Saturday, 19 November 2011

Vietnam trip 3 - Arrival

A late afternoon flight out of Darwin direct to Ho Ch Minh City (Saigon).
I am beginning to get the hang of Saigon now. If you assume that every taxi driver is going to rip you off then you are well prepared. At the airport you can book a taxi at fixed price from the money change counters. When you state the destination the booking clerk makes a show of some mental calculation and then comes up with a price of $USD10. So far I have only stayed in District 1 and a metered fare from District 1 to the airport comes out at about $8 it varies a bit with waiting times.
The taxi ride from the airport to the hotel felt like being in a movie car chase. We raced through the streets swerving past cars, scooters, and other road traffic plus pedestrians brave enough to chance their luck. I was very surprised when we stopped at a red traffic light. The joy was tempered with another rip off. The driver wanted the gate fee for exiting the airport, this is clearly stated as part of the fixed price. I argued, but the driver actually only wanted an extra 50 cents. Sometimes it is easier to pay and move on.
I stayed at the Liberty 2 Hotel. Liberty is a chain of hotels and I have previously stayed at Liberty 4. I find these to be a good quality hotel at a fair price. The locations are pretty good, Liberty 2 is particularly good for the Ben Than market and a short 10 minute walk to the river front. Handy for Cafes and restaurants also. My room was clean and comfortable and the front staff generally speak reasonable English.
The Bludger was tired, it was late, so I arrived there and I slept.

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