You’ll leave the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City behind today, as you head out on a tour of the Mekong Delta. This place is a maze of rivers, swamps and tiny islands, where floating markets and villages are the norm. It’s known as Vietnam’s rice bowl, since it produces over half of the country’s grain. Boats are king around here, so you’ll hit the water in a traditional sampan. As you glide along, you’ll pass villages built along the river’s edge, as well as locals going about their daily business. You’ll stop off on Thoi Son Island, where you can tour a family-run coconut candy factory and a local bee farm. At the latter, you can meet the bees and sample the honey they produce, along with exotic jackfruit and dragon fruit. You’ll stop for lunch here, too, before returning to the ship.
You’ll tick off all the Ho Chi Minh City rites of passage today. After lunch, you’ll start a coach tour of downtown, which checks off the colonial-style Central Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral. You’ll also get to snap photos of the Reunification Palace – where the Vietnam War ended in 1975, when north Vietnamese troops captured Saigon. You’ll get to delve even deeper into the country’s past at the Museum of Vietnamese History, which houses artefacts spanning from the prehistoric period to the 19th-century Nguyen dynasty. While you’re here, you’ll watch a traditional water puppet show – expect to see puppet people, dragons and fairies dance across a stage of water. Then it’s off to take in more culture in Chinatown. You’ll make a pit stop at Thien Hau Pagoda – a pretty, Buddhist temple dedicated to Chinese sea goddess, Mazu. And then it’s on to a lacquer workshop, where souvenir-shopping is top of the agenda.
Ho Chi Minh City might be a modern metropolis, but it excels in the history stakes, too. Today, you’ll visit one of the city’s most popular attractions – the War Remnants Museum. This place sheds light on the Vietnam War, with its sobering displays of photos, artefacts and stories. Outside in the museum’s courtyard, you’ll find military equipment like a UH-1 Huey helicopter and a full-sized tank. Next, you’ll board the coach for a panoramic drive around downtown. Here, you’ll pass reminders of the city’s time under French rule, like the canary-yellow Central Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral, which is modelled on the famous Paris landmark. You’ll also get a chance to see underneath the pavements with a visit to the Viet Cong’s secret, underground arsenal. After, there’s time to stop at a local market, before heading back to the ship.
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