Day 1: Saigon Arrival
Arrival to Tan Son Nhat Airport Saigon. Our tour guide welcomes You at the airport and transfer by A/C minibus to the hotel (good for arrivals 11AM – 6PM). Transfer time about 45 minutes.
Check in the hotel / free time for Yourselves. Whether You are very active or do not need too much relaxation time our guide will be ready to get You for ORIENTATION TOUR. It is going to explain You about traffic, local customs and does&donts, fantastic Vietnamese Coffee or Tea.
19.00 – 23.00 Saigon by Night, special tour on the motorbikes – we show You non – touristic city. Come to see bustling city center with beautiful colonial buildings. District 5, mysterious China way. District 2 – new Saigon area with amazing City Panorama Spot, Binh Thanh District with small alleys with local houses, shops and markets and District 3 – popular coffee and entertainment place. During tour we stop in local street food places (one drink in each place is included). We finish our tour about 23.00 in the hotel. Each person is transported with experienced local driver – very safe option.
Night: One of famous 3* Hotel / Deluxe Room
Day 2: Cyclo Ride with Community, Chinatown Cholon, Colonial District, Night Panorama Cruise
Morning: breakfast in the hotel (buffet). We start at 9AM with glamour cyclo (rikshaw) tour operated by LOCAL CYCLO COMMUNITY. During tour we will see colonial districts. Le Loi and Dong Khoi Boulevards, Opera House (outside), Notre Dame Cathedral, Main Post Office, Governor Palace and Presidential Palace (outside) (outside) and at the end short visit to the Museum of War Remnants – classy propaganda picture of II Indochina War.
At noon we drop off our cyclos and stop for lunch in Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant that serves only 2 dishes – Fried fish with peanuts, rice crackers, dill and oriental variation of cream brulee. That is favorite restaurant of Mr. Anthony Bourdain, famous travelling cook.
In the afternoon we continue our tour with minibus (route takes about 30km, so that is too long distance for cyclo). First of all we come to Jade Emperor Pagoda – not the olderst, but the most beautiful pagoda in the city, and after that move to District 5 known as Cholon or China Town. Bustling trading spot with numer of Chinese ethnic Vietnamese. We do stop in Thien Hau Pagoda (one of the most important place for Chinese community) and Tan Binh Market (main market for retail and wholesale in this area). Return to the hotel before 17.00.
Short time for relax and bath.
18.00 Transfer by our bus to Tan Cang port and boarding to the Lady Hau Wooden Rice Junk. That is our junk for night panorama cruise. Junk originally was used to carry rice between Mekong Delta and Saigon. Nowadays offer luxury dinner on the Saigonriver. Local traditional music is onboard! Return to the hotel about 21.00 and free time.
If You wish discover Saigon by Night with its night markets and bars or music clubs that is possibly. Tour guide will be with You, however all expenses are paid by Yourselves.
Night: One of famous 3* Hotel / Deluxe Room
Day 3: Coconut Capital, Boat Tour, Local Lunch in Plantation, XeLoi Ride
Morning: breakfast in the hotel (buffet). Check out and 9.00 we start our journey to Mekong Delta (called by locals Cuu Long, Dragon with Nine Heads). We travel by minivan about 2.5h going across rice fields, fish farms, coconut and fruit tree plantations. About noon we expect to be in Ben Tre (depends on the traffic) – place called Vietnamese Coconut Capital. This province is close to the see in deep delta, and salty soil not allow locals to grow up rice. Most of them grow up coconut and water coconut palms. We make our tour with wooden boat along big Mekong River, and later along natural and man-made channels in the surrounding of palm trees. During the tour we visit local manufactures of coconut and rice products (we could try all of them freely), we do stop in local beehive to try green honey tea and some seasonal fruits. Local are friendly and always like to entertain, don’t be surprise to meet local singers and bands. Later on we take XeLoi (local variation of TukTuk) and go across villages located in Mekong Islands. We stop in local house to look how the rural life looks like. At the end of the tour we have so called “late lunch” with local specialties. On the way return we have small boats with paddles (some channels are narrow and bridges are really low – so our wooden boat cannot get access to them).
Finish of the tour in the late afternoon. Transfer by minivan to Can Tho (about 2h). Can Tho is the busiest and the biggest City in Mekong Delta. It is located in the heart of the city with biggest Indochina Bridge in the city center (over 550m tall from bottom to the top, and over 39m clear space) over Mekong River (stream called Song Hau Giang). We should be in the hotel and checking after sunset.
In the evening free time, however our guide is pleased to organize You short walk along city promenade and recommend local restaurant for dinner (meal and drinks are paid by Yourselves).
