SOUTHERN VIETNAM TOUR
Southern Vietnam tour certainly does not fall into beaten tracks but rather is part of our imagination nourished by the memories of the Vietnam war. We design this special path suitable for those who wish to discover areas less beaten by mass tourists. The trip does not intentionally want to retrace all the locations of the tragic events of the 60′s-70′s, although inevitably many of those places are included, but rather discover the natural beauties of south Vietnam less visited.
Stroll through Saigon, the former capital of the French Colony and of the Independent Republic of South Vietnam until ’76 when it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City by the homonymous leader, and discover Cu Chi Tunnel, the 250Km caves network built by Viet Cong.
Explore the magic of the Mekong Delta, known as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam, and visit Ben Tre, Cai Rang and Nga Nam to observe the lifestyle on the river and the floating markets.
Immerse yourself in the beautiful U Minh Thuong N.Park and in the impressive Cajuput Forest. Visit Xeo Quyt, a well-known military base from where Viet Cong generals directed war the operations.
This example itinerary can be customised according to actual travel needs and can be combined with other routes.
Length : 10D 9N
From : SAIGON
To : SAIGON
Destinations : Saigon, Tay Ninh, Ben Tre, Tra Ninh, Soc Trang, Nga Nam, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Nam Can, Dat Mui, U Minh Thuong, Can Tho, Cai Rang, Chau Doc, Tra Su, Xeo Quyt, Sa Dec, Cai Be
01. ARRIVE IN SAIGON - CITY TOUR
Reunification Convention Hall
Welcome by our staff on arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel.
In the afternoon we visit Saigon, the ancient Royal city Prey Nokor at the time of the Khmer Kingdom, later the capital of the French Colony, or Cochinchina, and subsequently of the Independent Republic of South Vietnam until 1976 when it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City by the homonymous leader. Among the most symbolic icons we visit the Post Office, built in the late 19th century with Renaissance and Gothic influences, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Catholic church built during the French colony, and Thien Hau Pagoda, an excellent example of Chinese architecture dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea.
We conclude the visits to the War Museum, an explicit exhibition of the atrocities during the Vietnam War.
Included : Hotel, tour guide, tickets and private transportation
02. TOA THANH TEMPLE - CU CHI TUNNEL
Toa Thanh temple
In the morning transfer to Tay Ninh for the visit of Toa Thanh temple, also known as “Divine Temple”, the largest religious structure of the Caodaist movement, the syncretic religion founded in 1926 as a fusion of the principles of different Western and Eastern doctrines. Of great impact is the style of architecture that mixes two bell towers and a dome together with vividly coloured Chinese pagoda-style roofs. The complex in addition to the main temple includes a hospital, dormitories, secondary temples and schools.
In the afternoon transfer to Cu Chi, the district most devastated and bombed during the Vietnam war. We visit Cu Chi tunnels, the underground network that has played a crucial role in the survival of many people. In the 1960s the Viet Cong extended it to more than 250 km, and it has since become legendary during the Vietnam war.
Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation
03. DELTA MEKONG - BEN TRE
Our journey proceeds in the southern part of Vietnam: the Mekong Delta. Upon arrival at Ben Tre we visit rural areas to learn about the activities that still take place in a traditional way. Among all there are undoubtedly fishing and agriculture, which represent the key sectors in this area. We make some stops to observe some production process that tell us a lot about how the population lives on the Mekong, including a kiln used for traditional brick firing, a coconut processing workshop and other derived products, and a weaving house where straw mats are still hand loomed.
We continue sailing on a sampan, the traditional wooden boat, in the small natural coves of the Delta and moor in a village to visit a local house where we will taste the exquisite southern cuisine.
In the afternoon the navigation continues in the canals for a special visit to Mr. Khanh house, an avid collector of antiques and very particular artifacts relating to Vietnam history as well as original family photos taken during the French colonial period. Transfer to the homestay.
Included : Homestay, breakfast, tour guide, tickets, boats, lunch and private transportation
04. AO BA OM PARK – SOC TRANG
In the morning we explore Ben Tre area by bicycle (or on foot) to immerse ourselves in the daily life of the Delta.
Continue to Tra Vinh to visit Ao Ba Om park, the rectangular basin surrounded by a beautiful landscape of centuries-old plants, whose name is linked to an ancient legend that dates back to more than 1000 years ago. Nearby we visit the Chua Ang temple, the oldest khmer temple in Vietnam, built in the 10th century when this area was within the borders of the Khmer Empire.
We proceed to Soc Trang, known also as “silver deposit”, as the silver treasure of the sovereign was kept in this area. We visit the Buddhist temples Chua Doi and Chua Dat Set, and the Kh’leang pagoda where hundreds of novice monks travel from the different provinces of the Mekong Delta to study at Soc Trang College. At the end transfer and accommodation in a local hotel.
Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, lunch, tickets and private transportation
05. NGA NAM MARKET – BAC LIEU – CA MAU
At 60 km from Soc Trang there is one of the most important and special markets of the Mekong Delta: Nga Nam floating market. The peculiarity is the position that is exactly at the convergence point of 5 rivers that flow from different directions, thus representing a very important commercial hub that attracts hundreds of traders with boats and canoes of different sizes who go to sell their goods. The scene becomes even more lively during the Lunar New Year period. Like all markets on the delta, the best time to visit is undoubtedly at the first light of dawn. We will then leave Soc Trang at 5 in the morning to arrive on time for this which will surely be one of the most unforgettable moments of the trip.
Afterwards we continue to Bac Lieu to visit Tac Say church and Cong Tu Bac Lieu residence. We proceed to the Dien Hai Bac Lieu salt pans, the largest in Vietnam extending over 2,300 hectares, with a production of about 250,000 tons per year. The salt “fields” are arranged on huge squares aligned and offer excellent photographic opportunities. At the end transfer to the hotel at Ca Mau.
Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, lunch, tickets, and private transportation
06. MUI CA MAO PARK – DAT MUI
After breakfast we continue to Nam Can, the southernmost town in Vietnam, about 50 km from Ca Mau.
Embark on a small boat along the Cua Lon, Ong Trang and Rach Tau rivers until we reach the southern end of the country, at the mouth of one of the branches of the Mekong that flows into the South China Sea: certainly an unconventional area outside of the tourist routes.
This area is part of the Mui Ca Mao National Park established in 2003, the second largest mangrove ecosystem in the world. After lunch in Dat Mui we visit of the small town Nam Can and return to the hotel at Ca Mau.
Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, boats, tickets, tour guide and transportations
07. U MINH THUONG – CAN THO
U Minh Thuong National Park © Mongnt, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
After breakfast we continue to U Minh Thuong National Park, considered the richest in the Mekong Delta in terms of plant and animal biodiversity.
We spend most of the day visiting along the canals of the park which covers an area of about 80 square km and is home to 243 species of plants, 32 species of mammals, 187 species of birds, including pointed pelicans and eagles, 39 species of amphibians and 34 species of fish.
At the end transfer to Can Tho.
Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, tour guide, tickets, boats and private transportation
08. CAI RANG – BA CONG – CHAU DOC
Tra Su Mangrove forest
Our journey proceeds to the famous Cai Rang floating market, one of the most picturesque in the Mekong Delta. We embark at Can Tho pier very early in the morning and enter the crowded bazaar on the water between boats of different sizes on which mainly agricultural products are traded. Exotic fruits, vegetables and flowers in exorbitant quantities help to enhance this lively colourful scenery.
Afterwards we continue to Ba Cong orchard, the most famous in the province of Can Tho, and to the laboratory for the production of Bun Tao noodles. Stop at the ancient Binh Thuy house, the famous location of the 1992 film “L’Amant”.
In the afternoon we proceed to Chau Doc, on the Vietnam – Cambodia border. Visit Xu Pagoda and Thoai Ngoc Hau temple.
Later we embark on a little boat to visit the incredible Tra Su Mangrove Forest. During the period of the Vietnam War it was the base of the revolutionaries. Today it welcomes us in all its natural charm with the mangrove forest, the bamboo houses of the premises and the numerous species of animals including colourful birds, storks, bats, snakes and turtles.
Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, boat, lunch, tickets and private transportation
09. XEO QUYT – SA DEC – CAI BE
Huynh Thuy residence
In the morning excursion by boat on the Bassac River, a tributary of the Mekong, to visit the fish farms and the Cham Muslim village. We then continue to Xeo Quyt, a well-known Viet Cong operational base during the Vietnam War. We hike in the forest to visit the underground bunkers from where the Viet Cong generals directed the war operations, just 2-3 km from the American military base.
For those passionate of national parks is worth to visit the nearby Tram Chim, one of the most famous in Vietnam, which is home to some rare species of birds including the “Sarus Crane“.
In the afternoon we continue to Sa Dec to visit the wonderful Tan Qui Dong flower village, where we can admire hundreds of species of plants, bonsai and cultivated flowers. Sa Dec has played an important role as a trading center for centuries and was the largest city in the Mekong Delta until the 18th century. In the literary field, the place became known following the publication of the novel The Lover, a romantic story between the writer Marguerite Duras and Huynh Thuy Le, son of a wealthy Chinese family, owner of the ancient Huynh Thuy Le Old House, where the novel is set. Visit of the residence and transfer to Cai Be.
Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, lunch, tickets and private transportation
10. CAI BE – SAIGON - DEPARTURE
Today we spend the last few hours of this long journey exploring the surroundings of Cai Be.
By bicycle we reach Tan Phong island and continue by boat following the small canals until we reach some local houses where we will witness the preparation of the famous lotus flower tea which we will taste accompanied by samples of the delicious local fruit.
At the end, transfer to Saigon airport in time for the departure flight.
Included : Breakfast, tour guide, boat and private transportation
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