Be picked up from your hotel between 1.30pm and 2pm and drive to the War Remnants Museum, formerly the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes and unquestionably the most-visited museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Here your guide will tell the story of Saigon’s darkest and most tragic hours during the Vietnam War (known in Vietnam as ‘the American War’).
Next, visit the Reunification Palace, once a symbol of the South Vietnamese Government and the site of the end of the Vietnam War on 30th April, 1975 when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates.
After the Reunification Palace you’ll drive to the Central Post Office, designed by Gustav Eiffel in Gothic style, and Notre Dame Cathedral, the iconic Saigon landmark built by the French between 1863 and 1880. Admired for its neo-Romanesque architecture and its peaceful atmosphere, the cathedral is also a favoured backdrop for Vietnamese wedding photography sessions.
From Notre Dame Cathedral see central city life from street-level as you walk along Dong Khoi Street (formerly known as Rue Catinat) to Ho Chi Minh City’s Gothic Opera House, completed in 1901. Shelled during World War II, used as a shelter for French citizens fleeing North Vietnam in 1954 and later employed to house the Lower House of the State of Vietnam, the Opera House has in recent years returned to its original function as a theatre.
After this exploration of downtown Ho Chi Minh City and its most famous landmarks, travel back in time as you discover the area by waterway. This area is home to many Saigonese whose livelihoods depend on the Saigon River and in the midst of this vibrant megacity you’ll be surprised to see river banks lined with houses on stilts. Cruise the Saigon River by speedboat as the sun sets on this fascinating city.
Return to land by 6.00pm and you will be transported back to your hotel.
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