Day 3 – Mui Ne to Ho Chi Min
We woke up very early this morning because we had to catch the morning bus to Ho Chi Min City. When we opened the door to the balcony, we saw some guests were already swimming in the swimming pool. Mui Ne being located on the east coast received light early thus was bright very early in the morning.
Without wasting time, we went to the restaurant for breakfast. The restaurant was pleasant as we took our seats and went to collect our fruit juice and food. The buffet breakfast spread was good even though the spread wasn’t huge. The pastries were surprisingly good. Coffee was served which we enjoyed very much as well.
The breakfast was really good under such ambience in a colonial style resort. It was still early so it was a little cooling and with birds chirping happily among the trees around the swimming pool, it was a great morning indeed. It set a happy mood to begin a wonderful day for us.
With breakfast over, we returned to our room to refresh ourselves. After packing our bags, we went to the lobby to process our check out. It was proficiently handled. Front desk staff was very helpful to call the office of Phuong Trang Bus Company on our behalf to confirm our bus pick up time and location. We were supposed to wait for our bus at 8.15 am along the main road outside Amaryllis Resort. She also called a taxi to send us to the pick up point along the main road which cost only 11,000 VND.
The pick point was actually outside the restaurant where a few cars were parked there. The road was very quiet with few vehicles passing from time to time. Finally, an orange bus approached and stopped. An assistance came down the stairs when the door opened and beckoned us to board the bus and so up we went and were on our way to Ho Chi Min City.
The bus went through Phan Thiet City and continued down south. Passing through rural area and after about two hours, we stopped at a rest area. All the passengers alighted to visit the toilet and had a meal at the restaurant. The facility at this rest stop was quite good and the compound of this rest stop very big. A few Phuong Trang buses stopped here and the restaurant was doing roaring business.
From the back of the restaurant near the toilet, we could see the farms and a muddy river near this place. Outside on the main road which was quite quiet with occasional passing vehicles seemed to be out in the middle of no where. Next to the rest stop were some stalls selling fruits and other provisions.
Like other passengers, we also went into the restaurant and ordered something to eat. A man was barbecuing some meat outside the restaurant. The restaurant was clean and quite presentable and a little windy out here as well.
We continued our journey down south after this short break. It was about the same rural scene but by noon, we were nearing some industrial zone and traffic became heavier. As we went along into the outskirts of Ho Chi Min City, traffic was getting more congested. So we moved along slowly and finally arrived at the office of Phuong Trang Bus Company near to 2 pm.
Everyone alighted and we got our bags and went over to Sinh Tourist to collect some tour information. Next, we hailed a Mai Linh taxi and we made our way to Novotel Saigon Hotel. In under 15 minutes, we arrived at the hotel.
We were warmly welcomed into the hotel. This was a new hotel opened not long ago. Check in was efficient and trouble free. Within five minutes, we collected our card keys and we went up to our room. We were given a non-smoking room and the room was very new and clean.
The room had been renovated to typical Novotel standard. However, this was the first time we had a room from Novotel where our bed was facing the windows while the TV was on the wall on the right of the king bed. This made watching TV awkward and uncomfortable. Anyway, we still liked our room.
Bathroom was very nice and clean. Full toiletries were provided and shower stall had frosted glass partitions to provide privacy. Coffee making facility was provided in the room together with two bottles of mineral water. Wifi was fine and TV programs were sufficient with international channels.
After checking our room and with no issues raised, we left the hotel to explore Ho Chi Min City. We turned right and went in the direction of the city centre. We soon reached Diamond Plaza. We went in for a quick survey and didn’t buy anything. We spent quite a lot of time here during our last visit where we watched a movie that happened to be a Hong Kong movie starred by Andy Lau while we rested our tired legs and enjoyed the air-conditioning. Surprisingly, the movie was in Cantonese too with only a few patrons in the cinema.
We then left Diamond Plaza and continued down the road and entered Vincom Centre Shopping Mall. We surveyed a few restaurants for lunch and finally settled down at NYDC Café. We ordered western meals of fish and chips and hot dogs and English tea as well. Our food came and we enjoyed our first western meal in South Vietnam. It was already after 3 pm when we had our lunch and it was a great meal in a nice air-conditioned environment.
We continued our window shopping in Vincom Centre for a while and then left to head over to Saigon Square. Opera House was along the way as we explored the city centre. Soon we arrived at Saigon Square and we began another round of shopping, actually more window shopping than actual shopping. We didn’t find anything we liked so we left and made our way back to Novotel Saigon Hotel slowly.
We had been to Ho Chi Min City a few times and had bought what we needed during those times so there was nothing much that we needed to buy this time. We even skipped the popular Ben Thanh Market this evening. Anyway, it was drizzling so our shopping trip was cut short.
It was already dark around 7.30 pm when we reached Novotel Saigon Hotel and we returned to our room to shower and rested a while. Our room was so nice and comfortable and it was great to be back in a nice hotel.
Soon we left our room again and went to the restaurant for dinner. The ambience of the restaurant in Novotel Saigon Hotel was very nice. Since we had western meal for lunch, we ordered local dishes for dinner. Our food arrived and we tucked in and enjoyed our dinner. It was delicious.
We were so full after dinner so we decided to leave the hotel and went to look at some shops across the road. It was already after 9 pm so we could only take a quick look just before the shops closed.
After this we went back across the road to Novotel Saigon Hotel and explored the facilities and lounge. This hotel was rather new and it was very pleasant. The decorations were also modern and up to date. Staff were friendly and helpful.
Finally we returned to our room and enjoyed the comfort and quietness of this new hotel room. Watching TV and catching up with children back home using the free and excellent wifi kept us busy through the night.
This trip to Ho Chi Min which included a two nights stay in Mui Ne was fun even though the journey back and forth took considerable amount of time. Travelling cost was however insignificant given the distance between Ho Chi Min and Mui Ne. It was a good trip and we were glad to be back in Ho Chi Min City. Our flight the next day was late afternoon so we still had some time to explore the city and do some final shopping before our departure.
So with tiredness setting in after a long day, we tuned ourselves to sleep mode and expected more good time the next day. This was a great day indeed. Now was time for a good night rest.
Continue to Day 4 …