Mark and Karen hit Saigon

Hello everyone at GV Caloundra, just a quick message to let you know where we are. We are currently in Saigon, Vietnam after spending a few days in Hong Kong. After a very hectic time packing and preparing for our trip we flew from Brisbane to HK on the 26th May for a few days of RnR before hitting SE Asia. We had a great time in Honkers but definitely want to return because our short stay did not do justice to all this amazing city has to offer.

True to form we ended up on the harbour shortly after arrival which is spectacular at night with just block after block of high-rise buildings (30 stories looks small) all lit-up at night with a laser show. Patty, Honkers is the place to go for fashion label shopping with big discounts but if you really want the ‘genuine’ copies you need to head to the markets and get an invitation to a back room up several flights of stairs with guards on the door! That is where you can buy Prada, LVT and other brands at a fraction of the list price. Saigon (HCMC) is a complete contrast to HK with cheap-as-chips products in markets and on the streets everywhere but with none of the sophistication and class of HK. Everything and everyone is into deals with Western tourists an easy target but so far we have only been ripped-off once, the cab from the airport, where despite Karen’s best negotiating skills (she had half the cabbies at the airport lined-up comparing prices) we still paid about 2x the going rate but when it only costs you $10 it was a cheap lesson learnt.

So far we love Saigon and have met some really nice, kind, genuine people but can understand why others do not take to the city as much of it is run-down and dirty. Today was Karen’s birthday and we celebrated in style but still spent a fraction of what it would cost in Oz, also did the Chu Chi tunnels tour which was very interesting but very hot and sweaty.Tomorrow we are off to the Mekong Delta then north to Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi and Halong Bay before bussing it to Laos and Thailand. It definitely seems like it was the right move to book tours and travel once we arrived here as it is much, much cheaper than pre-booking from Oz. Good hotel rooms in Saigon (with a/c, a must) can be had for less than $20/night and fabulous meals for under $5 including a beer! There are also many English teaching opportunities in this city with all the locals keen to learn or improve their English. Hope all is well at GV Caloundra and will send you an update and some pics in a few days.
Cheers, Mark & Karen