Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City
My flight to Ho Chi Minh city (HCMC) was at 2pm today. I wish I had taken the earlier 10 am flight, as I ended up doing pretty much nothing for most part of the day. By the time I landed in HCMC, got my visa on arrival and checked into the hostel (Himalaya Phoenix Saigon Hostel) it was 5.30 pm. My first impression of HCMC was slightly disappointing, as it looked, felt (and even smelt!) like a big Indian city – it seemed like I was in Bombay or Bangalore.
I was sharing the dorm with Steve and Katie from UK, who were kind enough to ask me if I wanted to step out for drinks at night. We went to Bui Vien street, which is in the backpacker area in District 1 (I know you are thinking of the Hunger Games, but no, this isn’t the same). We were joined by 2 more people from the hostel. Bui Vien reminded me of the pub street of Siem Reap, although a little less loud.
We all shared our travel stories and it was interesting to note how it is customary for youngsters in the West and Australia to travel the world as backpackers. A typical trip to Asia lasts about 3 months. My 17 day trip pales in comparison. Backpacking has still not caught on amongst young Indians, and I hope this becomes a mandatory thing to do as part of growing up! There is so much to see in this world, so many experiences waiting to happen. I feel that when you meet new people from different nationalities, and stay with them, it is a great equalizer – makes you realise how people are same everywhere notwithstanding race, colour or nationality.
Hanging out with strangers from the hostel.
Vietnamese Spring rolls and Singapore noodles.
Vietnam on first impression is not very different from India
Next up: Ho Chi Minh City – Day 2