Ho Chi Minh, Ho Tram, Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc
Vibrating with energy, innovation, and traffic – Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the economic heart of Vietnam and the main hub of the southern region. A freewheeling, cosmopolitan metropolis, HCMC's dynamic cityscape draws together old and new Vietnam in the most compact of spaces, representing the city’s past as well as its future. Sidewalks designed for evening strolls are now lined with food stalls and cafes that spill into the street. The villas left by the French have been converted into the city's best restaurants, and the wide tree-lined streets are abuzz with motorbikes.
Ho Tram is often associated with the Grand Ho Tram Strip, an upscale casino, luxury golf courses and large resort complexes, but there’s much more to do in Ho Tram other than trying your hand at the roulette table. Thanks to the development here and in nearby Vung Tau, Hồ Tràm sports several upscale accommodation options and the infrastructure needed to ensure smooth sailing on a family getaway.
Comprised of dense green rice paddies and lazy, winding rivers, the Mekong Delta is like no other region in Vietnam. Whether firmly on land or floating with the river current, this region is flush with wildlife, historical sights, and incredible landscapes. The River of Nine Dragons, as locals know the area, is where the Mekong splinters into nine separate branches, crisscrossing low landscapes before reaching the sea. Life moves much more slowly here and is often surrounded by water. You'll find even homes, farms, and markets take on an aquatic adaptation in the Mekong Delta.
Phu Quoc's pure white beaches, clear waters, and laid-back vibes have earned it a spot in the hearts of many travellers. Days here are spent on the sand, while nights are for feasting on fresh seafood and stargazing. Vietnam's largest island is home to a beautiful coastline. The An Thoi islands offer some of the country's best snorkelling and diving, and Phu Quoc's northern roads run through lush forest and branch off onto a handful of do-it-yourself hiking trails, inviting you to explore on your own.
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Drive to the extraordinary Cu Chi tunnels, just outside Ho Chi Minh City. During the war for independence, Vietnamese guerillas built the labyrinth of narrow tunnels virtually underneath U.S. bases, using them to hide during bombing raids and to stage surprise attacks. Afternoon, half-day city tour to visit the former Presidential Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Post Office, and Ben Thanh market.
Take a morning drive to Ben Tre, the island province most renowned for its grown coconuts in Vietnam. Board a local boat for a cruise on the Ben Tre River. Stop and gain more knowledge of the production of bricks, coconut candies, and other coconut products by the local cottage industries. Stop your boat journey and take a walk to the sedge mat making house. Whilst strolling, explore the flora, fauna as well as the typical Mekong Delta characters of generosity and straightforwardness. Learn the weaving techniques whilst tasting on a great variety of tropical fruits. Your day will continue with the ride by “Xe Loi”, a local cart drawn by motorbike, to a farmer’s home for lunch. Freely join in with the host for the lunch preparation. After lunch, relax and take a sampan ride on the quiet creek to the boat for a cruise back to the pier before returning to Ho Chi Minh City.
Drive to Cai Be and take a boat to visit the floating market. Continue by river to see family-run business producing a local version of popcorn and rice paper. Lunch is in a local house. Afternoon continue to Binh Hoa Phuoc islet for a sampan ride before disembarking in Vinh Long. Drive back to Ho Chi Minh city.