Ho Chi Minh City (from Phu My) 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.

Explore one of Vietnam’s greatest cities on a cruise to Phu My

Pronounced “Foo Me”, Phu My is the closest port to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon by the locals. The fastest, safest and simplest way to reach the city is by bus, through one of our shore excursions. The journey takes around an hour and a half, meaning you can dock in the morning and be exploring the legendary Ho Chi Minh City by early afternoon.

Ho Chi Minh City is a dazzling metropolis which moves at a merciless pace, as energetic as Hong Kong and as sleepless as New York. The best way to enjoy the chaos is simply to allow yourself to be swept along with it, and immerse yourself in the city and its culture.

It is a place where contrasts sit easily side by side with neither jostling for prime position; you will find vertigo-inducing skyscrapers like the Bitexo Financial Tower, but also sprawling markets like Ben Tanh snaking through alleys. The everyday heartbeat of the city is set to a soundtrack of a thousand motorbikes and mopeds making short work of the streets.

There is plenty to do and see during your time in Ho Chi Minh City on a Phu My cruise. Why not start by exploring the Jade Emperor Pagoda, built in 1909 for the Supreme Taoist God. It is an incredibly and ornately decorated multi-faith temple, brimming with statues, figures and carvings.

Next, head along to Nha Hong Ngon, where you will find some of Vietnam’s best street food in bustling and atmospheric surroundings. Finally, no visit to Ho Chi Minh City is complete without a visit to The History Museum – which houses a diverse spectrum of artefacts which effectively chronicle the history of vibrant Vietnam.

Discovering a beach paradise at Vung Tau

Phu My is also a great base to access Vung Tau, which is around 45 minutes away. When you feel like some headspace after the busy Ho Chi Minch City, Vung Tau provides some idyllic respite. Surrounded by the ocean on three sides and home to impressive colonial buildings, it is the perfect place to reflect and relax.

Set on a gorgeous, arching peninsula, this bright and vibrant beach town is a world away from the smog and heat of the cities. If you can tear yourself away from the beach, there is plenty more to do and see in Vung Tau. Check out the lighthouse, built in 1910 by the French, which offers a unique and panoramic view out over Vung Tau.

There is also the Worldwide Arms Museum – a surprising and fascinating find on the backstreets of Vung Tau. This is where you will find a vast collection of military uniforms and weaponry from the world over. Even if you are not particularly interested in warfare history, there is plenty to see and appreciate here on your cruise to Phu My.

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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 taking the boat ride back to the shore to enjoy a local style Vietnamese luncheon.

    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 1½ hour’s 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. Please note that the Mekong River mud bed can produce a stagnate smell that is produced from the fish pools of the local villages and river lanes.

    Tour code

    PH1_011

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    Duration

    9 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

  • 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

  • Ho Chi Minh City Walk

    Take a walk around the colourful streets of Saigon and visit some of the city’s historic landmarks on this guided tour.

    Ho Chi Minh City Walk

    Ho Chi Minh City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Saïgon) was built between 1902 and 1908 in typical French colonial architecture for that period. Today, it’s a great photo opportunity with the contrasting modern sky scrapers in the back ground.

    Continue to the Opera House, built in the same period, and a venue for many high profile events and cultural entertainment. Walk to the Saigon Central Post Office, built by renowned architect Gustave Eiffel and reminiscent of early European railway stations. You will be given a postcard to send to your family or friends.

    Make a brief photo stop at the Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. It has a neo-Romanesque façade and a two bell towers tipped with iron spires that reach a height of 190 feet, dominating the skyline.

    No visit to Ho Chi Minh City is complete without a taste of the local coffee, stop for a short break before you enjoy a delicious lunch at local restaurant.

    After lunch you will return to the ship.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey to and from Ho Chi Minh City is approximately 1¾ hours. There is 1½ hour’s walking on the tour, comfortable non-slip shoes are recommended. 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_012

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    8 hours

  • Ba Ria Local Life

    Immerse yourself in the untouched rural area of Ba Ria Province.

    Ba Ria Local Life

    Located a short distance inland from Phu My Port is the Ba Ria Province, a small township, located around a village square filled with fading colonial architecture. This area has seen little in the way of urban development and many inhabitants continue to lead their lives the way they have for generations.

    Visit a local Buddhist temple and drive past the local market place for a glimpse of everyday local life. Enjoy the rare opportunity to enter a traditional Vietnamese home. Partitioned into three separate areas, this 100-year-old house, complete with clay floor, has been passed on through six generations from the colonial times of the French to the present day. The owners welcome visitors’ and are pleased to talk about their simple but traditionally rich lifestyle.

    Your next stop allows you to see the process of rice paper making and a distillery producing the local ‘moonshine’- a potent form of rice wine.

