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Vietnam here we come!!!

Vietnam here we come! Today off on the 7 am Mekong Express bus that cost $12 U.S each for the 6hr trip that left from Orrissey markets. Bottles of water and a snack box of the yummy bakery items were given out as we left. At the town of Neak Loeung the bus went on a car ferry to cross the wide Mekong River. Just before the border which was 4 hrs away, we stopped for a rest. I wandered over the road to check out this pig which was the most massive i had ever seen & was just wandering around.I also changed some U.S $ into Dong-should of done more as it better exchange rate than I got in Vietnam.

The border crossing at Moc Bai was easy - on and off at the Cambodia side to depart, and same at the Vietnam side, but this time taking our luggage to go through scanner. The bus company made the journey really easy and looked after our passports and gave them to the officials. Immediately over the border Vietnam looked and felt very different, clean, well ordered, wide good roads and LOTS of motorbikes. In Vietnam there are 86 million people and 30 million motorbikes and unlike Cambodia they wear helmets.

Once we hit HCMC or Saigon the roads were so wide 5 lanes each a, 3 for cars 2 for motorbikes. In the middle there were beautiful manicured gardens. Girls were wearing the traditional flowing white outfits called Ao Dai and riding their bicycles and the women were wearing their conical straw hats. Kids were coming out of school and looked so cute in their black pants and white shirts and wearing their red scarfs. Vietnam is a communist country and they are only allowed to have 2 children each and if they have more they get penalised. Ho Chi Minh is loud, with motorbikes beeping & has some lovely parks & old French colonial buildings tucked away.

Hoping off the bus at Pham Ngu Lao Street a tout approached us about staying at a guest house & suggested we follow him and because it was only a 3min walked we decided to have a look. We followed him down this narrow alley full of people about their everyday lives; washing clothes, eating, cooking and selling. It is their family home and they have a couple rooms upstairs. It was clean, had aircon & a bathroom and it was only $12 a night so we took it. This is the backpackers area so had lots of westerners around the area.

We went to Sinh Tours in De Tham Street and booked a half day Cu Chi tunnel trip which cost us 110,000 ($6). You can use U.S dollars are Dong, but Dong is preferred and you get a better exchange rate. Approx 15,000 Dong equal 1 Aus dollar. We grabbed a snack from the bakery for a late lunch and head off to the Ben Tanh market which is only about a 10min walk. We walked inside the markets and just had to laugh at the aggressiveness of the sellers. They would actually grab you and pull over to their store and say you must buy!!! Some aisles we would have 4 or 5 people grabbing at us at once, saying " Lady what you want, you buy this shirt" - it was hilarious.

The food section had some very different foods; pippies, cone shells and frogs as well as fish, lobster, crabs and meat. The frogs totally grossed me out as they were headless, skinned but still jumping as the guy was ripping out their guts.

With so many people and motorbikes crossing the streets was a terrifying. I am glad that my times in Cambodia have prepared me on how to dodge motorbikes.

We went for a walk past the Reunification Palace , Notre Dame Cathedral ( built in 1900's and all the stone brought from France), the post office which was a beautiful big building with dome ceiling inside and old fashioned wood panelled individual phone booths with seats.

It was pretty hot and started to rain so we put on our ponchos and kept walking. We stopped at dinner at Pho 2000. I had chicken Pho noodles which was pretty good and only a couple dollars. Bill Clinton visited here whilst he was President and it had sign outside saying "fit for a president".

Sinh Tourist Cafe Address for bus bookings: 246 De Tham St District 1

24 Pho Duc Chinh St

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Nathan next to the meat seller at the front o

Nathan next to the meat seller at the front o


Park in HCMC

Park in HCMC


Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market


Food section of Ben Thanh

Food section of Ben Thanh


Headless frogs getting guts ripped out!

Headless frogs getting guts ripped out!


Motorbike traffic

Motorbike traffic


Reunification Palace

Reunification Palace


Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral


Post Office

Post Office


Inside Post Office

Inside Post Office


Vietnamese girls

Vietnamese girls


Chicken Pho

Chicken Pho


Nath loved his chicken

Nath loved his chicken


Outside Pho 2000

Outside Pho 2000


Bus rest stop

Bus rest stop


Wandering pig

Wandering pig

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in Vietnam

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