Sunday, February 20, 2011

2011 February: Vietnam: Arrival at Ho Chi Minh City

Travel Date: February 15, 2011 
Destination: Hanoi Airport and Ho Chi Minh City 

It started to rain, the forecast said it will drop at 7 degrees Celsius that day. I’m now heading to the airport. I booked my airport transport at 15USD for a travel time of almost 45 minutes. 


It was totally crazy in the airport, most were in their bubble jackets, boots, scarves, hand covers, bonnets and I’m with my ear muffs! It was freaking cold at the airport especially as you pass by the doors. The check-in counter for Jetstar is located at the Arrival area – not so nice location, hard to find and simply causes the tourists to be confused. 


My flight was in an hour delayed. Upon arriving at Ho Chi Minh domestic terminal, it was only after an hour when the bags were made available at the rotating belt. No foreign exchange counter is available at the domestic terminal, but it is easier to find a taxi here. 


I took a metered Mailinh Taxi and paid for 95000vnd going to Blue Diamond Hotel. On my first afternoon at Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), I was looking for a restaurant, I already reached Saigon Center Mall and they only have cafes. 


Finally, I found Pho 2000, I was able to eat rise and pork. 


At the Hotel desk, they asked me if I’ll be leaving my passport to them. I told them, I’ll take it back – they asked permission if they can make photocopy of it as the police might ask about it. (Still wondering about this…) And she made a note, that I should keep it safe in my room and not to bring it when I go out. I booked this hotel from agoda.com which gives a cheaper deal. 


The assigned room to me is 704, they had rooms until the 9th floor. I’m totally impressed in my room, very clean, well-lighted, with small window (nothing to see outside), small cabinet with air freshener and hangers, slippers, refrigerator, thermos, daily supply of 300ml mineral water and tea sachets, cable television with English channels, double size bed with clean pillows and wireless internet connection. The bathroom is with hair dryer, toiletries, clean towels and bathtub. The breakfast is served at the ground level on 6.30-9.00am. The manager here is very attentive, good selection of food, lots of fruits and good drinks (coffee, tea, soya milk, fresh milk, orange juice and water). There are computer terminals on this area also. 


At the lobby, you can read out some English newspaper and magazines. The bellboys are so accommodating to take care of my luggage. The front desk speaks good English and very attentive to my needs.