A one hour drive from port to HCM. It was very hot. We drove around the city and visited the post office, a museum and a lacquer factory. I found that the city has a third-world vibe to it, not very appealing.
I booked the bike tour first but, unfortunately, it was cancelled due to the high level of activity with the Chinese New Year. The bus tour was a fall-back and, although it was informative, it wasn't my first choice.
I thought this would be a tour of colonial and historic saigon but was disappointed. 5 stops - a temple (very very smoky due to incense; quick stop not much info needed air. next stop a shop to shop for painting and woodwork - very nice shop quality of work nice. Repartition place - nice history of vietnam but hot and very narrow only one person down a hallway at a time. next stop post office - you will get bugged by the people for cards, souvenirs, and knock off bags. Lunch at the Lion City restaurant - buffet lunch was cold and too many people picking over food not clean enough for me only ate the spring rolls not good. Met up but had to wait for the bus due to traffic and again met with the people selling knock offs right in front of the real store. Next stop a zoo - not worth it I dont even know if there were animals there very short stop about 30 minutes. Back to ship and I was done with celebrity shore excursions.
The city is about 1h 15m drive.
We decided to go on the shuttle bus organised by the cruise liner. We had 4 1/2 hours in the city. It was not enough. The city attractions close from 11:00 to 1:30. This limits the number of attractions you can see.
The city is clean, generally un-crowded (other than traffic), and easy to get around.
I recommend getting the cruise line shuttle. We met some people that organised a taxi at the port. They saved a little bit but it was a hassle and they had less time in Saigon.
Booked with ship transfer to city. Two and half ours from port.
We visited all the tourist places. War museum was highlight.Had seven hours in city which we found too long (also a lot of other travellers said same)
Guide was pleasant and knowledgeable. It's a long drive from Phu My to Saigon, but fortunately, on a Sunday, we did not encounter much traffic. Saw the temple, the cathedral (exterior only), the palace (thorough tour), the museum (a different perspective of the war than we had), and the zoo. Also had a sumptuous buffet lunch at a nice hotel with lots of local foods to try.
The tour was basically a bus ride into Ho Chi Minh city - you then did your own thing. I'm rating it as average because it was only 4.5 hours and not nearly enough time - though the distance of the port makes any longer difficult. It really is a 1.5 hour ride to Ho Chi Minh. The Phu My port is not really satisfactory. I wish ships still docked at Vung Tau.
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