Duden Waterfall, Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

A quick walk around the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City... and taking a last minute flight!

First order of business was to get some breakfast. While we like Vietnamese food, we don't so much like it for breakfast. But we managed to find a place that did omelets and smoothies down on the main tourist street.

There was a western looking guy sitting beside us, and it turned out he's a Canadian from Northern Alberta. Been coming here to SE Asia every winter for 19 years, other than two years during Covid.

He explained that this was the main bar and restaurant street in town, and that it really becomes a circus at night. And the later the night goes on, the more interesting things you'll see!

It's pretty colorful during the day.

We were wandering around after breakfast and we walked by the fairly tall looking Pullman Hotel. We're always looking for somewhere with a view, so we went inside to find out what was on the top floors. Surprisingly, access was unrestricted right to the 30th floor where there is a restaurant and bar (both closed) and a business center that was open but with nobody around. We seemed to be the only people up there!

View from the 30th floor.

Looking towards the business district.

The Vietnamese love their flowers.

Flowers everywhere.

Despite them calling for a high of 36C (97F), we found it far more comfortable than any of the other big cities we've been in here in SE Asia. There was a slight breeze, and very low humidity.

Older building and newer building.

Had a note the day before from fellow Canadians Blair and Susan. This is the couple originally from Calgary who we met in Chiang Mai, and then again in Siem Reap. It turns out that they arrived yesterday morning here in Ho Ch Minh City! Too funny, because we are following totally different routes, yet have ended up in these three cities at the same time.

And our accommodation here is only about 2 kms apart. And at that time, we were only a ten minute walk from the bar they were having a beer at... so we headed over there to join them.

After an hour of comparing notes on how we both got to Ho Chi Minh City (they took a three day river cruise from Phnom Penh), we parted ways with a plan to meet for drinks later.

We walked up to a big park.

Dragon made of plants.

This section was closed and I took a photo through the barrier.
They had held Chinese New Year celebrations here and were cleaning up.

See the platform on this building? That's the viewing deck on the 49th floor. It costs 225,000 dong ($9.25 USD, $12.50 CAD) to go up there. 
We were quite happy with our free view from the 30th floor of the Pullman Hotel!

Traffic circle in Ho Chi Minh City.

Back at to the room for an afternoon nap, then we headed out again about 5:30pm.

I also did some planning for our route to Da Lat. Our original thought was to do the two nights here, and then take the bus to Da Lat. But many of the routes are sold out already, and the remaining options weren't great. 

I remembered that local flights here in Vietnam are cheap. And sure enough, there is an evening flight that departs Ho Chi Minh City at 9:00pm this (Sunday) evening, and arrives in Da Lat 50 minutes later. Now that sounds far better than an 8 hour bus ride! And the price including luggage was only 900,000 dong ($37 USD, $49.50 CAD) per person, about double what the bus would have cost.

So we fly out tonight.

We found a rooftop bar where we met up with Susan and Blair.

View from the bar.

Deciding on a happy hour drink.

Ussie at the rooftop bar.
Blair, Ruth, Susan, Kevin.

We ended up having a mediocre dinner there as well. By the time we left at 8:30pm, the street below was in full swing.

Busy bar street.

What a circus! We can only imagine what it would have been like at midnight, but we weren't hanging around to find out. Many of the clubs had "go go dancers", both male and female, gyrating on stands outside the clubs. Boy, they sure know how to party here.

This morning, we are meeting Blair and Susan to do the city hop on hop off bus tour. We don't normally do these types of tours, but we don't have much time here, and the price is actually pretty reasonable.


And in Canada...

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