Living In The Philippines Forum

Living in The Philippines => Travel: Countries to Visit from the Philippines => Topic started by: bigrod on September 28, 2015, 08:38:51 PM

Title: Ho Chi Minh City(Saigon), Vietnam
Post by: bigrod on September 28, 2015, 08:38:51 PM
The 13-20 Sept 2015 my asawa and I visited Saigon.  The last time I left Saigon was 14 Mar 1968, and had made myself a promise that I would comeback and stay at the Continental Hotel Saigon.  Well I have kept that promise since we stayed there 7 night, in room 214, which was the room Graham Greene the author of "The Quit American" stayed in.  The room had a balcony overlooking the Opera House.  Hotel was built in the late 1800s but is maintained well and been upgraded.  Fantastic location within walking distance of many landmarks, restaurants, shops and 3 upscale malls.  Having been there before almost 50 years ago we took no tours but did our own thing.  Used a taxi for some locations, but the charge was minimal.  Had great German, Italian and Spanish meals all the restaurants within a 5 minute walk from the hotel.  The hotel has a great buffet breakfast every morning that is included in the room price.  Being US citizen you will need a visa, which you can get online for about $18.  Your Pinay spouse/GF does not need a visa.  Got my BB stamp on the return to the Philippines.

Chuck
Title: Re: Ho Chi Minh City(Saigon), Vietnam
Post by: Lee2 on September 28, 2015, 08:45:04 PM
How did you feel safety wise walking around there, would you say it is at least as safe as the Philippines, or safer, or not safe at all?
Title: Re: Ho Chi Minh City(Saigon), Vietnam
Post by: bigrod on September 28, 2015, 09:11:56 PM
Lee2,

Felt safer than in Manila, but there are pickpockets, etc., there like anywhere.  Crime rate overall is pretty low.  City was a big change from 1968, very clean and a lot of new building completed and in progress.  Putting an underground Metro in the city.  The old motorized cyclos are gone, but scooters/motorcycles are rampant, they even drive on the sidewalks if traffic backs up.
You are an instant millionaire when you arrive.  $1=22445 VN Dong while we where there.  Food prices were very reasonable in the local restaurants.  Great lunches were around $15-20 including alcoholic beverages.  San Miguel beer is readily available there.  We bought beers, sodas, snacks, etc., at the 7-11 for about 1/3/ to 1/2 what it cost in the hotel fridge.  Also the $18 in my OP is for the VISA on arrival letter, you pay an additional $45 at the airport for the Visa sticker.

Chuck
Title: Re: Ho Chi Minh City(Saigon), Vietnam
Post by: Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am on September 28, 2015, 09:14:37 PM
Chuck,
Looks like a pretty grand old hotel! It's on my "Bucket List"!

http://continentalsaigon.com/ (http://continentalsaigon.com/)

http://tinyurl.com/ox8exvs (http://tinyurl.com/ox8exvs)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z94de_KwPsw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z94de_KwPsw)

Title: Re: Ho Chi Minh City(Saigon), Vietnam
Post by: bigrod on September 28, 2015, 09:24:10 PM
Art,

It is a grand old hotel.  Next door is a Hyatt, across the square is the Caravelle, and down one block on Dong Khoi(old Tudo Street) is a Sheraton.  If you do stay there spring for the Junior Suite(45 sqm) with balcony and view of the Opera House.  Can normally find on most sites or their site for less than $100 a night including taxes, well worth it.  Art in the images on tinyurl.com our room(the 2 windows) was above the HOT in Hotel Continental Saigon.

Chuck
Title: Re: Ho Chi Minh City(Saigon), Vietnam
Post by: iamjames on September 29, 2015, 08:18:04 AM
I would second that. Saigon is cheaper and safer than Manila. There is some amazing food and cheap beverages to be found. The motorbike traffic has to be the worlds craziest. Oh - don't go for a haircut or you might get a surprise. The hair/beauty salons are not what they seem.

This incredible traffic video is 10 years old - but they are just a bit more organised now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dqibvh96Og (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dqibvh96Og)