Fun Filled Schedule on the Saigon Hotpot City Tour
“What are we doing today?”
“We’re meeting up with our Saigon Hotpot guide for a tour of the city.”
Saigon Hotpot Full Day City Tour TL;DR
- See a Lot of Saigon’s Attractions
- Getting Around Ho Chi Minh City by Bus, Cab and Foot
- Trying Out a Lot of Local Southern Vietnamese Flavors
- IT’S FREE
- There’s no fee associated with the company
- They do ask for a donation
- They DESERVE a donation
While in Saigon I read about the opportunity to get a local tour for free from an organization called Saigon Hotpot. One of our favorite things to do while visiting a new place is to meet locals and learn about the city through their eyes. We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to do so while also being shown around the major attractions around town. Plus having a local who can speak the language, especially in a country like Vietnam where English is not as commonly used, was very helpful!
Stop What You’re Doing and Login Online
The booking process is fairly easy but you have to be a bit patient as they take a few days to get back to you. They will send you a confirmation a few days before the tour, so be sure to confirm and hit that “reply all” button so that you and your assigned guide will all be on the same page. Nothing would be worse than showing up at the wrong time or place because of missing an important message.
Long Day Ahead
Since we signed up for a full day tour, it was slated to start at 9 AM and end at 4 PM. Due to the Lunar New Year traffic our tour didn’t get started till a tiny bit later but we were soon on our way. It’s important to point out that the Saigon Hotpot process involves you to pay for the guides:
- Entrance (when necessary) to museums
- Taxis and/or bus fare
But since the tour is FREE, we were happy to do that and more.
Our Guide Van
Prior to starting the tour, Van confirmed with me everything we would be doing and also gave suggestions on what she thought would be worth seeing. Van, a local student studying hospitality and also wants to major in tourism was a great guide, extremely knowledgeable about the city and also at the end of it all felt like an old friend!
She taught us so many things about her people, her culture and their history. We talked at length about the world outside Vietnam and helped her practice her English. To be honest, I think she spoke better English than some native English speakers I know.
During our tour we visited a bunch of places:
Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
- Beautiful glass stained windows
Saigon Central Post Office
- A great place to buy souvenirs at a fixed price
- You get to meet the man who has worked at the post office since he was 17
- He still enjoys going there daily and helping people with translating letters
Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine
- You get to learn more about the origins of modern day Eastern medicine
The Flower Market
- Wholesale flower market where you can find beautiful varieties of flowers at inexpensive prices
- Get dessert at Quán Chè Campuchia at the Flower Market
- Tried a Vietnamese Pizza – Bánh Tráng Nướng
Former Presidential Independence Palace
- Lots of history from a bygone war torn era
Bún đậu Khu Kim Liên
- I can honestly say that I’ve never had anything quite the vegetable they offered
Quan Oc Co Sang
- In Gia Binh Dan, Giao Hang Tan Hoi
- SO MUCH great shellfish
- And, surprisingly, a lot of peanuts
- Drinks at the Duc Vuong rooftop bar called “The View” for a drink and view of the city after dark
Places to Check Out Another Time
Looking back, it was a wonderful tour taking us all over the city. Along the way, Van showed us a bunch of places to try another time since we didn’t have the space to eat more.
- Bún Riêu Cảnh Chân | Rich Crab Soup
- Tiệm Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa | Sandwiches
- Banana’s Juice Shop | Fruit Juice Smoothie Shop
- Bun Bo Hue | Spicy Beef Soup
Fortunately for us, we were able to check out a number of these places before leaving for Cambodia.
At the End of the Day
We ultimately ended up spending the whole day with Van, running around town, checking out the sights, and eating fantastic food! We are so thankful that she took the time to spend the day with us. I would highly recommend you use Saigon Hotpot the next time you’re in Saigon.
Ask for Van and tell her Nadia and John sent ya!