South Vietnam Explorer
South Vietnam Explorer
8 days / 7 nights
This trip takes in the deep south of Vietnam, a world of water where the Mekong splits into nine tributaries snaking their way to the sea. Blanketed in a patchwork of emerald greens, this is a beautiful part of the country. Upon arrival in Saigon, we explore the main sights associated with the long war, including the War Remnants Museum and the French colonial-era Post Office. We then make a day trip to visit the Cao Dai Holy See and the underground warren that is the Cu Chi Tunnels. We then head into the heart of the Mekong Delta, enjoying a boat trip to the islands and farms around Cai Be and Vinh Long before arriving in Cantho, capital of the delta region. We visit the amazing floating markets around Cantho before travelling south to the busy port of Rach Gia to embark on a hydrofoil to Phu Quoc Island. Relax on the pristine beaches or enjoy a snorkelling trip to the nearby An Thoi Islands, there is plenty of underwater action. This is beach bliss.
- Day 1: Arrive Saigon. War Remnants Museum. Notre Dame Cathedral.
- Day 2: Cao Dai Temple at Tay Ninh and Cu Chi Tunnels.
- Day 3: Saigon to Cantho, including Cai Be to Vinh Long Boat Trip.
- Day 4: Floating Markets of Cantho and Around.
- Day 5: Cantho to Rach Gia and Hydrofoil to Phu Quoc.
- Day 6: Time at Leisure on Beaches of Phu Quoc.
- Day 7: Time at Leisure on Beaches of Phu Quoc.
- Day 8: Fly Back to Saigon for Onward Flight or Connection.
Day 1: Arrive Saigon. War Remnants Museum. Notre Dame Cathedral.
We arrive in Saigon and transfer to our accommodation. In the afternoon, we begin exploring the sights of Saigon. We learn about the legacy of war at the dramatic War Remnants Museum. The Requiem photo exhibition showcases the work of the era's most famous combat photographers and is a must. We also visit Reunification Hall, formerly the Presidential Palace of South Vietnam. It was here that a North Vietnamese tank famously crashed through the gates bringing an end to the long Vietnam War and the building has been preserved exactly as it was in 1975. We then take a stroll around the impressive old French-built post office and Notre Dame Cathedral before continuing to the City Hall area, another grand old colonial-era relic. We then leave guests free to explore the famous Dong Khoi area, home to the legendary Continental Hotel, made famous by Graham Greene in the Quiet American, and lots of popular restaurants, bars and boutiques.
Day 2: Cao Dai Temple at Tay Ninh and Cu Chi Tunnels.
We leave the bustling streets of Saigon and head northwest to the town of Tay Ninh, headquarters of the Cao Dai religion. The Cao Dai Great Temple is an incredible cotton candy building and we learn about this unique religious fusion of East meets West. We arrive in time to witness one of their noon prayer service.
After a local lunch, we continue to the Cu Chi Tunnels an incredible underground world used by the Vietnamese communists to elude the Americans. Whole villages went underground during the 1960s and the tunnels stretched for more than 250km, from the Cambodian border to the suburbs of Saigon. Using this incredible warren of tunnels, the Vietcong were able to stage ambushes and attacks on American patrols and even bases. We explore this astonishing complex, a testament to the tenacity of the Vietnamese people. Return to Saigon.
Day 3: Saigon to Cantho, including Cai Be to Vinh Long Boat Trip.
After breakfast, we leave behind the hustle and bustle of Saigon as we delve into the Mekong Delta, a patchwork of emerald greens and the rice bowl of southern Vietnam. We travel to the small community of Cai Be, where we visit a colourful floating market. We cruise through the waterways and canals of the Mekong Delta to visit fruit orchards and learn about the local cottage industries like coconut candy, popcorn and brick-making. We stop for a local lunch on one of the pretty islands and may sample the local specialty of elephant ear fish.
After lunch, we can experience a sampan ride along one of the canals before we continue to the important port of Vinh Long. We then return to our vehicle for the onward journey to Cantho, commercial capital of the Mekong Delta and our base for visiting the amazing floating market of Cai Rang. We check into our hotel for the night.
Day 4: Floating Markets of Cantho and Around.
This morning we rise early to experience the watery world of the floating markets in the Mekong Delta. We travel to the floating market of Cai Rang, the biggest in the region. We stop at large bridge that is the perfect spot for some aerial photographs of the action. We then board a small boat and cruise through the market. Everything is available here, just like a normal Vietnamese market, only the stalls are boats. Fresh fruit and vegetables, dried fish, household goods, the boats are heavily laden with anything and everything. These are family enterprises and some of the vendors actually live on their boats. After some time to soak up this amazing place, we return to the hotel for breakfast. We leave the rest of the morning free to enjoy Cantho.
Day 5: Cantho to Rach Gia and Hydrofoil to Phu Quoc.
In the morning we depart from Can Tho to Rach Gia. The journey can take around 3 hours. Stop on the way for photo and refreshment. Have your lunch on the way. Upon arrival in Rach Gia, get on our express high speed boat to Phu Quoc, Picked up at Phu Quoc sea port and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Phu Quoc island
Day 6: Time at Leisure on Beaches of Phu Quoc.
Today is left free for you to relax or explore the beautiful beaches on this lovely island. Choose from the (unsurprisingly) long Long Beach or the accessible Bai Cua Can or venture to the uncrowded beaches in the north, Bai Dai and Bai Thom. There are no shortage of beautiful beaches on Phu Quoc Island. Possible activities include diving and snorkeling during the dry season months of November to May for those that want to explore the underwater world. There is also the option of sea kayaking for those who prefer to stay above the surface.
Day 7: Time at Leisure on Beaches of Phu Quoc.
You are free to explore Phu Quoc yourselves today. There are numerous activities you can take part in like: learning about daily activities of fishermen at An Thoi port & dry seafood market; going to Sao beach for swimming and sunbathing, for example. You can also visit to traditional fish sauce processing house in the area. Overnight in Phu Quoc
Day 8: Fly Back to Saigon for Onward Flight or Connection.
Free for leisure until we pick you up and take to you to the airport for your onward flight. Tour ends at Tan Son Nhat airport.