Phu Quoc Diaries Day 2: One Night in Saigon

This is Day 2 of the Phu Quoc Diaries series that I started last week. Here I am sharing with you my diary entries from my trip to the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc last month.

If you haven’t read the previous entry, click here.

phu quoc diaries view from ciao saigon

View from the rooftop pool at Ciao Saigon Hotel

Our Arrival in Saigon

When we arrived in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) at 13:10 we headed to passport control with our fingers crossed. The agent wanted my passport, boarding pass and written itinerary…

“You stay for 15 days?” he asked.

“Erm, I think it works out as 14,” I said, thinking all the time the man can count, stupid.

But he stamped my passport and I was in. Next he stamped Toni’s passport and he was in too! We celebrated by collecting our backpacks and going to exchange some money.

As it was about 24 hours and three flights since we had left our flat in Mallorca, the last thing we wanted to do was get on another plane. That’s one of the reasons I had booked a hotel in Saigon for one night. We were both so glad I had too; we were desperate for a shower and change of clothes.

The other reason I had opted to stay one night in Saigon was in case any of our flights were changed or delayed and we missed our flight from Saigon to Phu Quoc. And guess what, both Qatar Airways and Jetstar Pacific did change our flights! So staying over in Saigon was the best decision all round.

Currency exchange at Saigon Airport

There are loads of places to change money at Saigon Airport and they all offer the same rate. I just changed 80€ because the exchange rate wasn’t great at the airport. That was enough to pay the taxi and the hotel and to have enough for the evening.

Careful with the taxis at Saigon Airport

The taxi driver got lost taking us to the hotel, despite nodding and agreeing that he knew where it was when I showed him the address and even the route on a map. We also got monumentally ripped off in spite of this supposedly being a meter taxi.

I won’t tell you how much I got stung for but let’s just say we live and learn.

When you take a taxi from Saigon Airport, be careful: make sure the meter is switched on and that both you and the driver understand that what you’ll be paying is what is displayed on the meter at the end of the journey.

Ciao Saigon Hotel

The hotel I had booked was called Ciao Saigon. I had booked it for its proximity to the airport, knowing we would be departing for Phu Quoc the next day. The hotel was not your typical backpacker place and we had an amazing hot shower and headed straight to the roof to the pool.

We had the pool completely to ourselves and could relax on the sunbeds while we enjoyed the fantastic view and the sounds of the hustle and bustle of the city of Saigon down below. The constant beep beep of motorbikes was all there was to remind us where we were.

I’ll do a full accommodation review for you in another post so that you can decide if Ciao Saigon Hotel is a place you’d like to stay for a night on your way to Phu Quoc.

Food and shopping in Saigon

The sun was already well and truly set by 6pm and we were ready for a bit of action. Just a bit mind, because we were seriously ready for sleep too.

We decided we fancied a bit of a night market scene so we took a taxi to Ben Thanh Market, getting there just as the main market was closing and the night market was setting up. This way we were able to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Saigon in our jetlagged state, without having to tackle the city and cross the road too many times.

We were back in bed by 9.30pm having satisfied our shopping needs, and more importantly our street food needs, and having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I’ll be back next time to tell you all about the Ben Thanh Night Market and the best place to exchange money in Saigon. Have you been?

Filed Under: asiafeaturedSaigonvietnam

About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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