8:00 a.m HTS tour guide will pick you up from your hotel, drive to Cu Chi district. Leaving the city behind, the scenery changes to views of rice paddies, villagers drying noodles by the side of the road and other scenes typical to southern Vietnam.
Arrive and start the visit of the famous Cu Chi Tunnels which consist of an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters (Viet Cong) during both the French and American wars. Start the visit with the Ben Dinh or Ben Duoc sections of the tunnel. Here you can imagine what it was like to be a guerrilla complete with Russian Carbine rifles and AK 47′s on display. There is a “man trap” display to show the ingenious ways the resistance fighters used to fight the better resourced enemy. There is also a firing range where you can fire different weapons, at your own cost. At noon journey back to Ho Chi Minh City.
In the afternoon, after lunch, you will visit:
The Reunification Palace: one of the most important buildings in the city. Here on April 30th 1975 the ‘American War’ officially ended when tank number 843 of the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gates of what was, at the time, the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam.
From this site you move to The Notre Dame Cathedral Old Post Office and Dong Khoi Street, the Opera House and the Peoples’ Committee Building to see and photograph the sites. Then move on to Thien Hau Pagoda, located in Cholon, the city’s Chinatown district, this pagoda is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. The most impressive features of this structure are the intricately friezes and the carved tableaus towards the front of the pagoda. The impressive incense coils in the interior also make for some great photos.
The last visit is to stop at Ben Thanh Market for shopping. The market developed from informal markets created by early 17th century street vendors gathering together near the Saigon River. The market was formally established by the French colonial powers after taking over the Gia Dinh citadel in 1859. This market was destroyed by fire in 1870 and rebuilt to become Saigon’s largest market. In 1912 the market was moved to a new building and called the New Ben Thanh Market to distinguish over its predecessor. The building was renovated in 1985.
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