Vietnam Day 1 (Oct 2017)

A year after graduation, I decided it is time to go for a well-deserved trip to Vietnam! It was a last-minute decision and I thought the internet has a sample itinerary which we could follow. But guess what? Nope! Vietnam has 3 geographic regions – North, Central and South. We really wanted to make use of our time to see as much as possible and to spend within our budget.

We took days to research (even on my birthday!) to create this itinerary and we hope this guide would be useful to those consider booking a trip to Vietnam.

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Day 1

We flew from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City (HCM) on Wednesday morning having reached there at about 8:30AM. Being said that we millennial are not able to live without data..fret not, based on our research there are telecommunication booths near the arrival terminal.

We recommended either Viettel or Vinaphone. These two have the best coverage throughout the country and also holding the majority of the domestic telecommunications market shares. If you are travelling to the rural areas, you definitely wants a workable network.

We chose Viettel and we did not have a problem with it throughout the 8 days. I bought a 3GB data with 4G/LTE. Well if you are a person who keeps uploading videos to Instagram Stories, I recommend you to get a big data package. Thank goodness mine hit 0 when I was waiting to board my flight home to Singapore.

**Tips: To check the amount of data left, send “KTTK” via text to the number “191”. There you know when you have to save your data!

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To get to the city center (District 1), board the Airport Shuttle to save money! Take Route 109 (Yellow Bus) for 20,000 VND. I am very happy that Ho Chi Minh City has a reliable bus app which you can download on your phone. You can check it out here! Again, do not worry! The bus fare is indicated in the app. So you know you will not be overcharged plus the bus has free Wi-Fi.

Lavender Central Hotel for 3D2N (through Agoda) which is nearby to Ben Thanh Market and also a good location for Muslim travellers. If I am not mistaken, the bus attendant will recommend everyone to stop at Ham Nghi A if your destination is to Ben Thanh Market.

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We were glad to check-in early due to the room availability when we reached. Do take precaution that strangers on motorbike may just stop and had a chit-chat to be your tour guide (especially when you are carrying your backpacks or seen with luggages). If you take a leap of faith, go ahead but I am sure you guys already completed your itinerary before even flying off to a foreign country, right?

We had lunch at The Daun Restaurant just 2-3 doors away from our hotel. After which we visited Minh Collection to buy for our dearest mothers and myself baju kurung at affordable prices. We paid in Malaysia Ringgit (!!). Since we are going to walk a lot for this trip, we decided to pamper our feet. For such service back in Singapore, it might cost on average $60 but here we paid around $22.

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It is easy to roam around District 1. Tried Fairy Coffee before heading to Vincom Center (huge stores like Zara, H&M, etc) and Saigon Central Post Office.

We booked a Sleeper Bus at 8:30PM to Mui Ne. For all our bus and train trips (except public buses), we booked everything through 12Go Asia (Credit card statement indicated the bill in Thai currency). Afraid of getting lost when time is tight, we booked GrabCar to TheSinhTourist.

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It is a 5-hour journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Mui Ne and we reached early around 12:38AM. As our agenda is to visit the Sand Dunes, we were lucky that we booked Mui Ne Go which is just opposite the bus stop (Mui Ne Resort). Or else, you had to take the offer from the taxi drivers roaming around outside to drive you to your hotels.

Trong (Host) contacted my best friend days before our trip for confirmation via WhatsApp. The tour agency also has a guesthouse which we took to rest before our 4:30AM Sunrise Tour and a place to rest after.

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