Vietnam begins in Ho Chi Minh after a busy 10 days travelling Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. It would be a relaxing few nights before I began my travels along the coast of what is an incredible country.
It was a late afternoon, early evening arrival into the airport and I took a cab to my hotel for the next couple of nights, which was called Phuc Khanh Hotel 2. This hotel was excellently located to the main backpacker nightlife and cost a very cheap £2.64 a night for a clean and air-conditioned dormitory. As are with most of my later arrivals I used the time to take a shower and a nap for a couple of hours before heading to a restaurant not far from the hotel to sample my first taste of Pho (Vietnams signature dish), which is beef noodle soup. I enjoyed this accompanied with a couple of beers enjoying some late night German football that just so happened to be on. Certainly easing into my relaxing stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
This was my second visit here so my days were spent pottering around the city and re-visiting familiar territory. I had already seen the War Museums and the other tourist sites previously so just along with my camera took a stroll through what is now a well developed and high rise city. Turning each corner I was having flashbacks from my last visit as my hotel was based in a similar area to where I had stayed before with my friends Scott and hid girlfriend Samantha back in 2012.
Lunchtime in Vietnam was always my favourite time of the day as this meant more Pho. Vietnamese food is certainly one of my favourites and from the war history it has you certainly can see the French and Japanese influences here.
Another reason for an extended stop off in Ho Chi Minh was to catch up with a friend named Ashley. We had grown up together in the same village from the age of 3 and up to the age of 18-19 had been in contact but as you find when you get older you do drift apart from some people. He was now living and teaching English here so it was the perfect opportunity to catch up on what had been happening the last 10 years or so and get a couple of beers in the backpacking street known as Bui Vien. Here you will find streets filled with bars, clubs, massage parlours, laundrettes and mini mart shops. Each will try and tempt you in with the unbelievably cheap prices for alcohol.
Our evening started off with a couple of quiet beers just catching up on things past and present. We proceeded to bar hop for a few hours before meeting a coupe of Irish girls who worked for Emirates but visiting here for a vacation. Before we knew it the drinking games had started and the number in our group went from two people to 8 or 9.
The game was flip cup where you split into two teams either side of the table and pour a little of your drink in a plastic cup. In order you each race against eachother to down your drink and then flip the cup over and once you have done this it moves to the next person. After many rounds of this we moved on to a couple of other bars where this game continued and after a quick glance at my watch I noticed the time was 6am and my bus was due to depart in the next hour.
I had previously packed before starting on the beers as I knew this was more than likely going to happen so it was a quick dash back to the hotel to pick up my bags and then back to Bui Vien to pick up my bus from Sinh Tourism. I made it in plenty of time and grabbed a few things to eat on the bus along with some much-needed water.
From here it was a couple of two night stops in Mui Ne and Nha Trang for some time on the beach as I hadn’t set foot on a beach since the Andaman Islands a few months ago.