5. Ho Chi Minh City: Private Tour from Hiep Phuoc Port
After venturing to the city from the port, you can immerse yourself in local Vietnamese culture with a traditional "cyclo" ride through the narrow, colorful streets of Ho Chi Minh. As you make your way through this bustling hub, you will experience the daily life of the locals as they haggle at the countless markets dotted throughout the city. You will also witness vendors selling colorful materials, fresh fruit and vegetables, and of course, the famed Vietnamese street food!
Following the sounds, sights and scents of Ho Chi Minh’s streets, you will begin to explore the Chinese-influenced Thien Hau Temple. Ho Chi Minh's temples offer an essential insight into the beliefs and customs of the Vietnamese, and this beautiful temple is no exception. This National Architectural Heritage Site, apart from housing beautiful art pieces and antiquities, gives an important insight into Vietnamese folk religions for locals and tourists alike.
Next up, prepare for the emotional impact of the War Remnants Museum. Offering a rare insight into the civilian impact of the Vietnamese-American war, the multi-layered displays are hard-hitting, but an absolute must-see. The Requiem Gallery is the gem of this museum, where you can see historic photos taken by famed international war photographers such as Tim Page or Larry Burrows. Your next stop is the Independence Palace, an important landmark which acts as a fascinating time capsule. The site of the end of the Vietnam War, Independence Palace houses secret rooms, a war bunker, and even the original tanks that were used to seize the palace itself. After the Independence Palace, you will be invited for a tasty and simple local lunch of either Pho or Banh Mi. This delicious break will then be followed by a famous Vietnamese-style coffee.
Following lunch, you can enjoy a walking tour of all of Ho Chi Minh's most important sites. The Notre-Dame cathedral and Central Post Office are stunning architectural feats in the center of the city. From the Post Office, your guide will show you the historic CIA headquarters and tell you the story of the last U.S Helicopter flying out of Saigon in 1975. You will stroll leisurely along Dong Khoi street to visit the very beautiful Opera House and City Hall, before making your final, optional stop at the Level 23 rooftop bar where you can have a drink and unwind. You can sip your drink and take in incredible city views, before your guide drops you back to port with plenty of time for your departure.