Day 8 was supposed to be our last day in Phu Quoc before our onward journey to the last destination of the trip, Ho Chi Minh City! It was the also the last day of 2019 and we thought that HCMC should be the best place to countdown.
We woke up with enough time for breakfast and this time, there wasn’t a queue and our faces were registered pretty quickly. We tried to get a seat and this time we were closer to the buffet table. But the egg station is still serving invisible hard boiled egg. I managed to get my omelette though.
After breakfast, we were on our way back to the room and met a balloon artist in a clown costume. K asked for a red sword which he made promptly but he’s had the capability to come out with more intricate designs like a 2 coloured water gun that he made for another kid. While waiting, I asked for an extension of check out to 130pm which was also when the shuttle was arranged for us to the airport.
We spent some time in the room getting ready and playing with K’s toys for a bit before K and I went to the beach leaving mommy in the room. It was quite a distance from our tower and K was already complaining about walking so long and wanting me to carry him. We got our towels from the pool counter and walked along the pathway that separated the Vinoasis resort and the Radisson Blu.
The beach was pretty crowded with all the seats under the shelter taken. So I just found myself a tree and placed our bags and towels there before getting onto the super soft but hot sand of Bai Dai beach! The beach was quite wide and a distance to the decently calm waters where K could enjoy the wave crashing into him. We busied ourselves with playing sand, myself trying to build a sandcastle and K just scooping and dumping sand inside the water, simple joys. The clouds were helpful in shielding off the hot sun most of the time and it was great fun. But when the sun came out, we could see through the clear water and sometimes caught sight of a few tiny fishes.
We returned to the room close to 1230pm and quickly ate some food for lunch that mommy had ordered for room service. Then we hurried to check out at 130pm. Check out was no fuss but waiting for the shuttle was a blur, but I’m kinda used to the chaos and the relaxed pace already. We were told to just stand around and wait and when the big bus came, we figured that’s the bus and asked again before we loaded up the bus.
Once onboard we slept all the way to the airport arriving at 230pm. We unloaded the luggage and proceeded to check in at Jetstar pacific for 405pm flight to HCMC. Went through to the departure area and went window shopping for a bit at the multiple stalls selling different products. Saw a few Kipling bags that looked very suspicious. Then we proceeded to have our small lunch at Star Cafe, having just a sandwich and 2 coffees for 193k.
A short wait at the gate before we boarded the small plane and it was just a short hour trip before we arrived into HCMC for the final leg of the trip.
Upon arrival, we picked up the luggage and was stopped for the random luggage checks (we sort of have this thing of getting stopped at these checks). After exit, we booked a Grabcar to our hotel for 88k ( no one picked up my request but mommy got a match quickly) and it took almost an hour to reach our hotel, the Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon, after negotiating the heavy traffic to district 1, made worse by the fact that it was New Year’s eve and revellers were all heading to popular pedestrian street of Nguyen Hue in district 1 for the countdown.
We paid 100k for the ride and the bell took over our luggage. The check in was smooth and quick and we were happy that we were given the 2nd highest floor which would boost a good view of the river and the New Year fireworks! I had to confirm a couple of times to ensure that our room had also the view of the fireworks and was assured so. Thankfully the room was booked really early with a bet that the fireworks would be at the river and it paid off! In terms of costs, I didn’t think there was anywhere else that cost less for a room with a window view of the fireworks so it was definitely a good value!
The room had a really good view of the river and we were really glad! Because the room also came with club benefits, we proceeded to the 18th level to get some food.
When we arrived, we were shocked to find it extremely crowded, and I supposed it’s because of the view, which fortunately for us, we have the same view in our room. We initially wanted to go back to the room to consume our takeaways from the club and the staff actually agreed and even suggested to help us bring the food there (very impressive service)! However, one couple left and let us have the table and so we stayed.
There was quite a bit of variety but because we were not there early, the cakes were not being replenished so we took the leftovers. This was probably why the food didn’t taste fantastic.
We left the hotel to walk the streets and enjoy the festivities that’s going on. A walk thru the Nguyen Hue walking street, we saw the concert stage with the lights flashing and music booming. We walked away from the stage towards government building (People’s committee of Ho Chi Minh) at the other end and saw many people making their way or just sitting around waiting for the countdown to happen. The atmosphere was electric!
We made our way to Vincom center and entered that building with so many floors of shopping. We wanted to go to Funnyland check out if there were more affordable toys and using their free wifi, we could find these stores on the B2 with other similar children related stores. There weren’t any differences with what we saw in Da Nang and so we didn’t get anything. There was also a big Lock N Lock store here as well.
Went down one level to B3 and settled for some Japanese Ramen at Hachiban Ramen for dinner, as K was missing his ramen fix. Spent about 160k for a bowl of ramen, fried rice and apple juice. We ate till the mall was closed and had to climb up the escalators to the main entrance to exit the building.
Returned back the same way we came and this time, the walking street was getting more crowded than earlier on. We had to exit one of the street to a parallel street to continue, if not we would have been stuck in the crowd.
Back in the hotel, we spent the time on some play time and bath (unlike the previous rooms, this bath tub was a little small). And then it was time for the countdown.
Turned off the lights in the room to reduce the reflection from the windows and then we were treated to not one but 2 views of fireworks going off at 2 different places! The entire duration of the fireworks was about 15mins and we enjoyed the view in the comfort of our room. The street below us was full of people and we were glad we weren’t there!
After that it was lights out for the night, our first morning of 2020 in HCMC.