a VirtualTourist member from Antipolo
I am going to HCMC on April 26 to May 2 alone and I need your help in deciding if I should book a tour or I'll just go around the place and commute by myself. I am also looking at booking an accommodation at Blue River Hotel and their site says that I can also book a tour with them. Do you think it's a good idea to book a tour at the hotel?
Thank you guys sooooo much!
going to HCMC was pretty simple for me. I went there for the first time and found a hotel room on Agoda in District one. The area was pretty convenient to go out to most places and cost 15 to 30 usd. With your short time in HCMC I recommend that you book a tour when you get there to get to the outside of HCMC. , but really inside the city you can do a walking tour and see many things on your own as most sites are in walking distance. There are many tour agency along "back packers alley" slip in there and see if you want to go outside the city on a tour to the beaches or Chu Chi Tunnels etc.Best to look on VT blogs and pages of Vietnam and see what they offer. You will be overwhelm when you get there by all the sights, sounds and traffic on motor scooters. Get familiar with the country you will be going to before you get there. Taxis are cheap, but there are some rip offs, so read my blog and other post so that you are in the know. Need more help, ask and have a great time in Vietnam as I did.
cheers tommy x
Personally I an mot a fan of organised tours because you can't stop where you want nor take your own time on things - however they have the advantage of taking you to the place you want to go rather than trying to find it yourself. But HCMC is actually quite easy to get around and there are guide books and VT posts that comment in detail about places to visit. The fun of exploring a city under your own stean far exceeds the time saved in going on an organised tour. This is a totally personal thing and I'm sure many VTers will advise you to take book the tour but I think you'll hav emore lasting memories if you did it all yourself. Either way - enjoy!
Looks like you have 5-6 days which is perfect.
My recommendation is take a day tour to Cui Chi tunnels and Cao Dai temple. Do not miss the latter.
Then take an overnight tour to Mekong delta. Overnight to ensures you see floating markets early on day 2. A single day tour and you only get to see very end as they close.
I am not a tour fan but in VN tours are cheap and efficient. IMHO you can't do same things in same time or as cheaply alone. For tours go to backpacker area as recommended ... I actually recommend https://www.thesinhtourist.vn/. I've used them many time and never a complaint.
Don't book tours with hotels you pay prenium. First day head to backpacker area for drink and tour shopping... Very easy. Even if you chose a different company than one I recommend you'll still get ideas from their sight. They used to charge one dollar more than others in street for short tours.. Cost of reputation lol.
Balance of time in HCMC which you do not need tour for nor do i recommend one for reasons another Vt person just outlinedr. Apart from taxi to war remmanants museum and chinatown .. Everything else is walkable. Just wander round take it in lots of thing to see and more importantly experience.. If you've not been there before crossing the road is your number one challenge. Watch how others do it, then copy.
Great place to visit
for my experience, it's difficult to travel around a place on your own in HCMC, except for you want to rent a car and traavel to some next provinces, normally, people book tours in backpacker area called PHAM NGU LAO, or BUI VIEN, that maybe cheaper than from hotel.
Personally I find travelling on my own in Vietnam extremely easy. There are a lot of tours and also a lot of possibilities to organise things on your own with a personal driver/guide, hiring a scooter or taking the bus/bicycle.
A word of caution: The Singhtourist used to be the SinghCafe, but has changed its name as the cafe-name was copied so much. Make sure you read the whole sign and don't stop at the Singh... assuming that it is the one you want. I agree, all people I have met have had only positive feedback on them (I did not use them as I organised everything on my own).
Beware that in Vietnam the rule "you get what you pay for" is very true. The less you pay for a tour the less you get (drinks, food, language skill of the guide, information, time to explore for yourself, small/big groups etc.)
7 days in HCMC is far too much, you need to get out. Go to the Mekong Delta, e.g. to Cantho (by bus 3 hours and 110.000 Dong = 4 dollars), go on an overnight or 2 night Mekong cruise, rent a scooter or take a bus and go to Sadec (flower market and location of the movie "Les Amantes" a biographic story of/by Marguerite Duras), take a bicycle and cruise along the rice fields in the southern tip of the Delta.
And also the tunnels and temples which are also interesting.
Plenty of places offering tours of Mekhong Delta, Cao Dao Temple and Cu Chi Tunnels at reasonable price. It is quite safe to wander around HCMC to visit market, war museums and cathedral.
Wow! Thank you [VT member 93f85] for your overwhelming help. I think I'd book a tour to Cu Chi [VT member 93f85] Cao Dai and Mekong Delta.
Crossing the street would be a challenge for me (even if I live in Manila which has the same insane traffic as VN, I always ask a traffic policeman to help me cross the street, lol).
I hope I could meet a VTer on my tour, anyone?
Once you understand the system crossing the street is actually fun. Just glue yourself to a local, a family or similar the first times and watch how they navigate. The trick is to walk forward constantly, never hesistate or retreat and always watch what the vehicles closer to you are doing. Even if one way streets are posted, always look both sides!!!
I felt a bit like a Spanish Matador, the only thing missing was the red cloth ;-)
Hahaha it never crossed my mind that crossing the street would be fun... I think i'll be crossing the street screaming :P
Its one of the highlights of HCMC.
Another fun thing to do is to go to the rooftop bar at the Majestic Hotel hotel and watch the traffic negotiate a roundabout just below. Truly amazing site.
There's no roundabout below the Majestic Hotel. It's on the river. You must be thinking of the rooftop bar at the Rex Hotel at Le Loi and Nguyen Hue.
Another good rooftop bar is the Saigon Saigon at the Caravelle (located on the 9th, so not actually the rooftop of the hotel, but it is open air and quite a nice place to have drink).
Nitnoy. you're right .. its actually an intersection over to the right as you face the river from the hotel.
Oh cool. But it would be lonely going for a drink alone there :(
that is good place for your stay. You dont know much about VietNam so you should book a tour at the hotel, will be better for you when visit HCM city. Have a good trip!
Oh, thanks dear! :)
how long would the transportation take from hcmc?
Do you guys suggest that I should book a hotel in Mekong Dalta?
Transportation down to Ben Tre will take approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
My plan is that on my first day I would get a tour and go to Cu Chi and Cao Dai. Second Day I plan to check out on my hotel at Dragon Place and head off to Mekong Delta and stay there for a day or two ( I wanna go on a cruise though).
I will also try to squeeze in Mui Ne tour. do you have link for cheap tours and accommodations here?