I’m back in HCMC, at the same internet cafe as the first night I was here (same hotel as well).
In the morning, we had a lazy day in Siem Reap and hung out a cafe for most of the morning until our flight to Saigon. The Siem Reap airport was small and ‘cute’ but on the way out they charged a ridiclous $25/pax airport fee which was nearly an extra 35% on top of what we’d already paid for the ticket. A real rip off considering the facility. Even the price for Cambodian nationals was $20, which seems evil.
Also at the airport we met a few random people. We all ID’ed each other by our American passports as there arn’t many Americans in this part of the world. All three of them were on their way to Thailand (a couple and a college guy), the former for Bangkok and the latter for some full moon party on the beach. Sounded pretty intense, it sounds like it’s worth checking out in a few months. I gave the college student the Thailand book we’d bought in Siem Reap — street vendors sell all the Lonely Planet books of the region on the street for a few bucks. When you open them up, they’re obvious photocopies of the real thing, hence the price.
Flight to Saigon was uneventful, a quick 45 minute hop. Compared to the over land route I took from Saigon to Siem Reap — 7 + 6 hours in a bus, plus one night in Phnom Phen — it was blisfully quick. As soon as we landed we made our way to the Vietnam Airlines ticket desk to see if there were flights avaiable to either Hue or Danang and bingo, there were two leaving in 90 minutes. As my hopes built up of being able to visit central Vietnam on this trip, they came quickly crashing down with the complete lack of seats on the flights back from either city on Saturday. There was one seat available in business class, but only one. Even the price for that seat was in the budget, but given the lack of a pair of them it was a no go. So, no Hoi An for me on this trip, perhaps next time. It is a bit disapointing, but it is what it is.
Now we’re in Ho Chi Minh City and we’re probably going to head to the Mekong Delta tomorrow for some sights and to check out the river and some the villages along the Delta. Saturday will probably be spent in the Cholon district of HCMC, as there is supposed to be some picturesque contemporary temples in the area or perhaps one the nearby beaches. My flight back to Shanghai is at 1:30am Sunday and work thereafter! It’s hard to believe it’s near the end of the week already and this vacation is drawing to a close.