This morning we set off on a day of sightseeing, taking a short bus trip to Hoc Mon town where we’ll hop on our bikes and cycle through scenic rice paddies and rubber plantations making our way to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a twisting network of narrow underground tunnels and rooms that the Viet Cong used as its military base and living quarters during the Vietnam War. We’ll learn about the Viet Cong’s life underground as well as being able to explore the network of tunnels by foot. After lunch at a local restaurant we’ll then drive back to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) for the afternoon, taking in some of the city’s most important sights. We begin with the Reunification Palace, an outstanding example of 1960s architecture that is steeped in modern history. It was here that the Vietnam War ended in 1975, when the city of Saigon fell after a North Vietnamese army tank crashed through the palace gates, from which point the city was to be known as Ho Chi Minh City. From here we visit some of the city’s major landmarks: the Notre Dame Cathedral, an imposing neo-Romanesque Catholic cathedral built in the late 19th century; and the Saigon Post Office, a classic French colonial building bearing a giant portrait of ‘Uncle Ho’ and many grand architectural details. To finish the day, you might like to visit the famous Ben Thanh Market, an enormous sprawling covered marketplace that is packed to the gills with everything from fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and sweets, to suitcases, clothing and white goods, traditional lacquer ware, handicrafts and kitschy tourist trinkets. Bargaining is key here, but even if you’re not shopping, it’s a dazzling spectacle to photograph. Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner at renowned social enterprise restaurant, KOTO. Founded by Vietnamese-Australian Jimmy Pham, KOTO (“Know One, Teach One”) is a popular restaurant that provides hospitality training and welfare services to disadvantaged young Vietnamese, getting them off the streets and equipping them with life-changing skills and opportunities.
Cycling distance: 30 km
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.