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  1. #1
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    Saigon - Paris de l'Orient

    I had a few days spare, so I popped over to see my old mate Milky in Saigon. AirAisa go there now, so if you're not completely disorganised like Scampy, you can pick up a return flight for around 4,000 THB. Just remember that Air Asia are always late. I was impressed with their brand new Airbus A320 though. Much nicer than the new Boeing 737 that Nok had when I flew to Chiang Mai last December.

    I stayed at the An An 2 Guesthouse in their top floor 'penthouse'. It was very clean, quiet and in a good location to look at all the wierdos and TEFLers in the area. As with any hotel booking, you need to reconfirm a few days before arrival to make sure your booking is still valid when you arrive. They collected me from the airport as well for $15 extra. You can get a taxi from the airport easily and they are usually cheaper, but there are a lot of scammers in Saigon, so I played it safe.



    The hotel had cable TV with all the usual English language channels and the bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was clean and well appointed and even had a nice bum-gun. The shower was excellent.



    Rooms start at $20 and go up to $45. Not the cheapest in the area, but I was happy to pay a bit more for somewhere like this.

  2. #2
    I am in Jail

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    Hey Mtd, did you go to the rooftop bar at the Rex? Is it still there?

  3. #3
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    God Mother Restaurant & Bar

    Also known as The Cheese Pot because of their fondues, God Mother was just across the street from my GH. It is also a popular hang-out for the local teaching fraternity, and is the Cheers of Saigon.



    There were always people coming in for food and drink and there was a good crowd of folks there every evening. The food was excellent. Far better than you can find in Bangkok unless you have deep pockets. The most expensive thing on the menu was around 150 Baht. Needless to say, I ate here a lot.

    This chap was the bar manager. He was a very nice guy. I'm sure Milky can tell us more about him.



    The girls that worked there were very friendly too, especially when they had a chance to practice their English. They also have the avoiding customers when you want to pay the bill thing down to a tee, too.



    Not everyone was happy to be there though...


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinthee
    Hey Mtd, did you go to the rooftop bar at the Rex? Is it still there?
    If you're patient, you'll find out.

  5. #5
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    I spent a few days at The Rex back in 1989. At that time the Russian oil people were the main guests. The rooftop bar had a big old Russian TV set with Radio Moscow on full time.

    Went back in '95. The Russians were gone. The TV set was Japanese and it was tuned to CNN.

    I'd love to see it again.

  6. #6
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    Downtown

    On Saturday, Milky took me downtown. The central area is very nice, with some large international hotels and a few good restaurants and bars. My favourite bar here is Cafe Latin, as it is a decent place to watch the rugby. There are also a handful of 'huggy bars' where you can get fleeced by a bunch of not-so-young ladies. We didn't bother.

    Everywhere you look, there are construction cranes. Saigon is booming and there is mix of old and new on every street.



    The last time I came here, the Hotel Intercontinental was shrouded from view as it received some TLC. It's a fine old building, and I'm sure a few of you moneyed up old gits have stayed there in the past.



    More hotels and if I remember correctly, the Opera House. probably wrong



    The Louis Vitton Building is actually only a year or two old according to my guide, but they've made a nice effort of fitting in with the old buildings in the area.



    I prefer the more human elements found when sight-seeing.



  7. #7
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    One bar that I did enjoy was The Underground. It's pretty popular with expats and the menu is well regarded.



    It was good to escape from the rain and stare at the waitresses' crack as she tried to find a customer's bottle of whisky. Sorry no pics of that.



    Whilst I was there, I bumped into an old friend from Hanoi; Amber Stout. Bloody lovely it is too and only about 80 Baht a pint. So I had lots.


  8. #8
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    more girls less buildings please.

  9. #9
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    Also located in the centre of town is the Lion Brewery and Restaurant. They brew their own German style beers, but we decided to have one anyway.



    It's a massive hall and it echoes like a shopping mall. Not the sort of place normal people would go to for a pint with their mates. There were a few Koreans there.



    The serving wenches looked a bit odd in their traditional outfits, but some were pretty cute. This was our wench.



    And this was our beer.



    Sadly, they didn't sell Amber Stout, so we necked these and left.

  10. #10
    I am in Jail

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    ^ Amber stout; thank you I couldn't remember the name. Tiger Asia Pacific were considering brewing it under license here, they're trying to hurt Guinness. Went to their Head Office to taste test it against Murphy's (they were considering Murphy's too).

    Amber tasted so much better, more true to stout than either Guinness or Murphy's. We decided that even though it tasted better the brand wouldn't sell in Thailand compared to Murphys or Guinness. Shame, just because of branding people drink shit; never found out whether TAPB would start brewing Murphy's, I'm pretty sure they pulled out.

