Day 8, Saigon: A Leisurely Last Day in Vietnam
This would be our last day in Ho Chi Minh City. Joanne and Chavez would be departing at around 1pm on Tiger Airways back to Singapore, and my own flight would be at 9.30pm on Jetstar Airways. There was sufficient time for one last go at the Vietnamese phở bo.
We had coffee at the guest house, but skipped the breakfast. Joanne and Chavez checked out of their room and deposited their baggage in my room, which I extended till 6pm for half the room rate. Then, we went back to the shop where we had Bún bò Huế on the second day of our trip. We sat at the same low table outside the shop and by the roadside and ordered the same beef vermicelli — options were limited anyway.
After the meal, Joanne and Chavez collected their baggage from my room and we walked to the bus station, opposite Ben Thanh Market, for SaigonBus No. 152 to Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Apart from the usual bus fare of 3.000 dongs per person, they were charged another 3.000 dongs for extra luggage, which was the driver's discretion.
After bidding goodbye to them, I started my tour of Saigon alone. There were not many places left where I had the interest to visit, so I did some re-visits, including more street scenes. Starting with Cafe 188, where I had a short rest and ice coffee before continuing, I went to Xa Loi Pagoda, but did not enter, and followed by Notre Dame Cathedral again. I skipped the War Remnants Museum, which I had visited 5 years ago and had no intention of re-visiting the leftover machines of World War II.
Next to Notre Dame Cathedral was a restaurant selling beef noodles, called "Pho 24", where I dropped in for lunch. I ordered beef noodle again with fried dough, fried spring rolls and a traditional Vietnamese drip-coffee.
Pho 24 was a franchise restaurant which used "24 special ingredients to prepare their pho". I took my own sweet time here and enjoyed the coolness from the air-con, away from the heat outside.
After lunch, I continued on towards People's Committee Building, hoping to take more photos of the architectures and street scenes around the famous site but the sky turned cloudy and darkened. It was no longer a nice afternoon for photography, so I decided to return to the guest house to have a rest. It was around 2pm when I slumped into my room bed.
I was awoken around 3.30pm to the sound of loud thunders and heavy rain. I prayed that the rain would stop before 5pm, so I could get to the bus station before 6pm — when the last SaigonBus No. 152 would leave for the airport. The rain did stop after a while. Seeing that I still had some time left, I decided to stroll down But View Street one last time.
But the whole street was flooded...
Not wanting to get my sandals soaked before going to the airport, I decided to head back to the guesthouse after a short walk. It was then there was a commotion behind me.
People were getting excited and pointing at something in the water. I could not see what it was. A man managed to catch it, held it in both hands and walked to his motorbike. It was then it became visible to me that it was a big fish. That man actually caught a fish in the middle of a street! Heavy rainwater might have flooded the drainage and allowed the fish to swim here from the river nearby.
I returned to my room, checked out with my baggage and walked to the bus station. It was still drizzling. I boarded SaigonBus No. 152 at 5:15pm. I was not charged 3.000 dongs for extra baggage. I knew I would be very early for it was only a 30 minutes ride to the airport.
The bus stopped at the domestic airport and all passengers were told to alight and walk to the international airport, which was just about 200 metres away. I had a total of 3.5 hours to loiter around the airport. Dinner options were not appetising and expensive — probably too used to the street food. I waited until after checking-in at 7:30pm and bought two breads from a cafe and ate in the departure area.
At 9.30pm, my flight took off for home.