This stimulating, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) sightseeing tour is the perfect way for travelers wanting the lay of the land, or for first time visitors to catch Saigon's main areas of attraction. Naturally, you'll see the primary historical and cultural places, but Saigon (known as The Pearl of the Far East) is so much more. It's the high pace of its people, set to the many cafes' thumping beats. It's the shoppers haggling in the colorful market streets. Your knowledgeable guide will elaborate on the many places you see.
As an Asian country (the Chinese comprise the largest ethnic bloc) with strong French and Russian influences, Vietnam embodies a true clash of cultures. Saigon and its nine million residents are the heart of it all.
The communist Vietnamese won independence after the "Fall of Saigon" in 1975. Many attractions echo that era. For instance, the Reunification Palace (formerly the Presidential Palace) is an interesting monstrosity designed in the 1960s with the help of the Soviets. The tank that crashed through its gates on April 30, 1975, signifying 'The Fall' still graces its front lawn.
Known as the 'Paris of the East' you'll also see the landmark twin towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral, made with bricks imported from Marseille, France and stop by the old Post office to get good shots for our memory of the big, modern city of Vietnam.
If you want to opt for some adventure, hop on a fantastic trishaw ride through the maze of narrow streets and observe where vendors hustle and bustle in Cholon (China Town). Sitting at its center is the Thien Hau Pagoda, dedicated to the goddess Thien Hau, protector of the sea. Tourists mingle alongside worshipers who light incense. Inside, photographers will be in a state of euphoria shooting its ornate designs.
Your memorable tour of Saigon will enable you to see the very best of the city, hassle free. The scent of food and the excitement of busy residents flooding the streets will encourage you to dive into Saigon and drum your own beat. If time permits, you will have a chance to interact with local vendors and learn how to bargain when buying souvenirs in Vietnam at Ben Thanh market.
Please Note: Passengers will be granted a Vietnam visa by the cruise line. Some of the cruise lines include the visa within the cruise package. However, if a visa was not included in your cruise package, you pay may purchase one directly onboard. The cost varies anywhere from $5 US to $10 US per person, depending on the cruise line.