Date: 29th December 2014
We arrived at Cherry Hotel feeling exhausted, mostly because we got cheated by the con-man. The mood to explore the city suddenly disappeared as we were worried sick if the cab will charge us a high price once again. It was partially our mistake for not checking from other cab driver that is available along the road thinking with confidence that Ho chin Minh is an expensive city. Rest assured that it was not that expensive when we discovered the truth the following day. Due to that, we decided to have late lunch cum early dinner in the room by calling the room service. The meal arrived as soon as we finished our prayers. Not knowing what to do, we decided to talk a walk just around the hotel area. What we discovered was an amazing thing as the city was beautifully light up for the recent Christmas celebration and in preparation of for 2015 New Year's eve.
We were happy that we came out from the hotel with our slippers. The city is quite safe for women, I guessed, not sure whether there are any bad incident (rapist or robbery for example) happening around. The backpackers area would have been a better choice to stay as when we passes by the area the very next day, we saw how lively and happening it was. For information, we only stayed 1 night but paid for a late check-out, i.e. at 6pm the following day. Our train to Hanoi was leaving at around 10.00pm, so it's worth to keep the room half day for our conveniences.
While searching the internet recently, I found a local website who offered a service for a tour called “Saigon by Night” by riding a motorcycle. They charged USD40 per person. You may checked their website http://xotours.vn/tours/things-to-do-in-vietnam.html should you keen to do so. The length of the tour is 2.5 hours, which started at 6:00pm. They said, tourist could see a different side of Saigon where they will take you to the outside of district 1 and show areas that most visitors don't get to see ( I don’t know how far it’s true since we did not use their services). But the city does looks much different at night than it does in the daytime. Please take note to see the lights of the red paper lanterns in Cholon up to the amazing view of the Saigon River at night from Thu Thiem bridge.
We passed by rows of shopping lots, hotels and other commercial buildings until we reached Saigon riverside. By the way, the hotel that we stayed, Cherry Hotel is located in District 1, i.e. right in the center of the city. District 1 is the areas of commerce, tourism, entertainment, office building, most of fine dining restaurant and where most of the hotels are. It is one of the most deluxe quarter in Sai Gon at present and in the future. Cherry Hotel is 30m far from Apocalipse Now Coffee Shop. It is near Park Hyatt Hotel, Theater Ho Chi Minh city, ANZ bank, City bank next to Sai Gon Riverside. Our walked that night was indeed very very pleasant. We save USD40 after losing almost USD25 to the cab driver earlier on.
I guessed our impromptu walks worth every bit of it, especially when both of us was carrying our own camera. By the time we arrived at the main road, we then realized how near we were to the Saigon riverside. Though the traffic was heavy without any proper crossing for the road user, we took a risk of crossing through the madness of night traffic rush. Could not understand why the city council did not provide any as it's not safe for people to cross just like that. We enjoyed being on the riverside as not many people were there. The place is well taken care off by the local authority.We sat on the bench admiring the lights on the opposite hotel building, Renaissance Riverside. There’s not much crowds gathered around when most of them must be enjoying dinner at a floating restaurant nearby. In addition, the makeshift sidewalk cafes that magically appear at night has attracted people to come out and enjoy a night life in the city.
Our very own exploration of Saigon by night indeed offers a completely different experience than our day tours. After we crossed back to the hotel side, I continued hunting to snap looking for a beautiful Saigon ladies in their costume. I found what I was looking for. Do enjoy their beautiful face in their beautiful and proper sweet attire in below photos. After those goals is achieved, we sat down in a beautiful local coffee, Trung Nguyen Coffee said to be Vietnamese No. 1 coffee house for Anne to enjoy her ordered of a cup of coffee. I chose warm water instead as I’m afraid of caffeine intake that will disturb my sleep. This is the end of our first day story in Saigon, a city that is officially change and name after the father of Vietnam independence, the late honorable Mr Ho Chin Minh,