Saigon River Express
Premium water taxi and ferry service throughout Saigon. The primary boarding location is the central pier in district one across from the Renaissance Hotel. It only take 10 to 15 minutes to travel to Saigon’s ever popular riverside restaurant: The Deck.
Saigon River Express offers VIP speedboat tours to the Cu Chi Tunnels – the Mekong Delta – and jungle canal tours around Saigon.
Saigon River express offers the most exciting way to see the best attractions around Ho Chi Minh City. Even a sunset tour around Saigon involves exploring narrow jungle canals with a village made of bamboo and thatch as well as visiting a spectacular floating Temple. This is definitely a must for any visitor to Saigon. http://www.saigonriverexpress.com
The Cu Chi tunnel
Only a one hour boat ride from the central pier and then thirty minutes by land. This is the fastest and most pleasurable way to get to the best destinations in Saigon.
Ben Thanh Market
Whatever you want, you can probably find it. There are lots of souvenirs, but also things the local people need. The quality of goods varies, and you must bargain – expect the initial price to be inflated up to two or three times what it should be.
The market was formally established by the French colonial powers after taking over the Gia Dinh citadel in 1859. This market was destroyed by fire in 1870 and rebuilt to become Saigon’s largest market. In 1912 the market was moved to a new building and called the New Ben Thanh Market to distinguish over its predecessor.
**Pay attention to the door you enter through. There are lots of doors, and it’s easy to get lost.
The Gold and Jewelry shops usually have the best currency exchange rate.
War Remnants Museum (Nha Trung Bay Toi Ac Chien Tranh)
Located in the former U.S. Information Agency building (before Vietnam re-established diplomatic ties with the U.S. it was called the War Crimes Museum) it contains the history of the Vietnam War as told by the victorious Communist.
The Requiem Exhibit is supposedly excellent. A collection of photos by photographers, from all sides, who were killed in Viet Nam or Indochina. Pictures and short biographies of the photographers are by their featured photos.
Reunification Palace (Hoi Truong Thong Nhat)
Central Post Office
A great old building that reflects the French colonial era. The current government has done a wonderful job of preserving this piece of history. Also, there are two information booths at the entrance where you can find great deals on many local tours.
Xin Chao! Daily Show
Notre Dame Cathedral
The Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica is a beautiful neo-Romanesque Catholic church built by the French in 1863 during their colonization of Indochina. Its central location within the old district of Saigon and remains a prickly thorn on the backsides of the communist regime as it remains a visual reminder of foreign influence over their brand of capitalist socialism.
The Basilica’s construction was entirely funded from France to showcase French culture and civilization. The building materials and the majority of the tiles were produced in Marseille adding a certain piece of nostalgic and sentimental value to Vietnamese Catholics & South Vietnamese, so much so that even the communists were reluctant to tear down such a beautiful piece of architecture in 1975 after the Fall of Saigon.
Sunday Mass at 9:30am is celebrated in English & is popular with foreign visitors.
Saigon Opera House (Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theater)
Located in the central area of Ho Chi Minh City adjacent to the Continental Hotel, in the close vicinity of other notable buildings such as Notre Dame, Hotel de Ville and Reunification Palace. It is a tribute to French architecture.
A brass band plays on the entrance steps early every Sunday morning. To see people listening…while resting on their motorbikes – strange. They play well and if you like to listen to real music, well worth the visit (finishes around 9.30am).
It is beautifully lit in the evening.
Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City
We will have only 2 full days in Ho Chi Minh, so our two major destinations are the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong Delta. Through Expedia.com on-line. There are “private tours” available for twice the price: group tours for about $70 Urban Adventures.
An 8-10 hour tour with hotel available.
A water city with boats, houses and water markets.
Considered the “rice bowl” of Vietnam due to the many rice paddies.
Explore islands in the river (named after the Tortoise, Phoenix, Dragon and Unicorn).
Continue onto Ben Tre to eat fresh Elephant Ear fish after going through the river canals in tiny fishing boats. See how coconut candy is made, Vietnamese coffee.
Most tourists will be brought to the gateway city for the Mekong Delta – MY THO. My Tho was founded in the 1680’s first by Chinese refugees.
If you want to see the markets in full swing, then an overnight stay for an early morning start is probably best.
Also highly recommended…