- Tour the highlights of Ho Chi Minh City, including the Củ Chi Vietcong Tunnels
- Travel to Phan Thiết, a coastal retreat with stunning white-sand beaches
- See the sunrise over the ocean from the famous White Dunes of Phan Thiết
|Day 1||Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 2||Củ Chi Tunnel - Ho Chi Minh City Tour||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 3||Day Trip on the Mekong Delta||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 4||Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiết||Phan Thiet|
|Days 5-6||Phan Thiết Free Day||Phan Thiet|
|Day 7||Phan Thiết to Ho Chi Minh City - Departure|
Day 1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City
Welcome to Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City!
Once upon a time, this metropolis in southern Vietnam was known as Saigon. Despite a communist revolution and devastating war, the city has retained much of its unique cultural mix of Asian and western traditions. In fact, many of its French Colonial landmarks still stand today.
The biggest change to Ho Chi Minh City is that it's only gotten bigger, busier, and more energetic. The streets swell with mopeds whizzing past markets and modern shopping districts as the sidewalks overflow with vendors selling everything from delicious street food to golden lucky cats. This city has it all: French-era Art Deco buildings, ancient Buddhist temples, hidden alleyway eateries, outdoor night markets, Chinese pagodas, 21st-century skyscrapers, and hotels and restaurants for every budget.
You'll see and feel Ho Chi Minh's surging energy firsthand during the private transfer from the airport to your hotel. After check-in, you'll have the remainder of the day free to spend as you see fit. You can relax in your hotel room and have dinner in, or head out and get carried away in the energy of the city.
Day 2: Củ Chi Tunnel - Ho Chi Minh City Tour
After breakfast, you'll leave Ho Chi Minh in a private car for the short drive north to Củ Chi. This area is home to a massive tunnel network made famous during the Vietnam War as the Viet Cong's base of operations, particularly during the Tết Offensive of 1968.
This 155-mile (250-km) tunnel network once sheltered over 16,000 Vietcong guerrillas. First constructed in 1948 to guard against French air and ground sweeps, the tunnels then served as supply routes, storage facilities, hospitals, and living quarters for Vietnamese fighters throughout the American war. Here you'll have the option to go into the tunnels and get a glimpse of the harsh conditions faced by Vietcong guerrillas who lived here, plus see the innovative booby traps they left for unlucky enemy soldiers.
Later in the afternoon, you'll discover the highlights of this former capital of French Indochina on a tour. Historic sights include the 19th-century Gothic/Renaissance Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral (built in the late 19th century with materials imported from France), and the Opera House, which was built in 1897.
You'll also visit the Reunification Palace, also known as Independence Palace. This is the former home of the president of South Vietnam, which was taken over when Saigon fell in 1975. You'll end the tour with a visit to the Buddhist Thien Hau Temple and the Ben Thanh Market for some souvenir shopping.
After the tour, you'll return to your hotel.
Day 3: Day Trip on the Mekong Delta
Today you'll experience firsthand the lifestyle lived by those on the Mekong Delta. In the morning you'll leave from your hotel to the waterfront province of Ben Tre. Upon arrival at the Hung Vuong Pier in Ben Tre City, you'll hop in a boat for a ride down a tributary of the Mekong River.
As you travel amid the mangrove forests of this waterway, you'll see the morning hustle of fishing boats and coconut cargo ships passing back and forth. A stop at a traditional brickworks reveals how workers still make bricks the old fashioned way: by hand. After that, it's a visit to My Long, a village famous for the tasty rice cakes made by its residents. While the recipe is secret, you'll get to see the process as the villagers making the cakes from rice paper, followed by a sampling of these treats.
Back on the water, you'll travel down canals lined with coconut palms. Here you'll visit a coconut workshop to have a look at the stages of coconut processing, from removing the husk to the peeling, which is all done by hand. After a short trip down a smaller canal, you'll stop at a honey-bee garden for a snack and honey tea accompanied by local music. Then it's a visit to a candy mill to enjoy some sweets followed by a visit to the country home of an artisan who makes traditional sleeping mats.
You'll then get to experience some of the stunning countryside when you embark on a bicycle ride (or motorized scooter trip) through the coconut groves and vegetable gardens around the river. Then take a sampan rowboat along a tranquil canal shaded by palm fronds to a riverside restaurant where you'll stop for lunch.
After lunch, you'll return to Hung Vuong pier by motorboat and transfer back to Ho Chi Minh City by car. You'll then have the remainder of the day free.
Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiết
In the morning, you'll depart by car on a 124-mile (200 km) drive east to the coastal town of Phan Thiết. The journey takes up to five-hours but once you arrive you're met with a true coastal paradise. Phan Thiet is a thriving port city, but despite ever more hotel and resort developments springing up, its vibe as a laid-back fishing community remains largely unchanged. Combine this with Phan Thiết's gorgeous 8-mile (14-km) white sand, palm-fringed beach, and you have the perfect spot for some R&R.
You'll arrive around lunchtime, and as with any great beach destination, the order of the day is leisure. The itinerary is yours to do with as you please. Definitely try some fresh seafood at a waterfront restaurant, and if you're feeling restless you can go jogging on the beach and take a swim. Or simply spend the day sunbathing. Be sure to be near the water around dinner time when the setting sun gilds the surface of the water.
Days 5-6: Phan Thiết Free Day
Today is yours to enjoy however you wish. Feel free to spend the morning and afternoon relaxing on the beach and swimming in the water. Try to be awake at dawn when the sun appears over the ocean—it's an unforgettable sight.
During this hour you could also visit the nearby White Dunes, a group of desert sand dunes reminiscent of the Sahara. They offer great views of the ocean and are the perfect spot to watch the sun appear over the coast. If you're feeling active, you could even rent a quad and go offroading over the sand.
There are a number of other activities you can partake in, including paragliding or taking a culture walk around town—Phan Thiết is home to many Buddhist temples and pagodas. There are also golf courses as well as plenty of water sports in which to indulge.
Day 7: Phan Thiết to Ho Chi Minh City - Departure
In the morning you'll hop in a private car and make the drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. At the appropriate time, you'll transfer to the airport where you'll catch your flight home. We hope you enjoyed your grand Vietnam beach vacation.