A boat tour round Ho Chi Minh City on the Saigon River offers the chance to see the varied lifestyles surrounding this busy metropolis. The Saigon River flows from Cambodia through South Vietnam before merging into the South China Sea close to the Mekong Delta. In Ho Chi Minh City the river is also joined by the Dong Nai River and the Ben Cat River. Along the riverbanks are villages, underground passages dating back to the Vietnam War, city skyscrapers and ancient houses.
The Saigon River is still very much a working river and is the only way in which you’ll be able to experience sites such as the Cu Chi tunnels, hidden canals and the Mekong Delta. There are a number of tour operators offering cruises which can be booked as private charters or as part of a tour group, some offer Saigon River dinner cruise and fire dancing on board, others are daytrips further afield to see some of the historical and cultural hotspots only accessible by boat on the Saigon River.
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Saigon River Highlights
One of the drawbacks of taking a Saigon city tour by day is that the river can be smelly due to the waste that is disposed into the water, however the shorter city trips will also usually include a trip to the secret city canals where the locals live, thus giving you an authentic slice of real Vietnamese life. More popular are the longer day excursions on boats heading along the Saigon River to the Cu Chi tunnels along with a visit to the Mekong Delta.
A boat trip to the Mekong Delta offers a fascinating insight into village life. The trip usually incorporates a riverside market visit, a trip to a pagoda, a tour around handicraft centres and the chance to see colonial architecture, tropical jungle and scenic smaller waterways. The Cu Chi tunnel tour delivers an opportunity for visitors to see the 250km underground network of tunnels which acted as a base for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.
Tourists are invited to explore this warren in which guerrillas once hid and which were once crucial communication routes and hiding spots for injured soldiers, food and ammunition. This tour will also include a visit to a fish farm, tourist village and an ancient house dating to 1890 in which the French Governor resided during the French War.