So my bf and I arrived in HCM last night from the phillipines, and did not realize that the lunar festival is as big of a deal here as it has turned out to be. We had originally planned 4 nights here in HCM, then a 2 day mekong delta tour, then 3 nights in phu quoc. Well we can't get a flight out of phu quoc so there goes that plan. We are now thinking of heading to mui ne earlier than planned originally (we have a whole month here) but are wondering if there's any point to that since the hotels there are probably all booked out too ? How advisable would it be to just show up in Mui Ne and start inquiring about rooms door to door type of thing ?
If anyone has any opinions on this, please let me know. I really dont want to be stuck in HCM till the 6th or so (thats when ive heard festivities last till?) even though it has been lovely so far !
Also, anything particularly worth checking out in HCM while we're here anyways in regards to tet? Im thinking Chinatown is looking especially nice at this time of year too ?
#1 nickolt has been a member since 25/10/2010. Posts: 21
I don't think that just going to Mui Ne is a good plan.
Mui Ne may not be the destination of choice for the Vietnamese but it certainly is for the expats trying to escape the Tet madness in the cities. Make enquiries directly by phone, don't trust a travel agent (they will sell their mother during Tet) and try to get an idea before you set off.
As for seeing things while in HCMC. You should definitely hang out at Dong Khoi (the main shopping street in district 1) street in the early evening. The street is lit up like a christmas tree and the road is absolutely packed with Vietnamese cruising the streets on motorbikes just watching the lights. You can take some great pictures there and there is a good vibe.
Also consider going to an expat bar (Vasco or so) because there you'll find interesting people who didn't escape the city for one reason or the other and you'll find some interesting conversation there.
Alternatives? There aren't many. Perhaps try to get overland (in short legs) to Ha Tien/ Rach Gia and take a ferry from there to Phu Quoc. Although it would be wise to check for availabillity of rooms in Phu Quoc as well. There seem to be flight out of Rach Gia now as well so you could try to get away by plane from there.
I'm going to Mui Ne on the 5th and when I was looking for accommodation found that a lot of places were booked - but I didn't try calling any of the more budget options, I just contacted the places that had websites, so you might find there's availability at the lower end. But I'd still recommend calling ahead. I stayed at Hong Di when I went before and we booked in advance by phone then, so might be worth giving them a call if you decide to go. I imagine that it will be the same situation in Phu Quoc though, as eastwest says, you could travel overland if you're planning to go to the Mekong anyway.
The main days of Tet are 3rd - 5th but that doesn't mean things will be back to normal on the 6th as most people (office workers at least) will be off work until the 8th or 9th so even if you stay in HCMC until the 6th you should still think about pre-booking in Mui Ne.