Hi guys, so the third part of my Vietnam travel diary is actually gonna be the last part. After it had been raining in Hoi An for days, we left this cute little village very abruptly and flew to Ho Chi Minh. Hotels there are rather expensive, thus we decided to go for a hostel this time. We found a really nice and most important clean one which was called New Saigon Hostel. We spent the night in a six bed dorm which had a private bathroom. It cost around 6 Euro per person per night and had breakfast included. The hostel was right in the backpacker district, thus we had bars, cafés and restaurants right in front of the door.
Ben Tanh Market
The next day our first stop was the Ben Tanh Market. We took a taxi to get there because it is almost impossible to walk in Ho Chi Minh City let alone take the motorbike. People simply drive everywhere and the smog is even worse than in Hanoi. Sometimes I was just praying for a short moment of silence which of course never happened.
Ben Tanh market is really interesting to see. You’ll get everything there from food to clothes, shoes, bags, dvds,… And of course as you would expect almost everything is fake. However, I preferred the night market. It was way cheaper and people were not as importunate as at Ben Tanh market.
Ho Chi Minh City is huge and as I said before, the smog situation is horrible. Compared to Hanoi it looks definitely more western. You can even find a Pizza Hut here. However, if you ask me, that’s also a reason why this city is not as charming as Hanoi. The houses look deteriorated with the exception of some really big, western office-like buildings.
The Vietnam War Remnants Museum
A must-see when in Ho Chi Minh City is the Vietnam War Remnants museum which only costs around a dollar. Only few museums convey the brutality of the war, the losses and the effects as concrete as the Vietnam War Remnants museum. On four floors you will learn a lot about the backgrounds of the war, how it all began and how it all ended. Very impressive is also the section about war journalists who died while on the mission to report about the brutality, the fear and the circumstances of this war. The most shocking for me however, was the ground floor devoted to photographs of the victims from the use of chemical weapons. I saw pictures of such horrible mutilations, not in my wildest dreams I would have thought that people suffering from such deformation could even live. And of course you can still see the effects of the use of chemical weapons. We saw a boy who was maybe 16 years and he didn’t have eyeballs. Still he was playing the keyboard in the museum. That’s so impressive. In the end however, I couldn’t take all this pain and fear in the pictures anymore and had to leave.
Leaving for Mui Ne
From Ho Chi Minh we took the train to Mui Ne, which took us around five hours and cost 3 Dollars. We wanted to spend our last days of holidays at the beach which was the best decision ever. Mui Ne is also very popular among russian people, therefore you will much rather get a menu in vietnamese and russian than in english.
Hotels are quite expensive in Mui Ne, as you would expect for such a popular tourist area. We ended up in the Mui Ne hills hotel which consists of three different “classes”: budget, bliss and villa. Even if you went for budget you can still use all the other facilities, it only differs in the rooms. We chose the budget version and payed around 23 dollars per night which was really ok. The room itself was nice enough though the bathroom wasn’t really pleasing. It was very sterile and didn’t have a window or a an aeration. This became noticeable quite soon and the smell in the room wasn’t bearable anymore at the end of the day. The management however was really helpful and they gave us an upgrade to the bliss hotel which had a perfect room. Also the pool area was really nice and not too crowded. The hotel was a 10 minutes walk away from the beach, passing some really, really good street food places which were very cheap though the food was so delicious!
At the beach we were facing some troubles though. Every hotel has a beach area for their guests and since it’s hotel next to hotel there is almost no place left for tourists coming from hotels that don’t have a beach entrance unless you are willing to lay down in the burning sun and in the middle of the beach. Unfortunately you can’t just take a sun bed from any hotel or sneak in somehow either because there are security men everywhere. We tried to talk to them and negotiate a price for two sun beds. They all wanted 10 Dollar per day and per sun bed which adds up to 20 Dollar only for a sun bed. If you add that up to the price you pay for the hotel, you can just take a more expensive hotel with beach entrance, it will end up the same.
Kitesurfing in Mui Ne
For those who are into water sport Mui Ne is the place to be. It is very popular for kitesurfing so the place is packed with surfers. However, lessons are not cheap. A 5 hours beginner course costs around 250 Dollars. Still it looks so cool and like so much fun when surfers take their waves.
Another great thing in Mui Ne is getting a massage. They offer every kind of massage, from a classic neck and shoulder massage to hot stone, detox or mud massages. And boy are they cheap. For one hour you pay around 7 dollars. I definitely should have taken more massages!
Of course we also rented a motorbike again to drive to the red and the white sand dunes. After around 45 minutes we reached the red sand dune which really looked amazing. However, we heard that the white one was supposed to be even more impressive so we also wanted to see that. However, we never made it because on our way we were stopped from a police man. He wanted to see our drivers license which we showed him. We even had an international drivers license with us but still he insisted that we were not allowed to drive the motorbike. I knew for sure that we were allowed and tried to explain it to him, but there was nothing I could do. And honestly, what are you supposed to do when you’re in a different country and you don’t know how the system works. In the end we ended up paying him 25 Dollars which I am sure he took into his own pockets and then we were allowed to drive on. He said he would make sure that we aren’t gonna be stopped again but somehow we didn’t trust him 😉 So we returned to the hotel.
Mui Ne marked the last stop on our trip. I can only highly recommend a trip to Vietnam, it’s such a beautiful country! All in all it was an exhausting trip, but so worth it. The experiences you’ll make, the beauty of the country and the people you’ll meet will make up for that. I for sure had an unforgettable trip and hope I can visit this beautiful country again someday.