We stared off our first full day in Vietnam with a half day city tour. I started doing this a few years ago after reading literature which suggested that an organised tour such as this can have a positive impact on the students for the remainder of the tour.
The tour allows us to see some common tourist sights and learn the role of the tourist (important for both Hospitality and sport sectors) but it also allows students to orientate themselves to their new surrounds from the safety and security of a tour bus and be escorted by a knowledgable tour guide. An example of an advantage here is they can see the crazy traffic but not have to be in it by themselves on their first morning.
As part of the tour we visited the Presidential Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral (which had a mass at the time), post office, War Remnants museum and Ben Thanh Markets.
This year in Ho Chi Minh City we are being looked after by our guide Huong who is very knowledgable and is see here in the war room of the Presidential Palace.
While it may appear on an itinerary as a half day city tour, this activity does much more than orientate the students to their surrounds. It teaches them about the countries recent history, changing face of the population, the education system as well as receiving practical tips from the guide about foods to avoid, keeping hydrated, which taxis to catch and tips for shopping and currency.
One of the most important things that we had the students do as well was learn to cross the road under the watchful eye of Huong