Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City. It was one of the most important trading centers in Sout East Asia and was called the “Pearl of the Far East” in the last centuries. The team of Vietnam Backroads will meet you at the Tan Son Nhat Airport and take you to Saigon downtown to check in at the hotel. Welcomed lunch at one of the famous restaurants in town, and take a walking tour to explore Saigon landmarks, the French influence. First, you visit the Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, which are great sites to learn more about Vietnam’s modern history. Then walk to the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, before a short walk down the Opera House and Town Hall. You can see more mopeds than cars and all ways busy as the city never sleep. Return to the hotel and enjoy your free time for street food in the evening.
Leave Saigon for a 2-hour journey by car to Mekong Delta on a freeways bridge over the vast farmlands to My Tho. It’s nice to look over the idyllic villages and agricultural countryside. Upon arriving at the waterfront in Cai Be, board a Cai Be Princess boat to cruise along waterways through the little Cai Be floating market and villages along riverbanks as you enjoy tropical fruit, and coconut on board. Make a stop at a village that produces local snacks, handicrafts, and rice paper. Return the boat to cruise across Co Chien River, pass lush Tan Phong island, and enter a small quiet river branch to Binh Hoa Phuoc village. Taste local specialty at a local home out in a lovely fruit orchard. Then travel by boat to one of the typical ancient houses on An Binh island. Enjoy fruits, honey, and homemade wines made mainly from fruits with other herbs as the folk show music performed by locals. Afterward, return to the boat, cruising on lively Dong Phu canals. This is a perfect time to see locals’ life on waterways through An Binh island. Then boat escapes the island to cross Co Chien River to another side. Arrive at the dock in Vinh Long and have an hour’s transfer to Can Tho City.
Can Tho is the biggest city in the Delta region, situated by the Bassac/Hau River, and famous for its floating market in Cai Rang rural district. Don’t miss an early morning boat ride to see the local farmers trading fresh farm products and commodities from sampans to bigger boats. After breakfast, check out and travel by motorboat to the well-known floating market. After 45 minutes boat ride, the market is in action before you. The boat gets through the market slowly, so we watch locals exchange farm products from boat to boat, and it is also an excellent time to capture the market in action. Every boat has a long upright pole at its bow on which samples of the goods for sale hung on the bamboo sticks with bananas, pineapple, sweet potatoes, watermelons, and so on. Each product for sale is easily recognizable because it’s hung up with a bamboo pole. Disembark your boat for another land market that sells all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Then carry on the journey to Sadec town by car. Stop at the flower villages, experience how people grow them, and walk through some ornamentals and bonsai gardens. These villages are fabulous places for flower lovers. Next, a short drive takes you to the ancient house of Huy Thuy Le. The house’s owner was in love with the French lady from 1928 to 1932 during the Indochina time. The town had become famous since the movie “The Lover” was published. Sadec is an old town built by the French, and it becomes known to tourists since the movie “The Lover” had published. Marguerite Duras’s love story is about when she fell in love with a local man before 1932. After lunch at the house, keep on the journey to Xeo Quyt forest as planned. Cross the Mekong River by ferry and drive to Xeo Quyt forest, where you will explore the former Viet Công base in Dong Thap. Visit the forest by sampan, paddle the sampan on through the forest, and learn about wildlife before walking on trails to see hidden bunkers, fighting trenches, and the command center. Lastly, rest on vehicle transfer for 3.5 hours back to Saigon in the late afternoon.
Start the day tour to Cao Dai Temple with a two-hour drive to Tay Ninh Province. Arrive around 11:30 am, and this is a perfect time to learn about Cao Daism, its history and have time for endless photos before you watch the followers attending noon mass. Caodaism is an almost new religious movement established in Tay Ninh in 1926. The religion combines Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam. Watching pilgrims pray is one of the major highlights. Most of the followers are in white with long dresses. The pope, cardinals, archbishops, and priests are in colorful long dresses. Then have lunch in the famous restaurant, resume traveling to Cu Chi tunnels, and visit the Ben Duoc original tunnels. Viet Minh dug the tunnels in 1948 when the French were here, then Viet Cong built the tunnels longer and more complicated than when US Army was in South Vietnam until 1975. It is an impressive underground constructed base. You explore these tunnels with your leader, accompanied by a Viet Cong guide with local knowledge. Then return to Saigon in the late afternoon.
Today is your return home. After breakfast, spend the rest shopping on Dong Khoi St, Ben Thanh Market, and relaxing until a pick up for transfer to the International Airport to fly home. Tour End!