I don’t necessarily believe in fate. After a week’s road trip, top gear style, through some of the remote parts of Vietnam, I might have to!
In my first post on Vietnam, at our arrival in Ho Chi Minh city, I explained that my justification for visiting this country was entirely based on a 1-hour BBC entertainment show produced eight years prior to our visit – Top Gear. The show’s presenters, Clarkson, Hammond, and May, made the trip through Vietnam on scooters, much to my delight. Aside from the comedy of three middle-aged men, in loud coloured suits, on scooters trying to traverse the roads of Vietnam I was moved by the scenery of this country and the thought of a road trip in, what was, such a remote location. I even made Lou watch the Top Gear special so she could appreciate the very British combination of banter and road trips.
Originally we had intended to take the train from Ho Chi Minh city out to Nha Trang, on the east coast of Vietnam with the journey taking about 6 hours. However, with the flights being $40USD (and cheaper than the train) it made sense to do the 40 minute flight. I’d barely tightened my seatbelt and we were landing.
We continued our stay in Ho Chi Minh at a serviced apartment towards the south side of District 1 by agreeing to a 3 week stay. Our host Henry showed us a nice, small apartment down one of the many side streets in the city. Apartment might be a strong word for it – it’s really just a large bedroom with a bathroom. For anyone looking to rent in Ho Chi Minh I’d recommend checking out a few places first, either via a local agent or Airbnb. We liked the location of this apartment and at approx $400USD per month it’s a cheap way to stay here. Included with the room is a cleaner every week and laundry service.
Ho Chi Minh city, formerly Saigon, is located in the south of Vietnam. Lou had no real reason or intention for coming here other than because I wanted to. And why did I want to come to Vietnam? The episode of Top Gear I had watched some 8 years prior still filled my head with imagery of what a beautiful country Vietnam must be – I loved watching the presenters fool around on bikes whilst creating a very memorable road trip. Unlike Lou, who will research a destination, chat to Airbnb hosts and check out activities, I decided to provide some counterbalance. I did nothing. We would just turn up and figure it all out in true Top Gear style.