South East Asia December 2012 – January 2013
08.01.2013 - 10.01.2013
Tuesday, 8th January
After another long journey through stunning Cambodia, we made it back to Vietnam around 11am. Now, Ho Chi Minh City is definitely more inviting than Ha Noi, but we were nonetheless not all that excited to be back. Going through customs and being treated like animals was a harsh reminder of the big difference we observed between both countries.
We checked into our hotel, had a shower, and then tried to book a little trip to the floating markets. As was our luck, we could not fit it into our tight schedule and the weather was starting to get really bad and drizzly. Our disappointment was huge! We walked around for a little while and realised we were too much in a shitty mood to enjoy anything the city had to offer. And so, we looked up the nearest cinema to watch “The Hobbit”. Our moods soon improved, even more so when we paid the equivalent of $2.10 per ticket. Yusss! We must have been the only two white people in the cinema and it was yet another surreal Vietnamese experience, highlighting the big cultural differences and the communist influences. Whenever scenes were meant to bring on laughter, the Vietnamese became awkwardly quiet, followed by laughter only at the most inappropriate of moments. Very bizarre... but still a good outing!
Wednesday, 9th January
We had a really lazy last day in Ho Chi Minh City walking around the city, going to the markets and trying to find the only post office, as well as doing some nerding on the free internet at the hotel. Anywhere else we would have classified this day as a complete waste of time, but nothing tickled our fancy in this country and we were ready to catch a flight out. This sounds overly negative and depressing, but such was our experience of the place and comparing it to the joy, the beauty and the kindness we encountered in neighbouring Cambodia just made our impressions all the more intense.
Now, many people have thoroughly enjoyed their time in Vietnam and we would certainly not discourage anyone from going there. The scenery is really beautiful and varied, there is a range of climates and a range of activities on offer. But we simply found that a country is only as beautiful as its people and we generally found the locals to be very unwelcoming, rude and cold. This does by no means include the segregated indigenous communities, who themselves suffer from the communist regime, and who we have come to regard as the “real” Vietnamese. Will we ever come back to this country. I think the simple answer would be “no”. Sure, it would be nice to see the scenery properly and without rushing, but there are many more countries that in our eyes deserve a visit.
Thursday, 10th January
And off we went, leaving Vietnam behind to return to Singapore for the day. We made sure that our connecting flight to Darwin was delayed long enough for us to be able to enjoy this city/ country one more time. We got our passports stamped and off we went to explore the area. We took the cable car up to Sentosa Island. It's an absolute tourist attraction and for everything you get charged an arm and a leg, so we just wandered around until we had enough.
We ended our short little city-trip with a visit to Little India. It is definitely true what they say: the slickness and bling of Singapore disappears right in front of your eyes and makes way for vibrant colours, Bollywood tunes and a sensorial heaven. We loved it and it marked the perfect end of our little tiki-tour around South East Asia
You can see the pictures of both trips to Singapore by following this public and free link: Singapore Pictures