Great News for Vietnam-Australia Air Travel

Vietnam budget airline Vietjet will fly direct between Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh City, starting March 31 2023.

Vietjet joins Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways, with direct flights between Australia and Vietnam.

Vietjet fare classes will include SkyBoss Business, SkyBoss, Deluxe and Eco.

Victorian Government Minister Tim Pallas said the new service would boost sustainable tourism, and trade.

Flights are expected to increase to seven weekly, in December 2024.

Flights:

  • On every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, flights depart from HCMC at 09:50 AM (local time) and land at Melbourne Airport at 10:35 PM (local time) on the same day.
  • On every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, flights depart from Melbourne Airport at 00:30 AM (local time) and arrive in HCMC at 05:15 AM (local time) on the same day.

Crunch Time: Tackling Vietnam Soft-Shell Prawns

Vietnam soft shell shrimp (prawns).

Not to my liking but it keeps popping up, in Vung Tau, Nha Trang – across this fascinating country.

Steamed, grilled, sweet, fried. Not one to shy away from a challenge, by the end of this journey I will have acquired an appreciation, or, having given it my best shot, I shall withdraw with honour.

This night’s street-stall version is a big prawn, deep fried in peanut oil with a very tasty batter, and the prawn meat is firm and delicious.

A pity there’s a barrier of “crunchy” shell between the two.

Crunch, crunch, crunch …

Soft-shell prawns/shrimp are a culinary favourite in South-East Asia (and now world-wide) but that “crunchy” shell can be a challenge to even an adventurous diner.

Throwing Out Shoes is a Big Deal for a Bloke

Goodbye to the Phu Quoc “Qrocs”.

They have served me so loyally, trekking through many a South-East Asian “wet” market, the Vietnam jungle between bars, over searing sands of beaches, in airports and on planes, and 2 years of Lockdown in St Kilda.

But the time has come to move on, so in the bin they go …

(Feel free to say something in Latin, at this point)

Tossing out well worn shoes …

You Happy, Me Happy, Buddha Happy

A real, down-to–earth, quasi honest South-East Asian market. This is fair dunkum tourist shopping.

Here, the huge smiles take the sting out of being stung. Who cares if you pay a bit extra? It’s still cheap compared to back home – and good natured haggling can be a lot of fun.

On reaching a price, I tell them: “You happy, Me happy, Buddha happy!” And I slip them a generous tip anyway …

(At Cho Xóm Mói Market, Nha Trang, Vietnam)