Over the recent Hari Raya Muslim New Year holiday weekend, I went on a short trip to Ho Chi Minh City, with the main purpose of some crockery (for the renowned Minh Long porcelains) and paintings shopping. Surprisingly, airfare on SQ, booked just slightly more than a month ahead for the peak holiday season, was priced similarly to VN and the budget carriers, and even cheaper than Scoot! Guess competition does help to keep the fares down. Unfortunately, this trip was also memorable in the wrong way due to the longest ever flight delay I experienced on SQ. More on this later.
On the departure day, we performed self check-in at Terminal 2. The morning peak has subsided and the SQ counters were rather empty.
After immigration, it was bustling within the transit area. Spotted UA, TR and AI Dreamliners along with many MIs and SQs.
Departure gate was a rather long walk to F42.
14 June 2018 Singapore Airlines SQ 178 Singapore (SIN) - Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) A330-300 9V-SSH Economy Class Flight Time: 1H45M
Shortly after we cleared security at the gate, boarding was announced. Being seated near the rear, we boarded early.
Not sure if it was cost-cutting or a flight-specific thing, but no newspapers were available on the aerobridge at the door, which is unusual on SQ. Only the usual earbuds for the IFE were placed there for economy passengers to help yourselves to. No newspapers were offered onboard as well, though I also did not see anybody requesting for one. However, according to others, newspapers are still offered on other regional routes such as CGK. So maybe SQ decided that SGN economy pax are not avid news readers….
Headed to my seat towards the rear of the aircraft. There were no pillows or blankets on the seats. Blankets would have to be requested from the crew.
View of the seatback.
Boarding in progress. As expected, it was a very full flight.
As mentioned earlier, blankets were available upon request. For some reason, the cleaning crew forgot to remove the pillow from the previous flight from my seat, and I guessed I became the only economy passenger with a pillow.
View out the window.
Special meals orders were confirmed and hot towels were distributed.
Doors closed and safety video was played.
Taxiing to Rwy20C. It would be a 1h45m flight to SGN. I decided on a Chinese comedy for the IFE on this short flight.
Holding short of the runway for an arrival Scoot A320.
Took off from Rwy20C towards the south before making a turn back north.
Climbing to cruise. It was a rather smooth flight for most of the flight duration.
Shortly after takeoff, brunch service commenced. Special meals were distributed out. My friend ordered an Indian Vegetarian meal and was served first. The meal tray was filled with a whopping selection of food, including cut fruits, yoghurt, main course of dhal with other items, a sour yoghurt like accompaniment, roll with margarine and jam, sweet dessert, cup of water and an ice-cream! An obscene amount of food on a less than 2hrs flight!
Normal meal service started from the rear of the cabin, and the 2 choices offered were Scrambled eggs with sausages (usual boring choice) or Thai-styled noodles with prawns. The meal tray came with cut fruits, roll with butter and jam, main course, cup of water and ice-cream. I had an apple juice and coffee to go along as well. It was a pretty decent amount of food for the short flight too. I chose the prawns with noodles, which was pretty tasty with fresh plump prawns topped on spicy rice noodles.
Ice cream on a short flight! Note the coffee stains on the tray table, which was not cleaned during the layover.
Meal service in progress. Service was efficient and crew, as expected of SQ, were all professional and nice.
Enjoying my bite-sized chocolate-coated vanilla ice-cream with the movie.
View of the cabin when I made my may to the rear lavatory.
Lavatories continued to be well-stocked with amenities.
Another view of the cabin while meals were cleared.
Continuing with my movie for the remainder of the flight.
Soon, we were descending into Saigon.
Flying over the city center during the descent.
10min to landing.
Making some turns during the descent.
Approaching and landing into Tan Son Nhat Intl Airport Rwy07R. Ho Chi Minh's new tallest building could be clearly seen during the final approach.
Video of the approach and landing.
Waiting on the taxiway as 2 aircraft departed from the adjacent runway.
Continuing the taxi to the international terminal.
Parked beside a CX A330.
After the excellent flight, immigration was another matter, with very long queues which took more than 30min of wait to get through.
Bonus : Click here displayhide
Took the new and air-conditioned airport bus to the city for a mere 20,000Dong each to the hotel. Stayed at Harmony Saigon Hotel on this trip. Was welcomed with a drink and sweet snack. The Club Room at the higher floors was quite big, with a spa tub and decent view.
First meal after arrival was a Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) lunch at An La Ghien restaurant near the hotel.
Some day and night sights of Saigon city.
A "touristy" pho dinner at Pho 2000.
Daily hotel breakfasts were grand affairs, with a nice city view from the restaurant and daily changing great breakfast selections.
Visit to An Dong Market, a less bustling version of Ben Thanh Market.
Did some paintings shopping along Tran Phu street, near An Dong Market. This is the street where locals come to purchase paintings, and the entire street is lined with shops selling all sorts of paintings and frames. We spent nearly 3hrs walking down and exploring the various shops!
Early dinner with delicious Vietnamese cuisine at Den Long Restaurant.
One of the most common pastime of Vietnamese people, drinking coffee on low stools by the roadside. Experienced this at Café Vy, a popular local coffee house.
Trying one of the best, if not the best, Bahn Mi in Ho Chi Minh from Banh Mi Huynh Hoa. Even though the queues are long with both locals and tourists, they moved fast. The single-type of bahn mi sold was packed with ingredients and was truly delicious!
Popular Vietnamese noodle soup place at Quan Bun Moc Thanh Mai.
A colourful dessert in Ben Thanh Market.
Another delicious dinner at Bep Me In.
For the best broken rice stall, go to Com Tam Ba Ghien at the outskirts of town. Portion was gigantic and filling, and the meat dishes were tasty!
Singapore - SIN
Ho Chi Minh City - SGN
It was an excellent short flight on SQ to SGN. Despite the full flight, cabin was comfortable, service was good and catering was well above expectations. With the fare paid, I shall overlook the absence of newspapers and pillows. Certainly one of the better short-haul flights I have flew on these days.
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