On this morning tour our guide will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to District 4. District 4 is a triangular cay and the smallest within urban Ho Chi Minh being only 4 square kilometers. It borders the Saigon River which can be seen clearly as we head into the very heart of the vibrant and very local District. Our transfer will be to Ton Dan Street where we will begin our walking adventure. Almost immediately you will be in the middle of a street market with everything from fish and meat to wooden products and chickens being offered for sale. This is a daily occurrence and it is fascinating to pass by endless street vendors occupying simple stalls erected on the roadside and in front of local homes. The tour continues through the maze of vendors until heading off down one of the many alleyways towards the Xom Chieu Church (built since 1856). This Spanish style church has the body of a 100 year-old female Saint on display - not for the faint hearted and a cemetery inside the church which houses the remains of locals that were relocated during a land reclamation. The parish actually predates the Notre Dame Basilica. Surrounding the church are many statues, shrines and chapels. Our walk continues back through one of the many alleyways and eventually we cross Ton Dan Street and head for the Xom Chieu market. This market is surrounded by street vendors and also houses its own indoor market. Looks can be deceiving. Like so many of Saigon's markets, from the outside Xom Chieu is an eyesore: a horrible concrete egg carton of a building; grey, grim and bleak. But such is the buzz of people and produce around the perimeter of the market square, you quickly forget about the shortcomings of its facade. All along the outer edge of the market square there are food stalls selling delicious street food dishes and opposite them, under the concrete slabs of the market exterior, are fruit and vegetable stalls, all bursting with color in the early sunlight.
Through the narrow market entrance there's a tight outer circle of stalls specializing is all sorts of dried goods, kitchen equipment and bottled sauces. At the heart of the market, in a huge space filled with shafts of sunlight, the meat and fish take centre stage. The smells, visuals and sounds will attack your senses as we take in this vibrant market place. Heading back into the morning light we continue our walk (or get on the escorted car) and head towards the Long Buu Pagoda. Built in 1970 the Long Buu pagoda has been renovated many times and the architecture is a mix of Japanese, Taiwanese and Vietnamese architecture. It is a place that all Buddhists in District 4 gather together and the highlights are its main hall on the first floor with many wooden statues - the three largest of which are covered with gold. We conclude this tour with a well-earned cup of coffee or cold beverage at one of the numerous local cafes and then head back to your hotel by mid morning. Leaving Ho Chi Minh to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, filled with countless testaments to Cambodia's fascinating history and colonial heritage. Upon arrival at Phnom Penh International airport, you will see our professional English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon, you will visit the Royal Palace, which was built in 1866 by King Norodom. The Palace is actually a number of structures within a pagoda-style compound. Silver Pagoda located within the Royal Palace compound, the Silver Pagoda is so names because of its floor, which is made up of 5,000 silver tiles.
The treasures are a solid gold Buddha encrusted with 9, 584 diamonds and weighing 90kilos and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha. Next visit the National Museum, which houses Khmer art especially sculptures, from different periods of Cambodian history, 19th century dance costumes, royal barges and palanquins. You will also visit Wat Phnom, a symbol of the city was built in 1372 by 'Penh' to house the four Buddha statues found on the banks of the Mekong. Located on a man-made hill 27m high in the middle of Phnom Penh, Wat Phnom is a revered place of worship for all Khmers and is the namesake of the capital. Overnight at Hotel and dinner at local restaurant.