It’s been a few days since I last posted, when I was on the bus from Phnom Penh in Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We had to wait 45 minutes at the border crossing to get our visas and passports stamped (my passport pages are looking so awesome!). While waiting, I snapped a selfie with a friend I made on the bus… she was handing out these peanut sesame seed sweet things. I really don’t like them, but didn’t want to be rude! She couldn’t speak any English, but showed me a card she had on her that said Happy New Year. Very sweet.
My hostel is a proper party hostel and to be honest, I love it! The staff are rude, but I’ve befriended so many English people in my dorm; been spending most of my time with a guy from Essex called Josh – turns out we have a mutual friend (small world, again). There is a bar on the rooftop that has some amazing views, day and night.
While I’ve been in Ho Chi Minh City, I visited the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi Tunnels.
On the way to the museum, I saw this really pretty building. I think it was decorated for Chinese New Year.
I only got the photo of these tanks from the museum, as a lot of the photography in there is what I would deem as distressing, especially the images of Agent Orange victims.
Below is a photo of Eleanor and Jai, the Aussies I mentioned in my previous post. We spent the morning together at the museum, and rode back to our hostel on these random bicycle contraptions.
On our way to the Cu Chi Tunnels, we stopped off at a workshop where an initiative has been set up to give employment to the Agent Orange victims. We didn’t see any at the workers, because of Chinese New Year, but I thought it was a great idea nonetheless. Everything was super expensive though, even in English Pound terms.
Next stop – the tunnels!
Our tour guide was very enthusiastic and knowledgable; he showed us all the traps used and it sounded like a pretty grim death. Death by bamboo spears essentially!
When we went down into the tunnels, we quite literally had to jump/climb down then either go on all fours or squat. I opted for squatting! The walls were cool to touch, but the heat was radiating off everyone down there. Excitement mixed with a little bit of anxiety made for some very hot and sweaty people. At one point it did get so narrow that I slid down on my bum, to save grazing my knees. Was incredibly narrow, and I did feel a bit uncomfortable when I had to stop at a human blockade, but was always confident the end was in sight.
I feel quite sad about leaving HCMC. It’s a fun place, but also the people I have met here have made it too, “The English Corner” in the dorm room where we played throwback tunes and smuggled alcohol in.
I also haven’t mentioned about how much Chinese New Year has screwed me over. My original plan was to travel through Vietnam using a sleeper bus, so spending a day and night in each large town along the coast, then ending up in Hanoi. Because of New Year, the price for the ticket tripled and was more expensive than a plane ticket to Hanoi!
So I decided to go to Da Lat by bus with Jai and Eleanor. That plan failed when accommodation had sold out there and I didn’t particularly want to arrive at 11pm walking from hostel to hostel to find somewhere. A guy in my dorm who arrived yesterday said he had to come to HCMC from Da Lat because there wasn’t anywhere for him to stay, and some backpackers were just sleeping on floors as they had no where else to go. How crazy is that? A whole town’s accommodation booked up.
I was disappointed with both those outcomes, but am still happy with flying to Hanoi for about £70. The flight is two hours long, and I land this evening. My plan for tomorrow is to chill and do nothing! I have barely slept for two nights and I need a lazy day – got another eight weeks of my trip left, don’t want to crack just yet.