Ho Chi Minh options

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#1
MN
989 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Hello - we are on a cruise and looking at two different tour guides, we are 2 families traveling with 3 teens.
Are we missing any major sites and is there anything you would eliminate?


Zoom & Xaun Le.

Would you eliminate any of the sights on this tour (we don't want a hard sell commission stop -lacquerware/Khai Silk??)
City tour :
Pickup from port gate - China town for Heavenly LadyTemple and Chinatown market - Drive back to downtown Saigon- Lunch at Pho 2000, Clinton's restaurant - Visits to lacquerware workshop,history/war remnants museum - Photo stops at Independence Palace, Notre Dame deSaigon, Post Office - Coffee round at Rooftop bar at Rex htl - More stops atSaigon Square, Opera house, Le Loi ave., Khai silk, former residence ofWestmoreland, Cabot Lodge at time permit or as requested - Drive back to portgate.


2nd option includes a Rickshaw:
- Visit biggest localfresh market (fruits, vegetables, fish...)
- Thien Hau pagoda tolearn about Vietnamese cuture and religions
- Trishaw ride 45minutes through many markets
- Driving along canalto see a huge contrast between poor stilts houses and rich mainsons.
- In downtown:walking around Dong Khoi street to visit some historical sites like Postoffice, Rex hotel, City Hall and CIA building where one of the last Americanhelicopter landed on the top for evacuating in fall of Saigon 1975.
- War remnantsmuseum
- A little shoppingat Ben Thanh market if time permits.


Thanks!!
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#2
Sydney Australia
1,583 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
We did a small group tour with Zoom a few years ago and organised not to do the laquerware and silk factory. It was still a comprehensive tour and we were happy to have extra time at the War Remnants museum.

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#3
778 Posts
Joined Oct 2015
As mentioned I would also miss the 2 factories.
Personally, I would also not do the coffee break at the Rex and replace all 3 with a tour inside Independence Palace.

You can still do a quick walk up to the Rex rooftop if you wish, as it is right opposite the Opera House.

Be aware Union Square and Le Loi Ave area is a real construction mess at present due to the construction of an underground.
#4
13,246 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
I would nix the Pho2000 restaurant. Who cares if Clinton ate there? Grab something to eat when you are hungry and at any convenient spot. Forget the Rex coffee stop. Stop for a cold beer at the cafe a block up from the war museum. Keep some flexibility in your schedule.

Nix the lacquerware or any other factory stop. Same with any unannounced stops at trinket & trash stores.

It is too bad that there is not time to go out to the tunnels. We found them fascinating.
#5
5 Posts
Joined May 2017
We did a tour with Xuan - the best guide we ever encountered. He picked us from the port and we had a great time in Ho Chi Minh City. Total journey and tour was 9 hours The van we used was very comfortable with bottled drinking water and free WIFI. He took us to Thien Hau temple, the War Remnants Museum, the General Post Office, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the former CIA headquarters and the big square opposite the City Hall. We also took the 45 minutes trishaw ride. We highly recommend this ride. Actually, we didn't visit any shops for shopping, which was good. Xuan was just lovely and cheerful. He was so kind to our little children and they warmed up to him easily.
#6
UK
178 Posts
Joined May 2005
The second option you mention is the tour with Xuan. We did that exact tour last week, and could not fault it. Xuan is a friendly young man, very passionate about his work, and wants to give you the best day, seeing what you want to see. The Trishaw ride is very exciting and I am sure your teens will love it.
I would not hesitate in recommending him, and would suggest emailing him at [email protected] telling him what you want, and he will help you all he can.
I completely agree with everything in the previous post by deepblupond. Good luck, and enjoy your time in Ho Chi Minh city.
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#7
241 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
We also toured with Xuan. did tunnel under home in HCMC. Rickshaw ride incredible. We did have lunch at Rex, great views

Xuan is a super nice, warm, engaging person. Probably the best tour guide we've ever had

Van was comfortable, wifi worked well.

loved hcmc
#8
New Orleans
155 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
We also did the 2nd tour you mentioned with Xuan.

The teens will love the Rickshaw Ride and so will all the adults. It is truly a highlight in Ho Chi Minh!

Dont' bother visiting the shops where some guides make a commission. ( that is why they take you there).

Xuan doesn't take you to any places where he makes a commission on what you buy.

We have travelled with private guides for over 30 years and Xuan was one of the BEST guides we have used.

He is truly an amazing, special person.

For all new people reading this thread- his website is https://www.tourwithxuan.com/

He has great videos, pictures and blogs on it too.
#9
101,680 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
We used Zoom in 2014.

I eliminated the lacquerware as we had been there before and think it is not worth the time. Also did not do the war museum as it is anti-american.

Otherwise did everything else and it was wonderful.

Keith
#10
Perth Western Australia
803 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Good to see that the cyclo ride was preorganised and enjoyed.

But for the benefit of anyone reading this thread, please do not hire a cyclo "off the street" under any circumstances as you will have heap of trouble to deal with and will be "ripped off".

Anyone wanting to hire a cyclo should do so through their tour company or hotel and have the ride organised by them and prepaid.
#11
Grosse Pointe, MI
3,907 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by Keith1010
We used Zoom in 2014.

I eliminated the lacquerware as we had been there before and think it is not worth the time. Also did not do the war museum as it is anti-american.

