Travel days are always a challenge as too often you can sit around waiting to leave rather than making the most of the last few moments you might have available. Well in HCMC we were not going to let our 12:00 checkout time from the hotel and our 5:30pm pick-up time to head to the airport cost us some time that could be used well!
We had a plan… breakfast at the hotel (as usual a great meal), then Hannah was up to the pool on the rooftop for some last minutes of sun and the rest of us were off to a coffee shop for some final vietnamese coffee and fresh juice. We had a great morning at the Saigon Roastery – not easy to find as we had to head through an art ‘store’ and along an alley and then up some stairs to the second floor. Good thing others had noted it was hard to find and that they had a sign (although no indication of how to get to them).
Then back to the hotel to pack-up and checkout. It was at this moment that Claire messaged us from the airport in Toronto to say ‘Do you have your visas for Australia?’ Suddenly our packing time became pack and get forgotten visas – which thankfully we could do online and receive confirmation we were good to go within a 30 minute window. This also made us check Thailand (overnight coming up at the airport) and New Zealand. Good on those two – no visa required.
We managed to checkout at 11:55am all the same and then headed around the corner for our last lunch. We had passed the restaurant many times and it was always packed with groups and locals. Well that was a mistake – we all agree it was our worst meal in Vietnam. Only a few managed to finish the majority of the meal. Too spicy, fish too bony…vibe was good though. (Photo was taken before the meal arrived…)!
Thankfully we had planned to occupy our afternoon with a cooking class at Grain by Luke. This turned out to be a great finish to our time in Asia as we prepared three dishes and ate a dessert with Vietnamese coffee to finish off the class. We prepared prawn stuffed pumpkin leaves (fried), jellyfish & chicken salad, and poached sea bass (in a banana leaf) with green mango. Dessert was a coconut crème caramel – everything was delicious and certainly filled the gap left by our lunch. Several of us noted this was one of our favourite activities in Vietnam.
Then it was off off to the airport to fly to Brisbane via Bangkok, while Hannah headed home via Korea and Claire started her journey to Brisbane through Hong Kong. All in the air at the same time on three different routes!