Vietnam series: Mui Ne to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam – from beautiful beach to bustling city

Last look at Mui Ne beach

Last look at Mui Ne beach

I have just spent the afternoon exploring Mui Ne and now leave the lovely and relaxing resort beach of Mui Ne behind as I head to the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh where I will spend the next couple of days exploring.

To get to Ho Chi Minh City, I am taking a bus.  Travel time to HCMC is 5 hours.  I find a seat on the bus and next to me arrives my new best friend “Aziz”. 

Aziz seems lovely and over the next 5 hours the lovely Aziz offers me ice creams and compliments and finally asks me for my phone number… cheeky boy.

Finally we arrive in bustling Ho Chi Minh City and it is pouring rain and the traffic is absolute chaos.  There are trucks and traffic galore and the bus seems to somehow manage to thread its way through the traffic.  This place is so frantic and buzzing with cars and bikes and vehicles of all descriptions, filling every space on the road and all using their horns to warn others.  I know I will love HCMC.

As the bus pulls up in downtown HCMC I am trying to get some bearings on where in Ho Chi Minh City I actually am using the map in my trusty Rough Guides’ book of Southeast Asia.  It is 7:00pm, I am about to leave my bestie Aziz and will be alone in a strange bustling city.  Did I mention it is dark and pouring rain… and now, for the first time in Vietnam, I am petrified and feeling very vulnerable and unsafe.  I now wish I could stay on the bus forever and I never thought I would say that.  I am resolved to booking myself into the first hotel I come across.  The bus stops and we all need to get out.  “Bye Aziz.”  “Yes, I also enjoyed meeting you, take care”.

Ok… its like a scene out of that old game “Frogger”.  I am on one side of the road, with the shops and hotels on the other side.  I need to get to the other side of the road.  The dilemma is therefore to actually cross this road that is mad with traffic.  I managed to do it in Hanoi so I know I can do it here too.  I psych myself up and take my first step onto the road and, walking a considered, even pace I manage to reach the other side unscathed.  I step onto the kerb and breath a sigh of relief.  I then look up.  There is a hotel right in front of me.  Well wad’ya know!  I have to stop myself from running to the check-in desk.  I don’t care what the room looks like, hey, they seem like nice people; just check me in.  What I need is to just tuck myself away for a minute in my hopefully clean, compact, modestly priced room.

After getting settled in my room I feel a bit calmer and ready for the next challenge… the necessity to find food.  With no restaurant contained within the “complex” that is my hotel, I am forced to go outside.  No need to worry room… I’ll be back before you know it.

I am starving and petrified which is not a good combination.  I head out the front door, turn right and BINGO, the first restaurant I come across is about 5 shops up from my hotel, on a main corner.  It seems nothing is very far away in Ho Chi Minh City.  I order the simple but satisfying chicken in cream sauce, which is delicious and the perfect comfort food.  My corner position allows me to watch the traffic chaos that is Ho Chi Minh City. 

Ho Chi Minh City traffic

Ho Chi Minh City traffic

I don’t dare venture any further tonight and return to the safety of my hotel room. 

Safety latch in place… check.

Tomorrow is a new day and I will deal with Ho Chi Minh City then; when I am feeling refreshed.  It has been quite a big day so for now, tonight… sleep time.[showmyads]

For previous Vietnam series post see Mui Ne, Vietnam and the fishing village, white and red sands and Fairy River
For next Vietnam series post see Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and its museums.