Ho Chi Minh City arrival
Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, teacher and students will be greeted then transferred to hotel. After a short rest, we will take one-hour cyclo ride around the tree-lined boulevard of this hustle and bustle city. We will finish our day with an 1-hour Water Puppet show in Golden Dragon Theatre before having a Welcome dinner in a restaurant in the city centre. After dinner, our car will drop us at hotel for overnight accommodation.
Ho Chi Minh City Orientation
After breakfast at hotel, we will visit the Reunification Palace, which is one of the most important buildings in the city. Here on April 30, 1975, what the Vietnamese refer to as 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. You will call in at the War Remnants Museum or formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes, this is a poignant display of the futility of war. The courtyard outside contains the spoils of war, namely rusting jets, tanks and cannons captured from the American military machine. You will then visit Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office. Built between 1877 and 1883 this is one of the best examples of classical French colonial architecture. Remarkably, every stone used in its creation was shipped from France to Vietnam. Her two 40m towers, topped with iron spires dominate the city's skyline. The Old Post Office is another example of French colonial architecture and is also the country's largest post office.
The rest of the day will be free for shopping at Ben Thanh Market, this bustling and well-organized market is very popular with tourists, primarily due to its central location. It has a wide selection of goods ranging from fake Nike shoes to beautiful silk Ao Dai. We will end the tour in the afternoon and spend the night at the hotel. We will spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City – Long Tan – Nui Dat – Vung Tau. After breakfast at hotel, our car will drive us to Vung Tau then to Ba Ria. On arrival, we will visit Ba Ria Orphanage where we will donate some gifts for the children. We will then visit Long Phuoc Tunnels. The tunnel is 1.1 kilometres long with a clean and winding track inside before continue going to Nui Dat and an artillery area on the right. We will also visit Long Tan Memorial Cross which is established in 1969 by the 6RAR. We will take photos beside the cross on which the bronze plaque is hung.
After lunch in a local restaurant in Ba Ria, we will visit Minh Dam secret zone where diggers deployed on operations in 1968 and have short break time in Long Hai Beach for team activities and check in our hotel in Vung Tau where we will spend the night.
Vung Tau Sea town – Ho Chi Minh City. Today, we will have a nearly full day exploring this small exciting sea-town. We will first visit the spectacular Jesus Statue for a morning panoramic view of the city and shoreline. Built in 1972, this statue is standing in Nui Nho (Nho Mount) with 32 metres high and 18.3 metres long arms. Take nearly 900 steps to the top; we will enjoy a breathtaking view of Vung Tau City. When we go down, get ourselves relaxed by a cool drink offered by our tour guide before transferring to our next visit – Niet Ban Tinh Xa (Nirvana Pagoda). Nirvana Pagoda or Lying Buddha Pagoda (12m Buddha made of marble) was built in 1969 and is one of the biggest pagodas in the city. When you get here, please try to drum the giant bronze bell in the upper level for a good luck. The next place in our itinerary is White Palace, which used as summer palace of the last Emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai.
After lunch in a local restaurant with seafood mainly, we will continue to visit Whale Temple, which worship to the remains of a whale washed up on the Vung Tau beach over 100 years ago. We will then visit the Lighthouse, which offers a panoramic view of the whole city. The peak where the Lighthouse is located is around 170 metres above sea level and usually praised as the most interesting site in Vung Tau with shades of high trees on both side. In the afternoon, we will be driven back to Ho Chi Minh City where we will spend the night.
Ho Chi Minh City – Cao Dai Temple – Cu Chi Tunnels. This morning we take a drive to Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh to observe the midday service. Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, is home to the unique Cao Dai sect, whose patron saints include Joan of Arc, Victor Hugo and Winston Churchill to name a few. The religion is a hybrid of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity. The Cao Dai Temple at Tay Ninh has been described as a Walt Disney fantasia of the East. The temple's exterior is decorated with multi-colored dragons of all shapes and sizes competing for space with a number of Buddhist symbols. Above the main entrance is the all-seeing holy eye, the symbol of the Cao Dai sect. The interior is just as engaging as statues of Jesus Christ, Buddha and the Hindu god, Brahma, stand side by side.
After lunch, we will head to the Cu Chi tunnels, otherwise known as the "Iron Triangle" or "Iron Land". On our way there, we will drive through pleasant countryside; rubber plantations and rice paddies. Before entering the tunnels, we will see a short introductory video showing how they were constructed, followed by an exploration of the maze of tunnels, some of which have been widened to allow tourist access. Also on display are various mantraps and the remains of an American tank as well as numerous bomb craters made by 500lb bombs dropped by B52 bombers.
After that we transfer back to Ho Chi Minh city for overnight accommodation.
Ho Chi Minh City Departure
Time will be free until our car arrives at the hotel to take us to the airport in good time to board our departure flight. Trip ends.