ITINERARY BY DAY
Start your journey of the alluring and dynamic Cho Lon District - Cho Lon meaning "big market" - at the gateway to the iconic Binh Tay Market, famed for its warren of food stands and grand Sino-French architecture. Here, learn about the day-to-day lifestyles of shopkeepers here, who spend their days selling fruit and vegetables to local residents within this bustling commercial melee. Then, walk further on for a stop at a local coffee shop and a cup of traditional caphe sua da. This unique local blend of strong black coffee, condensed milk and ice is considered one of the tastiest cups of coffee in all of Asia that's at its best in the heart of District 5.
Note: Binh Tay market, an 88 year old structure is going under a comprehensive 365-day-restoration project starting from November 2016. During this renovation time, the visit will be arranged at temporary market, located on Thap Muoi Street, just opposite the existing market, with space for up to 1,077 stalls.
Sample a few exotic fruits alongside your iced coffee before heading onwards through the district's chaotic backstreets, this time on board a traditional tricycle taxi, called a cyclo. Pass by shops selling anything from spare motorbike parts to religious antiques before arriving at the historic Cha Tam Church. It was here that President Diem was seized during the 1963 coup and since played a central role in the city's turbulent past, making it one of the most fascinating historic landmarks in the entire city.
Next, set off on a walk through the oldest streets in Cho Lon on the way to a traditional Chinese medicine shop to learn how herbal tea is prepared. Then, continue on the Minh Huong communal house - home to one of Cho Lon's oldest Chinese communities. Here, discover the stories of local families who immigrated from China over three centuries ago, and how Chinese culture and traditional Vietnamese values have blended over that time to create the unique charm of Cho Lon today.
End your day of exploration in District 1 with a 3 course lunch in the most unlikely of places, a flower shop! The menu at Palma De Fleur changes daily with the shopkeeper’s family recipes.