Saigon – tales of the city

Saigon – tales of the city

Saigon – Tales of the City, is a half-day heritage walking tour that tells the incredible story of Saigon through its bustling streets, and its most evocative historical sights. It’s a unique Saigon experience of history, architecture, food and contemporary life, designed for travellers wanting to dig deeper than a standard city tour. Groups are small and personalised. Duong and Nhi are insightful guides and great company for your walk.

We head off each afternoon at 3PM in small groups (8 or less) as the day cools and the light softens. Our route has been selected for its evocativeness.

We’ll explore lesser known tales of the city, but we’ll also take a fresh look at city icons such as the Post Office, the former French Lieutenant Governor’s residence, the former US Embassy, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Reunification Palace. We’ll stop for a drink at one of the city’s cool cafes.

Our walk wraps up with a Vietnamese family-style dinner at The Old Compass Cafe (vegetarian option available). We continue our conversation while savouring the delicious flavours of the Vietnamese family kitchen. Over dinner, we explore Vietnamese cuisine, while continuing our chat.

Combine with our Alternative tour of the Cu Chi tunnels and enjoy special benefits here.

The Indochine architecture – Ho Chi Minh City Museum © Mark Bowyer


Duong, was born in the central region of Vietnam. Nghe An is one of Vietnam’s poorest provinces. It’s also the proud birthplace of Ho Chi Minh. Like so many Saigon residents, Duong moved to the city as a child in the post-war period. She loves art, design and her country’s incredible history. She’s worked in art galleries, furniture design and production and architecture. Duong co-owns Old Compass Travel and The Old Compass Cafe in Saigon.

A designer by training, Nhi’s childhood in the coastal province of Binh Thuan, was filled with art and beauty. Her father is a lacquer painter. Nhi moved to Saigon to study more than a decade ago and decided to stay. In addition to leading our tours, Nhi handles graphic design and many other things for Rusty Compass and The Old Compass Cafe.

Duong and Nhi Old Compass Travel
Duong and Nhi lead the way © Mark Bowyer


“Duong was an enthusiastic and charming guide. This is not your run of the mill tour. I highly recommend this for anyone wanting to dig a bit deeper, and to traverse 400 years of history through to modern day, thriving Saigon.” – Haike Manning

“Duong possesses a wealth of knowledge. She communicates this with passion, humbly. I am glad I squeezed this experience into my very short stay in Ho Chi Minh. It’s a well curated walk, where all locations are handpicked.” – Fatih Taskin

“Nhi was so full of knowledge she completely had me engaged throughout the walking tour. Was friendly but at the same time very focused on the task at hand. Told me so much detail that I had to make notes for the future. Over conversation over dinner too was quite stimulating. For anyone who loves history and culture I recommend this tour as a must do when they come to Saigon city. It was a pleasure to have known Saigon through Nhi and well done The Old Compass.” – Janice Goveas

The faces of Saigon


You’re a curious, active traveller interested in exploring the stories of Saigon – past and present – on foot. You’ll need to be mobile – but we move at a casual speed. Expect to be on your feet for 3 hours with some breaks. Saigon is hot most of the year. Most of the tour is conducted along shaded paths.


The tour commences at 3.00PM and concludes at 6.30PM (approx). We finish with a tasty Vietnamese family-style dinner (vegetarian option available). 

NB. During the wettest months of the year (June – August), the tour often operates in the morning to reduce the likelihood of interruption. Morning tours are inclusive of lunch.

Saigon motorcycle taxi rider
Saigon motorcycle taxi rider delicately balanced and catching up on the news © Mark Bowyer


Ask us about tailoring an experience for your group. We work with students, academics, family groups, business and events.


Comfortable walking shoes, hat, sunscreen, comprehensive travel insurance.


Expert guide, drinks, tablet presentation, dinner at The Old Compass Cafe (lunch for morning walks).


There are no entrance fees – we don’t enter any tourist sights.

Tour Brief

  • Price: 1,350,00VND or $58 US per person
  • Daily: 3.00PM 3 hrs plus dinner (dinner after the walk).
  • Walking tour – approx. 3.5kms
  • Includes delicious dinner, coffee stop, drinks at Old Compass Cafe

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