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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Ho Chi Minh Tours - Excursions
Ho Chi Minh Tours Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Walking Tours

No organized walking tours or marked self-guided tours available in Ho Chi Minh but they can be organized privately by 1 of the travel agents in the city. One possible route is around the Notre Dame Town Hall, Post Office, Cathedral, War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace (time permitting). You can also easily walk through the shopping districts of Le Loi and Dong Khoito Ben Thanh Market.

The walking is not extremely gruelling but the heat can make it tough. Exotissimo (tel: (08) 825-1723) and Vidotour (tel: (08) 933 0457-469) will arrange personalised tours with a guide.

Bus Tours

Saigontourist (tel: (08) 829-8914) provides half-day city tours from 8.00 am to 12 noon on a daily basis. Cost is US$13, with hotel pick-up free of charge between Districts 1 and 3. These include the Historical Museum, Cholon (Thien Hau Pagoda and Binh Tay Market), Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the lacquer ware factory.

Private city tours can be arranged through travel agencies, such as Exotissimo (tel: (08) 825 1723) and Vidotour (tel: (08) 933 0457-469), with free hotel pick-up. The half-day tours are four hours and cost is US$18-30; they include Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Reunification Palace and the Historical Museum. The eight-hour full-day tour costs US$37 and includes Cholon (Thien Hau Pagoda and Binh Tay Market) and the lacquer ware factory. Tour rates are per person with a minimum of two people.

Boat Tours

Boat tours are no longer available since the river is very polluted due to frequent commercial activities, even though the authorities are working to clean it up. However, Saigontourist (tel: (08) 829-8914) still provides evening cruises every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, which cost US$20, last one hour and finish at Binh Quoi Tourist Village for dinner with a show.

Excursions For a Half Day

Cu Chi Tunnels

The Chu Chi Tunnels, just one and a half hours drive from the city, were dug by hand by the Vietnamese, to initially fight against the French and then the USA. The tunnels were such a great hiding place that the Americans continuously struggled against surprised attacks launched from them. The network stretches for over 200 kilometres or 124 miles and there are several layers of tunnels, housing kitchens, hospitals, and living quarters. Some of the tunnels have been expanded to allow foreign tourists to be able to stroll or crawl through them to get to know how it was to live down there.

The Chu Chi Tunnels (tel: (08) 794-8820) are open every day from 7.30 am to 4.30 pm and admission VND65,000. Saigontourist (tel: (08) 829-8914) provides daily bus (coach) trips lasting 5 hours and costing US$24. Exotissimo (tel: (08) 825-1723) and Vidotour (tel: (08) 933 0457-469) can organize private tours; they charge US$27 and US$31 respectively (per person but with a minimum of 2 people). You can also reach the tunnels by public bus from the Tay Ninh Bus Station (tel: (08) 891-4923).

For a Whole Day

Cu Chi Tunnels and Tay Ninh

The trip to the tunnels can be mixed with the Cao Dai Temple, at Tay Ninh, to make a whole-day excursion. 4 hour-long services are operated every day at 6.00 am, 12 noon, 6.00 pm and 12 midnight in the Disneyesque temple, where Cao Dai followers dressed up in brightly coloured robes present a ceremony of a fusion of religions, which include Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. Tay Ninh is approximately 150 minutes drive from Ho Chi Minh City.

Saigontourist
(tel: (08) 829-8914) offers week-end (Saturday and Sunday) coach trips that last 10 hours and cost US$43. Exotissimo (tel: (08) 825-1723) and Vidotour (tel: (08) 933 0457-469) provide private tours; cost is US$51 and US$44 respectively (per person with a minimum of 2 people). The tunnels and Tay Ninh can also be accessible by public bus from Tay Ninh Bus Station (tel: (08) 891 4923).

Vinh Long

Vinh Long is 1 of the most fascinating towns in the Mekong Delta which is easily accessible by car from Ho Chi Minh City (about 3 hours drive away). Life here rotates around the river and the best way to see this is going on a boat trip through the many canals, passing small boats that are home to entire families. There are tiny villages on the riverside of the canals and on small islands. Families eke a living from the river and the fertile soil on its riverbanks. A high point of the tour is the floating market at Cai Be that mostly sells fruit and vegetables to customers out of their little boats. The boat trips always comprise a side visit to a bonsai garden and a fruit plantation, where buyers can sample citrus fruits right from the fruit trees.

Saigontourist (tel: (08) 829-8914) arranges Saturday and Sunday coach trips lasting 10 hours and costing US$48. Exotissimo (tel: (08) 825-1723) and Vidotour (tel: (08) 933 0457-469) offer private tours that last 10 hours; they charge US$57 and US$54 respectively (per person with a minimum of 2 people). A tour is recommended as the public bus takes much too long for a day trip.

Vung Tau

This beachfront resort is only 2 hours by car from the city and popular among city residents; however, the beaches are not the best Vietnam has to offer. Saigontourist (tel: (08) 829-8914) and Vidotour (tel: (08) 933 0457-469) provide private tours for about US$46 (per person with a minimum of 2 people). To go to Vung Tau by hydrofoil is also possible.
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