Indochina – Vietnam
Saigon or Ho Chi Minh is the largest and most populated city in Vietnam. It was colonized by French during the 1950’s to 1970s. Over the years, you can still see old buildings and structures that have a Dutch and French style of designs and one of these is the Saigon Central Post Office.
We only had 1 whole day to see Saigon and its tourist spot before heading back home to the Philippines as our itinerary during our 2-week South East Asia/Indochina trip. We didn’t expect that we will arrive in Vietnam from Phnom Phen in the very late evening.
We did not expect that Saigon has a terrible traffic problem just like in Manila, Philippines. From Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh (via Giant Ibis Bus), it took us more than 7 hours to get to Saigon. Because of heavy traffic in the metro.
We booked our bus ticket online via www.12go.asia and our bus ticket costs around 1,000 PHP / 20 USD (one-way). From Giant Ibis Bus Station in Ho Chi Minh, we had a slight problem with changing our USD from Cambodia since we all had old USD and we had a hard time exchanging it to local currency.
At the bus station, there is a 2-3 Money Exchange shop. After almost 30minutes of looking for a shop to exchange our money and hailing cabs, we’re able to get to our hotel – Ibis Saigon Airport Hotel.
Buy a local sim if you are staying in a country 3 days or more if not make sure you rent a pocket wifi router so you can always go online, book a UBER or check maps.
View from our room
My travel buddy/college friend and I stayed in a Standard Deluxe twin bedroom, with cable LED tv, coffee area, en-suite bathroom (small) with complete toiletries. As of today, Ibis Saigon Airport Hotel is the most affordable hotel closest to the Ho Chi Minh International Airport, an approximately 3-5 minute drive from the hotel.
The hotel lobby can accommodate guests especially during high season, have enough lounge chairs and the BEST part, Starbucks is inside the hotel, just in the lobby. Open from morning to 1 am. Also, just beside the hotel is a shopping mall. We had lunch and early dinner at the food station/food court at the mall and we only spend about less than 200 PHP for a meal.
Ibis Saigon Airport Hotel Pool – overlooking the airport.
Ibis Saigon Hotel lobby
The following day just right after our breakfast, we book a UBER to get us downtown and see the famous tourist spots in Saigon. Our first stop is the Palace but unfortunately, it was closed when we get there so instead we walk across the park, take tons of photos and walk across the street to get to the Cathedral. The church is closed so I’m not able to pray and light a candle.
Across the Cathedral is the Saigon Central Office. You can buy gifts/pasalubong here and again, take tons of photos. Many tourists come here so expect a flock of tourists any time of the year.
Outside the Cathedral
Inside the Post Office.
Travel Budget: 300 – 500 PHP/day in Vietnam is good. You can eat a budget lunch, dinner, and snacks on that budget plus your fare.
Days to stay: In Saigon, you may want to stay 3-5 days so you can see all the nice places in the city. Since the metro has terrible traffic, 2 days is not enough.
All the places that we went to are all FREE/No Entrance fees. I would probably go back to Saigon and see other tourist spots here esp their Palace and Museums. We always book via UBER whenever we go so we’re able to spend more than our original budget for every country we visit.
Quick Ho Chi Minh trip x Ibis Saigon Airport Hotel