This is an insider’s early morning jaunt, taking you around Saigon in the early hours when it is absolutely buzzing with activity.
A 6.30 start means you catch the first rays of the sun and witness Saigon waking up. The traffic is light at this hour and your open-style van will allow you to feel fully immersed in the city vibe. First stop is Tao Dan Park, where locals gather for morning exercises – Tai Chi, aerobics and friendly, non-competitive badminton. Stroll around the park to a small pagoda where the devout perform daily prayers. Buddhism in Vietnam has had a symbiotic relationship with Taoism, Chinese spirituality as well as aspects of indigenous Vietnamese religion.
You then have the opportunity to enjoy a café sua da at the birds’ club at the end of the park. The locals gather here to relax, talk, enjoy a morning coffee and compare their caged birds. Next stop is a local wet market where shoppers haggle over the abundant fresh produce on offer. Wander through the stalls where vendors are selling everything from live seafood to dried meats, fresh seasonal vegetables and home-ware goods.
At last, its now time for breakfast. Alongside the locals you sample of bowl of Vietnam’s national dish – pho at Pho Binh, also known as the ‘Peace Noodle Shop’. During the war Pho Binh was a secret base the Vietnamese resistance fighters – the Viet Cong. Nowadays its rightly famous for its noodle soup.
You will be back to your hotel for mid-morning.