Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Ho Chi Minh is Vietnam's largest and most famous city. During the 14th century this city was known as Prey Nokor and was nothing more than a trading post. By the 18th century, the Lords of Hue, under the Nguyens, had established control of the trade in Prey Nokor and renamed the city Saigon. After the Vietnam War, the new communist regime changed the official name of the city of Saigon to Ho Chi Minh and began to rebuild its economic and social structure.
The following Shore Excursions are available for this port on this cruise, and may be reserved beginning 240 days before the cruise begins for guests receiving Concierge amenities, and 180 days before the cruise begins for all other guests. Guests receiving Concierge amenities will receive a 5% discount off of the prices shown below for Regent Choice tours.
Most Active or Strenuous
Minimal Activity Required
Experience the stark contrast that exists between Saigon's lush, natural beauty and war-torn past during visits to the country's orchard region and Cu Chi tunnels.
Depart the port for a memorable visit to the largest tropical orchard region in Eastern Saigon. Here, local farmers raise a wide array of tropical fruit trees, including ramputans, papayas, jackfruit, pineapple, and milk apples, and irrigate their crops via the Saigon River. You will have an opportunity to sample these seasonal fruits in a farmer's garden, explore the garden and visit the inside of the house. You will also watch the local farmers cook food by using everything in their gardens as firewood, and sip green tea made from leaves plucked from their gardens.
Next, your drive will continue toward northwest Saigon to visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, the vast underground tunnel network that hid and protected thousands of Vietnamese during the war. They lived and fought from solid underground tunnels capable of withstanding the weight of tanks, and impact of 50-pound bombs. These vast networks extended more than 120 miles, and included meeting rooms, smokeless kitchens, sleeping quarters, a healthcare center, and tunnel entrances. Along the way, you will view the processing of fragile rice paper, a booming home-industry in this area. Upon arrival at Cu Chi, you will watch a short video tracing the origins, construction and design of the thick-roofed underground tunnels. A military guide will explain the underground network, and display some of the tools and weapons utilized by the guerrillas. You will also visit a shooting range where you can fire guns used during the Vietnam War.
Finally, you will proceed to the bank of the Saigon River for lunch at a local restaurant owned by a former soldier who fought from the Cu Chi Tunnels. After lunch, you will re-board your coach for the return drive to Saigon.
Please note: Guests are strongly advised to wear sturdy shoes, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Guests visiting the lower levels of the tunnel complex may get dirty. The cost of firing guns at the shooting range is approximately US $1.20 per bullet.
Explore the scenic beauty and historic sites of the former Saigon during this panoramic tour of Ho Chi Minh City.
Depart the pier for the guided drive through Ho Chi Minh City. This picturesque city is spread over two million square miles, and home to more than seven million people. Ho Chi Minh City features such grand old buildings as the wedding cake-styled Hotel d'Ville and historic Rex Hotel that tower over the colorful markets, along with an endless stream of bicycles, cycles and motorbikes. Upon arrival, you will see the Presidential Palace, now known as Reunification Hall, which has been converted into a public museum, City Hall, Colonial-styled City Theater, the former American Embassy and British Council.
Next, you will drive past the Ben Thanh central market, which has become the symbol of the city. From here, you will continue on to Chinatown, or Cho Lon, home to more than a half-million Chinese citizens. The bustling Cho Lon Market features numerous street stalls amidst hundreds of hidden temples, shrines and pagodas.
On the return drive to the pier, you will pass by the city's largest industrial park. Here, more than 50,000 workers produce goods for export.
Please note: This tour has been specially created for our guests who do not wish to walk. Stops on this tour will be limited to 2 brief photo stops. Each guest will have a window seat on the coach to maximize the quality of sightseeing.
Explore the highlights of bustling and historic Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, during this lively half-day orientation tour.
Depart the pier for the drive to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City is home to such grand old buildings as the wedding cake-styled Hotel d'Ville and historic Rex Hotel that tower over the colorful markets, along with an endless stream of bicycles, cycles and motorbikes. Upon arrival, you will visit the former Presidential Palace, now known as Reunification Hall, which has been converted into a public museum. Afterward, you will continue on to the History Museum. Built in 1929, the History Museum is home to an excellent collection of artifacts depicting the evolution of Vietnam from the Bronze-Age Dong Son to present day. Here, you will see a brief performance of traditional water puppetry, once the entertainment for kings and emperors.
Next, you will make your way to the Botanic Garden. En route, a photo stop will be made at the Notre Dame Cathedral, followed by a visit to the Colonial-styled central post office to see rare ancient maps decorated on the dome inside the building. Another photo stop will then be at the recently rebuilt former U.S. Embassy. From Central Saigon, your tour will continue into the heart of Chinatown, or Cho Lon. A short walk into the bustling Cho Lon Market will provide you with a glimpse of its numerous street stalls amidst hundreds of hidden temples, shrines and pagodas.
Your tour will conclude with a visit to the Thien Hau Temple, which dates back to the late 18th century and is dedicated to the Goddess Protector of Sailors. A stop will be made for an inside visit to a lacquerware factory before re-boarding your coach for the return drive to the pier and ship.
Please note: Traffic can be heavy, resulting in delays. Clothing must cover knees and shoulders. Shoes must be removed in temples and pagodas.
Departing the pier, drive to the delta port of My Tho where the exploration on the Mekong River begins. One of the great rivers of the world, the Mekong begins in the Tibetan Plateau and tumbles 2,795 miles to the Mekong Delta and the South China Sea. In Vietnam, the river divides itself into dozens of tributaries and becomes the Cuu Long or Nine Dragons that fan out into a rich delta, covered with green rice paddies and orchards of coconuts, mangos, pineapples and bananas.
