Mid-size and smaller ships can navigate the twisting Saigon River and tie up within a very short distance of the city center. Trishaws and taxi's are available for hire outside the port gate.
Saigon port consists of three different piers in the center of town. The ship is not assigned to a specific pier until 24 hours prior to arrival. The three piers are located as follows:
One of the following:
1. Nha Rong Port - # 3 - 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; or
2.Tan Thuan II Port-# 243 Bui Van Ba Street, Tan Thuan Dong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; or
3.Lotus Port-# 1A Nguyen Van Quy Street, Phu Thuan Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Ming City, Vietnam
Larger ships dock at Phu My, a commercial port on the South China Sea near Vung Tao, some 80 miles by road (1.5 hours) from Ho Chi Minh City. You will have to use the port shuttle to the part gate and or hire a cab there. (Establish the price first, and arrange for a return ride.) or partake in a ship organized excursion
The port is out in the middle of nowhere so don’t expect to walk around and find things to do.
A visa for most foreigners is around $40, and will be taken care off on your cruise ship.
Printable map to take along.
Check here for festivals and events in Ho Chi Minh City when you are in port.
Watch a destination video.
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, a name that is still
applied to the city center. The official name change took place in
1976, following the reunification of the country. Located in the south
of Vietnam on a giant bend in the Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City is
the country's largest city, with a population of nearly seven million
people and over one million motorbikes. While Hanoi is the center of
government, Ho Chi Minh City is the nation's economic heart and most
Long before traffic choked the city center, Saigon had already been christened the Paris of Asia for its wide boulevards lined with stately trees and magnificent French villas. For a moment one may feel transported back to the French era by the smells of coffee and baking bread, and by old Renaults sounding their horns in the bustling streets.
The city is divided into two major sections: the municipal district of Saigon and Cholon (China Town), where the entrepreneurial talent and private funds are concentrated. Cholon appears to be the most populated and, in general, the most vigorous part of Ho Chi Minh City. Visitors are fascinated by its bustle of activity and its numerous pagodas, reputed to be the finest in the city.
Central Saigon (this is where the shuttle drops you off)
The Rex Hotel, a famous hangout for American officers during the war, has regained some of its previous glory and is once again the central hub of the city. Nearby is the impressive French-era Municipal Theater, which offers a varied program of events. Also close to the Rex is the magnificent pastel-yellow Saigon City Hall.
Located at the end of Le Duan Boulevard, the 130-year-old gardens boast a lovely collection of orchids and other flowers. The small zoo features a number of endangered indigenous animals, as well as other exotic exhibits from overseas.
War Remnants Museum
Photographic exhibits depict events of the Vietnam War in general; the courtyard features a collection of war material, such as tanks, U.S. choppers and bombs.
A cruise organized transfer or excursion from Phu My to Ho Chi Minh City is recommended. Only a few taxis if any are allowed in port and walking thru the port itself is a long affair.
International driving licenses are not accepted in Vietnam. Therefore, there are no car rental companies such as Hertz and Avis etc.
Taxis are usually not allowed to wait inside the port, but can be picked up in town for the return trip. Yellow Cabs are metered and paid for in U.S. dollars; they are the most reliable.
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here.
The tunnels of C? Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the C? Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The C? Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong's base of operations for the T?t Offensive in 1968.
Vung Tau, much closer than Saigon. The city enjoys a spectacular location on a peninsula, with ocean on three sides.
Most shops are centered in the area surrounding the Rex Hotel. Best buys include items with mother of pearl inlay, ceramics, embroidered articles, wood-block prints, watercolors and lacquer ware, reputed to be the best in the world. Especially popular are also rosewood bowls and boxes. The overwhelming Binh Tay Market in China Town offers an astounding variety of goods. Here bargaining is an expected practice.
A small market is usually setup on the pier for last minute shopping.
The national currency is the dong (d?ng, VND), U.S. dollars are widely accepted, the standard exchange rate for small quantities being 16000 dong to US$1.
ATMs are getting more and more common and can be found in most bigger cities and every tourist destination.
You can bargain on practically anything in Vietnam.
The people of Vietnam speak Vietnamese as a native language, English is becoming more popular as a second language. English study is obligatory in most schools.
Internet access is available in all but the most remote towns.
Shopping hours: Daily 0800/0830-2100/2200.
By far the largest holiday of the year is Tet, also known as Vietnamese New Year, which takes place between late January and March following the unisolar Chinese calendar. During the three days of Tet shops close up and everybody heads home to their family, making this a somewhat difficult time to travel in Vietnam.
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