My decision to go to Ho Chi Min City or Saigon in Vietnam was a bit impulsive. One Sunday afternoon my sister told me lightly that she is going to have a regional meeting at Vietnam, then asking whether I’m interested go with her, she can extend her stay and we’ll go sightseeing around. I spontaneously said “why not?” It’s a real why-not, I mean I have nothing better to do but vacation at this point; it’s been a very tensed 3 months of my life, work and personal, so a break will do me nothing else but good.
The idea of Vietnam lingered in my heads after that, thinking of what I’m going to see if I really go there? Is it worth the cost and the on-leave days that I should spend if I take the trip? I only know Vietnam from the newspaper, about the political parties, the famous depressing war against US back 30 to 40 years ago, but what’s in it I should go and see the town by myself. Hence, I did a little browsing and reading about Vietnam, and found out that there are 2 major cities that have international airport, Hanoi at northern area & Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) at southern area, but only to HCMC Jakarta have direct fly. I called my sister asking her which city is the meeting will be hold. She said Ho Chi Min City and that narrowed down the things of Vietnam that I need to know. There are thousands of articles about Ho Chi Min City in the internet, so I’ll just write down the most interesting part that helped me make up my mind to go to that country and that particular city.
Ho Chi Min City lies on a giant bend in the Saigon river. The population is nearly 7 millions, means almost 3 times Jakarta and it’s the largest city Vietnam has right now. Thou Hanoi are the capital city of Vietnam but Ho Chi Min City is the real place where the economic centralized. It got strongly influenced by French whom also make it as the capital of their colonial in 1859, The French then built some wide boulevards and buildings in Saigon in the image of Paris, that’s why people say Saigon is “The Paris of Asia”. The city also has many cultural spots, museum, pagoda, old building, and parks. That’s pretty much of it, the rest you can get from internet, plus they have beautiful pictures there.
So, another issue that I have to look up is budget. I browsed some online airlines trying to find the cheapest ticket and found it! It’s Lion Air (hahaha… I don’t really care if you think this is sort of advertising but trust me the ticket is very much affordable plus they have new Boeing for international flight). My sister came up with some findings on the hotel room rate there, and it’s not expensive as well, and I ask some of my friends who have visited Vietnam, they said the food is not that expensive. So I pretty much sure I can afford several days trip there.
I’m excited, but sometimes in my case, excitement couldn’t convert to actions that support it :). Thou I know by heart the cost of the ticket and it’s online for God’s sake, I booked it 3 days to the d-day, I didn’t do a lot of preparation, I did 15 minutes packing means I practically threw all my clothes (not even selecting it) to that tiny luggage two days before I depart. I buy some Dong & Dollar at the afternoon. O by the way, if you’re Indonesian, it’s better if you bring US dollar than Dong, it’s cheaper to shop in US$, way cheaper. Plus the exchange rate is better if you trade your dollar with Dong, it’s hard to find place to exchange Rupiah to Dong anyway. And the night before my flight I went hang out with friends ‘til 1 AM.
Finally, Vietnam, here I come…