Good morning all,
Figured I would wait til the end of our trip and do the windup on Vietnam. We arrived back in Thailand yesterday sadly.
The longer we were in Vung Tau, the more I enjoyed it, same goes for SO. As I suggested earlier, communication is the single biggest problem there.
That aside, Vung Tau is a great place for that quiet, relaxing holiday. There is not a great deal of places to see and do there, but that is not why we went there, we knew we just wanted to relaxing time together. It certainly gave us that.
The beach is quite clean, get some 'plastic bag' issues on the weekends when the hoards swarm over the place from HCMC, during the week is peaceful and serene.
Riding a bike is indeed insane, as Dave has mentioned in another post, but I got used to it by the end of the 2 weeks, only one near miss, when a woman decided to turn right from the center lane, narrowly avoided a collision.
Food is indeed wonderful there, 3 visits to the fresh fish market a 10 minute walk from our apartment, our costs there were $12, $22 (had crab), $15 AUD, all great meals. The other 'wonder' is Pho, which is noodle soup of numerous varieties and they are great, cost on average $2.50AU.
From my assessment, the cost of living is very cheap compared to Thailand, which compares almost identically with Philippines, from the research I have done over the past couple of years. I went several times to an 'Aussie' bar which is owned by an American?, most times the bar was entirely occupied by Aussies, many 'Viet Vets' but also offshore workers. I have to say, I was made most welcome and SO also enjoyed their company.
On a recommendation, had some dental work done there, 5 fillings and a clean and polish 1,250 dong, 22,000 dong to the US$, I relate things to AU and it was $73 - you could not speak to the receptionist for that amount of money in Australia, dentists are 'licensed armed hold up merchants' there. Very caring, meticulous and professional in their manner and it was the most pleasant dental experience of my life!
Implants there are $1000-1200US but did not have time to get it done, on the 'next trip' agenda.
Overall, I give it the real 'thumbs up' for a pleasant holiday, but also consider Na Trang as I was told that is just as beautiful and is more to central Vietname where places like Hue where I have been some 15 years ago, are also very interesting.
Air bnb is a real plus, we had a lovely 2 br 2 bathroom, apartment, with small (very small) balcony, views over the ocean and city in a large 22 storey block, 60sqmts and very comfortable, except for the bedding which was a 4'' piece of 'shite' and my ailing back was not happy, but slept on a few pillows that got me through. The host was wonderful and obliging and overall a pleasant stay. They need to bring up the inclusions such as 'microwaves' and other appliances, but we managed. The cost was $30AU night, you can rent this type of place long term for about $400US month.
Another place is Hong Binh apartments, there are 4 of them, frequented by expats mostly and they are about the same price, cheaper for long term.
We walked to the beach every morning, most Viets are friendly, but many don't seem to know how to handle expats, but we met some lovely people during our stay. A smile or a wave, was nearly always returned. The Viet coffee for all you 'coffee freakos' was wonderful and I am not a great coffee fan, brought some back to have here in Thailand, plus the 'cute little coffee drip gizmo' that works once you punch a few more holes in it!
If you are not a sugar person like us. always ask for 'fresh milk' which is carton long life like Phils, rather than the sweetened rubbish they usually use.
Unless you want to see the Rememberance Museum in HCMC which I highly recommend, don't stay long there, get the bus (not the ferry) as we encountered they continually cancel ferry services without explanation or care! The bus trip is fine about 1.5 hrs. Going back get the de Luxe Mini Van and it is luxurious for 150,000 dong p.p., direct to airport at HCMC.
Just go and enjoy, you will not be disappointed.