1. Vietnam
  2. Ho Chi Minh City
  3. Independence Palace

Lonely Planet Experiences: Ho Chi Minh Cyclos & Markets Tour

Product ID: 3065
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Have you heard of the slow food movement? Try out the slow tour movement. Travel through Ho Chi Minh City and minimize your carbon emissions on this small group city tour that trades in cars and tour buses for the humble cyclo.
About this activity
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Duration: 3 hours
Starting time 8:00 AM
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Live tour guide

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  • Marvel at colonial architecture such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office
  • Visit the famous bird café in Tao Dan Park, where locals take their caged birds every morning
  • Experience the biggest atmospheric flower market, Ho Thi Ky, as well as Ben Thanh Market and its nearby neighbourhoods
  • See Ho Chi Minh City from the seat of a cyclo, just like a local
  • Sit among the locals and enjoy Vietnamese coffee or iced tea at a local café in Saigon
Full description
Experience the best travel stories for yourself! Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems on this Lonely Planet Experience.

Experience life like a local and experience Ho Chi Minh City on your own two feet and from the seat of a cyclo. With a combination of foot power and pedal power, get to see the classic sights and quintessential markets of the city in a new and refreshing way.

This small group tour (maximum 12 passengers) begins near the Central Post Office, an icon of old Saigon and Notre Dame Cathedral, built by the French during the colonial era. Both structures are fine examples of architecture from the colonial period.

This tour takes you past the Reunification Palace, previously referred to as the Presidential Palace, the site of the official South Vietnamese surrender on 30 April 1975. Although you won't enter the palace, your local guide will tell you all about it and give you the chance to take some photos. From here, the journey continues to Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, where you'll embark on a cyclo tour of Ho Chi Minh City, rolling around the city on a traditional three-wheeled bicycle with a carriage at the front for passengers. Drivers use pedal power to push you along, giving you the opportunity to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Ho Chi Minh City without the barrier of being trapped behind a car window (or the sound of a noisy engine).

The ride leads to the bird café at Tao Dan Park, where locals come carrying their caged birds every morning for a true one-of-a-kind sight. This park is also where locals gather to do morning exercises and enjoy the fresh air and shade on sunny days. Hop back on the cyclo and ride toward the crossroads where the famous monk, Thich Quang Duc, self-immolated in 1963 in protest of the government’s persecution of Buddhists. Ride to the very local District 3 and the biggest flower market in the city. Also visit a neighborhood where a lot of Viet Kieu Cambodians now live in Saigon, giving you a chance to learn more about Southeast Asian history and taste some finger food in the market.

Back on the cyclo, it’s non-stop sightseeing as you pass by the ‘pet street,’ Le Hong Phong and the ‘art and painting street,’ Tran Phu, before bidding your cyclos goodbye at Tao Dan Park. Here, enjoy a short walk to Saigon’s iconic and authentic Ben Thanh Market with its unmistakable clock tower. It has long been a staple of the city and is not to be missed.

At the end of your Ho Chi Minh City tour, you are free to continue exploring Ben Thanh market. You can also ask your guide to help you find a taxi back to your hotel, or for tips and suggestions to further explore the area.
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Cyclo ride
  • Finger food at the local market
  • 1 Vietnamese coffee
What’s Not Included
  • Souvenirs and items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Tips for drivers and guide

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Meet in front of the entrance to the Central Post Office, located next to Notre Dame Cathedral at 2 Cong Xa Paris Street, District 1.

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Important information
Know before you go
• Please ensure your knees and shoulders are covered as this trip may visit religious sites.
• Children must be between 6 and 11 years of age inclusive.

From US$ 36 per person

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