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Why you shouldn’t ignore Ho Chi Minh City’s new canal boat tour

Friday, September 04, 2015, 16:42 GMT+7
Why you shouldn’t ignore Ho Chi Minh City’s new canal boat tour
Passengers are pictured traveling on a boat along the Nhieu Loc - Thi Nghe Canal in Ho Chi Minh City on September 2, 2015.

The maiden boat tour along the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal in Ho Chi Minh City has received positive responses from passengers after its inauguration on Wednesday.

Only 20 passengers were able to tour the beautiful canal on the first day of the service due to the limited number of boats, but their feedback was encouraging for the operator, Saigon Boat Co. Ltd.

“I’ve lived in Saigon for decades but never had I thought of a day when I would sit on a boat traveling along this canal,” Doan Kim Hue, an 80-year-old woman who bought tickets for the service with her daughter and grandchild, said.

Nguyen Thuyet, a 71-year-old overseas Vietnamese who returned home from the U.S. two months ago, said he could hardly realize the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal, which was heavily polluted a few decades back.

“I can’t believe everything here has changed so much,” he said. “Gone are the smelly water and dirty sights along the canal.”

Those who failed to enjoy the service have expressed their pity that there were not so many boats, but they have promised to come back.

Reasons to try

If you have heard about the boat tour but are still hesitant to give it a try, here are the reasons why you should not miss the service.

- Forget about traffic jams: Traveling along the canal obviously saves you the infamous traffic jams in Vietnam’s busiest city. What is better than being able to leisurely go from District 1 to District 3 without worrying about the intersections where gridlocks most likely happen on a daily basis?

- Explore a rejuvenated canal: The Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal has recently been ‘revived’ after a long time infamously known as a ‘dead canal’ due to its heavy pollution, and you will be able to better examine how it is revitalized by sitting aboard a boat instead of riding your bikes along its sides.

- Meet the beautiful and strong Vietnamese women: The boats are rowed manually by women in the traditional Vietnamese dress, ao dai, which allows visitors to have a close-up view of the beauty and strength of Vietnamese women. The rowers and tour guides are well trained and have completed intensive professional tourism and English language courses.

- Get to know the city’s history: The boat tour will also deepen your knowledge about the establishment and development of the canal as well as the evolution history of Ho Chi Minh City through stories told by the tour guides as they row the boats.

Tour details

The tour, the first-ever to be launched along the city’s most beautiful canal, will take passengers on either the Gondola or the Chong boat along a 4.5-kilometer session of the 8.7-kilometer canal running through District 1, District 3, Binh Thanh District, Phu Nhuan District, and Tan Binh District.

Round tickets for the two-hour tour cost VND220,000 (US$9.7) each, and VND110,000 ($4.84) for a one-way trip.

Passengers will depart from a wharf near the Thi Nghe Bridge, a stone’s throw from the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden in District 1, and stop at another one near Chantaransay Pagoda in District 3.

The Gondola boat is able to carry four to five passengers each time and is equipped with a table and chairs, where passengers are allowed to consume the food and drinks they bring along during the tour. The conventional Chong boat, meanwhile, is designed like a small ferry to carry seven to 20 passengers.

To take the tour, passengers can purchase tickets at District 1’s station on Hoang Sa Street, next to the Thi Nghe Bridge, and District 3’s station on the same street, close to Chantaransay Pagoda.

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