After hotel pickup, your private sightseeing tour begins at two famous French-style architectural landmarks – the Saigon Central Post Office and Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica. One of the oldest buildings in Ho Chi Minh City, the Saigon Central Post Office was designed by Gustave Eiffel in the late 19th century, when Vietnam was part of French Indochina.
Admire the neoclassical-style of the post office interior as your guide points out the painted maps of former Saigon, once the capital of South Vietnam. Afterward, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere inside the iconic Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, located on Paris Square and renowned for its neo-Romanesque architecture.
Next, visit Thien Hau Temple, built by the Cantonese Congregation in the early 19th century. Dedicated to Thien Hau – the goddess of seafarers – for her protection during Chinese migration to Vietnam, the temple is situated in the center of Chinatown. Explore this exciting quarter with your guide, including the dynamic Central Market, where the Hoa (Chinese minority) have achieved success trading a variety of goods and communicating in both languages.
After lunch in Saigon, relax on a 2.5-hour drive northwest to the Cu Chi Tunnels, one of the few remaining monuments to the Vietnam War (known in Vietnam as the ‘American War’). At its peak, prior to the Tet Offensive of 1968, the 125-mile (200-km) tunnel complex – dug by hand – was used as a military base for almost 10,000 Viet Cong troops. The tunnels housed schools, hospitals, kitchens and military war rooms, and served as hiding places for food, people and weapons.
The Vietnamese government has preserved approximately 46 miles (75 km) of the Cu Chi Tunnels as a war memorial park. Although the tunnels remain largely untouched, some have been widened and installed with lights so that visitors can fit through the underground labyrinth. While above ground, learn about the construction and historical importance of the tunnels through displays and a photo gallery before discovering what life was like down below. Explore narrow passageways on a private tour with your guide and hear stories about Vietnamese resilience underground!
At the end of your tour, you’ll be driven back to Ho Chi Minh City by private vehicle with drop-off at your hotel in the late afternoon.