HCMC – HCMC residents now can travel to the city’s outlying districts of Cu Chi and Can Gio and the neighboring provinces of Tay Ninh and Ba Ria-Vung Tau through professional tour operators in the travel bubble format, provided they show a Covid green pass and a negative test result.
From next month, residents of the southern city will be able to visit more places as many other provinces are planning to reopen tourism services.
Bubble tours to Can Gio, Cu Chi, Tay Ninh
Local travel firms such as Vietravel, Fiditour-Vietluxtour, Saco Travel and Saigontourist are offering day tours to destinations that have resumed operations in Can Gio and Cu Chi districts of HCMC and neighboring Tay Ninh Province.
Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, vice general director of Vietravel, said her travel firm has launched day tours to these three destinations. Under the travel bubble program, tourists will go in groups, use no more than 50% of seats in each bus and be served meals right at the places of interest included in the itinerary.
Moreover, tourists must have proof of being fully vaccinated or of recovery from Covid and show a negative test result that remains valid.
Saco Travel will not offer tour services to children under 18 as they have yet to be vaccinated, while Vietravel, Saigontourist or Fiditour-Vietluxtour only require children to produce proof of a negative test result.
Tran The Dung, general director of Fiditour-Vietluxtour, said his firm is offering full-day package tours priced from VND690,000 to VND1.3 million to Can Gio and Cu Chi. However, the newly-launched tours have attracted a small number of tourists, he said.
Similarly, Saco Travel has served around 600 tourists who booked day trips to the three destinations, with tour prices ranging between VND600,000 and nearly VND1.6 million, according to Nguyen Ngoc Tan, general director of Saco Travel.
For tours to Tay Ninh, Saco Travel would be granted QR codes for passenger transport vehicles by Tay Ninh’s transport authority. Therefore, tourists taking the tours would be exempt from the testing requirement, Tan said.
Saigontourist’s full-day waterway tours using high-speed boats to Can Gio will be priced from around VND1.8 million, while road tours to Can Gio and Cu Chi will be VND1.6 million and nearly VND700,000, respectively. Since September 19, when it resumed operations, Saigontourist has served some 1,500 guests. Of them, around 1,000 tours have been designed to pay tribute to frontline medical workers who came to HCMC to help treat Covid patients.
Overnight tours do not require full vaccination
Local travel firms in HCMC are also offering two- to three-day package tours to the three destinations mentioned above. To join these tours, tourists only have to present proof of a negative test result.
A Vietravel representative said tourists can venture out at night. However, as many services have not reopened in Tay Ninh or Can Gio, tourists may have limited options for a night out.
Vietravel is also offering tours to Binh Chau in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. However, tourists booking the tours must not step out of their rooms at night as stipulated by the provincial authorities.
Fiditour-Vietluxtour will operate tours to Binh Chau this week, in addition to current overnight tours in HCMC. Those who were fully vaccinated or who recovered from Covid do not need to present proof of a negative test result. At the same time, the unvaccinated and children under 18 must show proof of a negative test result before participating in the tours, said Dung.
Other travel firms in HCMC, such as TST Tourist and BenThanh Tourist, are also offering travel bubble programs. They said they would launch more tours to destinations safe from Covid in the central, northern and Central Highlands regions in the next two months.
Backpacking trips only available in Can Gio, Cu Chi
Trinh Hang, director of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provincial Tourism Department, said the southern province has yet to welcome back solo travelers from other provinces and cities. All tourists to the province must book tours through travel agencies and four lodging establishments, the Melia Ho Tram Resort, The Grand Ho Tram Resort & Casino, the Binh Chau Hot Springs and the Six Senses Con Dao resorts, under the travel bubble format.
During the pilot tourism program in the province, the fully vaccinated traveling to Ba Ria-Vung Tau have to undergo a rapid Covid test, while the unvaccinated or those who have received just one vaccine shot have to present proof of a negative test result. Further, they are required to stay at least seven days at one of the four designated lodging facilities.
In Tay Ninh Province, the Ba Den Mountain tourist zone has yet to receive solo travelers to ensure Covid safety at the site and comply with the authorities’ regulations, said Nguyen Lam Thuy Nhi, general director of the Tay Ninh Sun JSC.
Representatives of tour operators in Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and Khanh Hoa told Sai Gon Tiep Thi they would welcome tourists from HCMC back next month.
Meanwhile, fully-inoculated solo travelers in the city can travel freely to Can Gio and Cu Chi now. Tourists under 18 need to show proof of a negative test result, a local official in Can Gio told the paper.