Ho Chi Minh City Suggested Activities
Hidden Saigon at Night
Visit an acoustic bar where talented local musicians perform. Join locals for a drink along the banks of Saigon River. Stop for a quick “Bun Cha Hanoi”, a savoury local favorite, before walking to the Opera house to experience the fun and unique A O Show, a modern circus performance.
After the show, head to a very local BBQ restaurant with low tables. The street is full of local animation and the restaurant will serve you some Southern Vietnamese delicacies. After dinner we take you an acoustic bar where talented local musicians perform Vietnamese and Western songs.
Time: 18h00 – 00h00 (Saturday and Sundays only)
Mekong by Vespa
During this immersive and fun excursion guests will gain deep insight into the ecology of the Mekong and everyday life along the river.
Guests will be picked up from their hotel and driven to meeting point for a short orientation on the Vespas. Set out on the journey driving through back roads to a scenic stopping point, and have an introduction to the ecology of the Mekong, learning about the legend of its “9 dragon branches” and its thousands of tributaries. See mud crabs and walking fish, and learn about the symbolism of the eyes painted on many of the boats plying its waters.
Continuing on, coffee lovers will delight in the next stop, where they will meet local coffee shop owners for a primer on Vietnamese coffee and the popularity of the shops as social gathering places in Vietnamese culture.
After traversing more trails, board a local ferry to cross the river and drive to a vibrant local market in Can Giuoc for great photo ops of fisherman and fruit vendors selling their wares.
Drive to the Ao Dai temple for an introduction to the main religions practiced in Vietnam – Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Roman Catholicism, and Cao Dai – a new religion started in Southern Vietnam in the 1920’s which is a fusion of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, and Confucianism.
Continue driving along small tracks stopping to learn about the many cottage industries dotting the Mekong. Visit a local café and sample sugar cane juice refreshments, taking a short break before continuing on to a shrimp hatchery to learn about the economic importance of shrimp farming in the delta, and the process of raising shrimp. Meet an incense producer, who will demonstrate the process of making incense with dyed bamboo sticks and milled sandalwood. Stop by a cashew nut roasting facility before boarding a ferry to cross the river.
After crossing, ride towards the Nha Be district and stop to enjoy a lunch of delicious Vietnamese food. After lunch, the tour wraps up and guests are returned to their hotels.
Speedboat to Cu Chi Tunnels (Half Day)
Take a speedboat along the scenic Saigon River to the Cu Chi tunnels on this half-day tour. Transfer from your hotel for a scenic journey aboard a speedboat along the Saigon River to the Cu Chi Tunnels. The Cu Chi Tunnels were an important Viet Cong base during the Vietnamese/American War and stretched over 200 km, forming an incredible underground network.
Dug by hand out of hard laterite, this network connected command posts, hospitals, shelters and weapon factories. Walk through the area and learn about the day-to-day life of the Viet Cong, seeing the cleverly disguised entrances and elaborate booby-traps, and venturing inside the tunnels.
Cho Lon – A Photogenic Experience
Transfer from your hotel to District 5, the Chinese quarter also known as Cho Lon. The photo tour starts at Binh Tay Market, the bulk goods market used by Saigon’s smaller market and street vendors. Stop at the photogenic Thien Hau Pagoda. With hundreds of smoking incense sticks, the Pagoda offers excellent opportunities for photos.
Explore the small hidden alleys and capture the lively local street life. Away from the tourist trail, pass by different themed streets and narrow alleys, home to a diverse array of goods grouped by theme such as fabrics, housewares, and apothecary street stalls, to name a few.
Saigon Insider (Half Day)
Highlights: Visit the Saigon far from the touristic path
Tour Overview: Start your tour at the antique street and stroll through the shops to see original antiques. Pass by the beautiful Fine Art Museum and continue towards Yersin Street. En route stop at a fresh-fruit smoothie stall for a tasty tropical refreshment.
Continuing on, you pass plenty of shops selling seemingly everything under the sun. The market at Yersin Street is home to many specialist shops, including many war material surplus stalls (some items are new but most products are second hand). After the market, visit a secret bunker located in an unassuming house that was stashed with weapons and soldiers in preparation for the 1968 Tet Offensive. A war veteran will guide you through the floor hatch to the bunker in the busy hem (alley).
Drive toward Saigon’s Northern canal to Tran Quoc Thao/Hoang S and enjoy a nice walk along the riverside. Experience typical Vietnamese street scenes along the way – temples, churches, locals having coffee on long chairs, and roosters running about. Stop for refreshments with the locals along the canal, then meet the car again at NKKN to head back to your hotel.