Thursday, March 6, 2008

VIET NAM, PHU MY , SAIGON (Ho Chi Minh City) March 6th, 2008 Thursday

The Best of Ho Chi Minh City

Approximately 8½ hours

Drive from Phu My through pretty countryside dotted with rice fields and rubber plantations. The main ‘highway’ is packed with bicycles, heavily laden buses and people making their way to market. This tour introduces the major highlights of bustling Ho Chi Minh City, still commonly referred to as Saigon. Among the grand old buildings, you will see colorful markets selling everything from chilies to French baguettes. The former Presidential Palaceis now known as Independence Palace. This historic building was made famous when a North Vietnamese tank crashed through its front gates in 1975, signaling the end of the Vietnam War. It has changed little since that time and is now retained as a museum. Your tour will include the reception and dining rooms of the President’s quarters, and the basement with its ancient American-made telecommunications equipment still in place, and strategic military maps lining the walls. Drive by the Notre Dame Cathedral—a neo-Classical structure dating back to the 19th century. The imposing twin spires have long heralded arrival in Saigon to passenger liners that travel the winding Saigon River. Enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch of Asian and Western dishes at one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most luxurious hotels. After lunch, visit the History Museum. Built in 1929, this facility houses an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the evolution of the cultures of Vietnam, from the Bronze Age Dong Son civilization to Cham, Khmer and modern-day Vietnam. Visit a lacquer ware workshopbefore returning to Phu My port.
Travel time to Ho Chi Minh City is approximately two hours each way. 

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