Since we thought we would arrive thursday night (we missed our plane in Kuala Lumpur due to bad weather and had to stay there overnight) we had booked a sightseeing tour with Saigon free walking tours at 2 pm the next day and a street food tour with the same company at 8 pm. We didn’t want to cancel at the last minute so we went even though we were really tired. The Saigon free walking tours is an initiative from a university professor which gives the students the opportunity to speak English and learn how to give guided tours and it is free (except for admission to museums plus tips for the students).
We were picked up by three female students who were all 20 years old and studying tourism and one studying to become a teacher. They were really friendly and told us lots of things about the city as we walked through Saigon. First we walked to the Reuinification Palace which was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, when a North Vietnamese armytank crashed through its gates. In the park outside was a replica of that tank along with other war vehicles. Inside the girls guided us through a lot of rooms, telling us about the previous use of those rooms and a bit about the history. Our boys had a hard time focusing and were quite obnoxious to be honest, but to their defence, they were insanely tired. The basement of the palace is one huge bunker which still contains the original maps showing the progress of the north vietnamese army and all the communications equipment they used during the war.
After the Reunification palace we had to tell the girls that our boys simply couldn’t do the 4 hour walk that we were supposed to do, so we skipped the rest of the trip. Vitus fell asleep in Jesper’s arms as we walked back. But we got to see a lot of the city as we walked back to the guesthouse and the girls gave us lots of information about the city as we walked. We will highly recommend this tour, especially with larger children or no children. And we just really like the concept of win-win since the students get something out of it too and are very dedicated.
After a couple of hours’ rest we went on the Saigon free walking tours’ street food tour.