Cheap tours near Saigon


With the COVID-19 pandemic situation under control in Vietnam, many of us are looking to travel domestically to feed our wanderlust. And local tour operators eager to revitalise the tourism industry have been offering us plenty of deals and promotions. With the myriad of packages to choose from, it’s easy to book one that may not quite satisfy your travel goals, or worse, run into operators looking to make a quick buck without caring about your experience.

So to help you make better and more informed choices, Ho Chi Minh City authorities have come up with a list of Saigon tours and attractions that they deem reliable and trustworthy. We trawled through it to find the best and value-for money travel deals you should get.

From historical landmarks to a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve to a scenic boat ride, here’s a list of 9 Saigon tours and travel deals to suit every type of traveler.


1. One-day tour to Củ Chi and Về Quê Ecology Education Zone – for military and history buffs


Brought to you by VietTravel, this affordable one-day tour to Củ Chi is highly recommended for those looking for a fun yet educational outdoor adventure. This tour will give you a glimpse into the life of Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War, as well as the countryside life in Vietnam.

Cu Chi
Image credit: @rlttnthng

An hour’s drive from Ho Chi Minh City, Củ Chi is known for its 120KM of underground tunnels that contain a network of trapdoors, living areas, medical facilities, and a command center used by actual Vietnamese soldiers back in the 1960s.

Cu Chi
Củ Chi tunnel
Image credit: @__annabelgriffiths

During the tour, travelers will watch a short film about the tunnels to get an idea of its layout, navigate its many narrow routes, some of which can be 15M long, travel back in time to the Củ Chi replicated war zone in the period of 1961-1971, and practice making Củ Chi pancakes.

Cu Chi
Image credit: @ishtar_kyu

Then you’ll get to explore the tunnels. The crawling and climbing might look terrifying, but don’t worry, many parts of the tunnel have been cemented and broadened to better fit travelers.

Cu Chi
Replica
Image credit: @sokolovaelena1986

Thrill-seekers looking to show off their marksmanship can also visit the shooting range inside the area. When the morning tour is over, travelers will be taken to a restaurant for lunch, which is covered in the tour package.

After lunch, you’ll be taken to Về Quê Ecological Zone nearby where you can browse a wide array of agricultural models, tropical gardens brimful with fruits, learn about basic farming techniques, and unwind in a swimming pool.

This tour will give travelers a glimpse into the life of Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War, as well as the countryside life in Vietnam.

Price: VND119,000 (~USD4.25)

Website


2. Áo Dài Museum, The BCR Play Zone, & Saigon Water Bus – three tours in a day for those with a short time to spare


These are three separately ticketed tours that we suggest fitting into a day if you only have a short time to spare in Saigon but want to experience different parts of the city. You can visit each of them separately if you want to as well.

Ao Dai Museum

Ao dai museum District 9Image credit: Bảo tàng Áo Dài Việt Nam

Ao dai is Vietnam’s national costume and our centuries-old cultural heritage with plentiful evolutions throughout history.

Coming to the Ao Dai Museum in District 9, you’ll catch a glimpse of the rich history and profound beauty of ao dai throughout the centuries.

Ao dai museum District 9Image credit: Bảo tàng Áo Dài Việt Nam

Designed by Sỹ Hoàng, one of Vietnam’s most famous ao dai designers, the Ao Dai Museum features a great selection of ao dai of all shapes and styles that recall different eras of Vietnamese fashion.

Ao dai museum District 9
Image credit: @silverlining___cat

The museum itself also features uniquely Vietnamese architecture with wooden houses and pavilions, antique furniture, and lush gardens.

Ao dai museum District 9Image credit: Bảo tàng Áo Dài Việt Nam

BCR Play Zone 

BCR zoneImage credit: Khu Du Lịch The BCR Q9

After the tour, travelers can head to BCR Play Zone for some fun with water sports and shooting games.

BCR zone
Image credit: @davidduong1809

At BCR Play Zone, you can burn up some excess energy with tons of activities such as kayaking, water football, shooting, and gardening. Incidentally, you can also feed the resident sheep. 

