A common question on travel forums is how long to stay in Ho Chi Minh City (sometimes also referred to as Saigon). But most of those people are thinking days. We discovered that two and half weeks was about right!
Those of you who follow the Feet on Foreign Lands Facebook page or Instagram feed (and if you don’t already – Go! Join the fun!) will have realised that the Fairlie Entourage spent the first few weeks of January in Vietnam – more specifically two and a half weeks solely in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
This was a bit of a last-minute holiday decision. We were intending to spend the time in Melbourne, having a summer ‘staycation’ – checking out all the fabulous summer activities this city offers, enjoying some shows, galleries, museums etc. Then mid-December there was a particularly wet and cold Sunday. The Poolboy and I looked at each other nervously. Do you think Melbourne’s summer is going to be like this right through? We really wanted at least a couple of weeks of sustained warm weather.
So, perhaps a little bit impulsively, we got onto the Internet, booked flights with Jetstar to HCMC via Singapore for the 30 December and then started looking at hotels and getting Vietnam visas organised. We decided not to try to jump around Vietnam as we have done on our past three trips, instead we made a conscious decision to stay only in Saigon and to make the most of that city – trying out a variety of hotels and restaurants, seeking out activities and sights we hadn’t done or seen before.
The beauty of visiting a place for the fourth time is that you don’t need to do all the ‘top 10 things to do’ as you’ve already done them (in some cases, more than once). You can afford to take things at a slower pace, and uncover some of the city’s hidden treasures. So, we booked five different hotels around Saigon, moving from one to the next every few days. Two and a half weeks ended up feeling like a month, as each new hotel reset the clock and felt like a whole new holiday.
The five hotels were: The Alcove Library Hotel, The Rex Hotel, Saigon Domaine Luxury Residences, Villa Song Saigon and The Caravelle Saigon. Each totally unique and located in a variety of areas around HCMC.
Just a few of the many highlights:
- Joining Sophie’s Art Tour
- Seeing the incredible A.O.Show
- Dining in total darkness at Noir restaurant
- Taking a speedboat from Saigon Domaine Apartments along the Saigon River to District 1 for dinner.
And the low-lights (because I wouldn’t be an honest and balanced travel blogger if I didn’t mention them too):
- Becoming ill with amoebic gastro infection which required urgent medical attention
- A truly scary taxi trip with a driver who had no idea how to get to our destination and became increasingly agitated about his inability to do so
- Half of our luggage not arriving back in Melbourne when we did.
But none of the low-lights were all that serious in the end…and will just be fodder for the re-telling of tales in the future.
Over the next two months I will be posting extensively about our Saigon experiences, including reviews of the hotels, tours and restaurants, handy tips and my observations, so please come along for the journey! I’ll also be continuing with other non-Vietnam-related topics. And if you’d like a monthly summary of all the best posts, plus additional information and links exclusive to my newsletter list, please sign up right here:
Welcome aboard Fairlie’s trip to Saigon! What are you most wanting to know about?
This post is linked to:
Flog ya Blog Friday at With Some Grace