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Posted By Robert On February 12, 2007 @ 4:31 pm In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

So Friday meetings finish up at 5pm and you’ve nothing planned till Monday morning. What to do? You can maximize your ‘Vietnam experience’ without much trouble – but it’s worth getting out of Saigon. See the following options, broken down by whether you have one or two days to spare. If I had my choice, and money to spare, I’d get Exotissimo to arrange a two-day boat trip in the Mekong on the Bassac.

All mentioned travel agency contact details are listed below.


There’s not much more ‘Vietnam’ than floating down Mekong River canals and stopping into coconut-candy factories in the [1] MEKONG DELTA. If you only have a Saturday or Sunday off, the best thing to do is take Exotissimo’s one-day trip to Cai Be floating market, outside Vinh Long. It’s $157 if you’re going alone (with transport, guide, lunch) or $89 each if two go.

Others opt to see the famous underground Vietnam war site of the [2] CU CHI TUNNELS, and possibly the Cao Dai Temple. Exotissimo runs trips for $148; cheapie TNK Travel charges just $4 (not including admission) to visit the tunnels. Both sites are interesting, but are generally timed with hordes of package trippers.


If you want to kick back as the Mekong drifts by, Exotissimo arranges two-day cruises in the lovely wood Bassac boat to attractions around Vinh Long and Can Tho. It’s $374/458 for single/double occupancy (including meals). They also arrange a more traditional trip, with an overnight at Can Tho’s luxurious riverside [3] Victoria Can Tho, for $402/448 for one/two people.

If you want more action, Sinh Balo run well-organized BIKE TRIPS along quiet canals and rice fields, where locals sometimes rush over with a flopping fish as a gift. Staff are excellent – handing out fruit, cold water and cold towels at rest stops. It’s $100 per person if four go – and you can opt up to stay at the Victoria Can Tho for extra. I did this trip in October 2006 and loved it.

Saigon expats already know this number: [4] PHU QUOC. The up-and-coming island destination trumps [5] Mui Ne (or the scrappy Vung Tau, not covered here – for reason) as the best quick beach getaway as Phu Quoc has the nicer beaches (white-sand, calmer water) and the easier transport links (flights are $32 one way). Just get a roundtrip ticket in Friday or Saturday, and back Sunday, and book your own accommodations: [6] La Veranda is the best resort, [7] Phong Lan is the quietest patch of private luxury, while [8] Bo Resort is a just-slightly ‘roughing it’ group of cabanas on a – more or less – private beach.

Mui Ne is four hours north of Saigon by road; there are no air connections.

Travel Agencies

All are in Saigon.
Tel 08-825-1723; www.exotissimo.com; 37 Ton Duc Thang St, Saigon Trade Center; open 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5pm Sat

Tel 08-837-6765; www.sinhbalo.com; 283/20 Pham Ngu Lao St; open 7.30am-noon, 1.30-5.30pm Mon-Fri, 7.30am-noon Sat

Tel 08-920-4766; www.tnktravel.com.vn; 216 De Tham St; open 7.30am-10pm daily

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URLs in this post:
[1] MEKONG DELTA: https://reidontravel.com/mekong/
[2] CU CHI TUNNELS: https://reidontravel.com/saigon/cu-chi-tunnels/
[3] Victoria Can Tho: https://reidontravel.com/mekong/can-tho/can-tho-sleeping/
[4] PHU QUOC: https://reidontravel.com/phu_quoc/
[5] Mui Ne: https://reidontravel.com/mui_ne/
[6] La Veranda : https://reidontravel.com/phu_quoc/phu-quoc-accommodations/accomodations-over-100/
[7] Phong Lan: https://reidontravel.com/phu_quoc/phu-quoc-accommodations/accomodations-over-100/
[8] Bo Resort : https://reidontravel.com/phu_quoc/phu-quoc-accommodations/accomodations-north-phu-quoc/