Day 1: Saigon City tour (By Car, Cyclo & On Foot)
Today, our guide will show you the most interesting sights that Ho Chi Minh City has to offer. Make like a local and experience Ho Chi Minh City using your own two feet and from the seat of a cyclo, combine with car transfer! Join your local tour guide for a private tour around the city, giving you the opportunity to travel at your own pace and to ask as many questions as you would like! With a combination of foot and pedal power, you’ll see the classic sights and quintessential markets of Ho Chi Minh city like you’ve never seen them before!
Start to visit the General Post Office, an icon of Saigon, and the Notre Dame Cathedral, built by the French during the colonial era. Both structures are fine examples of architecture from the colonial period.
Continue on to the Reunification Palace; this beautifully preserved palace was the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam. On April 30th, 1975 the American War officially came to an end here. Proceed to Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, where you will embark on a cyclo/ rickshaw tour of Ho Chi Minh City (one person is on one cyclo with the driver behind), rolling around the city on a traditional three-wheeled bicycle with a carriage at the front for passengers. Drivers use pedal power to push us along, and gives us the opportunity to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of HCMC without the barrier of being trapped behind a car window (or the sound of a noisy engine!). The ride will lead you to Tao Dan Park, where locals do morning exercises and enjoy the fresh air and shade on sunny days.
Hop back on the cyclo and ride toward the crossroads where the famous monk Thich Quang Duc self-immolated in 1963, in protest of the government’s persecution of Buddhists. Continue to ride to the very local District 3 and the biggest flower market in the city. Back on the cyclo, it’s non-stop sightseeing as you pass by the ‘pet street,’ Le Hong Phong, and the ‘art and painting street,’ Tran Phu, before bidding your cyclos goodbye at Tao Dan Park.
Get on the van again, and head to Cantonese Thien Hau Pagoda in China town. Here you can visit Vietnam’s first traditional medicine museum, the FITO Museum, which displays an amazing collection of 3,000 items relevant to the development of traditional Vietnamese medicine. Implements used to prepare indigenous herbs, objects commonly found in traditional pharmacies, as well as ancient books and documents on traditional Vietnamese medicine, can be seen in the galleries.
Your last stop will be at Binh Tay Market (Cholon) where you can practice your bargaining skills while shopping for souvenirs. You’ll find some of the friendliest, liveliest, most convivial people in the city here.
The city tour will finish around mid-afternoon once you get back to your hotel.