Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - Far East Cruises

Welcome to Vietnam’s culinary centre where there is plenty on the menu. The port of Phu My (pronounced “Foo Me”) is the gateway to Ho Chi Minh City and the seaside resort of Vung Tau. Still fondly known as Saigon, the city is a thrilling, chaotic whirl played out against a French colonial backdrop as the aroma of noodle stalls, the sight of orange-garbed monks and the incessant buzz of scooters create a vivid snapshot of daily life.

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Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • Highlights of Ho Chi Minh

    Explore the highlights of bustling Ho Chi Minh City, still commonly referred to as Saigon.

    Highlights of Ho Chi Minh

    Located on the banks of the Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant city full of contrasts. Visit the National History Museum filled with ancient ceramics, traditional costumes and relics crafted in stone and bronze. Afterwards, watch a short performance of the uniquely Vietnamese spectacle – water puppetry.

    A short stop for photos will be made at the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, whose twin spires are a distinctive city landmark, and at the Reunification Hall, once the Presidential Palace and where Liberation forces, on 30th April 1975, marked the end of the Vietnam War. Traffic permitting, there will also be an opportunity for a photo at the City Hall and at the Rex Hotel, home of the infamous ‘Five O’clock Follies’.

    After a buffet luncheon, including typical Vietnamese dishes and a performance of traditional music and dance, continue to Cho Lon, the city’s Chinatown. Enjoy an orientation drive through the colourful streets full of stalls, hidden temples, shrines and pagodas.

    Visit the Thien Hau Temple, dedicated to the Sea Goddess - Protector of Sailors, before returning to the 3rd district to visit a lacquer factory, where you will see talented Vietnamese craftsmen at work.

    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey to/from Ho Chi Minh City is approximately 1½ hours. There is approximately three hours of walking on this tour with steps. Pavements can be narrow and uneven with raised kerbs, so please take care. Mineral water will be available on the coach transfer, but it is also suggested you take bottled water with you for the day.

    Tour code

    PH1_001

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    7½ hours

  • Ho Chi Minh Shopping Experience

    Take in the major sights of Ho Chi Minh City and indulge in some all-important souvenir shopping.

    Ho Chi Minh Shopping Experience

    Enjoy an orientation drive of Ho Chi Minh City passing by the City Hall, Rex Hotel and the French Colonial Post Office. Traffic permitting, photo stops will be made along the way.

    Continue to Ben Thanh Central Market, where thousands of products such as clothes, shoes, watches, bags, food and vegetables are available for sale. This is a favourite market for the locals. Afterwards, you will visit a lacquer factory to see the local craftsmen at work. You may wish to take the opportunity to purchase some of the finished products.

    Back in downtown Ho Chi Minh, you will stop at Dong Khoi Street, one of the busiest streets, full of fashionable boutiques, cafés and souvenir shops. Try some bargaining with the locals for porcelain figures, cinnamon boxes and other souvenirs (most vendors accept US Dollars in small denominations).

    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey to/from Ho Chi Minh City is approximately 1½ hours. There is approximately three hours of walking on this tour with steps at the various venues. Pavements can be narrow and uneven with raised kerbs. Mineral water will be available on the coach transfer, it is also suggested you take bottled water with you for the day. Please be mindful that this excursion is exclusive of luncheon.

    Tour code

    PH1_007

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    7½ hours

  • Vung Tau Views

    A resort of beachfront restaurants, colonial villas and cafes, Vung Tau is also known for its abundance of pagodas and temples.

    Vung Tau Views

    Become acquainted with the resort town of Vung Tau with its attractive villas clinging to the hillsides and a peninsula with miles of sandy beaches.

    Visit the Whale Temple, dedicated to a whale-genie spirit and featuring a collection of whale skeletons, some of them in glass cases. You will also have some time to browse through Vung Tau’s central market, where the locals barter, sell and buy.

    Buddhism is popular in Vietnam and you will visit the typical Nirvana Buddhist Temple. Situated on top of Nui Nho Mountain, the 100-foot-high statue of Jesus Christ overlooks the southern point of the peninsula and faces the South China Sea. This is the largest sculpture in the south of Vietnam. Built by the French, the beautiful Villa Blanche Museum, or ‘White Mansion’, is one of Vung Tau's major landmarks. This Mansion has served as a summer retreat for Emperor Bao Dai, as well as a vacation home for Vietnamese heads of state. There will be a short stop here, before you return to the ship.

    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately two hours of walking on this tour. There will be some free time for shopping during the excursion.

