Ho Chi Minh City to Bavet on a Shoestring

It’s been almost one month since I got back from Manila. Fast eh? As my visa expires this coming Friday, I decided to get my visa renewed today at the Moc Bai-Bavet border. This time I decided to try the Vietnamese public bus system instead of tourist buses as I did previously.

So here’s the rundown:

  • Bus 703
    Bus scheduled every 40-50 minutes, 25.000đ one way.
  • 13:15: Got to Ben Thanh bus interchange
  • 13:38: Boarded bus
  • 15:45: Arrived at Moc Bai bus interchange
  • The walk from the bus interchange to the border is about 10-15 minutes. Upon getting down from the bus, xe oms were offering to bring me to the border for US$1 but I declined. As this is the first time that I actually walked across the border, it gave me time to stop at the border crossing and let the significance of the marker soak in to me. Just didn’t occur to me to take photos today so no pictures :(
  • Took a little while at the Bavet quarantine as the quarantine officer tried to get 20.000đ off me for “playing with the system” and just entering Cambodia to renew my Vietnam visa. However he had no official document to state that and this time I was absolutely on a shoestring and giving him that would have left me with insufficient to return to HCMC. But as a matter of principle, I refused to do that and the friendly immigration officer just opened the door and brought me to the other side heading back to Vietnam. Language does help to foster relationships!
  • 16:18: Left Bavet
  • 16:35: Got back to Moc Bai bus interchange and sat in 703 waiting for departure
  • 16:45: Depart Moc Bai
  • 17:55: Arrived back in Ben Thanh bus interchange

Overall the trip was quite pleasant. Trip back was a lot more crowded, but both trips people were generally friendly. Definitely recommend this route even if you’re not travelling on a shoestring. Just take note not to drink too much water as there is no toilet (e.g. Sapaco and some other tourist bus companies) and no toilet break (e.g. Mai Linh).

A Beautiful Start to the Month

Today has been one of the most (more) beautiful days I’ve had here in Ho Chi Minh City. This morning started out a little chilly. Had breakfast outside at Bud’s Ice Cream and had to start wearing my jacket. After that was the first service that we are having at a semi-permanent location and I really thank God for that. Today we had English service at 9:00am followed by Vietnamese at 10:30.

Was a little disappointed at the number of people at the Vietnamese service, but on hindsight perhaps it’s due to it being later. Finishing church at 10:30 leaves half a morning to do other stuff. Anyway I stayed for both, since I believe that I will be here for some time and that God is telling me to pick up Vietnamese. Of course I realise that bridging the cultural gap may prove to be a larger hurdle than the language gap.

Had lunch at Restaurant #7 again. After that, 3 of us went and watched Despicable Me at Galaxy Nguyen Trai. It was an excellent film. My only thought is that the title may not communicate the right image. I originally thought it to be offensive, but definitely no regrets.

Was really blessed to have a lovely chat with friends over dinner. We talked about how we wanted to serve the world around, and I just feel so blessed :)

This is going to be an awesome month!