  11. #11
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    Mr Pot is MtD's new best friend.

  12. #12
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    Great thread.

  13. #13
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    We headed back to the God Mother Bar for some nosh and more beer. I had a peek in the fridge and found a few different beers; some I'd had before in last year's trip to Hanoi.

    First up was the BGI. It was a tad weaker than normal at around 4.3% I think. It tasted like cheap lager.



    Next up was the Saigon Green Label. It was 4.2% and also tasted like generic lager.



    And lastly was a beer blonde called Larue that tasted like cheap Frog beer. I decided to stick with the Saigon beer.



    Later I toddled off to Apocolypse Now. It was pretty full and made me feel old, as the thought of 'dancing' to a drum machine didn't have the same appeal as it used to. So I got a beer and got accosted by some young lady who appeared to be about 4'10".



    You're not allowed to take photos in there. Must be lots of CIA operatives in there.

    Last edited by Marmite the Dog; 20-05-2008 at 09:21 PM. Reason: corrected wrong piccie

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pot
    Amber tasted so much better, more true to stout than either Guinness or Murphy's.
    Actually, Guinness used to be very true to what stout traditionally tasted like, but all stouts are very 'soft' nowadays, with Amber being the softest. Before, they were very bitter. But I agree with you that Amber tastes better than the Guinness you get here.

  15. #15
    I am in Jail

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    I think he's a bit of a twat to be honest
    Quote Originally Posted by Fabian
    Mr Pot is MtD's new best friend

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    Later I toddled off to Apocolypse Now. It was pretty full and made me feel old, as the thought of 'dancing' to a drum machine didn't have the same appeal as it used to. So I got a beer and got accosted by some young lady who appeared to be about 4'10
    that place has been going close on 20 years i reckon... (or more, i aint that old!)

  17. #17
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    On Sunday I dragged Milky away from his beloved bar to go on a trip on the hydrofoil to Vung Tao. We were going to pop in on my old mate Gary, but he's on holiday at the moment. The trip is about 1 hour 15 minutes and I was looking forward to a nice smooth trip with gin & tonics served by cute stewardesses in short skirts.

    We managed to catch the 12.30 (which left at 1.00).



    For KW.



    The hydrofoil didn't look too bad from a distance.



    I thought the ticket office were being kind by putting most of the foreigners up front, so they could get a decent view.



    But as we got out to deeper water, I wasn't so impressed at the front of the tub liked to smash into the waves. It was much better at the back on the return leg. We got to the terminal in Vung Tao in one piece and promptly bought out return ticket (4pm) as we didn't want to get stuck there all night.


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pot View Post
    I think he's a bit of a twat to be honest
    Quote Originally Posted by Fabian
    Mr Pot is MtD's new best friend
    How did you manage to get that quote wrong?

  19. #19
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    Vung Tau is one of the more popular seaside spots for folks living in Vietnam. There were some nice little boats in the harbour.



    Luckily, I spied an Ocker bar called Ned Kelly's, so we went in there for a beer. They had Amber Stout. Sweet!



    As we were drinking, the weather began to move in.



    Milky had some potato wedges to stop the beer making an encore on the ride home. It was chucking it down as we boarded the hydrofoil for the return journey and everyone was a bit damp as we set off back to Saigon.


  20. #20
    I am in Jail

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    ^^ anyones guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    Actually, Guinness used to be very true to what stout traditionally tasted like, but all stouts are very 'soft' nowadays, with Amber being the softest. Before, they were very bitter. But I agree with you that Amber tastes better than the Guinness you get here.
    Amber for keg stout impresses me because it really retains the roasted malt notes reminisscant of cask conditioned ales I used to drink back home with roasted malts and their coffee, caramel or chocolate notes.

    In Thailand I don't drink Guinness at all; I stick to the shite lagers. The only home brew I drink here is the Dunkel at Tawandeng. I havn't had a real ale for over a frickin year now.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat gusG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    The trip is about 1 hour 15 minutes and I was looking forward to a nice smooth trip with gin & tonics served by cute stewardesses in short skirts.
    And I was looking forward to the photos. Seems that we were both wrong.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pot
    I havn't had a real ale for over a frickin year now.
    I have.

    http://teakdoor.com/thailands-wine-c...reviews-4.html (Marmite's Beer Reviews)

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gusG
    Seems that we were both wrong.
    Sadly. Just a woman who gave out bottles of water and disappeared for the rest of the trip (and a guy on the return leg). Lots of totty on the return trip though (still no photos mind).

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    For KW.
    erm, wot gives you the idea that i like farang?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly
    erm, wot gives you the idea that i like farang?
    Do you really want me say?

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