Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vietnam Adventure D1 - Long time no see, Ho Chi Minh. 오랜만이다 호치민.

Last year after my July Korea trip, before I knew I had a chance to visit Korea again in December, I decided I needed to go somewhere again during my next holiday. I needed an exciting adventure, somewhere quite foreign, not like Korea which actually felt rather like home (^^). Somewhere cheaper than Korea too, to prevent myself from becoming too broke.. Where should I go?

I was googling for inspiration online and then I came across a set of pictures of a very beautiful and surreal place, of green terraces with graceful contours upon sloping hills and mountains extending endlessly into the distance, of colourful tribes and bustling villages. And I decided I had to see that myself. That place was Sapa, a mountaineous area in the far North of Vietnam.

And so the planning of an adventure across Vietnam, starting from the south in the city of Ho Chi Minh, Saigon and all the way up to the north in Hanoi and Sapa, started! 

I recruited only one other fellow traveller, and that is none other than Apple~! She's a mature, working adult already (unlike me) and I'm so glad I went with her because her sensible and cautious thinking helped to balance out my um thoughtlessness and helped in tricky situations! Plus, we click rather well in most areas of interest~ And we both agree that most people would be bored with our walking itinerary. hahahaha
This is her blog by the way, Vietnam travels in the archive! 

Finally, 11 December 2013, Wednesday, 7.30am.

Excitement was bubbling madly inside of me. It was my first backpacking experience! And to a place with a totally different language and culture~!

I loooove being at the airport. So many different stories are happening there every moment.. (:

We took Tiger Airways.
I was rather fascinated that we boarded the plane like that. Not because I've never done it before, but because I always thought all planes at Changi Airport was boarded via the uhhh tunnel thing. And well this seemed more exciting, a fitting start to our adventure! ^^

After approximately 2 hours, we've arrived! 

The first thing we did was to buy SIM cards for our phones at the Viettel phone company booth at the arrival hall gates. (no picture sorry!) I LOVE THE MOBILE SERVICE THERE. Because it was freaking cheap, around SGD$20 I think?? for a decent amount of call time and sms (sorry but I can't remember the exact price and everything else... hahaha) aaaand UNLIMITED 3G DATA. I've never heard of such a plan before~!!!!!!!!!! It was so wonderful not having to worry about exceeding the data limit (measly 2GB in Singapore... -.- ) I was uploading loads of stuff and could even stream videos online. hehe 

What's more, the speed was surprisingly fast even in very rural and non-city areas! Faster than Singapore... Impressed~~ I definitely didn't expect that of Vietnam. I miss unlimited data usage.... (T_T)

With our huge bags and rumbling stomachs, we decided to take a taxi to our first destination for brunch!!
Please make sure you take taxis with meters in Vietnam or prepared to be scammed.. Make sure the meter is on when you get on too! But then there are also taxis that tweak their meters to make it jump twice as fast.... Oh well, you can judge for yourself.

Sorry but I don't think my blog will be a very useful one for specific travel tips and information... Cos I'm usually too lazy to note down everything haha :P

Nice yellow bike. Dazzling combi with a red dress~
Welcome to the land of scooters and motorbikes *beep beep*. 

And the land of tiny stools and tables.
How nostalgic.
I've been to Saigon years ago during Secondary 3 on a school trip as a volunteer. We visited the touristy places and I don't think I really experienced the true blue Vietnamese culture then. It was a very short and abrupt trip.

Long time no see, Ho Chi Minh. Good to see you again, Vietnam. It's time to discover~!

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