Saigon as the city is still frequently referred to be Vietnam's largest city. It is a fast-paced city full of contrasts as street vendors selling fruit and vegetables can be seen next to glitzy western-style bars and boutiques. Saigon's history is only 300 years old. In 1859 the city was captured by the French and became the capital of Cochin China. From 1956 until its dramatic demise in April 1975 it was the capital of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam. Today, Ho Chi Minh City is very much the heart of Vietnamese business and entrepreneurs. And yet the city still retains its connections to the past, particularly in Cholon, Saigon's Chinatown. Here dozens of elegant temples and pagodas can be seen. The French also left their mark with some fine colonial-era buildings such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.
This city tour unravels Saigon's turbulent past and also provides a glimpse into the fascinating variety the city has to offer. The tour is split into a morning and afternoon schedule, with a tasty lunch in between!
Itinerary/Activity Schedule Morning Schedule
- The Reunification Palace: This is one of the most important buildings in the city.
- War Remnants Museum: Formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes, this is a poignant display of the futility of war.
- Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office: Built between 1877 and 1883 this is one of the best examples of classical French colonial architecture. Afternoon Schedule
- Giac Lam Pagoda: This is Saigon's oldest pagoda, dating back to 1744 and one of the finest in Vietnam.
- Cholon, including the Thien Hau Pagoda: Cholon actually means Big Market - a claim that is well justified as Vietnam's largest market, the Binh Tay is situated here.
- Ben Thanh Market: This bustling market is very popular with tourists, primarily due to its central location. It has a wide selection of goods ranging from fake Nike shoes to beautiful silk Ao Dais.
- English speaking guide
- Entrance fee
- Reasonable supply of bottled water
- Meals and drinks (unless specified)
- Tips and gratuities
- Personal expenses