Discover the highlights of south Vietnam on this exciting getaway

Observe the contrast between Vietnam’s urban and rural regions while taking in cultural highlights of the south. Negotiate the labyrinthine streets of Ho Chi Minh City on a morning walk, make a sobering visit to the War Remnants Museum and make your tastebuds swoon over lunch at a traditional Vietnamese restaurant. Head to the city’s outskirts to scramble through the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels before diving back into the fray at one of Ho Chi Minh City’s lively markets. Then for a welcome change of pace, jump on a boat and explore the meandering waterways, islands and fruit orchards of the mighty Mekong Delta.


Start
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Finish
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Country
Vietnam
Style
Basix, Original, Comfort
Theme
Short Breaks
Code
TVAS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 12
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Discover local life on the delta, which can only really be appreciated through a homestay experience

  • Cycle along local paths on a bike ride to the colourful market, and chat with locals while gathering supplies for lunch

  • Explore Ho Chi Minh City on a full day tour – from major sites like the War Remnants Museum and ancient pagodas, to areas full of authentic city life, like Chinatown, the markets, and a traditional lunch like the locals

  • Experience Vietnam’s past first-hand with a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels – descend into the (now widened) tunnels and learn about the vast underground network that the Viet Cong once inhabited

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip includes one night in simple homestay accommodation, and there a few better ways to better understand a country and its people. You will sleep on camp beds in a communal room, so it's mixed gender and multi-share. Homestay facilities can vary as we stay with several different families, but expect simple but always welcoming.

  • Activities on this short break include cycling in the Mekong Delta and a walking tour in Ho Chi Minh City. Please make sure you pack walking shoes and clothes appropriate for these activities and local weather conditions.

  • This trip is operated by one of our local partners in Vietnam and therefore you may be joined by a mixture of Intrepid-booked passengers and other travellers during activities and the homestay.

  • Local guide are likely to different for each day tour and the Mekong Delta, but they will always be Intrepid knowledgeable local experts.

  • Included activities for the Basix, Original, and Comfort style short break are the same. However, in Ho Chi Minh City your accommodation will vary depending on the trip style.

Itinerary

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Escape the city for a tour of the Mekong Delta, where you'll see what life is like beyond the urban centre of the south. This morning, please make your way to the Opera House (Intersection of Dong Khoi street and Le Loi street, District 1) to meet your Intrepid representative at 8.00am before setting off for the Mekong Delta. Please bring with you an overnight bag ready for the one night homestay. Your main luggage can be stored at your hotel.

About 2.5 hours away is the city of My Tho, a former naval base that is now a bustling port city in the Mekong Delta. The area is the final destination of the mighty Mekong River, which winds its way from Tibet, through China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and finally into Vietnam. An incredibly fertile region, the Mekong Delta's prime industry is food production, producing approximately half of Vietnam's total agricultural output. Local life for villages in the area revolves around the rivers and canals that make up the delta, so much so that people are more likely to transport by river than road. Upon arrival into My Tho, board a private boat for a cruise on the Mekong River. Your first stop is Unicorn island where we'll visit an island with lush tropical gardens where we have a chance to sample tropical fruit. Continuing to another island in the Mekong Delta, you'll learn more about another cottage industry, coconut candy. Your local guide will take you to a factory and explain the process of making the sweet. As you meander down the Mekong, you will have a chance to visit local villages in the area and learn more about the traditional lifestyles, culture, and customs of people who call the Delta their home.