Night: 3* Hotel / Deluxe Room
Day 4: CAN THO – LONG XUYEN – CHAU DOC
5.00 early morning wake up. Meeting with tour guide and boat cruise along Mekong canal to Cai Rang and Bui Phong floating market. Ride along bustling canal from Can ThoNinhKieu pier to suburbs to the biggest floating market in South East Asia. Cai Rang is wholesale fruit and vegetable market. Local trades come from all Mekong Delta and bring here goods to supply local sellers from small shops and local markets. You could see wooden boats with wooden sticks with chopped veggies or fruits that are offered on the certain boat. Market is really busy in the very morning hours, hundreds of small and big boats and trading business. You can buy 1 or 2 fruits however locals they buy dozen of kilograms per each shopping. Among them there are small boat cafes serving hot coffee, drinks, snacks. Small minimarts with goods (mostrly plastic, bamboo, cigarettes, washing powders and liquids). Around markets You could notice also floating bars, restaurants and petrol stations. Next by Bui Phong market is more oriented for smaller buyers where prices are higher but You could purchase small amount like 1-2-3kg. After that return to the hotel about 8AM and we have time for breakfast in the hotel.
10AM check out and we continue our trip up to the Northern Delta. At noon we are coming to Long Xuyen Crocodile farm, where hundreds of crocodiles are bred for their meat, skin and eggs. Lunch is going to be served. Menu is crocodile meat and veggies. Drink by Your own – restaurant serves good variety of traditional rice wines include: snake wine, gecko wine or herbal medical liquers.
Afternoon we continue our ride to Chau Doc City, border place with Cambodia. Chau Doc is city with mix population of Vietnamese, Chinese, Khmer and Muslim Chams. We come to our accommodation place that is located 10km away from Chau Doc City Center. Nui Sam – holy hindu and Buddhist mountain. On its side there is wonderful Victoria Nui Sam Resort offers quiet and peaceful stay.
Check in and free time for relaxation, outstanding panorama over delta’s rice fields and villages. Infinity rice field view pool is excellent for refreshing and scenery pictures. Restaurant located in main building with view tower offers great variety of drinks as well as fusion French colonial and Vietnamese kitchen. Meals and food in the evening are paid by Yourselves.
For active persons we do recommend 30 minute walk to the top of Nui Sam Mountain where You could see panorama of Mekong river and Chau Doc city. On the top of the mountain there is military post and Buddhist holy place, where many worshipers pray and burn sticks.
Night: Victoria Nui Sam 3.5* – lodge villas
Day 5: CHAU DOC
We do recommend You to wake up about 5.30 and enjoy sunrise from main terrace, view tower or outside terrace. Fantastic view and outstanding pictures are sure. Breakfast is served from 6AM to 9AM, there is nothing better in the morning, than Vietnamese Coffee with perfect view.
9AM we start our bicycle tour. At the beginning short safety briefing and we start our daily bicycle tour. First of all we are going to Buddhist Hindu Temple, Famous Me Den Temple (one of the most important pilgrimage spot in Vietnam! From there we do 10km ride on the bicycles along military cemetery and Chinese cemetery, than we turning to the local villages, rice fields, canals, ponds and small bridges. Our tour takes about 15km on the bicycles (about 2h) and route depends on the season. During rainy season we come more with asphalt roads (due to high level of water most of local soil roads are flooded), during dry season we take shortcuts across very local roads and paths
About noon we reach Tra Su Mangrove Forest. There is National Park with ancient delta’s forest. Outstanding place with over 100 kinds of birds (most of them we could see by ourselves), reptiles, butterflies and insects. There is top bird watching spot. Our tour around park takes about 1h, we do all by motorboat and hand paddle boats when we go across labyrinth of mangrove trees. After tour lunch is served in local restaurant with local Mekong style dishes.
Afternoon we are coming back to lodge by shuttle bus and afternoon we have time to enjoy and relax. Evening there is time for drinks and dinner by Your own. Tour guide is always beside You, and if You wish to organize short escapade to Chau Doc town, there is an option. Chau Doc is a bit sleepy and quiet place, but You could get there number of amazing local restaurants or come to lively and noisy riverfront, where could be found many local food stalls, popcorn and dried squid sellers as well as playing kids and group of fitness fans. Local market is operating usually upon 10PM, mostly offer clothes and household goods for locals.
WARNING: there are often festivals when thousands of pilgrims come to pagoda for praying. During this period we could get less access to the central parts of pagoda and our visit could be limited due to regulations and mass of people. Please be informed.
OPTION: we could change this bicycle tour to motorbike tour with local drivers. With extra cost 15USD per person.
Night: Victoria Nui Sam 3.5* – lodge villas
Day 5: CHAU DOC – MEKONG RIVER – PHNOM PENH
Breakfast starts at 6AM, and there is option for quick morning consumption. 7AM we must be ready and after check out. Transportation bus takes us to Chau Doc Pier (about 15 minutes), where from we have speedboat to Cambodia. Check in on the boat is about 7.30AM. END OF THE TOUR
Speedboat is safe, there are numbered seats and A/C inside. At the back there is open air space, where You could seat, enjoy fresh air and beautiful views of river Mekong and local villages. There is lunch package on the boat served to every person – usually include water, fruit and snack.
Our tour guide say You “bye bye” on Chau Doc pier. You travel to Phnom Penh by Your own. Speedboat has its own tour guide who is taking care about passengers and help You go through visa procedures on Cambodian – Vietnamese border. Please prepare 35USD for Cambodia visa on arrival – don’t be surprise when guide collects Your money and passports in advance. That is common practice to make all procedures quick and easy.