    Finally, step inside a colourful Cao Dai temple. This religion was officially founded in 1926 and by the mid-1950s eight percent of South Vietnamese were Cao Daist. Founded in an attempt to create the ideal religion through fusion of secular and religious philosophies of east and west. Look out for the official Cao Dai symbol the ‘divine’ eye which is inset into the front of the temple above the altar.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This tour involves in 1 hour walking approximately on uneven surfaces. Shoulders and knees have to be covered and sunglasses and hats have to be removed when entering temples.

    Tour code

    PH1_016

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    5 hours

  • Saigon Past and present

    Take a walk around the colourful streets of Saigon and visit some of the city’s historic landmarks on this guided tour.

    Saigon Past and present

    Take a 1 ½ hour journey through paddy fields and rivers to Ho Chi Minh City. Start your tour with a photo stop at the Opera House, colonial-era architectural masterpieces with dazzling French design. Continue to the Central Post Office. Next, walk onward to the nearby Reunification Palace .Explore the stately meeting rooms before enjoying beautiful views across its vast grassy lawns.

    Next, pay a visit to the War Remnants Museum for a first-hand look at the mid-twentieth century war through the eyes of the Vietnamese people. By private car, stop at Ben Thanh Market for a glimpse at the city’s bustling commercial heart.

    Savour lunch at a local restaurant and In the afternoon, continue your excursion to the Chinatown District. Swap your private car for a cyclo! (Traditional Rickshaw) for a leisurely journey into the winding alleyways of the Chinatown area, arriving at Cha Tam Church and Chua Ong Pagoda, a stunning example of Chinese-inspired architecture. By foot, head down a traditional herbal medicine street for a closer look at how locals use herbal remedies for everything from headaches to energy boosts! With a tea bag as your souvenir, wave goodbye to the friendly owner and take a return journey back to your ship.


    This excursion will operate by coach, Rickshaw and on foot. There is 3 ½ hour’s walking on the tour with steps, comfortable non-slip shoes are recommended. Guests are required to get on/off the Rickshaw several times during the visit. Mineral water is provided on the coach on the coach transfer.

    Tour code

    PH1_013

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    9¼ 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

  • Saigon by Sidecar

    Travel back in time by Motorbike and Sidecar and see how the French influenced Saigon.

    Saigon by Sidecar

    Leaving the Pier, you’ll journey 1 ½ drive to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh, you’ll hop on your motorbike and sidecar to start your adventure.

    You’ll Stop at the Nha Rong harbour which was built by the French in 1863, Nha Rong was formerly the office for the French Maritime Transport Company. Drive past the city Zoo founded in 1865, and continue with an inside visit to one of the most famous building in Vietnam –Reunification palace (c.1873) the palace was used by the French Governor of Cochinchina.

    You’ll see the Notre Dame Cathedral and visit the Post Office, with its fine French architecture. At the heart of the city, you’ll find the Ben Thanh Market, this bustling market has been alive for centuries, immerse yourself with the noise of barter and extravaganza of colours!

    After lunch, you’ll visit Chinatown, travel through busy lantern filled streets with traditional medicine shops, Jade stores and restaurants. Hop off and visit a Chinese temple before you ride along Vo Van Kiet to a local pub to pick up your coach for the return journey.


    This excursion will operate by coach, motorcycle and sidecar and on foot. During your tour Lunch is served at local restaurant. There is ½ hour’s walking on the tour and involves getting on/off a motorbike or sidecar several times. This tour is not suitable for those with conditions, which may be affected by the bumpy ride. Children under 18 may not participate. Guest should wear long trousers and closed shoes. There is one person per sidecar and one guest must ride Pillion.

    Tour code

    PH1_014

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    9 hours

  • Saigon Exploration by Vintage Car

    Step out in Style around Saigon in a Vintage car. A perfect way to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the Vietnamese culture.

    Saigon Exploration by Vintage Car

    Enjoy a scenic journey by coach to Ho Chi Min City, where you will step into your vintage car. Your first stop is at the Reunification Palace, one of the most historic landmarks in Ho Chi Minh.

    Make a brief photo stop at the Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. It has a neo-Romanesque façade and two bell towers tipped with iron spires that reach a height of 190 feet.. Your next stop will be to visit the classic 19th century French colonial Post Office. The largest post office in Vietnam.

    Pay a visit to the War Remnants Museum. Over the years, the museum has held a number of colourful names, primarily as it contains exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War.

    Lunch will be taken at local restaurant before you move on to Chinatown, a prosperous bustling are which has been engaged in trading activities since the 17th century.

    Next, you’ll visit the Thien Hau Pagoda, which was built by the Canton Congregation in the early 19th century. This pagoda is dedicated to Thien Hau, the Chinese Goddess of the Sea who protects fishermen, sailors, merchants and other sea travellers.

    Finally stop at a Vietnamese teashop where you will meet local tea master to learn about the history of Vietnamese tea and enjoy tea tasting.


    This excursion will operate by coach, vintage car and on foot. The journey to/from Ho Chi Minh City is approximately 1½ hours. Flat comfortable shoes are recommended.

    Tour code

    PH1_015

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    8½ hours