    Tour code

    PH1_005

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4½ hours

  • Ho Chi Minh City On Your Own

    This 'On Your Own' tour is a great choice for those guests who wish to explore independently.

    Ho Chi Minh City On Your Own

    An English-speaking escort will accompany your transfer to Ho Chi Minh City and will assist with your plans, providing information on shopping opportunities and attractions.

    Ho Chi Minh is home to some eight million people and is the economic heart of Vietnam. Drive through scenic countryside, dotted with rice fields on your way to this bustling city. On arrival, you will be immersed into a city full of life, colourful sights and sounds and a steady stream of bicycles and motorbikes!

    En route to your drop-off point at Ho Chi Minh City Square, you’ll pass the former US Embassy, Reunification Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral and several other points of interest.

    Enjoy the day exploring on your own. Try some of the local delicacies, visit one of the markets; walk through the Botanical Gardens; or simply watch the world go by from a pavement café.

    Please listen carefully to the escort’s instructions regarding your return departure arrangements from Ho Chi Minh City.

    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey time to/from Ho Chi Minh City is approximately 1½ hours. Mineral water will be available on the coach transfer. Please be mindful that this excursion is non-guided and exclusive of luncheon and any entrance fees. Pavements can be narrow and uneven with raised kerbs, so please take care when walking and crossing roads. As the return coach may be different from that used on the outward journey, please do not leave any belongings on board.

    Tour code

    PH1_004

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    7 hours

  • Countryside & Cu Chi Tunnels

    This tour focuses on the ingenuity and resilience of the Vietnamese fighters, who lived and fought from the underground Tunnels.

    Countryside & Cu Chi Tunnels

    The busy road to Cu Chi passes by rice paddies, where villagers use the hot roadside as a platform for drying all manner of produce. At the Cu Chi Tunnels, you will have an introduction to their history, construction and design, while a guide explains the underground network and some of the tools and weapons used.

    The Tunnels were up to 39 feet below ground. Most were only two foot wide, and five feet high, with thick roofs capable of withstanding the weight of tanks or the impact of bombs. Much of the tunnel complex has been opened and ventilated, so that you can more easily experience the underground rooms, kitchens, hospital and sleeping areas.

    A local Vietnamese luncheon will be served at a restaurant located on the banks of the Saigon River and includes a soft drink or local beer.


    This tour will operate by coach and on foot. This tour is not suitable for guests who have heart problems or suffer from claustrophobia. The drive to/from the Tunnels is approximately 2 1/2 hours with a comfort stop en route. You are advised to bring a hat, sunscreen and mosquito repellent. There is approximately two hours of walking involved. There will be an opportunity to shop for souvenirs during the tour. A video is shown at Cu Chi, which contains propaganda content against American involvement in the Vietnamese War. Experiencing the enclosed tunnels is only one element of this tour and there is plenty to enjoy on the remainder of the excursion.

    Tour code

    PH1_006

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    Duration

    9 hours

  • Mekong River Experience

    Visit this fascinating stretch of water and gain an insight into local life along the river.

    Mekong River Experience

    The Mekong River originates from Tibet and flows through 5 countries before reaching Vietnam. Until the 16th century, the Mekong Delta was an area of marshland and forest. Gradually it was reclaimed and a canal network was built.

    Board a motorised boat at My Tho for a trip along the River, then transfer into sampan-style boats to access the maze of narrow waterways. Stop off at the island of Thoi Son to enjoy a walking tour. During a visit to a local house you will be invited to taste some local fruits and traditional green tea.

    At a coconut candy-making house, you will learn the process of how candy is made from ingredients such as sugar, rice paper and nuts. Enjoy a stroll through the fruit gardens and listen to some traditional folk music of the Mekong Delta. There will be a chance to buy local souvenirs at the various stops before savouring local Vietnamese luncheon on Thoi Son island.


    This tour will operate by minivan, motor boat, sampan boat and on foot, The journey to/from the Delta is approximately three hours each way with a comfort stop en route. There is 1 1/2 hours' walking on the tour and the ground is rough and unpaved. Comfortable non-slip shoes are recommended and you must be able to get in and out of small boats. Guests with heart or mobility issues are not recommended to participate, due the heat and walking involved. Mineral water will be available on the coach transfer, but it is suggested you take bottled water with you for the day.

