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Ho Chi Minh City

I assumed that the arrival time (5:00) on my ticket was PM and I informed my host(M) in Ho Chi Minh city that I will be there in the evening. I realized it a day before on the train that l will reach early morning. Train was late by hour but it was still early, reached around 6am. I sat inside the station for sometime as it had free wifi and messaged M about my super early arrival. After about half an hour later I walked out of the train station and avoided all the people offering rides. Streets were empty and everything was closed. I was looking for a cafe to get some coffee and to come up with plan for the day. I was excited when I found Starbucks at one of the big intersections. When I walked in, the lady who was arranging chairs said “Sorry, we open at 7:30” and I looked at my watch and it was 7:00. They had few tables outside as well, I asked if I can wait outside for a while and I guess after looking at my tired state she said “Sure”. I spent almost the entire day there as M got my message when he arrived at work and was suppose to be free in the afternoon.

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Journey so far

I have been now living out of my backpack for almost four months and loving every moment of it. I have met some great people, made new friends, learned to say thank you in few languages and learned a bit about myself, things I have realized so far:

  • Smile breaks all the language barriers
  • It is okay to slow down
  • People are kind
  • I don’t need much to enjoy life
  • Freedom and adventure are my core values

Places I have visited till now.

Australia

New Zealand

Australia

New Zealand

Australia

New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand

Korea

Korea

Philippines

Philippines

Philippines

Philippines

Indonesia

Indonesia

Vietnam

Vietnam

Vietnam

Cambodia

Cambodia

Laos

Laos

Thailand

Thailand

Train Ride (Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City)

I was looking for a hostel for next couple of days as N was not able to host for longer time due to the birthday party and people coming over. I thought about putting SPG points to use and the redemption was great for the Sheraton in Hanoi and thanks to matched status, I was able to check in early and check out late.

I reached hotel around 9am and they gave me a room and I just slept. When I woke and looked at the watch it was 6pm and I was hungry. Next couple of days I spent around the hotel and doing nothing apart from walking down few streets and found an Indian restaurant and it was my late lunch place during the stay. Only thing I did in terms of productivity was update the blog for all the pending posts.

My 33 hour train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city was in the evening the day I checked out from the hotel. I was relaxed but still in lazy mode. I was tired to go out and do local sight seeing ended up spending the first few days in Vietnam doing exactly nothing. I was looking forward to the train ride.

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Vietnam

Arrived in Hanoi in the morning around 9am after the overnight layover at Bangkok airport. It was the second overnight layover at the same airport. Lounge closed at 1am and then reopened at 5:30am so the whole experience was not very relaxing. After the lounge closed I joined the other travelers sleeping on the seats and found a quiet corner spot. In the morning I met this person who was traveling back to India and had issues with his return flight so I spoke with the airlines agents about his situation and it took forever, I was not able to go back to the lounge for shower or breakfast as the flight for hanoi left early morning.

Surprisingly immigration and visa was pretty quick than I anticipated, took less than 20 minutes. I spent the next couple of hours at one of the café’s at the airport. It was a good start to the day as I was able to guess the café’s wifi password in first attempt.

I took a shared van to city center and waited at least one hour before it left the airport. After every fifteen minutes when I said to the van driver ‘let’s go’, he raised his hand to wait, there were about 4-5 seats still empty and he was trying hard to fill them up. As soon as he saw any foreigners coming out of the terminal he will run towards them and ask old quarter?  then point to the van.

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