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DAY 1 : HO CHI MINH CITY – ARRIVAL Meet on arrival at Ho Chi Minh City / Tan Son Nhat International Airport and transfer to hotel. Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals, is a center of commerce, finance, culture and tourism in Vietnam. Free time at leisure and shopping. Overnight…
Meet on arrival at Ho Chi Minh City / Tan Son Nhat International Airport and transfer to hotel. Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals, is a center of commerce, finance, culture and tourism in Vietnam. Free time at leisure and shopping. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
AM: Start the city tour with the War Remnants Museum has a wealth of images from the wars, the most moving being a gallery entitled ‘Requiem’ which is dedicated to Vietnamese and foreign journalists and photographers who perished during the French and American conflicts. Photo stop at The Reunification Palace was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until April 30, 1975 when the North Vietnamese tanks came crashing through the front gates, bringing the U.S.-Vietnam War to a dramatic end. Close to the palace some of the best examples of French colonial architecture are represented in the forms of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. Notre Dame Cathedral was built between 1877 and 1883 and the stone used to create it was imported entirety from France. Next to the cathedral stands the Central Post Office, finished in 1891. It is another fine example of French architecture and is Vietnam‘s largest post office. For all its French colonial history though, Ho Chi Minh City is by far and away Vietnam‘s most modern city. It has numerous shopping malls, cinemas, discotheques and a bewildering number of bars. End the trip at shopping malls or biggest wholesales Ben Thanh market.
PM: Have an excursion to the famous Cu Chi tunnels, which stretched for over 200km from Saigon to the Cambodian border, became legendary during the 1960s. The Cu Chi tunnels played a vital part in the U.S.-Vietnam War in that they allowed the Viet Cong to control a large rural area only 30 to 40 km from Saigon. The network, parts of which were several levels deep, included innumerable trap doors, specifically constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centres and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have been widened and become a major tourist attraction giving the visitor a unique experience and feel of what underground life during the war must have been like. For those interested there’s even the opportunity to try an AK47 or MK16 at the nearby rifle range. Then, return to city.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh
AM: Depart for My Tho, the Gateway to the Mekong Delta and the capital of Tien Giang Province 72 km from Ho Chi Minh City (Former Saigon). The Mekong Delta is known as the Delta of Nine Dragons for the 9 tributaries that splinter from the main Mekong River. Upon arrival, visit Vinh Trang pagoda, the most beautiful pagoda of the province with a mixture structure of many styles. Then take a boat trip round 4 beautiful islets: Dragon, Unicorn, Phoenix, and Tortoise. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people. You will discover beautiful landscapes along the river and observe the typical Mekong delta rural life. And we also enjoy seasonal fruit and honey tea or Mekong whiskey and listen to the sound of Southern Vietnamese folk music performed by locals.
Continue to take a boat ride to Ben Tre province. Experience a hand-rowed sampan under the shadow of the water coconut trees along natural canals and visit traditional house (all made from coconut). The next place is a family business which epitomizes the idyllic rural lifestyle. Here, we will have the chance to particular visits or photos making and taste the delicious coconut candy, observe the pastoral life as you wander through the fruit plantation and village.
PM: Enjoy fantastic lunch with special Elephant Ear fish at a local restaurant before coming back to Saigon.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh
AM: Pick up from the hotel in HCMC and drive to Vung Tau, traveling by immense rubber and cashew nut plantations, as well as scenic rice fields. Stopover to visit the Large House (Nha Lon) and its temples at Long Son Island. Large House is a place to celebrate festivals, with a school, a market, a Ghe Sam preserving house, and Ong Tran’s graveyard.
Arriving in Vung Tau, the capital of Ba Ria Vung Tau Province, you will visit the White House Palace (a summer residence of the last emperor Bao Dai), offering a wonderful view of the beach and the city. You will visit Niet Ban Tinh Xa, Nirvana Meditation Retreat and Thich Ca Phat Dai, a Buddhist shrine.
PM: continue to visit a French-built lighthouse and the giant Jesus Christ image as optional choices. Free time for swimming at the Bai Sau Beach before transfer back to Hochiminh city.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh
Leisure time until transfer to Ho Chi Minh City / Tan Son Nhat International Airport for departure.