Wednesday, February 8, 2012

South East to Saigon

Lovely dinner last night. Up early for the 8.30 bus to Ho Chi Minh, otherwise known as Saigon.

Not an auspicious start to the day. The tuk-tuk driver didn't seem to know the way to the bus station! Luckily John did and realised we were heading in the wrong direction. Fortunately we had plenty of time. The way it seems to work here is that each bus company has their own station which meant that, although it was chaotic, it was reasonably easy to find the right bus. We thought so anyway. Obviously one couple didn't. When you buy your ticket you are allocated a seat number. Shortly before the bus left - but after it was due to leave - there was a big fuss 'cos a couple were sitting in the wrong seats. They weren't - they were sitting on the wrong bus! My personal travel agent would never have allowed that to happen.

The bus was great, the roads were great (relatively speaking), we went on a ferry across the Mekong River and had a 15 minute rest stop which gave us the chance to by more fruit.

This was only our second international bus journey. The first was going from Argentina to Chile when we waited for 3 hours in the cold at the top of one of the Andes passes. Today was a dawdle. We were through the whole process in less than an hour.

We had an enjoyable journey through lovely countryside.

When we got to Saigon there was the usual hustling of taxi drivers. We had planned to go to an ATM first but decided to get in a taxi and hope they took dollars. He didn't but said he would stop at an ATM en route. Vietnamese dong is silly money. There is 33,000 dong to the pound. John got confused with the noughts and instead of getting £200 worth he only got £20. At £5 a pop that was a bit of a bummer. The driver overshot the hotel and was about to go round the block again (fare was metered) when we yelled at him to stop. The fare was 348,000 and John gave him a 500,000 note. I thought the change didn't look quite right somehow. Fortunately I did. He gave me 3 x 5,000 notes instead of 3 x 50,000. Welcome to Saigon!


  1. Obviously a need for being alert. Travel is obviously a pre-gin occupation!

  2. I don't find it at all surprising that any currency called "dong" would be called "silly money". It's sounds like it's made up!

  3. On the other hand, as well as being rich in the ususal sense, you must be millionaires (billionaires?) now!!!

    1. Yes Jane, we are! Will post a photo as evidence.

  4. Surprised the world hasn't run out of "0" with so many being used over there.Will check on how many"0"s are left here.