BCR zoneImage credit: The BCR

Tickets for different games and activities will be charged separately.

Saigon Water Bus

Saigon water bus

Image credit: @rulintalintin

On their way back to the city center, hop on the Saigon Water Bus where you can sit comfortably and take in breathtaking views of the Saigon skyline.

You’ll cruise by key sites such as Landmark 81 – the tallest building in Vietnam in Bình Thạnh District and Diamond Island in District 2 before landing at Bạch Đằng Station at the city center in District 1.

Those who want to embark on a water ride to other parts of Saigon from the city center can take the water bus from Bạch Đằng Station in District 1, which can carry up to 75 passengers each. It’ll take you to District 2, Thanh Đa Peninsula in Bình Thạnh District, and Thủ Đức District via 11 stops along the way.

Saigon water bus
The stops include Bạch Đằng Station, Thủ Thiêm Station, Saigon Pearl Station, Bình An Station, Thảo Điền Station, Tầm Vu Station, Thanh Đa Station, Bình Triệu Station, Hiệp Bình Chánh Station, and Linh Đông Station.
Image credit: diaocthongthai.com

The departure time varies between stations, so make sure you check the routes and departure schedule before buying tickets.

Saigon water busDeparture time
Image credit: baogiaothong.vn

Try to buy tickets early because the ridership tends to surge during the weekends, so all of the tickets are usually sold out 2 hours prior to departure. For example, if you arrive at 9AM, you usually will only be able to snag tickets for 11AM or later. So try to buy your weekend tickets at least 2 hours prior to departure.

Saigon water bus
People queuing to get on the water bus
Image credit: diaocthongthai.com

You can park your bicycle or bike at the station where you depart at only VND10,000 (~USD0.43).

Saigon water bus
You can enjoy the scenic view of Saigon River and District 1 at the outdoor cafe inside Bạch Đằng Station while waiting to get onboard
Image credit: goccualien.com

Ao Dai Museum
Address: 206/19, 30 Long Thuận, Long Phước Ward, District 9
Opening hours: 8.30AM-5.30PM, Daily
Entry fee: VND100,000 (~USD4.31)

Website

BCR Play Zone
Address: 191 Tam Đa, Trường Thạnh Ward, District 9
Opening hours: Tue-Fri, 8.30AM-5.30PM I Sat-Sun, 8AM-6PM
Entry fee: VND30,000 (~USD1.29) for adults I VND20,000 (~USD0.86) for children
Entrance fee applies only on Sunday and national holidays. On other days, visitors only have to pay for the games they play.

Website

Saigon WaterBus
Address: Bạch Đằng Station, Tôn Đức Thắng Street, Bến Nghé Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 7AM-7.40PM, Daily
Entry fee: VND30,000 (~USD1.29) for a round ticket I VND15,000 (~USD0.65) for a one-way ticket

Website


3. Military-themed tour around Saigon – for antique and museum fans


Saigon intelligence museum
The nostalgic vibe inside Đỗ Phủ cafe
Image credit: plo.vn

History buffs or those who want to relive the harrowing events related to the Vietnam War in the 70s should check out this military-themed tour, which will take you to old houses that used to be used as makeshift working stations for local intelligence agents.

Saigon intelligence museum
A gold bar dating from the 1960s
Image credit: plo.vn

In this half day tour, you’ll visit Phở Bình– the secret command station during the battle of Mậu Thân in 1968 and Đỗ Phủ cafe – home to the floating basements containing secret weapons and a great selection of historical artifacts.

Saigon intelligence museum
Saigon – Gia Định Intelligence Museum
Image credit: VNExpress

During your visit to Saigon – Gia Định Intelligence Museum, you’ll ride in an antique elevator that’s been there since French colonial rule, watch a table that’s able to turn around seemingly by itself, and watch a documentary about the Saigonese intelligence agents in the old days.

Saigon intelligence museum
Image credit: VNExpress

To cap the tour off, you’ll be treated to South Korean-style broken rice served with eggs, pork, and kimchi.

