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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Vietnam (Day 35) Cool Down Rewards

Our flight was cancelled! We found ourselves stuck in Cambodia trying to get back to Vietnam. It was July 30th. Our Visa didn't expire until August 24th (our multi-entry Visa for Vietnam would not expire until Sept 24th). Hmmm....

We woke early as I had booked the first flight back to HCMC, Vietnam, but we had plenty of time for our last fabulous breakfast at Angkor Victoria. Even though we did not have time to explore out for meals as much as we would have liked, we really did enjoy the topnotch food at the hotel. The bill, not so much. Wow - we sure did eat and drink! 

Anyways, after breakfast, we met Sam in the lobby for our transfer to the airport ($10). The hotel has a complimentary transfer, but we were fine giving Sam the business and seeing him one last time to settle our tab paying in cash our amount due plus tip. He dropped us off at the airport easy peasy.

There was nobody at the Cambodia Angkor Air ticket counter. Huh, what do we do? We can't be the only ones on this flight. Eventually, we found our way to the offices of the airlines. Here, we found a bunch of foreigners like ourselves with tickets for the same flight. Everybody was quite jovial, except for the ones with travel plans that boggled my mind. There were people with tight back to back flights to make.  There were people traveling directly onward to trains on a tight schedule. There were people catching another flight plus a train. GEEZUS, how do these people bear this stress. The airline staff said we were all being put on the next flight. Darn. So close, yet so far. Guess we really were leaving Cambodia.  

I made sure to enjoy my extra 2 hours!

Unable to remain "stuck" in Cambodia (they automatically had put us on the next flight, which was ONLY 2 hours later - darn), we made our return to Vietnam to begin the journey home. 

Confession time. I kind of knew this was going to happen. First indication was that I could not book this flight on Vietnam Airlines (it was the only flight not listed), but I accepted the risk and booked it over at Angkor Airlines. I saw that there was only a 2 hour difference until the next flight (another indication). No biggie - it was a 50/50 chance we would get out early.  

Hello again, Vietnam! The rule of thumb with travel in Southeast Asia is to always stay the night before your international flight in your place of departure, that is no connecting flights. Just to be sure, I gave us 3 nights 😉. 

We met our pre-arranged transfer (Hanoi Transfer Service) upon arrival. Because of our 2 hour late flight, I had text to notify them of our delay. At first, it appeared that they would not send a shuttle in time because of the late notification, but I let them know that we had just sorted it ourselves with the canceled flight and they responded that they would have transportation, but it may not be the larger vehicle I had pre-arranged.  We didn't care as we knew the Vietnamese mindset now and they will find a way to fit us and luggage - no worries. Sure enough, it was a car, not van but do you think we all fit? Of course we did! Piled in luggage and all we made our way out to District 2. It sure did feel good to be back in Vietnam.

As a treat, we checked into a gorgeous riverside boutique hotel in District 2 away from the hustle and bustle. 

Wow - Villa Song Saigon is an amazing final accommodation to wrap up our epic journey.

I had booked us into two of the most stunning rooms! 104 (Villa room) + 106 (Sanctuary Room), with a connecting door. Woo hoo, kids and parents enjoyed the kids having their own room. It was certainly pricey, but a nice end of trip oasis.

There's a free boat shuttle over to city center if we are inclined, but the pool is so inviting!

Hungry, we moseyed on over for a bite at the riverfront restaurant. There was the threat of rain, so they insisted that we eat inside just in case. The only patrons in the restaurant, Molly was able to, well, be Molly, without us shushing her for the umpteenth time.

OHMYGAWD, hello PHO, come to MAMA! OH, pho, how I have missed you!!!!! Look at all those lovely herbs. Be still my heart!

It didn't rain after all. And, we retreated to the glorious pool.

Up Next: River Cruising in Style & Tunnel Rats

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