A Travellerspoint blog

Saigon 101 part 2

...Mekong River Day

sunny

Let me continue my post on Saigon, Vietnam..

One of the highlights of my trip to Saigon was the day we sailed across Mekong River, the 7th longest in Asia and the 10th longest in the world. This river runs through China's Yunnan province and the countries of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma. Most hotels in Saigon offer tours to Mekong River almost on a daily basis. Just ask your front desk for more information.

Usually, you will have to go to the meeting point set by the travel tour company and ride a bus together with other tourists to the jetty port, about 1 and 1/2 hours from the center of the city depending on where your hotel is located. You will begin your journey aboard a ferry around the famous river, visiting small islets every 15-20 minutes.

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..the jetty port

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...the boat

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...every islet features a particular industry which the settlers gain income from. this islet makes traditional sweets which they pack, label, and sell to visiting tourists. this guy was our very friendly Vietnamese tour guide.

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...Vietnamese rice paper.

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...this is a group of musicians playing traditional Vietnamese music to serenade us.

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...this is an example of a traditional Vietnamese instrument. i call it foot castanets.:-)

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...we also had a chance to ride a horse cart from one islet to another.

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...in the middle of the whole-day trip, we stopped to eat, inclusive in the tour fee.

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...and the best part of the whole tour was the canoe riding!

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...i was amazed to find almost 99% percent of those paddling the canoes were women!

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...one of the exhausted travelers and bus riders.

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...and another one!

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...looking back, I can say the USD 15-20 I paid for the tour was all worth it!

Posted by ellabernardo 20:28 Archived in Vietnam Tagged river city vietnam saigon mekong chi ho minh Comments (0)

Saigon 101

...a place I'd do anything to revisit!

sunny

This travel anecdote dates two years back. But I didn't have a travel blog at the time so I'm posting about this trip only now. However outdated this entry may be, the memories still remain fresh and poignant.

Vietnam is a country close to my heart because my Mom used to work for the United Nations as an English teacher in refugee camps in the Philippines and Hong Kong. I used to go with her to the camps during summer vacation. So at a young age, I already have an idea what hot and spicy means to Vietnamese. :-)

Two decades after, in 2009, I had the opportunity of visiting for the first time a city in Vietnam which I only heard about in Broadway-Saigon or Ho Chi Min City.

The moment my buddies and I set foot on the place, we fell in love. I fell in love. There's something about Saigon that would make you want to try to live there, for a few months, a year, or I can say on a long-term basis. I've been to several cities in Asia, cities that are either the total opposite of Manila, where I was born and raised, or very very similar but Saigon is one of those very few cities I was drawn to, instantly.

Here are a few things I love about Saigon:

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...Saigon people (i don't know what they're called) are a big fan of parks. People actually visit them!

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...either they sit on park benches..

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or do morning taichi.

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...their food is cheap, too. and there's a lot of very delicious pork dishes available on the side streets. they're pretty clean, too.:-)

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...and surprisingly, they have Philippines' local fastfood, Jollibee! my friends and I literally screamed in elation upon spotting it. the waiter said they have about 10 branches all over the country. cool!

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...they also have their own version of pedicab of the Philippines or becak of Indonesia.

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...i would say, on average, Saigon people are very hospitable. The staff in the small hotel we stayed in were the best!

let me post this for now. next entry coming up soon!:-)

Posted by ellabernardo 22:40 Archived in Vietnam Tagged city saigon chi ho minh Comments (2)

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