    Tour code

    PH1_011

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    Duration

    9 hours

  • Jewels of Indochina Overland - Single

    An opportunity to discover the incredible sights of Indochina incorporating Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

    Jewels of Indochina Overland - Single

    DAY 1 – HO CHI MINH CITY
    Your Indochina overland adventure begins in Vietnam with a 1½ hour drive to the country’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City. Visit the National History Museum, which includes an unusual water puppetry performance. A brief stop will be made at a lacquer factory for you to see the traditional local craftsmanship. Stop for photographs at Notre Dame Cathedral, and visit the Reunification Hall, where Liberation forces marked the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. After a buffet luncheon, you will continue on to City Hall and the Dong Khoi district where you will have free time for shopping. After your Ho Chi Minh sightseeing tour, transfer to the airport for a one hour flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Check into the Sohka Angkor Resort Hotel, where you will have a buffet dinner and spend two nights.

    DAY 2 – ANCIENT CITY OF ANGKOR
    After breakfast, head for the enchanting Banteay Srei Temple, known as the Citadel of Women. This petite temple possesses wonderful, intricate carvings. You will have chance to visit Preah Dak to witness the lives of Cambodian country people. See the enchanting Ta Prohm Temple, which was used during the filming of ‘Tomb Raider’. Luncheon will be served at the Tara Hotel. The highlight of your day will be the World Heritage site of Angkor Wat, a stunning blend of spirituality and symmetry, Angkor Wat is undoubtedly the most breathtaking of all Angkor monuments. Venture on to the South Gate at Angkor Thom and explore the forested centre of this once great city. You’ll also see the Bayon Temple, the Terrace of the Leper King, Terrace of the 12 Elephants, the Baphuon and the Royal Palace. Before returning to the hotel, you’ll have the chance to shop for souvenirs of Cambodia at the Central Market. In the evening, enjoy a wonderful Apsara dance show with a buffet dinner at the hotel’s poolside.

    DAY 3 – BANGKOK
    Take an early breakfast, before heading to the airport for your flight to Bangkok. On arrival in Thailand’s capital, you will enjoy a hotel luncheon before exploring the city’s highlights. Witness the bustle of Chinatown en route to the Emerald Buddha Temple. Explore the grounds of the Grand Palace, which encompasses several major buildings, all topped by glittering spires and soaring finials. Take a panoramic drive around Bangkok and enjoy a short stop for souvenir shopping, before your return to the ship in Laem Chabang.

    Bookings for this tour will close on 14th December 2014. Any bookings after this date will be on a request basis. There is a strict minimum and maximum participation. Please ensure you book the correct tour code for the accommodation you require (Double = PH1800. Single = PH1801). Prices shown on your record of shore excursions are per person, not per room. Once your booking is confirmed, any cancellation made after bookings close will incur a 100% cancellation fee. This tour departs Phu My on 29th March and returns in Laem Chabang on 31st March. Please check your embarkation/disembarkation dates before booking this tour. This excursion is physically demanding. Be prepared for early morning starts, lengthy days, and airport delays. No refunds will be given for any unused portion. Flight times and further details will be advised on board and hotels listed are subject to change.

    The fare includes: transport by coach and economy air travel, sightseeing, meals and hotel accommodation as stated. Visa’s for Cambodia and Vietnam are included. Two glasses of house wine, local beer soft drinks, tea and coffee are included with meals.

    The fare does not include: items of a personal nature such as refreshments, telephone calls, laundry, gratuities, room service, fees for doctor’s visits and any treatment or prescriptions. Wine is not included during luncheon in Bangkok, only one beer or soft drink. Those wishing to order alternative beverages during the overland will be charged separately. Guests should check visa requirements for Thailand prior to travel.

    What to pack: please bring two passport sized photos for visa documentation and ensure that your passport has 2 blank pages. Please remember your passport and any medication. Luggage limit is 1 bag per person with a maximum weight of 20kg.

    Cambodia: light clothing, comfortable walking shoes and protection against the sun and mosquitoes are recommended. US dollars in small denominations are widely accepted. Appropriate attire covering shoulders, arms and legs is required when visiting places of worship including Angkor temples (shawls and long shorts are not permitted). You may also be requested to remove your shoes (socks are recommended). Please refrain from raising your voice as this is considered ill-mannered.

    Thailand: photography is permitted within the Palace grounds, but not in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. All visitors are requested to adhere to the dress code:- no sleeveless, tight, or see-through shirts/blouses, even if a jacket is worn over them. No shorts, short skirts, culottes or leggings. Trousers must be full length to cover calves. No open-toed or open-heeled shoes, sandals or flip flops. Shoes must be removed when entering the Temple. Journey time from Bangkok to Laem Chabang is approximately 2½ hours.

    Tour code

    PH1_801

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    2 nights

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