Saturday, December 5, 2009
From KL to Saigon
There are tonnes of pictures from Day 1 to Day 8 in Vietnam. As much as I would like to post every single one of them, I certainly don't have the time and (bandwidth) to do so. Hence, most pictures will be in collage form except food posts which will be coming soon...
My travel partner (Alex) and I left for Ho Chi Minh City (for laziness sake, I will refer it as Saigon) in the morning and touched down at the quaint historical city an hour and half later. I always do tell people, for the same price (slightly less or more) to travel to East Malaysia, I could do better by going 'abroad' and utilizing my underutilized passport at a shorter traveling duration and experiencing different cultures. Oh and the currency allows me to buy more too :)
We got whisked away to our gueshouse at Bui Vien St- Pham Ngu Loc, District 1 where it is also known as the backpackers street. I will write a separate post on the recommended accomodation but just to share, the accomodation was better than I thought and we really had a great time without having to worry of cleanliness and all.
The first day was spent much on sight seeing around Saigon City. To be honest, you can literally walk the whole Saigon city though you will need very comfy shoes as their pedestrian paths there are pretty screwed up- uneven plaza, some unpaved and some under construction. Our first activity was to EAT. We had pho and proceeded to Ben Thanh Market (similar to Chatuchak Market) to scout for cheap stuff to buy.
Now, before we embarked on the holiday I have read or heard somewhere advising tourists not to take the cyclos (one person trishaw/beca) in Vietnam as you'll suffer the similar consequences as taking the cabs in Malaysia. The first guy who approaced us offered a very unfriendly price so we ignored him. Then came another guy who gave us an offer 50,000 vnd (about RM10) for 2 persons and will take us to 3 tourist place.
The cyclo conning experience
We thought it was a pretty good deal and decided to hop on. Now, to be honest it was a very good experience as these cyclo drivers can manage to manouvere their way through anything (hence, abit scary at times, just like your tuk-tuk). He brought us to all the touristy places we wanted to visit and even more. He kept trying to 'sell-in' his idea of bringing us on a 1 day trip to Mekong. In his words, "Company got new car, I can bring you to Mekong, take you to islands.... only USD50 per person. Very good!"
I hesitated and kept saying I will think about it. Towards the end, he insisted to bring us to his friend's travel agency to buy the ticket. We followed him and it appeared very dodgy. I insisted on seeing some brochures or pictures of what there is to do in Mekong but the lady said she doesn't have.... but cyclo guy assured us that he has some pictures and requested that we purchase the tickets first. Alex and I were smart enough to evade from that situation by saying we'll call them if we are interested and then faster requested him to send us back to the hostel.
He obviously wasn't very happy about it and dropped us off at the park (which still needs abit of walking to the hostel) and when we asked for the price... he said it was 650,000 vnd (RM130) per person!!!! *inserts curse words* Alex and I tried to argue that he said it was only 50,000 vnd but he insisted and we all know very well it was gonna be a dead end arguement with him especially when you're a tourist. It was definitely the MOST EXPENSIVE beca ride I've been on.
We gave him the money and proceeded to curse and stare with prejudice at every cyclo drivers we met for the next 7 days. Oh and we also laugh at others who got 'conned' to ride on the cyclos.