Shopping, Getting Lost, Packing Stuff and Going Home
We were scheduled to fly back to Manila at 1am the following day so we were targeting to be at the airport at least around 11 o'clock in the evening. We only had one more mission to accomplish before leaving Ho Chi Minh, and that is to shop at Ben Thanh Market.
From Hard Rock Cafe, we wasted no time and hailed a cab to Ben Tanh Market.
We only had less than 2 hours left before the market closes so we didn't have the chance to set a meeting place in case we lose each other.
Ben Thanh market is huge (but not Chatuchak huge) and you can get just about anything from clothes, to souvenirs, to food.
Dell, Jego and I were busy looking for the stall selling TNF bags. The rest of the group followed us. From time to time, we stopped by the stalls to checked on some of the souvenirs and other handicrafts. When we found the bag stall, we went gaga and immediately picked the bag(s) we wanted and started haggling with the shop owner. We soon realized that one of our friends was missing.
Thinking that she was just around the area, all of us 5 just stayed in that bag stall. We would take turns finding her and return back to the stall. We were finally done with our bag shopping but still we can't find her.
Then we decided to go to the main alley and set our meeting place in front of a shoe/sandals stall. Binder and I stayed there and looked after our things and the other 3 went to different directions to look for our friend. We watched as people walk on the main alley and finally I saw our friend coming in from the market's entrance. And when the group got completed, she narrated to us that she went as far as Saigon Square to look for us and attempted to take the cab to the hotel thinking we might have left her. After all the explanation, we continued with our shopping. Our final stop was at a perfume stall.
They sell a wide range of perfumes which they claim authentic at dirt cheap prices. We tested some of our favorites and left the store with 2-3 perfumes each. Haha.
Back at the hotel, we were all busy packing our stuff. We have requested for a half day extension for one of our rooms (Jego's group) so that we can still take a shower before our flight.
After everyone was ready, we brought down our luggage to the hotel lobby and went out for dinner. We went again to Tricolore Restaurant.
We arrived at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport after 20 minutes. The airport facade looks like that of NAIA 3 but with the number of well-wishers outside the departure hall, it felt more like NAIA 1.
Inside, the airport is simple but very well lit.
The line was a bit long at the Cebu Pacific check-in counter so we had to line up for about 20 minutes before it was finally our turn.
Unlike most airports I've frequented (Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok, Chek Lap Kok in HK, Changi in Singapore) whose shops are very much alive even in the wee hours, Tan Son Nhat is quiet after 10pm.
Everything went well and we soon boarded the plane to Manila.
The End. (Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam Trip - February 8-16, 2012)
--- final part of my 3 Countries, 7 Days - Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam series
Read part 30 here: Ho Chi Minh Walking Tour