Saigon Chinatown

Get far off of the tourist track with a unique walking excursion by foot through Ho Chi Minh City's Cho Lon District, or "big market". Sometimes referred to as Saigon's Chinatown district, explore the vivid and distinct charm of this little-explored corner of the city - and learn the local secrets behind one of the world's oldest and largest Chinatowns.

Destinations included:

We pride ourselves in creating personalised travel experiences that suit all your preferences and needs.

With this tour you can:

  • Choose your own departure date
  • Select the comfort level of accommodation
  • Adjust activities to cater to special interests
  • Modify any aspect of the tour as needed
  • Wandering through the world's oldest Chinatown and experiencing its unique ethnic vibe
  • Visiting the iconic Binh Tay Market, famed for its Sino-French architecture and amazing food
  • Sampling Vietnam's famous "caphe sua da", a unique local blend of strong coffee
  • Riding a traditional "cylco" around tiny alleys, passing through little-visited "local" areas
  • Stopping by a Chinese medicine shop to learn how herbal tea is prepared
  • Hearing stories from local families at the Minh Huong Communal House
  • Enjoying a hands-on cooking master class on a traditional rice barge
  • Tours as mentioned and air-conditioned transfers
  • Sightseeing and permit fees during guided times
  • Meals listed in the itinerary
  • Expert English-speaking local guide
  • Service charges and government VAT tax

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.

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