July 2012 was memorable for me because that’s the time I went travelling SOLO outside the country. You see, I never traveled on my own outside the country yet but when Cebu Pacific announced a promo fare going to Ho Chi Minh City, I immediately booked it.
Travelling solo in a foreign country seems frightening but I’ve said to myself I’ve got to do it. There’s no turning back. I was thinking, “What if I would be questioned by immigration again?” I hope that my “not so good” experience will not happen while I am travelling on my own.
You might be wondering what happened. Two years ago, I went to Malacca, Malaysia with my mom and brother. When it was my turn to give my passport to the immigration, two uniformed officials (a man and a woman) came beside me and I was escorted to a small room. The scenario is something like the one you saw in movies where a suspected criminal is being escorted to a room. When I entered the room, there are two more officials present who got my fingerprints twice. For almost 30 minutes, all I did was answer their questions. I politely asked them what’s wrong but they refused to offer any explanation. Anyway, after about 30 minutes of interview, they released me. Believe me, it was the longest 30 minutes of my life. Whew!
Anyway, I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City around 12 midnight. Oh well, here comes immigration. I was nervous but I should not show it so I kept a poker face telling myself that I can pass immigration with no mishaps or problems. I was so happy when after just a mere glance from the official, he immediately stamped my passport! I’ve conquered my fear at last!
The first thing I did after passing through the immigration was to exchange my US dollars into their currency “dong.” I was very amused when the woman was counting the money to me. One million, two million, three million… Wow, that feels good! I feel like a millionaire! ha ha ha
I’m a Millionaire!
Since it’s just me travelling, I arranged for an airport transfer for security purposes. On my way out to the arrival area, I saw a man holding a bond paper with my name on it. What a relief, I said to myself. I noticed immediately that my name was incorrectly spelled. My Lynn was spelled as LynH. I wonder why. Hmmm…
I’ve read from tripadvisor that my accommodation is located in an alleyway. The driver led me to the hostel and was glad I arranged for someone to pick me up otherwise I would get lost. As to why I booked Vy Kanh Hostel? It has a very good review from tripadvisor where you get to experience this warm hospitality and “home away from home” feeling.
Now I understand why my name was mispelled. It seems that the Vietnamese are used to adding the letter H after the letter such as the hostel I’m staying which is Vy KhanH Hostel. I also noticed these on signboards on the streets when we passed by.
Vy Khanh Hostel
I expect a very small bed in a very small room so when I entered the room, I was surprised to see that my bed is big enough for two people and with complete amenities. The guesthouse is simply a great value for money. The amenities is the same as that of the hotel. The CR is very clean too!
My Cozy Bed
Tired, hungry and thirsty since I haven’t had dinner yet, it was good to see that the refrigerator inside my room has at least my favorite drink – COKE! No food but at least there’s cola for me 🙂
Coca- Cola 10,000 Dong
It was almost past 1AM when I finally finished unpacking my things. Sleep is hard to come by. It must be due to excitement. Switched on the TV and watched a local channel (trying hard to understand their dialect) until such time I finally was dozing off to dreamland..
Local TV Channel
I woke up at the sound of the alarm. It was 6am. I still have time to buy breakfast before my tour.I went inside this ABC Bakery. The pastries all look delicious! I bought one single pizza and when I went back to my hostel, the kind host gave me a mug of Vietnamese iced coffee.
The Vietnamese coffee and pizza tastes good! Around 8am, I am ready to start the day, waiting for the guide/driver to pick me up for the Cu Chi Tunnel-Cao Dai Temple Tour. I knew everything will be alright. I will surely enjoy the next few days travelling solo in Vietnam 🙂