Saigon, Vietnam Cruise Port
Cruise along the Saigon River to reach the bustling port of Saigon, Vietnam; also known as Ho Chi Minh City, this southern city is the largest in the country with over 10 million residents. It's noted for the role it played during the Vietnam War, after which Saigon merged with the surrounding Gia Dinh Province and changed its name in honor of late communist leader, prime minister, and president Ho Chi Minh. What began as a small fishing village was populated by the Khmer people before Vietnamese settlers arrived in the early 17th century. The city was then conquered by both France and Spain in 1859, with many French influences still remaining within the French colonial architecture. District 1 is where many of the tourist attractions are found, with activities to appeal to any type of traveler. Here are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Saigon, Vietnam:
The War Remnants Museum (formerly the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes) features plenty of exhibits, photographs, and weapons. Those interested in military history and baby boomers are most likely to engage, while those who are more sensitive may want to opt for the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City instead.
The Notre-Dame Basilica, made entirely of materials imported from France, was constructed between 1863 and 1880 by French colonists. For more French architecture, visit the neoclassical Saigon Central Post Office, built in 1886 by Gustave Eiffel (yes, of the tower fame).
Get a taste of Saigon's bustling shopping scene at the Ben Thanh Market. Here you'll find rows of stalls selling everything from familiar and exotic produce to art pieces. If all the browsing makes you hungry, plenty of vendors will sell you a snack or full meal.
If you want to get away from the city for a bit, take a one-hour ride to the Cu Chi Tunnels. These underground passages and living quarters were used during sneak attacks on American troops (although originally built during World War II to fight the French). Make sure to take the guided tour to get a complete historical telling.