My fiancé and I have agreed on travelling once a year together for our birthday celebration (yep, we share the same birthday). Last year, we went to Davao so this year we went farther and reached Vietnam. It was a very meaningful trip not just because it was our birthday but also because it was my first out of the country trip.
So my fiancé booked a flight to Saigon which will get us there at around 1:00 AM. It may sound like a pretty ridiculous time but when he explained to me how it’ll give us more time to travel and explore the city (he also booked our flight back to Manila around the same time), I deemed him to be the best travel buddy I could ever have.
However, not everything was as well-planned as I thought they will be.
We haven’t booked a hotel yet to we might be homeless for the night. So the moment we sat to the waiting area of the airport, we immediately went online, booked a hotel through Agoda.com (Oh I love you Agoda and this is not a sponsored post), and got a cheap accommodation near the airport for around PHP 600.00 a night. “That’ll do because we’ll just stay there tonight. We’ll book a different hotel near where we would be going around once we’re in Vietnam.” So I just nodded and off we went.
UBER IN SAIGON – NOT HOW I EXPECT IT TO BE
The first thing we did upon arriving to Saigon was to go get ourselves a local tourist sim card (they have a pretty cheap internet with call & text packages) and get our dollars exchanged for their local currency. We found out that they already have Uber in Saigon so I opted to Uber than taking a cab. I mean, all you need to do is pin the location where you’re going and no conversation needed which is great since most people in Saigon barely understand English. But it was not how I expect it to be. Uber is fairly new to the locals so they didn’t “trust” GPS much and our driver needed to talk to us about directions and stuff and we ended up doing crazy signs just to understand each other. At one point, our driver used Google Translate but Google Translate was also quite unreliable. In the end, we were able to understand what we basically want to say and we arrived at our first hotel safe, sound, and feeling very silly.
OUR FIRST NIGHT… ERRR… DAY… ERRR… WHATEVER
We booked our first sleep (let’s just call it that) at the Mi Linh Hotel. It’s not a luxury hotel but it’s a good one if you’re arriving late in the city and needed a quick place to check in at. To be quite honest, the service and the cleanliness of the hotel is worth more than the PHP 600.00 we paid for compared to how motels and hotels are here in the Philippines. Anyway, the moment we settled in to the room, we looked for our next hotel in the heart of the city and we were surprised at how there are a lot of seemingly good hotels at a very affordable price. This made me fall in love with Vietnam! So upon booking 3 days at Sen Hotel Saigon, we went to sleep and set our alarm to 7:00 AM so that we can roam around early in the city.
BRUNCH AT Bún Đậu Ngõ Nhỏ Phố Nhỏ
So upon arriving to the place, we were surprised at how cheap the food is and how big the serving was. We got to the place early because there were not much people there yet when we arrived so good for us!
People here eat healthy, I guess. Their dishes in Bún Đậu Ngõ Nhỏ Phố Nhỏ comes with 80% vegetables. Plus, we were surprised at how cheap the food is in the place considering how big the serving is and how good it tastes. When the clock hit 12, the place got packed with locals on their lunch break. We noticed how it was so obvious that we are foreigners (aside from the big backpack we’re carrying) because: (1) we had one order each but it looks like one order was MEANT TO BE SHARED. Now that’s why the serving was big; and (2) we didn’t know where to dip which! Oh well. YOLO!
A CHEAP AND GOOD HOTEL AND A NEW FRIEND
From Bún Đậu Ngõ Nhỏ Phố Nhỏ, we walked going to our next hotel which is the Sen Hotel Saigon along Le Lai Street. The hotel is strategically located in the heart of the city that’s why we thought it was so convenient to just walk wherever we’d be going coming from our hotel. The accommodation only costs almost PHP 2, 500.00 for 3D2N. Wow, right? We also have a view of the city itself from our room so the amount is more than worth it.
So after resting for a few minutes in the hotel, I took a quick shower and told my fiancé that I’m going out to meet a fellow beauty blogger from the city. He said, “go ahead,” as he needs to stay in the hotel to finish some work since we’re planning on going around the city the next day. So Trang of adriedrose.blogspot.com told me that we can hang at Phuc Long, a nearby coffee shop which is, apparently, one of the best and oldest in the city. It was just around the corner from my hotel so I got there earlier and just waited for her for a few minutes.
It was fun meeting new people and making friends with a fellow beauty blogger in the city. We compared makeup prices in Saigon and Manila, and how there aren’t much local beauty products available and all I can find if I go to malls are foreign branded makeup especially Korean brands. I gifted Trang an Ever Bilena lipstick so she can try a local product and brand I like. Once I go back to Vietnam, I’d definitely meet up again with Trang and give her more brands like Snoe, SanSan, and more of Ever Bilena.
DINNER AND A NIGHT CAP
When I got back to the hotel, my fiancé asked me where I would like to have dinner; and since we’re in Vietnam, we better go and try an authentic Vietnamese Pho right? Trang suggested that we try out Phở Hưng which is just almost beside our hotel for a good and clean place to eat Pho.
So we went to Phở Hưng and immediately placed our orders. There was a problem though, it was already almost an hour and my order hasn’t arrived yet. When we called a waiter, it turns out that we actually had a misunderstanding. Apparently, the Pho I ordered is not available but he couldn’t explain it well previously (language barrier probs) so I ended up waiting too long. Whew. So I just ordered a different one and even though there was a bit of misunderstanding, I still enjoyed my Pho.
After our Pho dinner, we wanted a night cap but fiancé still needs to finish some work. So what we did is to just drink the beer in our hotel room’s fridge (since, surprisingly, the drinks in their mini bar are super cheap) and then I slept a bit early while he worked. God knows what time he slept. LOL