A common sight in Saigon is to see travelers wandering around clutching Lonely Planet guidebooks, or perhaps standing on a street corner trying to figure out where they are on the tiny maps provided in said book.
While such guidebooks certainly have their uses, they don't really dig too deeply into the city or region they cover. Stick strictly to such a book, and you will miss out on a lot of things to do and places to see.
With all of that in mind, this itinerary is intended to give you the most out of your time in Saigon, Vietnam's biggest and most chaotic city. This itinerary ensures that you hit most of the usual tourist spots, but it will also take you to places most visitors never see. For example, a major market hidden deep in an off-the-beaten-path neighborhood; a street lined with amazing authentic, affordable local fare; and a serene park outside of the city center where the noise of traffic disappears.
The itinerary is geared towards adults, although older teenagers will definitely enjoy it too. There is a fair amount of walking involved, although much of it is concentrated in the Chinatown walking tour. Many of the places covered are within short taxi rides of each other.
In terms of budget, there is something for everyone. A couple of higher-end restaurants are included, but remember that they are far cheaper than such establishments in the U.S. or Europe. Most of the meals on the itinerary will cost 2-4 USD, and transportation is just as cheap.
My goal in creating this itinerary was to give a visitor to this fascinating city a taste of Vietnam's cuisine, history, and culture. I believe I've done that. I have also included tips on how to navigate the pitfalls that many first-time visitors to Asia encounter, as well as numerous small but important nuggets of information that only a local will know.
I've included a link to my blog in the itinerary, where you can find much more information about Saigon, as well as my e-mail address, in case you have any questions. I'm always happy to help. Most importantly, enjoy your trip! Saigon is an amazing city, and you're sure to get caught up in its energy, just as I have.