During the recent long weekend holidays, I made a short 3 days trip to Ho Chi Minh city via Vietnam Airlines. Considering the holidays, airfare was actually pretty reasonably priced when tickets were booked a few months back.
VN departs from Changi's newest terminal, Terminal 4. Even though T4 has automated check-in facilities, VN still uses the manual check-in counters. Queues were not too long and having done online check-in earlier, we were able to use the online check-in desks and had boarding passes issued.
Visited the Blossom Lounge, which was used by all T4 airlines except CX. As it was lunch hour, the lounge was quite busy at the dining area, but there were still sufficient seating around.
View of departure hall from lounge.
There was a decent buffet selection, including both hot and cold selections.
Hot food and made-to-order dishes.
My light lunch. Both laksa and desserts were good.
Time to head to the gate.
26 October 2019 Vietnam Airlines VN 650 Singapore (SIN) - Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) A321 VN-A363 Economy Class Flight Time: 1H45M
Departure gate at G17.
Vietnam Airlines' regional workhorse, the A321, would be operating this flight.
Boarding commenced. There was a newspaper trolley at the door.
Boarding the A321.
Welcomed by the crew at the door and proceeded to my seat. Economy on VN's A321 is just a basic seat with no IFE or any other fanciful in-seat gadgets. However, legroom is pretty decent. Blankets were available upon request.
Literature in the seat pocket.
View out the window.
Boarding in progress. It was a totally full flight, which was expected for the long weekend.
Refreshing tissues were handed out after boarding was completed.
Pushed back, with the safety video shown on the dropdown monitors.
Taxied to the runway.
Turning onto the runway.
Departing from Rwy02C.
Video of the takeoff and climb.
Seatbelt signs remained on for some time as we navigated around storm clouds.
Young VN flyer seated in front of me.
VN ads were shown on the overhead monitors.
Which was later switched to the flight map. Meal service commenced immediately, with 4 crew serving in economy. 3 of the crew were dishing out meal trays from 2 meal carts while the 4th was serving drinks from the beverage cart.
Meal tray was delivered. The choices were Minced beef with fried rice and vegetables, or Chicken with noodles. The meal came with a side salad and dressing, warm roll with butter, and a banana.
I chose the beef option. The beef in sauce was slightly salty, but the fried rice was fragrant. Salad was simple and the 'dessert' was a big and filling banana.
The other option of Chicken with noodles was quite salty as well.
Beverage cart followed behind with a range of wines, juices and soft drinks offered. An orange juice for me please.
Followed by the crew coming down the aisle offering a round of coffee or tea. Service was generally friendly and efficient. Considering it was a fully packed flight and with a short flight time, no complaints with the onboard service.
Meal trays were cleared and we had already started our descent into Ho Chi Minh.
Nice scenery during approach into Ho Chi Minh City.
Landing on Rwy25R.
Video of landing.
Taxiing to the remote stand. I observed that VN pilots usually do not retract the aircraft flaps fully when in Vietnam airports. Anybody has any idea why?
Parked at remote.
Waiting to disembark. Both front and rear doors were used for disembarkation.
My seat for the flight.
Walking through economy and business cabins.
And onto the tarmac onto awaiting buses for the ride to the international terminal.
Immigration was not too busy and we were through rather quickly, followed by a Grab ride to the city. Stayed at Chill Suites City Center, a new 3-stars hotel, at very reasonable prices. Room was big and new, but toilet was basic. Seemed like a retrofitted hotel from old.
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Dinner was had at Dao Restaurant.
Dao Restaurant's famous dish is the Lobster Pho!
For a light supper, stumbled upon a roadside Banh Mi stall, Banh Mi 37, which is a rather famous stall with its signature patties being grilled on the spot.
Crazy Saigon traffic
A bright and colourful banh mi roadside stall near the hotel.
The hotel offers a complimentary simple and basic breakfast daily.
Visit to Ngoc Hoang Pagoda temple, a popular temple made famous by Mr Obama.
Broken rice lunch at Com Tam Thuan Kieu.
The iconic Café Apartments
Up the Saigon Skydeck for a sweeping view of the city.
Dinner at Haidilao, a very popular steamboat restaurant made popular in China and Singapore. A couple of branches just opened in Saigon and expected, it was pretty crowded. Prices were much more affordable compared to Singapore.
Ending with a fantastic chocolate dessert and hot chocolate at the award-winning chocolatier Maison Marou.
Banh mi to start the day.
Trying the popular iced coconut coffee at Cong Café. Though I preferred the iced coconut with green rice.
Lunch at a popular vegetarian restaurant, Bong Sung. The dishes were fantastic!
Blossom Lounge - 4
Singapore - SIN
Ho Chi Minh City - SGN
It was a pleasant experience on Vietnam Airlines economy class on this short hop. Even though the seats were basic, legroom was generous and service was good. Meals were average. Considering the pretty attractive fare, it was value-for-money to fly VN on this short-haul sector.
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