Vietnam Day 0-1: Arrival and Refreshed
Background: Co-worker and friend Hai Nguyen recently planned a trip back to Vietnam with his sister. He invited me along as well about a month before. I was a little hesitant to plan a cross country trip so last minute, but finding a flight on China Southern for only $598 quickly changed my mind. A $600 international flight is just something I could not say no to. So, I booked the flight, applied for a Visa, and have spent the past 28 hours flying from LAX to Guangzhou, China to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Currently, we are sitting in a comfortable hotel room in Ho Chi Minh and can’t wait to share the overwhelming amount of culture, business, and coffee that I was not able to fit into our last adventure in the country. Enjoy!
9/27 – Arrival
11:50 am – Arrived in Ho Chi Minh. Absolutely exhausted. 15 hour flight from LAX to Guangzhou, 3 hours layover, then 4 hour flight to Ho Chi Minh. China Southern is not the comfiest airline, but for such a cheap ticket I can’t complain.
12:40 pm – Toan and Hai arrived with Hai’s sister. She is flying to Da Nang for a few days with Hai’s aunt. It is great to see Toan again.
1:40 pm – Dropped off Hai’s sister at her terminal, then headed to check in to our hotel in Ho Chi Minh. The hotel is $25 a night between the two of us. It is so awesome what you can get in Southeast Asia for such low prices.
1:45 pm – The cab driver who dropped us off wanted an extra 10,000 dong fee for driving us from the airport. I was taken off guard at first, but Hai reminded me it is only $0.50.
5:00 pm – Napped in the hotel room. Can barely function, so sleepy. Heading to a hot pot dinner to meet up with Toan and Khoa.
6:54 pm – So good to see Khoa again. Between him and Toan, I feel like Vietnam is a second home. They are very welcoming, business minded, and proud of their culture. Khoa is bringing us to the sauna/spa after dinner.
10:24 pm – After a sauna/shower finally ready to sleep.
Day 1 (9/28): Refreshed
8:21 am – Feel so much better after a night’s sleep. Circadian rhythm a little screwy (woke up at 3 am for a while). Heading to breakfast to meet up with Toan.
8:23 am – Streets are bustling with scooters per usual. Cannot put into words the absurdity of driving in the city here. No one goes over 40 mph, but lanes are rarely used.
9:05 am – Ordered 4 fish noodle soups, 3 waters and 3 teas for $10. Noodle soups are the main breakfasts here – as noted in my previous trip, most Pho shops close around 11 am.
9:38 am – Toan and Khoa are bringing us to a salesman who specializes in Vietnamese coffee from the company Hung Nguyen.
10:16 am – We sat around a table inside and tried varieties of specialty coffee beans grown and roasted in Vietnam. The coffee here is phenomenal. High quality, hand crafted, and very very strong. I will be trying to bring a lot back into the US.
11:45 am – After trying all the coffee, we stopped in a local computer shop and learned a little more about the slowly growing tech of Vietnam. Computers in this shop are about $100 and sold to businesses and students. There are also a lot of Apple reseller businesses, as most Vietnamese trust brand name pre-built computers much more than any custom built ones. This is regardless of the age of the technology too as many of the computers they sell are quite old, around 5 years.
12:46 am – Resting in the hotel room and trying to plan out the next few days. Hai, being a fruit fiend, bought yet another batch interesting street vendor fruit for us to snack on.
2:07 pm – Walked around the main indoor market – Cho Ben Thanh – and was quickly accosted by business owners. “You look handsome. Buy T-shirt?”
3:13 pm – Hanging out at a Trung Nguyen coffee shop for a bit. The A/C in here is a blessing, as it is extremely humid and about 90 degrees out.
7:40 pm – Dinner at a local restaurant – grilled squid, grilled rabbit, seafood vermicelli, and weird beef. I forgot how many vendors come up to you while you eat. Gotta make a living somehow! But they can get pretty pushy.
9:28 pm – Still feeling pretty drained from the long flight. Going to call it a night and probably fly out to Da Nang (the coast) tomorrow afternoon. Good night.