I am not going to do this city justice. I only had 2 half days and 1 full day in
Ho Chi Minh City Saigon.
I arrived at the domestic terminal of the airport in Saigon late in the afternoon, and found my purse very thin – I only had 160,000 VND. It costs 200,000 VND to get from the airport to the centre of the city – this is foreigner price, by the way. The woman manning the taxi stand did not accept USD, and she told me (in quite a rude manner, really) to go find a money changer’s.
I paused. The airport at Hanoi had a public bus running from the airport into the centre of town. So, I whipped at my phone (getting that SIM card with data access was the best decision ever) and did a search on the internet.
And. I was right.
“The cheapest way is to take public city Bus # 152 parking in a lane few steps away on the right side from the Arrival’s entrance.
It takes you downtown to the Bus Station on the opposite side of the traffic round about from Ben Thanh market, at a cost of 6,000 dong + 6,000 dong if your luggage weighs 10kg or beyond. It runs every 20 minutes from 6 am until 6 pm.”
Bus #152. Picture taken from xotours Vietnam
The bus has a big sign with “152” painted on the side facing the terminal. I showed the address of the hostel to the bus driver. He nodded and said, “Near near.” I took the bus to District 1, but paid only 10,000 VND in total for my backpack (about 12kg) and person. He made sure I got off at the correct stop. When it was my time to get off, he caught my eye in the rearview mirror, nodded and gestured straight and left with his hand.
Asian privileges. *grin*
And… Take that, rude taxi stand woman!
It took me a bit of time to get to my hostel – the Saigon Backpackers (very nice and clean, but the stairs can be quite killer) because I got lost. I do that from time to time. The streets in Hanoi are more organised. In contrast, Saigon had streets running at a 15-degree angle from each other. Often, I would stand frowning at Google Maps on my phone and the streets because I did not know how to navigate the streets.
Note to self: Please get data on your phone if you can.