleep in the bus because it sways a lot. Expecially, when the bus goes into the mountain areas, we wake up with a fright and almost fall down from our beds...Ha ha. Don't forget to put on some winter clothes because the air-conditioner makes the temperature in the bus so cold!
Finally!! We arrive safely to "Dalat" at 5.30 a.m...Once we step out of the bus, we suddenly feel the cool fresh air in the morning...
I would like to finish the review of South Vietnam Episode 1 "Ho Chi Minh" at this time. You guys can follow me by visiting my Facebook Fan Page to read other reviews. ...The next review is coming soon. I will take you guys to ride a motorbike in "Dalat".
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