Best of Saigon
In less than a decade, Ho Chi Minh City, or commonly referred to as Saigon, has transformed itself into Asia’s most dynamic city. The city is now the industrial centre, economic capital and the heart of Vietnam’s burgeoning fashion industry and innovative cuisine. Yet within the teeming metropolis are the timeless traditions and beauty of an ancient culture.
Day 01: Arrival Ho Chi Minh City
Upon arrival be met and transfer to your hotel.
Enjoy a city tour to admire Saigon’s historic landmarks including the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris. Then head across the square to the Central Post Office, designed by the French architect, Gustave Eiffel. Continue your visit with the former Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American war. Further, drive to visit the War Remnants Museum for a vivid insight of the American war through the local’s eyes. End the tour at a street coffee shop to observe the daily life of the locals.
Optional:Visit the city’s highlight in a charming vintage car or vintage sidecar motorbike is one of the most wonderful and lavish way.
AO Circus Show with Dinner at Dining Room
Watch the exciting AO Show. This modern circus surpasses all the standards that were previously set by many other shows in Vietnam over the years. (Not available from Dec 2015 - Feb 2016, during this time My Village show will be available at Opera House).
After the show, enjoy beautifully decorated dishes of innovative Vietnamese cuisine in a different approach at Dining Room restaurant.
Transfer back to the hotel.
Day 02 : Ho Chi Minh City
Today, choose either one of the tours below:
Option 1: Private cooking Class at Cu Chi
Arrive at Cooking Class venue after 2-hour drive from Saigon. Meet with your friendly chef and learn how people grow mushrooms - one of locals' main income sources. Then get your hands dirty and venture into the garden to pick some vegetables. Roll up your sleeves for a private hands-on cooking class. Savor your own culinary creations at lunch in the peaceful countryside scenery.
Option 2: Agriculture Life at Cu Chi
Today, drive 2 hours to Cu Chi area and head to Ho Chi Minh Agricultural Village where we can learn about agriculture life through visiting different families who raise buffalo, fish and prawns. Then go to see how people grow mushrooms - one of their main income sources. Get your hands dirty and venture into the garden or rice field (depending on seasons) and join the friendly farmers to learn the traditional gardening methods. After working hard as a farmer, it’s time to savor lunch along with vegetables picked from the garden. Later visit a family-run milk cow farm and try your hand at milking the cow. Enjoy a cup of milk coffee before bidding farewell to the host.
Cu Chi tunnel with VC Veteran
The Cu Chi tunnel complex was dug in 1948 for the guerrillas to hide from French air and ground sweeps. It also served as communication routes and food and weapon caches as well as hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the American war. Visit the underground villages with a VC veteran who used to live there, to better understand the tunnels’ history, life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese’s resilience during the combats.
Optional Vietnamese Dinner and Jazz Club: With the concept ‘sharing the Vietnamese spirit through gastronomy’ Xu offers exquisite Vietnamese cuisine in a beautiful art-deco inspired setting. Then move on to Sax’n Art - a small jazz club owned by the famous Vietnamese saxophone player - Mr. Tran Manh Tuan.
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch included
Day 03 : Ho Chi Minh City
Today choose one of the tours below according to your interest:
Option 1: Sophie's Art Tour
Today meet with art curator Sophie Hughes for a fascinating exploration into Vietnam’s art history. Having lived in Saigon for years, she has established close relationship with artists, curators, historians. From the grand halls of the Fine Art Museum to the fresh white spaces of leading contemporary art galleries, this journey will take you from colonialism to independence, communism to globalization. This tour is not just for art lovers but for those who want to gain a deeper of understanding of the major shifts in 20th and 21st century Vietnam through the eyes of artists. (Note: Tour is available Tue - Sat, other days tour is run by Mr Stu, the founder of New Hero project)
Option 2: Cho Long Heritage tour with Tim Doling
Originally trained as a medieval historian, Tim Doling has spent most of his career in the cultural sector, running theaters and arts center in Europe and undertaking cultural projects in Asia. Tim has authored numerous books about Vietnam including "Exploring Ho Chi Minh City". Tim’s particular area of interest is carrying out detailed research on hitherto undocumented historic buildings, with a view to harnessing the heritage value of the urban landscape for tourism. Today, meet with Tim for a walking tour through District 5.
Street Food Tour by Vespa
Discover what this thriving and exciting metropolis can offer in terms of street food, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. Be driven to the local Zoom coffee shop for a welcome drink and briefing about the trip. Start the journey with en-route stops including dinner and drinks at Saigon's best authentic street food, and a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. Drive to District 4 to taste various snail dishes which are very popular in Saigon. Then it’s back to District 3 to sample a southern Vietnamese specialty - Banh Xeo (rice pancake with pork and prawns). Finally, head to a local Vietnamese style coffee shop and enjoy a local coffee.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner included
(Note: Tour is available Tue - Sat, other days tour is run by Mr Stu)
Day 04 : Departure Ho Chi Minh City
Today, be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Meals: Breakfast included