Behind the sleek skyscrapers of modern Saigon, our 2nd city has a prominent history going back centuries. It’s thought the earliest settlement was a 4th century Funan temple at what is now the 19th century Phung Son pagoda in Saigon’s District 11. During its Khmer period, the town was known as Prey Nokor before annexation by the Vietnamese in the 17th century.
Colonised by France and Spain in 1859 it was quickly ceded to France and from this almost 100 year period of colonisation can still be seen classical Western-style buildings and villas with wide French-style boulevards. Saigon was the capital of French Cochin China and later the independent republic of South Vietnam from 1955-1975. In 1976 Saigon city merged with the surrounding Gia Dinh Province and was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City after the revolutionary leader
Today’s Saigon is the business and financial hub of modern Vietnam and is a popular tourist destination for our international visitors, over 6 million were welcomed last year!
My full day Saigon ‘Highlights’ Excursion includes all the popular attractions PLUS a snapshot of the real Saigon that many visitors never see In the morning we ‘meet & greet’ shipside by your personal tour guide with driver and modern air-conditioned vehicle, for your drive into Saigon’s Chợ Lớn area and your first destination of Chinatown and the old Thien Hau temple where you gain a wonderful insight into our customs and religions. This is followed by a trishaw ride to the centre of Saigon (weather permitting) where you discover the hidden gems of our second city through small alleys and markets. This is truly memorable as you experience the genuine and ‘local side’ of Saigon life.
We have time for a lunch of authentic south Vietnamese delicacies.
After lunch we continue our private excursion with all the key sights in Saigon city including: the Reunification Hall and War Remnants Museum, the Central Post Office, Opera House and Notre Dame Cathedral and an interesting shopping experience with locals at Ben Thanh market where we can help you negotiate your purchase (or alternatively you can visit the ‘fixed price’ area).
Finally, time and traffic permitting, you visit the lovely Rex Hotel where during the war military briefings for journalists were known as the “Five O’Clock Follies”, before returning you safely to your ship in plenty of time for your onward journey.