Inside the Reunification Palace, Saigon

One of the places of interest in Ho Chi Minh City I have visited was the Reunification Palace. Formerly the presidential palace of South Vietnam which turned into a museum. The museum has been kept largely as it was. It was also here where the official handover of power during the fall of Saigon was held. The museum is open for a fee, I cant recall how much did I pay for the entry ticket.

Actually I had difficulty locating the place, because I was coming from behind the complex so I really can't pinpoint the building itself though I am within the vicinity. When I noticed a massive fence and assumed to be the one I was locating, I walk alongside and when I reached the corner of the frontage did I spot the building. Approaching the main gate a coconut vendor walk along with me and offer me one for free! I was astounded by his offering because by looking at him he cannot afford to sell his ware for free, though glad for the offer I refused his offer and said thank you with accompanying touristy smile. I sensed something fishy as he was very insistent so I double pace walking and only until I reached the gate that he stop pestering me.

My trip to Tioman Island, Malaysia

As mentioned on the post preceding, I spent overnight at Tioman Island in Malaysia. As Malaysia is just a causeway away from Singapore, it is easy to take a short trip to Malaysia from Singapore, and this time I decided to finally push my long overdue plan to explore the island.

For my trip plan, I will leave Singapore early in the morning, catch a bus at Larkin bus terminal in Johor Bharu to Mersing, and from there I take a ferry to Tioman Island. My initial travel time input were: travel time from Singapore to Johor Bahru to Mersing is about three hours and Mersing to Tioman by boat is two hours, so its going to be at least 5 hours travel time from my place for me to be in Tioman.

I woke up late that day so I arrived Larkin bus terminal almost just in time for the 9:30 bus to Mersing. If I was not able to catch the bus, the next trip will be at 2:30 in the afternoon. Luck was with me as I was on the right spot where the dispatcher was standing and giving last minute instruction to the bus driver. I paid directly to him and did not give me the ticket, it was only when I already seated and the bus started to leave that I realized I don't have ticket. I got scared when the bus conductor started taking the passengers ticket. But then he did not ask for it so it turned okay. I arrived Mersing bus terminal 12:15 in the afternoon. Upon arrival I asked for direction to jetty port, I have no idea that the jetty port was quite far from the bus terminal and it takes around 10 minutes by walk. And the bad thing the boat is scheduled to leave 12noon, but the ticket seller at the terminal booth told me to run as I might just be able to catch the boat. I have no idea where it is located, she gave me direction vaguely : go straight, cross rotunda, corner money changer and white building. Like what I said luck was with me so I was able to catch the boat!

I arrived Tioman Island past three in the afternoon because the boat has to stop 20 minutes after it leave the jetty to wait for two lady passengers, they must be VIP i guess.

I did not book a resort beforehand since I thought it would be best option just to check the place first so I can choose a good place to stay. Initially I made a booking for Paya beach resort in Paya Lebar, but was fully booked for the weekend as the resort is a favorite of Singaporeans. So instead I opted a resort in Ayer Batang village. From the internet, Ayer Batang is one of the most popular villages on Tioman. having a wide choice of accommodation and restaurants. I set my mind to Nazri Place because it claims to have one of the best stretches of beach on Tioman.
The Village jetty port

Long weekend

I still have not blog the things i have done on the trip I made to Vietnam. I am supposed to do that as a third entry but I cant find time to really make one. Lately I find it hard to compose a detailed entry, the reason maybe is that my mind is not there and was pretty occupied with work. Though the building upgrading job is not demanding technically but more so on physical aspect that keep me distracted from blogging. As our work is concentrated on residential flats where there are residents in it. The job while requires you to supervise thoroughly the ongoing construction but more so on the safety and convenience of the residents occupying the building undergoing construction. Mind you its a challenging work, whoever might say it is an easy job compared to a normal construction site must experience it firsthand, as the responsibility is more like to hell freezes over thing heheh.

Anyway last saturday is Deepavali and it's a national holiday, so it was busy weekend for me. And since Monday is my off day too, I have three days to spend last weekend.

Being Deepavali, the Istana, the official residence of the president of Singapore, was open to the public for the whole day. So I spend the late morning around the palace grounds and toured inside the palace, though not all but portions of the ground floor only. These were the Banquet Hall, the room where the president receives state visitors, and the main lobby. At the banquet hall, instead of foods on the dining tables, the items the presidents receives from other head of states are the ones on display. Its quite interesting to see the items as it is labeled by the giver country and groups according to items received. The gifts were really reflects the identity of the country were it came from. Too bad taking pictures were not allowed inside the palace.

But outside you can free to do anything that pleases you, I mean you can take pictures as what I did, picnicking, kidsplay, things like that. I have the grand time taking pictures.

Arriving Ho Chi Minh City

It's my first time to travel to Vietnam yet I have no apprehension whatsoever for the travel. I booked the flight 3 months ago so though I have to wait that long, it didn't cross to my mind to feel fear for the trip.

My flight was scheduled 7:35 in the morning, so I was at Changi terminal 1 at 5:45 and waiting for boarding at gate C15 by 6:30. My ticket says I will arrive Ho Chi Minh at 8:25am, which means the travel time will be less than an hour. Considering how far apart the two countries are, I thought it's a mistake, but was confirmed by the check in counter personnel that Vietnam is one hour behind Singapore.

By 6:55am, the line for boarding started. My assigned seat is 3A so I belonged to the last batch to be boarded.

theJetstar plane that will bring me to Saigon

My Ho Chi Minh Escapade

I just came back from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. A holiday trip to this southeast asian city. To sum up the trip, it was an exhausting yet educational trip indeed. Upon arriving home, it was the Ho Chi Minh City leg of the amazing race show currently playing. Nice, it was exactly what I did, sort of.

Enjoy the photos.
Binh Tay Market