TET Holiday January 23, 2012
23.01.2012 - 28.01.2012 28 °C
Planning for a perfect getaway
requires extra effort of finding out the best accommodation (that best fits your needs), places to go, attractions to see, where to eat, choice of airlines, and simple as learning the perfect way of saying "Hello, Good Morning and Thank you" in the local language. And even choosing the right date to travel is one major factor to consider.
Vietnam has always been one of my desired destination to explore. Looking at the photos of Saigon in different travel websites are pretty amazing and I find it interesting. And the right time has come when simultaneously, I won a 2 nights voucher accommodation to stay at the Intercontinental Saigon with buffet breakfast for 2 each morning and when Cebu Pacific offered the lowest round trip fare ever, PISO (1 peso) base fare promotion in all Domestic and International destinations. Check www.cebupacificair.com for most recent promos.
(Tet 2012 Logo)
The travel date I chose is from January 23 to January 28, 2012 and that falls under the biggest celebration in Saigon, the TET season or Chinese New year. This is a long celebration runs up to even 2 weeks. This is the time where Vietnamese visits their home town and celebrate this very special occasion with their family and friends. Accordingly, all shops, restaurants, city attractions are also closed as all Vietnamese stays home and clean their houses and do major preparation for this big event. I was a little worried about the dates as some travel sites says it is the most boring moment in the city, that there's really nothing much to do but to walk around the city and observe locals in their day to day activities. On the other hand, some travel sites says, its the best time to visit Saigon as it showcase the biggest flower festival, Public concert, street parade and some other Traditional activities . And this two contrasting statements makes me more excited to find out what Saigon can offer during TET Season. I hope you enjoy reading this blog as I do virtual touring about my travel experience.
We had a late flight at 22:00 hour from NAIA 3 International Airport Manila to Ho Chi Minh City Airport (SGN) which arrives at 00:30 on January 23, 2012. It was just the end of the grand fireworks display and TET officially starts in the city.
The Airport was pretty new and the path through from immigration down to luggage carrousel was organized as they have English sign translations.
This traditional TET flower in the arrival area catches my attention.
(The traditional flower "Ochna Integerrima" symbolizes the wealth and the passionate love among people of Vietnam)
We headed to taxi terminal to get a taxi. It was late and you rarely see taxis. We had to fall in line as large number of passengers coming out from the Airport are also taking taxi.
(Ho Chi Minh City Airport (SGN)
And another shot of the Arrival area of SGN.
(Ho Chi Minh City Airport (SGN))
We've been hearing different taxi scams in most of the Airport in Asia, like no meter taxis, unsealed metered taxis and more. But I didn't have a lot of option due to scarcity of parked public transportation outside the Airport so we settled for 350,000 Dong rate going to our hotel, which is triple the amount of a normal rate.
Our hotel is located right in the city center just few blocks away from the main site of Opening Ceremony of TET 2012 where the fireworks strikes at 12midnight. We were expecting a huge crowd as we were approaching the main city. And indeed, the city is still very alive at 2:00AM in the morning. We see hundreds and hundreds of motorcylcles rushing EVERYWHERE from back to front, from left to right and uhh I was just so amazed on what I was seeing at that time. I couldn't believe the motorcycle rush! And I got some interesting shots while inside the cab.
(Colorful lights and decorations)
(The Dragon for TET)
(On our way going to hotel)
About 25minutes travel from the Airport, we arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel Saigon drop off.
Next blog is about my hotel experience. Thanks