Thursday, January 24, 2013

Saigon Walking Tour


Tired as we were from flying in late, we woke up to the first ring of the alarm and took the free breakfast from Saigon Backpackers Hostel. First we ventured into the backstreets near Pham Ngu Lao to find a decent foreign exchange but believe the travel forums when they tell you to go straight to the gold jewelry stores. They do not have neon-blinking lights with their published rates but they offer the best, so go ahead and ask. Armed with a crappy map from the hostel and sheets of Lonely Planet's Vietnam guidebook, we went out and created our own tour.









Monday, January 07, 2013

Guilty Splurge Series: Can't Stop Spending in Hoi An


Sometimes you just want to sit and enjoy the easy life, never mind the price tag that comes with it.

That was exactly what I thought when we boarded the cab from Danang Airport to Hoi An. Taking the bus will only take 1USD but who knows when the next bus will come our way? Hailing a cab was so much easier, only it comes with a meter.  

And so there we were in the backseat with our eager cabbie pointing to us the beaches of Danang, asking for our itinerary while trying to inject some of the places that he wanted to take us to. Unfortunately for him, we had our eyes set on our destination and we would not be swayed. The cabbie did not get us to pay additional dollars for the sidetrip but he did get us to pay the meter at 23USD!
Tip: If you do not wish to wait for the 1USD-bus, book a private car with a travel agency for 15USD from Danang airport to HoiAn. A couple of dollars saved will go a long way!

And as if the gods of misfortune were looking down on us, rain poured on our way to Hoi An. Because we initially planned to look for a place to stay there, we decided to get off the cab and put a stop on the crazy meter at the first hostel that we saw -- Thien Nga Hotel. If only it was not raining, I would have stepped out and looked for a cheaper hostel (room was priced at 25USD/night) but the rain would not let me. I was fretting for some time, until I saw the room!


Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Obligatory New Year Post


I'm a few days late from all the yearender and 2013 kickoff posts.The New Year is the perfect time to romanticize life and be cheesy. Kidding. :)

Though I am not a fan of New Year's Resolutions, I do love looking back and seeing how the year went. I look back not to scrutinize and redo things in my head, but only to be reminded how fantastic 2012 was. Despite the low points that I've mostly brought upon myself, 2012 is still one for the books. 

Here are some of the things on top of the list:

Got published.
Certified at work.
Laidback provinces.
Won free airline tickets.
Rode a bike in Vietnam and went home with a scar to prove.
Chickened out on getting a tattoo.
Chicken rice. Chili crab. Shakespeare in the Park.
Grandiose mosques.
Wept for the Phantom of the Opera.
First luxury (not!) cruise at Halong Bay.
Staycation.
Short-term assignment for work.

Let the photos do the talking!