Otherwise did everything else and it was wonderful.

Keith
The older installations on the lower floors do have an anti American tilt. But, the newer installations on the upper floors are less so. The war corespondents room was very good.

There are always two points of view on issues and looking at the other side was enlightening.
#12
MN
989 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Having a hard time getting Zoom to agree (or could be a translation issue) that we don't want to go to the commission places.

Any other tour guides recommended. Xaun is full already.

thanks
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#13
Toronto, Canada
622 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by bp traveler
Having a hard time getting Zoom to agree (or could be a translation issue) that we don't want to go to the commission places.

Any other tour guides recommended. Xaun is full already.

thanks
When is your sailing? It doesn't show on your "Coming Up" list.
#14
LaCenter, Wa
115 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Originally posted by bp traveler
Hello - we are on a cruise and looking at two different tour guides, we are 2 families traveling with 3 teens.
Are we missing any major sites and is there anything you would eliminate?


Zoom & Xaun Le.

Would you eliminate any of the sights on this tour (we don't want a hard sell commission stop -lacquerware/Khai Silk??)
City tour :
Pickup from port gate - China town for Heavenly LadyTemple and Chinatown market - Drive back to downtown Saigon- Lunch at Pho 2000, Clinton's restaurant - Visits to lacquerware workshop,history/war remnants museum - Photo stops at Independence Palace, Notre Dame deSaigon, Post Office - Coffee round at Rooftop bar at Rex htl - More stops atSaigon Square, Opera house, Le Loi ave., Khai silk, former residence ofWestmoreland, Cabot Lodge at time permit or as requested - Drive back to portgate.


2nd option includes a Rickshaw:
- Visit biggest localfresh market (fruits, vegetables, fish...)
- Thien Hau pagoda tolearn about Vietnamese cuture and religions
- Trishaw ride 45minutes through many markets
- Driving along canalto see a huge contrast between poor stilts houses and rich mainsons.
- In downtown:walking around Dong Khoi street to visit some historical sites like Postoffice, Rex hotel, City Hall and CIA building where one of the last Americanhelicopter landed on the top for evacuating in fall of Saigon 1975.
- War remnantsmuseum
- A little shoppingat Ben Thanh market if time permits.


Thanks!!
We did a tour with Xuan 2 weeks ago and LOVED it! He was so engaging, funny and loves to show you his country! We had a special request to view the Tan Sa Nhut airport which was the old American base in the war because my FIL was based there and wanted to see it again. Hoping for some closure and it worked! Xuan arranged for us to go to a building across from the airport to the top floor so we could see the base. He was so kind and compassionate there, as well as the War Remanent Museum, which was also a little hard on FIL with the pics. We had a delicious lunch at a spot he took us and ordered our food, which we loved. We didn't go in the Rex, but just took pics. Going to the top of the CIA building was awesome. Great views all over the city. I would highly recommend Xuan and he'll happily accommodate your requests. Enjoy! Terri
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Terri

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#16
LaCenter, Wa
115 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Originally posted by jdvmd
How much does Xuan charge for his tours?
I would email him and ask. Originally we were going to do the the Chu Chi tunnels and it was more P/P, but we all de iced it was a waste for us since none of us wanted to go into the tunnels, and wanted more time in Saigon. So our price went down due to the less gas used by not driving to tunnels. It was 100.00 P/P, but we asked for several special stops. It was worth that and more. We took him to lunch and it was fabulous and extremely cheap. You won’t be disappointed!
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Terri

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#17
Bayonne, New Jersey
171 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
With three teens when I was there our tour included a peddle cab tour of the city. We left from across the street from the war remanet museum and we had a 45 minute ride thru the streets. It was so much fun.


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#18
Sarasota, FL
176 Posts
Joined Apr 2017
Originally posted by Tbird58
We did a tour with Xuan 2 weeks ago and LOVED it! He was so engaging, funny and loves to show you his country! We had a special request to view the Tan Sa Nhut airport which was the old American base in the war because my FIL was based there and wanted to see it again. Hoping for some closure and it worked! Xuan arranged for us to go to a building across from the airport to the top floor so we could see the base. He was so kind and compassionate there, as well as the War Remanent Museum, which was also a little hard on FIL with the pics. We had a delicious lunch at a spot he took us and ordered our food, which we loved. We didn't go in the Rex, but just took pics. Going to the top of the CIA building was awesome. Great views all over the city. I would highly recommend Xuan and he'll happily accommodate your requests. Enjoy! Terri

How far in advance did you book with him? We will be there in Nov 2018.
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#19
LaCenter, Wa
115 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Originally posted by Tarwood3
How far in advance did you book with him? We will be there in Nov 2018.
Xuan is very busy with his tour business, since he is the only one. I would definitely book him now. You pay the day of the tour. I promise you will not be disappointed in whatever tour you decide on. He adapted the tour for our needs and we were thrilled. We want to go back! Have a wonderful day with Xuan.
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#20
USA
5,362 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by dafne
For all new people reading this thread- his website is https://www.tourwithxuan.com/. He has great videos, pictures and blogs on it too.
Enjoyed the videos and website, but no mention of cost....we would like the Saigon City tour, the Mekong Delta tour and the one in Da Nang. Does anyone know the approximate cost for them? Is there an extra charge for the trishaw ride?
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