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The perfect trip to experience Saigon and Hoi An. Starting in the bustling metropolis of Saigon, explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, see the sights of the city and gain an insight into the cuisine of Vietnam with a cooking class. Then on to the magical merchant town and ancient trading port of Hoi An, with ample time to stroll the charming laneways or relax on Cua Dai beach.
Our Highlight itineraries cover the key attractions at a relatively quick pace. Highlight itineraries can be enjoyed as they are, or extended with extra time to relax and additional experiences to suit your personal interests. Contact our Asia Travel Experts to discuss itinerary options and extensions.
You will meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Saigon, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in southern Vietnam is a sprawling metropolis of ten million people. Formally renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam-American war, locals still refer to Saigon. With thousands of motorbikes zipping past luxury cars, French colonial buildings dwarfed by modern skyscrapers and traditionally dressed school girls riding bicycles past trendy city workers, Saigon is an exciting city of contrasts.
Saigon is a city that never sleeps and offers a plethora of great restaurants and bars catering to all tastes, from street food vendors to the rooftop bar at the Rex Hotel, where international correspondents covered the Vietnam War and where the U.S. military attaché’s press briefing was held daily and dubbed the “Five O’clock Follies”. Whatever your interests, be sure to ask your guide for personal recommendations.
Itinerary Option: If you’re arriving to Saigon in the morning, discuss additional day 1 activities with our staff.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are an immense network of interconnected tunnels near Saigon that are part of a much larger network lying below much of the country. A guided visit to these tunnels provides a better understanding of their history, the hardship of life underground and the resilience of the Vietnamese during combat.
The tunnels were built and used initially by the Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots to protect them from the French air and ground sweeps. They later served as communication routes, storage facilities, hospitals and living quarters for the guerrilla fighters throughout the Vietnam-American war.
You're invited to enter a section of the tunnels to witness the secrets of the tunnels firsthand. Your guide will also show you various mantraps employed from this period, the remains of an American tank and numerous B52 bomb craters. There is also the opportunity to fire an M60, M16 or AK47 rifle at the range next to the tunnel complex.
After returning to Saigon, learn about the historic landmarks as you tour the city with your guide. Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick building with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris, then head across the square to the Central Post Office designed by the French architect Gustav Eiffel. Next stop is the former Presidential Palace, headquarters to the Saigon Government during the Vietnam-American war. You may also like to visit the War Remnants Museum for a vivid insight into the Vietnam-American war from a Vietnamese perspective.
The American Ambassador to South Vietnam in the 1960s, Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge, carried out a mission of overthrowing the southern government at that time. When Lodge arrived in Saigon, an old villa in District 3 was converted into the Ambassador’s residence, and it was here that Mr. Lodge lived between1960 and 1965. The architecture is a mix of Vietnamese, French and American, and the house has now been restored to its former glory.
Your day will start with a visit a local market to learn about and taste some of the ingredients used in the local cuisine and watch the buying and selling rituals of a Vietnamese market. Next you will go to the Hoa Tuc Cooking School, here your Vietnamese chef will give an introductory talk about the menu. Then you will watch as your chef prepares the dishes before it’s your turn! Finally it’s time to relax and enjoy the dishes you prepared while sipping ‘Tra Da’ (local Vietnamese style iced tea).
In 3-hours you will learn how to cook a tasty 3-course Vietnamese meal which is easy to recreate at home. Each of the courses consists of a ‘savoury Asian style roll’ and its sauce, a salad and a hot dish. To end with a sweet touch, complete the meal with a delicious seasonal dessert.
Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day. Your guide can provide suggestions if required.
Fly to Hoi An where you will meet your new guide on arrival at the airport. First stop is the Marble Mountains, a cluster of five limestone and marble peaks that rise dramatically from the surrounding flat land. The local Vietnamese believe that the five peaks represent the five elements of fire, water, earth, wood and metal. Previously celebrated in the religion of the Cham people, the mountains were later used by the Viet Cong in the Vietnam-American war to monitor the US air base at Danang.
The mountains contain many caves and tunnels. Climb the cut stone steps or take the elevator up to the top of one of the peaks, and explore the caves, temples and pagodas. There are panoramic views of Danang and the coast from the many lookout points.
Continue on to the beautiful old merchant town of Hoi An. Built on the site of an ancient Cham village, Hoi An was a prosperous port from the 16th to 19th centuries trading with merchants from China, Japan, India, Indonesia and Europe who came to buy silk, spices and porcelain. Hoi An’s UNESCO World Heritage Old Quarter is beautifully preserved with ornate pagodas, antique trading houses and old tile-roofed shops. It is a rich architectural fusion of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European styles. Many of the historic buildings lining the canals and pedestrian streets have been converted into art galleries, boutique restaurants, bars and cafes. Hoi An is surrounded by attractive countryside with traditional farming and fishing, and by sandy beaches with modern seaside resorts.
Experience the charm of Hoi An on a walking tour with your guide. Wander along the narrow lanes and gain an insight into Hoi An’s illustrious past as you explore this heritage listed town. Take in the old merchant houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture. See the 400 year old Japanese Bridge, a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, and the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist pagoda attached to the side. Visit the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with its outstanding wood carvings and explore the colourful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk which can be turned into fashionable garments within one or two days.
Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day. There is plenty to see and do in Hoi An, but many visitors find themselves relaxing by the beach, browsing the markets and boutique shops, or visiting one of the many tailors in town.
Enjoy free time today to relax or further explore Hoi An.
GetAboutAsia Favourite: Our customers rave about Hoi An, so check out our suggestions on personalising your trip to get the most out of your visit.
On your last day enjoy free time until your departure transfer and onwards flight.
Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.
Ideas to upgrade or extend your itinerary:
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $1,130|
|Superior:||from AU $1,230|
|Deluxe:||from AU $1,540|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
This trip package includes 1 internal flight (Saigon - Hoi An) which retails at about 200AUD.
Visa for Vietnam
When obtaining your visa you should allow 2-3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details. The Vietnamese Embassy in Edgecliff, Sydney has been known to issue a visa in 4 working days if all the correct documents are submitted at the time of application.
Availability of accommodation and season.
|End:||Hoi An, Vietnam|
|Physical:||Medium (fast paced)|
"Vietnam!! What a trip!! What a country!! The whole thing was perfect other than our flight delay. Anyway, it all ended well. Thank you so much for contacting the Vietnamese operators for us on your day off to reorganise our pickup. Much appreciated. Our guides were great also. They really gave us a good insight into Vietnamese culture and history, much more than we would have ever understood if we had done our own thing. I can't really rate any place in Vietnam higher than others since they were all so different. We also enjoyed Cambodia as well! Thanks very much for your organising of our trip" — Mr and Mrs Martin, Sydney, January 2018
"“...the accommodation in all cities was fantastic - clean, great locations & good food. The Ancient House in Hoi An in particular was beautiful! Hoi An was definitely my favourite place, though I had a great time in Ho Chi Minh too. Also, all the drivers were very professional and friendly." " — Courtney, Pullenvale, QLD, April 2014