Ho Chi Minh City, formally Saigon was named Prei Norkor by the Cambodians who inhabited it during the Angkor era. In the 18th century it was renamed Saigon under the Nguyen emperors who claimed the city and with the reunification of the country it received its present day name Ho Chi Minh City. Still referred to by the locals as Saigon, it’s a city of many contrasts with its fabulous restaurants vying for space with streets vendors, local markets teeming with produce and charming colonial architecture. Discover this fabulous city followed by a nights cruise aboard the quaint Song Xanh sampan on the Mekong then a night at the Victoria Hotel in the heart of the Delta.
Destinations: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City Arrival (Driver Pickup)
Arriving at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. You’ll have time to relax after your journey before enjoying a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture). You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City, the economic hub of Vietnam, blends Chinese, colonial and modern influences. The huge number of people, shops and stalls give Saigon, now named Ho Chi Minh City, a bustling atmosphere.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City orientation (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, your guide will arrive to show you around Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll visit the History Museum where there is a special exhibition of the 5th century ‘Oc Eo’ civilisation. (Alternatively, you’ll visit the Fito Museum (First Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine) is host to a large collection of relics, including traditional Vietnamese medicinal implements, and chronicles the history of medical practice in Vietnam from 2000 BC). The Museum of War Remnants provides a very partial, but riveting, perspective of the ‘American War’: not for the squeamish! The Binh Tay market and the China Town are worth a stroll to explore the local daily life and the culture mix.
You’ll also call in at the Jade Emperor Temple. It’s one of the best Taoist temples in Vietnam, with superb effigies, remarkable carved panels of the descent to Hell and somewhat incongruous terrapin and tortoise sanctuaries. You’ll then return your hotel for freshen up or wander around the huge Ben Thanh market, one of the liveliest areas of Ho Chi Minh City, is packed with every conceivable commodity. You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be – Junk Boat Overnight (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
The Cuu Long region, which translates as 'Nine Dragons', otherwise known as the Mekong Delta is a great place to discover Vietnam. Amazing waterways hidden amongst vibrant tropical fruit gardens, bustling floating markets that offer a cornucopia of items and acres of emerald rice fields are what make this region so unforgettable.
After breakfast, you will depart for the Mekong Delta. You will leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind as you travel through Vietnam’s picturesque countryside with its rice paddies and rural villages. Upon arrival in the Delta, you will board the private ‘Song Xanh’, modeled after a traditional sampan. The boat’s small size allows you to discover the smaller canals and tributaries of this region. Your visit includes the home of Mr. Huyen Thuy Le, a character from the novel ‘The Lover’ by Marguerite Duras as well as Thien Hau Pagoda. You will then return to the boat for lunch. Continue to Can Tho stopping en-route at a Cao Dai Temple. Cao Daism is indigenous to South Vietnam and the colorful and unusual murals that cover the temple’s interior will blind you with their brilliance.
Before sunset, the last stop is at a splendid 19th century house where an unforgettable dinner will be served. After dinner, proceed for one hour to Can Tho where your sampan will be stay for the night. You will stay overnight on the boat.
Day 4: Mekong Delta (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, you will cross the Mekong. On the way to Cai Rang Floating Market, you will take in traditional sights such as rice barges, wooden ship building yards and even fruit drying along the Mekong’s banks. The main items sold here are fruit and vegetables and every boat has a long upright pole at its bow on which samples of the goods for sale are hung. The waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats packed with mango, bananas, papaya, pineapple, and even floating pho vendors.
After your visit of Cai Rang check-out and disembark before the drive to your hotel in Can Tho. Situated on the banks of the Mekong, the resort blends colonial-style architecture with the natural beauty of the river. Your afternoon is free at leisure, lounge by the pool, as an added option has some spa treatments or simply enjoy the charming surroundings. You will spend the night in Can Tho.
Day 5: Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast, Guide)
After breakfast, you will be free at the leisure until the driver arrives to take you back to Ho Chi Minh airport in a good time to take the departure flight.
- Free Vietnam Visa invitation letter
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above (Please note: pick-ups will be by a guide and driver or, where a guide is not necessary, a driver only. All unaccompanied drivers will be briefed in advance, and will carry a mobile phone to ensure smooth transfer arrangements)
- Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All the Mekong boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
- Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.
- Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
- Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants and full board on the boat in the Mekong River.
- VAT and other taxes
- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
- Compulsory meal (if any)