Saigon is a busy city compared to Siem Reap. First thing that I noticed is that there is a lot of motorcycles. These motorcycles are everywhere! Be careful when crossing the streets; even when you’re walking peacefully on the sidewalk they will start invading your space especially during rush hour! Haha! Also, i have to deal with the language barrier. Most of them don’t understand nor speak English so what I did was I screen cap the addresses of the places where I wanted go and showed it to them.
When I arrived in Saigon I literally don’t know where to go. I met Satya (worked in Norway for 10 years as a Geologist but quit her job to live life to the fullest) who was about to head back home. I asked her if she’d like to chat over coffee and she agreed. I heard so much interesting travel stories from her and learnt about what’s life after 20’s. I walked with her to the bus station bound for the airport. She recommended District 1 because it’s the backpackers area in HCM. I got lost for a bit but found Lee Hostel. I stayed here for 2 nights for đ68,000 a night. I met Faun (from California with a very bubbly personality); she helped me book a bed thru her credit card and also I went down with her in the Cu Chi tunnels. Vietnamese men were so tricky during the war. You get to learn their techniques and how they lived below the tunnels. I went to the War Remnants Museum after and got very emotional. Seeing photos of how the Americans tortured and killed their enemies was just heartbreaking. I saw tourists crying outside the museum too because of this.
I went to Ben Thanh Market to buy souvenirs. T-shirts are freakishly cheap here. This is such a memorable experience because I celebrated my 27th birthday eve here. I met 3 gorgeous Canadians during my stay in Lee hostel and told them I’m travelling solo for my birthday. So after my tour, when I entered the room, everyone in the dormitory formed a circle and was drinking. Surprisingly, they were celebrating my birthday! It was such a good night because I met people from different countries. Thank you Anna, Jenny, Jacq, Michael, Adrian, Rachael, Halley, Amalea & Kate, George, Chris, Damiano, Bas and Jelle for this! And also we all did pub crawl and it was crazy! I also had the chance to reconnect with an old colleague from Stellar Philippines. Thank you Mommy Tess for treating me a fancy dinner at the Secret Garden. It was extremely satisfying since I haven’t had a full board meal during my stay in Cambodia.
$1 – Cab fare share to District 1.
$2 – Highlands Original Vietnamese Coffee
đ136,000 – Lee Hostel 2 nights stay
đ80,000 – Cu Chi tunnels bus fare
đ110,000 – Cu Chi tunnels entrance fee
đ40,000 – 2 bottles of water
— Day 3
đ20,000 – Motorcycle experience to Ben Thanh Market
đ200,000 – 20g Original Vietnamese Coffee powder for Beefy.
đ440,000 – Souvenir shirts, magnets etc.
đ77,000 – Share for alcohol and soda
đ60,000 – 3 bottles of water
đ100,000 – Motorcycle fare (got lost in District 4 or something)
đ100,000 – Meals
đ250,000 – Starbucks Tumbler
đ30,000 – Pub crawl fee
đ250,000 – Bus ticket to Phnom Penh
Total is đ1929,907 / Php4,085 – such a priceless experience I had here. Come to think of it I only spent Php4k in this country. The next morning I bought a bus ticket back to Phnom Penh. I hate the feeling of leaving my new friends behind but we all have different plans, so. I spent a night in Phnom Penh for $3. I would not recommend the fan room in Happy House Hostel. It was just so sad but I guess I got what I paid for.
$3 – Happy House fan room 1 night
$9 – Bus to Siem Reap
$5 – Breakfast + bottled water
$25 – Shopping in Siem Reap night market
$1.5 – I had rum coke in Angkor What? Bar
$5 – Tuktuk to Siem Reap International Airport
Total is $48.5/ Php2290 – So in conclusion, I only spent Php15,500 during the whole trip. When I arrived in Siem Reap, I didn’t stay in New Home hostel anymore because I wanted somewhere near pub street. The tuktuk driver recommended a hostel. I asked the receptionist if I can just leave my things and charge my gadgets. He said yes without asking for any payment. Thank you! I also recommend to take at least 2 weeks travelling these cities because I missed out on Hanoi, Mui Ne and more in Vietnam. You can go all out for 2 weeks (I can’t because I have work).