Ho Chi Minh City Orientation (B)

HCM 100-201
  • Experience the main sites in both downtown and China town areas
  • Enjoy 360-degree views of Ho Chi Minh City from Saigon Sky Deck
  • Please note, this program no longer includes the Notre Dame Cathedral as it is under renovation
Program Overview
Country: Việt Nam
Depart: 11/15/2017 0730
Return: 11/15/2017 1230
Duration: Half-Day
Difficulty: Easy
Capacity: Min 15 / Max 70
Category: ILLUMINATE: History / Culture
Program Fee
$36 (early booking: $34)

Explore the manifold sights and sounds of urban Việt Nam on this orientation of Ho Chi Minh! A veritable beehive of people and whizzing mopeds, capture the highlights of this vivacious city.

Start off the day with a visit to one of Ho Chi Minh’s most interesting places, the Reunification Palace. Here everything has been left much as it was on April 30, 1975, when North Việt Namese military tanks crashed through its front gates and overthrew the South Việt Namese government. In addition to exploring the former palace rooms, view a short video about the French and American wars.

Afterwards, head downtown to the Central Post Office, famed for its grand French colonial architecture. From there, walk down Dong Khoi Street – the former Catinat Street, known for its colonial style buildings. Set off for another part of the city, Cho Lon (or China town). Meaning ‘big market’, Cho Lon is located southwest of the city center and is the core of the Chinese community in Ho Chi Minh. Here participants will hear Mandarin spoken widely, observe ancient pagodas, and see Chinese script adorning shopfronts. Explore the Thien Hau temple, established for the Chinese goddess known as the ‘Lady of the Sea’, who is believed to skim across the high seas locating and rescuing those in trouble. It is common for the immense coils of incense that hang from the ornate ceiling to burn for up to three months at a time!

Wrap up the day with a dizzying visit to the Saigon Skydeck. At a height of 262 meters (860ft) and spanning 68 floors, the Bitexco Financial Tower is currently the tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City. Inspired by the country’s national flower, the lotus, this urban masterpiece is more than a skyscraper of glass and steel. It has come to represent the energy and aspirations of this progressive city and the millions that live and work in it. Located on the 49th floor of the tower, Saigon Skydeck offers unprecedented 360-degree vistas of Ho Chi Minh City. Travel up the elevator at lightening pace of 7 meters (23ft) per second, and take in breathtaking views from the public observation platform 187 meters (614ft) above the city. Sunset here makes for spectacular photo opportunities!

“A great way to see a lot of Ho Chi Minh City.” – Devin M. Spring 2017 Student Voyager

Special Note

  • Pack sun screen, a hat, and comfortable walking shoes
  • Clothing should cover shoulders and knees for pagoda visits