02 March 2017

Vietnam Day 2: War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace, Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, Saigon Post Office, and Local Vietnamese Coffee Shop

Vietnam Day 1 (Part 2): Beer and Pho Quynh in Pham Ngu Lao

Stir-fried noodle with pork
After we had a yummy breakfast in the morning, we did a bit of day tour around the city in our own.  Visiting a few popular places in town reachable by foot.  

War Remnants Museum

Independence Palace

Park opposite Notre-Dame


Saigon Post Office

Inside the post office

Souvenirs are also sold inside Saigon post office

Some interesting story to tell.  Not a good one though but just another unlucky experience that happen to us as a careless tourist in unsafe city.  As most of us already known and we were as well known before we travelled to this city but this unbelievable thing still happened to us. 

Right, the thing was we were told and also read from the internet that while we were in Ho Chi Minh, there are lots of dodgy taxies and we were recommended to catch only from the two reliable taxi companies which are Vinasun taxi and Mai Linh taxi.   On that day, we supposed to go on the Cu Chi Tunnels tour in the morning but somewhat the tour were cancelled and they put us on the afternoon session.  And that leads us to this incident. 

So, after our breakfast in the hotel, we started walking around the city for a little city tour on our own, and on our last stop was this Saigon Post Office.  We felt a little tired to walk back to our hotel and right in front of the post office there was this Vinasun taxi just drop off the customer.  We quickly called and jump it in inside the taxi that about to take off before.  What a lucky day we thought at first.

Without further thinking, my husband sit in the front seat and me at the back.  It was first mistake of us, make the driver has a chance to professionally rob us.  From Saigon Post Office is actually not too far at all to our hotel.  Ok, just some basic information, our hotel is located in the small alley after Pham Ngu Lao and Ton That Thung intersection.  That small alley is only about 15 meters away from the intersection.  The taxi driver all of sudden stop at the intersection and said that the road in front of our hotel is one way only and he can't get through and want us to get off here.  Another mistake that we made, we trusted him.  Although we felt a little doubt in our head, as on the first day the airport taxi can drop us right in front of our alley and it is definitely not one way traffic.  But as language barrier, we didn't argue.  Secondly, we always prepared the money before we reach our destination.  However this time or maybe we thought it was Vinasun taxi and it would be safe, therefore we off our guard and careness abit.

He also started to acting weird.  I clearly remembered the price, it was 41,000 VND.  As we were tourists and it was our second day in Ho Chi Minh, we still didn't get use to with the Vietnamese Dong.  He got cranky and raised his voice toward us.  What I recall was he keep yelling 1,000 dong... 1,000 dong note, to make us more confused with the money we about to prepare for him.  All of sudden he grabbed all of my husband money from the wallet and keep yelling and showed that he were annoyed of our slowness.  But then we realized and my husband took his money back and warned him to not get pushy and cranky.  He apologized as he got his taxi charged from us.  Then we got off. 

While the taxi passed in front of us, we still stood there puzzling and confusing of what just had happened.  Then all comes together that it was very weird situation, then my husband felt something was totally wrong and he double checked his wallet.  That's the time we found out that two of 100USD and 1000 bath note were gone from his wallet.  When? How?  We were sure that the money was there just before we got into taxi because we about to exchange money and counted our money at the Saigon Post Office and we just got into that taxi right after.  

We told this incident to our hotel's reception and he mention that there is actually some scam or fake Vinasun taxies around.  So what we catch before is probably is fake Vinasun taxi.  We asked the possibility to report this case to Police station.  But then he made a reasonable point that we didn't have any taxi details or driver's name.  What information can we give to Police?  And apparently this case happen so often and police will not do any investigation as we just another tourist and soon pass by or go back to our own country.  No more legal case will be proceed.  So they won't be bothered.  
We felt down for nearly the rest of the day, but then we tried to think the positive side where we can learn and be more careful next time.   Also my husband jokingly said that it the price that we need to pay to watch the talented magic show of stealing money. 

Enough with my story and complaint.  Now let's relax in some nice local coffee shop just opposite our hotel. 

Condensed milk hot coffee drip 45,000VND
Stay tuned for the next blog still in Vietnam:
Vietnam Day 2 (Part2): Cu Chi Tunnels Tour And Street Food Market, Ho Chi Minh

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