- Take a city tour of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon
- Embark on a long-distance bike ride through the Mekong Delta
- Visit Can Tho, home to the famous floating market
- Relax on the white-sand beaches of Phu Quoc
|Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Explore
|Ho Chi Minh
|Cu Chi Tunnels & City Tour
|Ho Chi Minh
|Transfer to Ben Tre, Mekong Bike Tour & Cooking Lesson
|Cycle to Cai Be
|Cai Be Floating Market & Bike Tour
|Transfer to Can Tho
|Tour Can Tho: Floating Market & Countryside Bike Tour
|Transfer to Phu Quoc, Explore
|Phu Quoc Beach Day
|Depart Phu Quoc
Day 1: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Explore
Welcome to Vietnam! This itinerary focuses on the incredible southern region of the country, beginning in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam's most populous city (it's home to around nine million people) was formerly known as Saigon until it fell to the North Vietnamese Army in 1975. In the intervening years, the city has managed to modernize while still preserving much of its French colonial heritage. Upon arrival at the airport, you'll meet your guide for a bus transfer to your hotel in the city.
After settling into the hotel, you can head out and explore Ho Chi Minh City on your own. Consider a bike tour through the city's streets and alleys with a local guide. You can also stop at traditional pancake and seafood restaurants, pop in at a coffee shop to enjoy some live music and head over to Back Dang Pier for the best views of the city skyline. If you like, enjoy a sundowner at one of the city's fine rooftop bars.
Day 2: Cu Chi Tunnels & City Tour
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer by bus just outside the city to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This complex of underground tunnels stretches more than 155 miles and was constructed by the Viet Cong guerrillas during the Vietnam War (known locally as the American War). Incredibly, there were times during the war when these tunnels housed up to 16,000 guerrilla soldiers. On a tour of the chambers, you'll see the bedrooms, air-raid shelters, meeting rooms, kitchens, and more.
When you arrive back in Ho Chi Minh City, you'll embark on a short city tour. Stops include 19th-century colonial landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. Then, visit the Thien Hau Pagoda, an ornate 19th-century Buddhist temple situated in the heart of Chinatown. Following the day of exploration, the evening is at your leisure to enjoy Ho Chi Minh City at night.
Day 3: Transfer to Ben Tre, Mekong Bike Tour & Cooking Lesson
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer by car (with bikes loaded) west out of Ho Chi Minh City to the rural province of Long An. This is the gateway to the Mekong Delta, a region known as Vietnam's rice bowl due to its vast rice paddies. Here you'll get on your bike and ride 21 miles (34 km) on country trails along the fruit orchards and rural villages that are famous in the region. At the end of the trip, you'll stop for lunch at a local restaurant.
Next, continue on via car to Hung Vuong Pier and board a boat for a cruise along the Ham Luong River (a branch of the Mekong) to Ben Tre, a riverfront city and capital of the province of the same name. Along the way, you'll stop at various workshops to get a sense of the local economy. For example, you'll visit a traditional brickworks where the bricks are still made by hand; a coconut processing workshop where workers separate the husks from the fruit; and a mat-weaving house, where straw mats are still made using handlooms. You can even try weaving one yourself.
You'll also stop at a quiet waterfront village for a short walk to experience real delta life. Then hop on a xe loi (motorized rickshaw) and ride through a forest past fruit orchards until you reach your accommodation in Ben Tre. Once you're settled, you'll participate in a cooking lesson in which you'll learn to prepare local dishes like papaya salad and chicken with lemongrass and turmeric.
Day 4: Cycle to Cai Be
In the morning, hop back on the bicycle for another scenic ride. This time you'll head west from Ben Tre along the waterways, villages, and fruit orchards to the town of Cai Be, which is famous for its floating market. Upon arrival, transfer by motorboat to the village of An Hoa, where you'll check into your lodge. After some time to relax, you'll sit down for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Tien River. The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy, followed by a cooking workshop and dinner at the lodge.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Cai Be Floating Market & Bike Tour
Wake up early and take a boat over to the famous Cai Be Floating Market. Beginning early in the morning, hundreds of vendors ply the waterways here and sell a wide array of items, including rice, fresh produce, fish, handicrafts, and more. After browsing the market and haggling with vendors like a local, you'll return to the lodge and take a bike ride to the candy and handicraft factories near the village. Then have lunch at a historic house amid citrus orchards and jackfruit trees before returning to the lodge on your bike. Later you'll have dinner and can spend the rest of the evening relaxing.
Day 6: Transfer to Can Tho
After breakfast, you'll take the ferry across the river to the waterfront city of Vinh Long. Then, start today's route, which will take you from Vinh Long south to another river city, Can Tho. On the way, you'll pass more beautiful Mekong scenery, like fertile rice paddies and traditional villages. Break for lunch at a local restaurant, then continue on until you reach Can Tho, where you'll check in to your hotel. You'll then have the rest of the day free.
Day 7: Tour Can Tho: Floating Market & Countryside Bike Tour
Can Tho is most famous for being home to Cai Rang, the largest and most iconic floating market in the Mekong Delta. Today you'll spend time browsing this mobile marketplace, but be sure to get an early start, as it's busiest before 9 am. Afterward, you'll get some more exercise on a half-day cycling trip through the countryside around Can Tho. It's a great opportunity to enjoy the rural scenery but also experience a slower-paced, more traditional life than what you'll find in Vietnam's cities. Following the bike ride, you'll have the rest of the afternoon and evening free to relax.
Day 8: Transfer to Phu Quoc, Explore
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel in Can Tho. Afterward, your guide will pick you up for the transfer to the airport in Ho Chi Minh City, where you'll catch a one-hour flight to Phu Quoc. Located off the southern tip of Vietnam, this island is known for having some of Vietnam's best beaches. Upon arrival, you'll transfer to the hotel by shuttle bus. The rest of the day is yours to explore Phu Quoc on your own or simply relax by the beach and soak up the sun.
If you're up for a hike, you can visit Phu Quoc National Park. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve takes up more than half of the island, and you'll get to see exotic flora and fauna on a walk along its many nature trails. For something a bit romantic, visit Suoi Tranh. Beautiful greenery, rock pools, and natural caves surround this 13-foot (4 m) waterfall. If you're traveling with family, consider the Vinpearl Land Amusement Park. It offers waterslides, rollercoasters, arcades, and lots of dining options.
Day 9: Phu Quoc Beach Day
Today, enjoy more of Phu Quoc at your leisure. Consider a visit to the Duong Dong Market, which is situated along Tran Phu Street, and is the largest outdoor market on the island. Early morning is the best time to visit, as that's when you can watch the spectacle of locals haggling for fresh seafood, meats, and fresh produce from the mainland. You'll also want to sample the many food stalls that serve fresh seafood and fruit juices at bargain prices. The market is a great place to shop for souvenirs, too.
In addition, you can take a trip to the Ham Ninh Fishing Village on the southeast side of the island. Here you can experience the daily life of the local fishermen and sample the local fare. Besides fresh fish, tram mushrooms, boiled flower crab, and cucumber soup are star delicacies here. You can also try medicinal drinks made from ginseng, seaweed, and rice wine. For relaxation, visit one of the beautiful white-sand beaches around the island. Highlights include Dai, Ong Lang, and Cua Can.
Day 10: Depart Phu Quoc
This morning, make the most of any free time you have before your flight. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, do some last-minute souvenir shopping, and perhaps take one final dip in the ocean. At the appropriate time, transfer to the airport Phu Quoc airport for your departure flight home. Safe Travels!
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