Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to Ho Chi Minh City

My wife and I have decided to merge this weekend with Hari Raya Puasa holiday on Tuesday and I am flying to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  I have not been there in the last 2 years but this year and in 2012, I hope I will be there more.  Ho Chi Minh City is a surprisingly entertaining place. It has higher rating in my favourite holiday destinations than Bangkok.

One of the advantages of living in Singapore is to have easy and cheap access to surrounding South East Asian gems. You can easily have a weekend escape to a tourist paradise in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Lao or Cambodia thanks to competition among the low cost airliners. If you are flexible on time, there are usually promotions and with less than 150 SGD, you can buy a return ticket. It is even cheaper nowadays thanks to relatively expensive Singapore Dollar and many coupon sites offering luxury holiday packages with ultra-low prices. For example, I have just checked one of the coupon sites serving to Singapore and the latest deal is $ 288  per pax 4D3N Garden Villa Stay at Elements Boutique Resort in Thai paradise island Koh Samui with Private Pool! The usual price according to the site is $1266. More than 350 people bought so far. Great indeed!

As I have mentioned there are many budget airliner options to holiday destinations from Singapore. Air Asia, Tiger Airways, Jet Star, Firefly to name some.  I used to fly with Tiger Airways but since I had a bad experience with one of rude ground staff in Changi Budget Terminal, I stopped taking flights from there and I started to fly with Australian low-cost carrier Jet star. 2 return tickets from Singapore Changi Airport to Ho Chi Minh City  Tan Son Nhat International Airport cost me 450 Singapore Dollars with 2x20 kg luggage (cost extra 15 SGD per ticket) and 4 seat selections (each seat selection costs 4 SGD) J

Ho Chi Minh City, City Hall
Budget airliners put price on everything extra other than a random seat in a flight but they are still much cheaper than flying with full cost carriers like Singapore Airlines or Vietnam Airlines. As usual I have checked these two for any promotion but there was not any and 2 return tickets cost 800 SGD+ for taking one of them. For 2.5 hours flight to Saigon from Singapore, paying 800 SGD is too much.

This time I have bought our travel insurance from AIA (I usually use DBS). While my wife was extending her personal health insurance, we bought our insurances from the AIA agent. My insurance for 6 days of stay in Vietnam cost me 31 SGD while my wife’s 10 days stay there costs 40 SGD. Vietnam, like many South East Asian countries does not request an insurance when you apply for visa but you should better get a travel insurance since an emergency hospitalization in this region costs surprisingly high and ruin your finances for a long period of time.

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