Contrasts of Saigon (day tour)

Cost: $49 / person, as a part of a group

Inclusion: Guide, manual motorbike including driver, entrance fees, cold water throughout and a great insight into the contrasting lifestyles of Sai Gon.

Duration: 4 - 4.5 hrs. Tour starts daily at 8.00 am and 1.30 pm

Riding pillion behind our drivers we will take you on a tour of the city that will touch on some of the historical antecedents to modern Sai Gon as well as delving into some of the more everyday traditional lifestyle of the Saigonese.

Full Itinerary:

The financial hub of the country, Sai Gon is a magnet for foreign investors and ambitious new development projects pop up each year. That is not all there is to this city, formerly called the "far east pearl". Somewhere in the cacophony of scooter and motor vehicle traffic, not far from the modern downtown, many locals still live a more traditional lifestyle, a witness to the drive toward modernisation that is taking place around them.

Riding pillion behind our drivers we will take you on a tour of the city that will touch on some of the historical antecedents to modern Sai Gon as well as delving into some of the traditional everyday lifestyles of the Saigonese. First it will be a quick look around District 1 including Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. Then we visit the War Remnants Museum, a poignant display of the futility of war. Nearby the Museum, we will visit the home of an admirable family that dug a secret bunker in their house to hide ammunition for suicide attacks on the Presidential Palace by Viet Cong during the Tet Offensive in 1968.

After getting a good insight into the war we next move to the present day and head for the heart of the busy wholesale quarter with a visit to Chinatown, known locally as "Cho Lon". Cho Lon is in District 5 and while there we will stop to visit an ancient temple. After that we'll head to District 8 to explore the low land with its many small stilt houses located along the canal to the Sai Gon River. This area is worth exploring to see the way of life for the many immigrants to this city and to see how they go about acclimatising to the conditions here to eke out a life. You will be astonished and amazed by what you see here and it will be a real contrast to the comfortable life in the newly built luxury residences in nearby District 7.

Whether you are zooming by on motorbike or sipping designer cocktail at a rooftop bar, there is much to savour and explore in this bustling city. The traffic is always dense, and hectic as the pace appears to be, there are always locals lounging at street side cafes, content to watch the passing free - for - all.

This tour requires an adventurous spirit and a strong backside. Sturdy outdoor clothing and footwear is recommended.

Tips for guide/driver are appreciated.