Immerse yourself in the charms of South Vietnam. From in-depth exploration of Ho Chi Minh City and the secrets of Chinese medicine, to the lush Mekong Delta in a traditional sampan. Witness local life, floating markets; and dine at a 19th century house, staying in a riverside colonial-style resortTransfer by private car to your hotel, the Park Hyatt. Next morning Tour Ho Chi Minh City on a chauffeur-driven Vespa. Start with the bird lovers’ club at Tao Dan Park and learn about the practice and history of bird-keeping in Saigon. Visit the monument of Thic Quang Duc; the monk who set himself alight in protest at the Southern regime. Learn about funeral ceremonies and customs with a trip to a flower market and an informative Funeral Home.
Next, see 17th century Nhi Phu Temple in the city’s Chinatown area. Walk down an alley full of tailor’s supplies before stopping at a Chinese Medicine shop to learn more about Chinese medicine. Visit a lively local market before going to District Two. Le Duan Boulevard and its post office here are filled with interesting stories. Across the street is the magnificent cathedral of Notre Dame.
See Reunification Palace; an eerie place where time stopped on 30th April, 1975. Visit Dong Khoi, or ’People’s Revolution’ Street where the iconic photograph was taken of the helicopter lifting people out during the ’Fall of Saigon’. See the former Opera House in the square which tells tales of the history of the city. Your last stop before lunch is the Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee, formerly the Hotel de Ville; one of the most photographed buildings in Vietnam. Enjoy lunch at a popular restaurant serving traditional Hue dishes. Walk to the unseen oldest quarter of the city where you’ll find a range of antiques real and fake, as well as military items from the war.
Continue to the Beaux-Arts Museum, home to various modern arts. Next, visit Fanny’s; a Saigon institution with the best ice cream in the city. Next day, leave for the Mekong Delta. Board your boat, modeled on a traditional sampan; and explore the small canals and tributaries of the area. Stop at Thien Hau Pagoda, also the house of Mr. Huyen Thuy Le, the main character in Marguerite Duras’ classic novel ’The Lover’.
Take lunch on board as you head to Cao Dai Temple, a surrealistic building with magnificent murals covering its interior. In the evening enjoy a dinner at a beautiful 19th century house. Visit Cai Rang Floating Market, seeing traditional sights along the banks of the Mekong as hundreds of boats cruise along the waterway. After your trip to the market, transfer to a delightful colonial-style resort situated on the banks of the Mekong River, where you are free to relax.