Upon arrival in the provincial town of My Tho, visit the 150-year-old Vinh Trang Pagoda, with its interesting combination of Asian and European architecture.
Continue your drive to the Mekong river bank. Upon arrival, board a boat to begin your trip down the Mekong River. Pass fruit orchards, stilt houses, fish and shrimp farms, small canals and all manner of boats. Pause at Thoi Son Island, with its tile-roofed houses and fruit trees bearing plums, mangoes, and lychee-like longans. Walk around the village and stop to taste the local fruits and honey tea and enjoy some local folk music.
You’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant where you have a chance to taste local dishes such as elephant ear fish, spring rolls, rice balls, grilled pork and steamed shrimp.
After the lunch, continue to walk into the village for a sampan ride within a small canal bordered by fruit trees, villages. Most sampans are made of wood and are used to carry fruits and people in small canals.
Afterwards, cruise back to My Tho, where you'll re-board your coach for the return drive to the ship.
Please note: Drive from/to Ho Chi Minh City to My Thos is approximately 1.5 hours. Boarding the local boats can be quite difficult and therefore the tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable
Discover the secret of making your meals look more attractive and appetizing during this unique food-garnishing demonstration.
Vietnamese food has always been famous for its creative use of vegetables and fruit for decoration. Garnish is the art of making food look more attractive and appetizing before serving, and Vietnamese cooks are very skillful at food decoration. Every year, the Vietnamese organize many food decoration contests, and different villages enter their most skillful cooks.
Depart the pier for the drive to Ba Diem Village, located about eight miles from Saigon. This village is home to numerous cooks possessing great skill at using vegetables to decorate their food. Upon arrival, you will proceed directly to your garnishing demonstration.
The food to be decorated can be quite common, and includes tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers and pineapples. You will observe the skill of the craftsmen, and have an opportunity to try your hand at creating art from food.
Following the garnishing demonstration, you will rejoin your coach for the return drive to the pier and ship.
Explore everyday life on the Mekong Delta during this picturesque visit to Cai Be, and a boat ride on the Mekong River.
Depart the pier in Ho Chi Minh City for the 2-hour drive to Cai Be. Along the way, you will pass through miles of flat rice fields, small villages and highways bustling with bicycles and oxcarts riding to and from the market. You will have numerous photo opportunities to capture life in the country, including rice threshing and milling, vegetables drying on the flat, hot roadside and children caring for their water buffalo. Upon arrival at Cai Be, located in the heart of the Mekong Delta, you will see the century-old floating market, where people living along the canals exchange goods from their boats and display their wares on long bamboo poles protruding from the boat. Across the way is a French-built church that provides a scenic background for more photo opportunities.
Next, you will embark a private boat for the highlight of the day: a chance to discover the day-to-day life of the friendly locals living along the Mekong River. Your trip will take you through a maze of canals, past many boats, and on to one of the many islands in the Delta to visit the traditional homes of fruit farmers and fishermen. You will stroll in a mandarin orchard, and visit an ancient teakwood house located within the orchard. You will be treated warmly by locals offering tea and garden fruits, then see where they make coconut candies and rice paper. After sampling some local fare, you will take the boat back to town, and rejoin your coach for the 2-hour return drive to the pier and ship.
Please note: This tour is limited to 6 guests per group. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. The drive from Ho Chi Minh City to
Cai Be is approximately 2 hours in each direction.
Indulge your senses with the culture, traditions and flavors of Saigon during this memorable musical performance and dinner in the city.
Depart the pier for the evening drive into Saigon, the Pearl of the Orient, and the center of culture, fashion, food and business in Vietnam. Upon arrival, you will proceed to a local hotel where you will be served a refreshing beverage, then take in a special performance of traditional music.
Following the show, you will be transferred to a deluxe local restaurant for a dinner consisting of South Vietnamese cuisine. Local dwellers have adapted in this city since the 17th century, and created many of the culinary dishes that characterize the region.
After dinner, you will rejoin your coach for the return drive to the pier.
Terms & Conditions:
Free Unlimited Shore Excursions are for full fare guests only, capacity controlled and subject to availability. Requested excursions may not be available at time of booking. Supplement will apply on Regent Choice excursions (indicated by the above) and excludes Private Arrangements and all Adventures Ashore programs. Concierge benefits do not apply to Executive Collection private cars or other private arrangements. In order to ensure quality guides and sufficient transportation, we must provide the tour operator with passenger counts at least 36 hours in advance. Therefore no refunds will be given within 36 hours of tour departure for cancellations or no-shows. Please pay special attention to scheduling and tour lengths when booking your shore excursions. In many cases, it is not possible to participate in more than one tour per day in a given port. Tour Departure times are subject to change so please reference your actual tour ticket for the correct departure time. Tours operate rain or shine. Minor children 17 years and under must be accompanied by a an adult 18 years or older on all shore excursions. Tours require minimum participation levels to operate so please sign up as early as possible. Tours may be cancelled if minimum participation levels are not met. Prices, Itineraries and General Information shore excursion prices are subject to change to meet unexpected cost increases or currency fluctuations. Please consult the Destination Services Desk onboard for information. During local or national holidays, access to certain facilities (such as museums or archaeological sites) may be limited or denied. In such instances, adjustments will be made to minimize inconvenience to guests. Some tours have limited availability. Tours are generally available for reserving 180 days prior to the beginning of a cruise. Please sign up early to avoid disappointment. Regent Seven Seas Cruises reserves the right to require guests to complete a liability waiver for select shore excursions. For more information, please visit the Destination Services Desk onboard.