Next, travel by Xe Loi (motorised cart), and visit a bee farm, from where you will transfer to a smaller rowing boat to delve into the smaller canals of the Delta. For lunch, hit up Vuon Dau restaurant, where your local guide will provide you with some advice on the finer points of local cuisine and assist with ordering some of these delicacies. Sometimes you may transfer to the homestay by tuk-tuk. Towards the end of the day you will arrive at the home of a local family, where you’ll stay in dormitory-style accommodation. The pleasant surroundings consist of a 2 hectare garden with seasonal tropical fruits such as longan, durian, mangosteen, banana and grapefruit. The local owners will be your welcoming hosts for the evening and can tell you more about life in the Delta
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Facilities at the homestay are basic. We sleep on camp beds in a communal room for all members of the group. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. Homestay facilities can vary as we stay with several different families.
Rising early to the sounds on the Delta, jump on a bicycle to visit the local market, then back to the homestay to help your host prepare lunch or to do some gardening. After lunch, say goodbye to your friendly host and return to Ho Chi Minh City. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds, and is a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The huge number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city gives it a dynamic atmosphere and the French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. Much of city life takes place on the busy streets lined with shops, stalls and vendors, who have their wares spread out on the footpath and sell everything from soup to sophisticated electronics. There is plenty to do here in free time before your tour of Ho Chi Minh tomorrow. Maybe explore the frenetic heart of the city, or get bargaining at the historic Ben Thanh Market.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This mesmerising full day Ho Chi Minh City walking tour gives you a fun and fascinating insight into the history, culture, and the daily life of the locals in this busy, buzzing city. An Intrepid representative will meet your at your hotel at 8.00am, then start the HCMC tour by heading to Chinatown and wandering through the fascinating back streets near Cho Lon. This area is one of the busiest commercial districts of Ho Chi Minh City and its atmospheric streets are home to some of the city’s most interesting sites. From there, pay a visit to Thien Hau Temple, which was built in the early 19th century and dedicated to the goddess of seafarers. Delve deeper into Chinatown, visiting the amazing Cholon and Binh Tay Markets, which are full of energy and dazzling array of goods. You can stop at a local café for a coffee (not included) to watch the hectic pace of life pass by in Ho Chi Minh City. Following your market visit, have a traditional local Vietnamese lunch, ‘pho’ or noodle soup. Then after all that soupy goodness, visit the War Remnants Museum and check out all the major Ho Chi Minh City sights like Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, General Post Office, and the Opera House. You'll also get to see downtown Saigon, and get a real feel for local life in the past and present. At the end of your HCMC tour, your guide will assist you in getting a taxi back to your hotel, or will provide you with tips and suggestions if you'd like to continue exploring the area.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning, please make your way to the Saigon Central Post Office - 2 Cong Xa Paris St, District 1 (next to Notre Dame Cathedral) to meet your Intrepid representative at 7.15am before departing at 7.30am. Built by local fighters during the Indochina conflict, the Cu Chi tunnels served as a base from which the Viet Cong could operate from close to the Southern Vietnamese capital. For this HCMC tour, leave the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City to explore one of the relics from one of the most significant local historical events in recent memory. Journey 2.5 hours west towards the Cambodian border. Before arriving at the Cu Chi tunnels, visit with some local friends and gain an insight into local life in the area, both past and present. Learn about their lives, culture, and customs and get an insight into the recent past through local eyes.

Continue on to the Cu Chi tunnels. The location of the tunnels was of significant strategic importance: they're at the end of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail, and within striking distance of the southern Vietnam capital. Initial construction started in 1948 when the Viet Minh required somewhere to hide from French air attacks, and by 1965, the tunnel complex was estimated to consist of 200 km of tunnels. It included, hospitals, schools, meeting rooms, kitchens, and sleeping quarters. Life was difficult for the inhabitants, and to protect against outside intruders, booby traps were laid throughout the complex. Today, the Vietnamese government have preserved approximately 75 km of the Cu Chi tunnels as a memorial park, and in some areas the tunnels have been widened and low powered lights installed so that visitors can now fit through the complex.

Your local guide will take you on a fascinating tour of the Cu Chi tunnels, where you'll learn more about the conditions the people lived in, the hardships they faced, and the amazing ingenuity employed to maintain life in the tunnels. Walk past huge bomb craters, evidence of the heavy bombing campaigns in the region during the Indochina conflict, discover hidden entrances right beneath your feet, wander past tiny little chimneys in the ground that dispersed smoke from the underground kitchens, sample some of the simple cuisine that local fighters would have survived on, and have an opportunity to venture into the tunnels and explore the complex. You'll end this historical Ho Chi Minh City tour with a greater understanding of the local impacts of the conflicts of the 20th century. Following this step back into modern history, return to the chaos of Ho Chi Minh City. Your South Vietnam Getaway adventure ends upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh at around 2pm.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Bicycle, Boat, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Homestay (1 night), Hotel (2 nights)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1.This trip will begin on Day 1 at 8am at the Opera House. Please make your own way to the meeting point - refer to the trip notes for further information.
2. Please note that this trip is available in Basix, Original and Comfort styles.

Essential Trip Information

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