Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City
If you head down DL Ham Nghi street towards the river you will come across the ferry terminal. This is where you can pick up the high speed hydrofoils to Vung Tau. Head north along Ton Duc Thang and there are some nice little bars to sit, enjoy the river view and have a nice cold Vietnamese beer. Gee it's not bad stuff!
The lower end of the Saigon (Song Sai Gon) River flows through Ho Chi Minh City. The river, which is the largest in Vietnam, flows south and southeast from Cambodia for about 140 miles. 18 miles Northeast of Ho Chi Minh City it joins the Dong Nai River. The Port of Saigon, established in 1862 is one of the most important in Southeast Asia.
Well, this is not so much of a sight that you would be advised to go out of your way to go here.
But since this is where it all started, it is interesting to go and have a look. The District 1 side (West) of the river has been made into parks with variable success, and there is more potential here than anything else. However, as the country prospers, who knows what this area will look like 5 years from now? There is definitely bund (like Shanghai Bund) potential here, if the parks were maintained and revamped and the river itself cleaned up. On the East side, there is Cholon and some neon lights advertising well-known brand names. There are also boats running on the river, but the destinations are unknown to me. No tourist cruises just yet it seems.
Ton Duc Thang Street runs along the edge of the Saigon River in the heart of the city. On this side of the river there is a very busy park area and docks for boats to Vung Tau and other destinations. There are also a few touristy floating restaurants which I passed up. The far side of the river is lined with huge billboards.
Ton Duc Thang Street is very busy at times and can be difficult for a newcomer to HCMC to cross. The trick is to just walk out and bob and weave like a boxer. Just don't step out in front of the big trucks as they can't maneuver as much as the motorcycles will. On our first time crossing the street a local moto driver who wanted our business (and later became our personal driver) actually drove beside us to block oncoming traffic...
The captain will welcome you aboard and introduce you to the specialties, both European and Asian, which have made this Ho Chi Minh City dinner cruise a must-do culinary experience while in Vietnam. On board, you would be able to relax on the upper deck and enjoy the panoramic view of the city lights or to admire this lacquered, wooden boat while cruising along the river. Enter the replica of the emperors’ dragon boat “Bonsai I” for a magnificent and memorable dining and entertainment spectacle on the Saigon River. European and Asian Buffet plus grill made by executive chefs and show-cooks at their best. Music is made by an in-house orchestra “Hoa Mai” or Filipino (I sang filipino songs there hehe, so nice to meet compatriots on foreign shores!) band for upper deck — chill out and get surprised. Comes with complimentary head-neck-shoulder massage.
For dinner, you can select from a range of traditional dishes, including rice flower pancakes 'Banh xeo', shrimp paste on sugar can, lotus salad 'Goi ngo sen' or pork pineapple skewers made on the BBG grill. A delicious dessert will end this unforgettable evening on the waterways, before getting back to the dock after saying goodbye to our hospitable hosts. The German Owner will also sing and dance with you while on board. A truly memorable evening.
Price of Dinner Cruise: USD 28+/15.50+ for children
Cruise departs 7:30pm. Please be at the dock by 7:00pm
Bonsai Liaison Office:
Bonsai Floating Conference Co. Ltd.
Add.: 3Fl. - Office Building Khanh Lam
101 Nguyen Van Thu Street, Dakao Ward, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam
*for those who wrote this in your tourist traps, You Are El Cheapo's and Cheapskates! You travel to a country to savor it's cuisine and culture, not to rant or rave!
Saigon River Express offers VIP speedboat tours to the Cu Chi Tunnels - the Mekong Delta - and jungle canal tours around Saigon. This is the service that was recommended as part of "Three Perfect Days: Saigon" in United Airlines inflight magazine and has been recommended in many other international publications. With a fleet of brand new speedboats and providing five star service - Saigon River express offers the most exciting way to see the best attractions around Ho Chi Minh City. Even a sunset tour around Saigon involves exploring narrow jungle canals with a village made of bamboo and thatch as well as visiting a spectacular floating Temple. This is definitely a must for any visitor to Saigon.
The city centre is situated on the banks of the Saigon River, 60km (37 miles) from the South China Sea. Along the river in District 1 you'll find some grand colonial hotels.