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Big Indochina Adventure – Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

We left our hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia at around 7:30 AM and headed to the airport. I’m using my Irish passport and thought I didn’t need an invitation letter to enter Vietnam, but it turns out that I did. The airline was able to get me an expedited visa for $160 which is about $90 more than I would have paid if I knew ahead of time, but you always have to expect the unexpected when traveling and roll with it!

We boarded our flight to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, on time. One hour later, we made it to Vietnam and my 44th country!  Upon arrival, we grabbed our baggage and bought a SIM Card before heading to our hotel.


Saigon was the capital of French Indochina and South Vietnam, so it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City after the Vietnam War as a way to remind everyone which side won. The traffic in the city is wild. You just step into the street and keep walking at a steady pace until you’re on the other side. While you’re walking, scooters are motoring behind and in front of you. It takes a while to get used to!


After dropping our bags in our room, my roommate and I headed to a street behind the hotel which reminded me a bit of Khao San Road in Bangkok. There were various stores, hostels and bars along the way. There was an Indian restaurant that caught our eye, so we decided to have Indian. It was very, very good.


The food made us pretty tired and we were a bit exhausted from then night before, so we went back to our hotel and took a 3 hour nap.  After our nap, we met up with our group including a few new people that joined for the Vietnam portion of the tour and went to the restaurant next door for one of the more famous Vietnamese dishes, pho. Pho is basically a noodle soup with either chicken or beef. It was delicious and I will definitely find a few good restaurants in New York upon my return to America.


We then headed to a bar to meet up with one of our friends from the previous Contiki that decided to do Vietnam by herself. The bar was an American bar that was supposed to be set in the Wild West. They had a great live band that played covers of various songs. A few times, the singer came over to our table to sing with us!  It was a great way to kick off our 12 day tour around Vietnam!

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