We start in Cholon, the city’s Chinatown district, visiting busy markets and tightly-packed shops. Its an area best to explore in the early mornings. Also in Cholon is the Cantonese Thien Hau Pagoda – dedicated to the goddess of the sea. Next you head to the FITO Museum, Vietnam’s first traditional medicine museum displaying an amazing collection of 3,000 items relevant to the development of traditional Vietnamese medicine, including indigenous herbs.
It’s then back into District 1, to visit Ben Thanh Market where an over-whelming display of fresh produce, household goods and tourist trinkets are on display. Plenty if time is put aside to simply stroll through the market, with your guide providing a commentary and helping you haggle when required. Options for a fresh local lunch are abundant in the streets surrounding the market – your guide will have many suggestions and recommendations.
In the afternoon visit the War Remnants Museum and the History Museum (closed on Mondays) and the former Presidential Palace – now re-named the Reunification Palace. From here stroll (although your vehicle will be available at all times) to the principal sights of colonial Saigon: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), The Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall.
This is your day. The guide will adapt and manoeuvre the itinerary to match your interests and follow the pace you choose to set.