Help me plan my time in Saigon

Discussion in 'Asia' started by techgirl, Aug 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. techgirl
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    techgirl Milepoint Guide

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    I'll have four days/nights in Saigon later this month as part of a three-country holiday I've planned.

    I've already planned my flight in (BKK-SGN on VN) and out (SGN-REP on VN) and my hotel is booked (four nights at the Park Hyatt). Now I'm just looking for unique suggestions on how to spend my days. I'm NOT looking to overnight elsewhere, but day trips are fine.

    Specific interests - US military history (and I've done a LOT of scholarly study on the war during my undergrad and senior thesis), shopping (clothing, accessories, linens), cooking, art museums, cool cocktail lounges, and spa treatments. I am NOT a big fan of lots of touring (unless the subject interests me) and I don't want to do a ton of hiking (since I'll be doing that in REP on my next leg).

    What are some places or things I should consider? I've got a couple guidebooks stacked up but I'm looking for more "been there, done that" suggestions. Please help!
     
  2. techgirl
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    techgirl Milepoint Guide

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    And just for "human interest", the "back story'". This is part one of two (possibly three) trips I'll be doing in the next two years. My parents met in SE Asia in the late 60s. My mom was living in Vientiene Laos working for the US Embassy. My dad was an Air Force special forces officer/pilot stationed (officially) in Saigon and (unofficially) in Cambodia. They met on R&R in Bangkok and carried on a romance around the Mekong Delta until they both were able to finish their respective tours, return to the US, and marry in 1971.

    So I'm particularly interested in the more colonial parts of the region and ex-pat life. Next year my mom and I plan to return to Laos and Northern Thailand. I'm doing this trip solo since my dad would not be able to accompany me. :(. This will be my first time to visit either Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos as i'd been deferring them hoping to do them with my respective parental units.
     
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  3. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    I've been to Saigon a couple of times. I can't help you out with most of the things on your list as I am not much of a shopper or gallery goer myself. Actually I can't even recall any galleries in Saigon.

    To get yourself acquainted with the city and it's major sites I would suggest doing a vespa tour. Basically you sit on the back and they drive you around. It is probably the best thing we did in Saigon. It was a lot of fun.

    http://www.vietnamvespaadventures.com/

    Military wise there is of course the War Museum, I found it quite distressing being there. Cu Chi tunnels are not that far away. You can get there on tour either via river or road. I did not like the tunnels at all because it almost felt as if they were taking too much joy in demonstrating how they used to trap foreign soldiers. That was hard for me because my father was in the Australian Army and did a tour to Vietnam in 1967/68.

    Hyatt is a wonderful hotel. It is actually now our favourite hotel anywhere in the world. Not sure what their spa treatments are like. DH had his hair cut there and it was good. I had my hair washed and blow dried and had a pedicure and they did a good job.

    Cocktails, we went to the Sheraton, think it's the 23rd floor. It's interesting looking down over the city.
     
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  4. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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  5. MrHalliday
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    MrHalliday Silver Member

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    When I was there last year (staying IC on PB)
    I planned a day trip on the hydrofoil out to Vung Tau.

    The suite upgrade was so nice I just stayed in the hotel,
    but your guidebooks can help you decide
    if Vung Tau would be good for you.:cool:
     
  6. spesalvi

    spesalvi Gold Member

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    I was there a couple years ago in Saigon in the summer in June and it was very very hot! So granted we didnt do much touristy stuff in the daytime, mostly did the nite life, lot of street food vendors and other things at nightm we just walked around etc, very safe and less hassle and stress to deal with compared in the daytime to deal with crossing the street etc! So in the during the day, we went visit those famous landmarks, the Operahouse, P.O, Cathedral, and various markets (Cho Ben Thanh, try out the "food court" in there too) and various in-door AC malls, which is around those landmarks.
    I think this all in District 1, we mostly just shop and eat out alot, didn't do museums or those military touristy sites.
    Definitely find "Quan An Ngon" its right across from the Reunification Palace, its a great restaurant that showcases many many different dishes of Vietnam very reasonable prices and another fun and good restaurant is Com Neu (both been featured on Bourdain's show many times) I think trying Quan An Ngon helps you prepare for the street food vendors, which is what we did plenty of daily while in VN, very very low prices for extremely great food!
    You definitely need to eat pho, try Pho Hoa, i think in District 2, it is one of the oldest pho shops in Saigon and continues to serve terrific beef noodle soup.
    We also did the daytrips to Vung Tau and Mekong Delta etc.
    You really cant do justice in 4 days, too much to do and see in Vietnam! Hope you have a blast!
     
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