Price: From VND399,000 (~USD17.15) to VND990,000 (~USD42.55) per pax

Website


4. 48-hour free-and-easy city tour- see Saigon’s popular spots and a sky-high bar


Saigon downtown
Saigon’s District 1
Image credit: @peterng1618

Take a city tour to orient yourself with over 20 of the most popular spots around Saigon such as Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Independence Palace, Bến Thành Market, the Grand Post Office, War Remnant Museum, and Bạch Đằng Pier.

The Independence Palace
The Independence Palace
Image credit: @greenmarketing 

You’ll see the Independence Palace, the official residence and workplace of the presidents of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, and the Grand Post Office, which was built in the late 19th century and famed for its harmonious combination of Gothic, Renaissance, and French elements.

the Grand Post Office
The Grand Post Office
Image credit: @johnn21

Not only does this full-day tour introduce you to top attractions of the city, but will also bring you to the Skydeck of Bitexco Financial Tower on level 64, where you’ll have a sweeping view of Saigon’s city center and enjoy your relaxing night over a drink.

Bitexco Financial Tơer
Bitexco Financial Tower
Image credit: @f9lco

Because this is a 48-hour hop-on, hop-off tour ticket, you can go sightseeing at your own pace.

Price: VND299,000 (~USD12.85)

Website


5. Saigon boat ride – for sightseeing, parties, or romantic dates


Saigon river
Image adapted from: @tonyphamvn

For a unique overview of Saigon’s intriguing network of canals and rivers, hop on for a boat ride touring Nhiêu Lộc – Thị Nghe canal. During this 45 minute-to-2 hour boat ride, you’ll travel across District 1, District 3, and take in the bustling and illuminated sights of Saigon from your seat.

Passengers will be treated to music performances during the tour, as well as get to launch decorated baskets of flowers into the river.

Solo travelers or those who travel in a small group below 5 can opt for Thuyền Phụng (Phoenix Boat) package, which costs only VND150,000 (~USD6.45) per person. The boat will set sail even with only 1 passenger.

Saigon boat rideImage credit: saigonboat.com

Those who travel in a group of 10 to 50 people should register for a tour on Thuyền Dạ Tiệc (Party Boat).

Saigon boat ride
Image credit: kích cầu du lịch Tp HCM

For a gathering of 10 to 20 people, the package costs VND299,000-VND400,000 (~USD12.85-USD17.19) per person – ideal for family gatherings or class reunions.

Those who travel in a larger group of up to 50 people per boat can pick the package which costs VND350,000-VND500,000 (~USD15.04-USD21.49). This is a bigger boat that can carry up to 50 passengers, so it’s very suitable for hosting team-building activities or a party.

Saigon boat ride
Image credit: Kích cầu du lịch Tp HCM

Couples who wish to celebrate their anniversaries or birthday parties in an intimate and romantic setting on a boat can pick the Thuyền Tình Nhân (Lover’s Boat) combo package, priced from VND1,000,000-VND3,000,000 (~USD42.98-USD128.95). As per the passenger’s preferences, the boat will be ornamented with flowers, candles, and balloons.

Saigon boat ride
Image credit: kích cầu du lịch Tp HCM

The only problem – you’ll have to think hard about how to beat this impressive floating setup next year.

Price: VND299,000-VND3,000,000 (~USD12.85-USD128.95)

Website


6. Visit Tân Phong islet commune – for people nostalgic for the slow life


Tan Phong
Image credit: @carlodipasqualemiami

Tân Phong is an islet commune located in Tiền Giang Province, which is about 2 hours’ drive away from Saigon. During your tour here, you will visit An Cư floating market and engage in a fun shopping experience on the river.

After visiting an ancient house in Đông Hòa Hiệp, you will depart for the Tân Phong islet commune to visit a bee farm and a lingzhi mushroom farm.

Tan Phong
Image credit: @tour_with_xuan

Tân Phong is an islet commune located in Tiền Giang Province, which is about 2 hours’ drive from Saigon. Filled with sand bars, picturesque canals, fresh water, and a cool climate all year round, Tân Phong is famed for a wide array of lush fruit gardens.

Tan Phong
Image credit: Kích cầu du lịch thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

You can also engage in cultural activities, such as eating fruits in fruit gardens, fishing, cooking with the local residents, watching a traditional music performance, and taking a nap on a hammock.

Tan Phong
Image credit: @binh_le098099

Price: VND780,000 (~USD33.53)

Website


7. Venture into the lush fields and gardens of Long An – for a workout in nature


Tan Phong
Image credit: @thyyngan29 

Long An Province, considered the paradise of fresh fruit gardens, historical gems, cultural festivals, is only 3 hours’ drive away from Saigon.

Visiting Long An, you’ll be taken to the bright green almond fields, which used to be the main backdrop of the famous movie The Vast Field (Cánh đồng bất tận). Sao Mai Medicinal Garden, which is home to a wide range of rare medicine, is also part of the tour itinerary.

Tan Phong
Image credit: hương sắc miền Tây

You’ll wrap the morning itinerary up with a visit to Mộc Tràm Plant and see how organic products such as essential oils and medicinal products are made.

In the afternoon, you’ll unwind with many fun activities such as trekking and cycling on a 13KM route. You can also sail kayaks, swim, or dive and enjoy a great view of the local underwater ecosystem.

Tan Phong
Image credit: @morstar2404 

Price: VND780,000 (~USD33.53)

Website


8. Discover Cần Giờ by bike – for those who’ve always wanted to tour a UNESCO biosphere reserve


Can Gio
Image credit: @benz.mind

Located only 40KM away from Saigon, Cần Giờ islands is a UNESCO biosphere reserve with gorgeous natural landscapes.

Cycling through the lush roads and quiet rivers of the picturesque Cần Giờ is definitely an experience of a lifetime.

Can Gio
Image credit: @channn.nee

Upon reaching Cần Giờ, travelers will cycle through 3KM of routes into Vàm Sát to visit the preservation zones of rare birds and crocodiles, as well as to Tháp Tang Bồng, a 26M high tower where you can have a panoramic view of the vast mangrove forests.

Can GIo
Image credit: @tuyet.nhung.7731

The highlight of the tour is a visit to a local family who have been living off the grid for the past 35 years.

Price: VND1,449,000 (~USD62.28) per pax
Website


9. Vàm Sát Eco Park – see lush forests and rare species


Can Gio
Image credit: @phuonghanguyen0109 

For a more economic option to bond with nature with less physical exertion, travelers can take on a stand-alone tour around Vàm Sát ecopark, which is also in Cần Giờ.

Stretching over 1,500 hectares, Vàm Sát Park is a serene and lush eco-tourism park full of stunning landscapes and Insta-worthy backgrounds.

Can Gio
Image credit: Vietravel

It is also home to a great number of rare species, such as painted storks, cormorants, cattle egrets, bats, and crocodiles.

Can Gio
Feeding crocodiles
Image credit: Vietravel

Between April and October, there are millions of birds flocking here to build nests.

Can Gio
The lesser adjutant stork
Image credit: VÀM SÁT

When you’re tired of walking or cycling around, you can head to the observation platform that is over 15M high to view birds flying around or watch sunset.

A tour around the park will help visitors connect with wildlife and raise awareness about environment conservation efforts. 

After a half-day tour at the park, visitors will be treated to sumptuous local foods for lunch, worth VND150,000 (~USD6.51) per pax.

Price: VND450,000 (~USD19.53) per pax
Website


Tours near Saigon open to visitors now


Tours near Saigon’s surrounding areas are filled with scenic landscapes, historical gems, and cultural activities that help you learn about the history and ways of life of southern Vietnamese people. But there’re bound to be hits and misses when we Google for any Saigon travel packages.

So to help you make better decisions in line with what you want to experience, we’ve trawled through the official Ho Chi Minh City authorities’ tour listing website and come up with this list of value-for-money service providers and packages that they deem reliable and trustworthy.

From day-tours near Saigon to heavily discounted attraction tickets, this list of 9 tours will suit every type of traveler.

Also check out:


Cover image adapted from: @bnimit, @rlttnthng , @benz.mind,and Khu Du Lịch The BCR Q9