VietnamTravel Tips & InfoIs it Worth to Sign up for Free Tours in Ho Chi...

Is it Worth to Sign up for Free Tours in Ho Chi Minh City?

You are planning to visit Ho Chi Minh City and wondering what city tours you should take? You have heard so much about them, but still wonder if it is worth to sign up for free tours in Ho Chi Minh City? Read our article and make your decisions.

What You Should Know about Free Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

Most of the free tours in Ho Chi Minh City is operated by the students who study, want to work in the tourism industry, or need an environment for practicing speaking English with foreigners. These tours are usually walking or motorbike tours introducing the city’s popular attractions. They are free tours of volunteers, so you cannot expect their itinerary to take you very far out of the city’s center.

Besides the tour guide and transportation like the motorbike, you will need to take care of your own things for the tour, such as a raincoat to deal with the unexpected showers and weather in Ho Chi Minh City, especially in the rainy season, and most importantly, the money. All entrance fees to attractions and meals are excluded, so you have to pay for yourself.

Many tours may not offer you pick-up and drop-off, which means you will have to find the way from your place to the meeting points. The typical free tours in Ho Chi Minh City you can find is walking around the Notre Dame Cathedral area or exploring Chinatown in the morning and afternoon, with fixed itineraries.

Things to Consider When Signing Up for Free Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

Look for reliable service providers. As for any tours, free or not, you should find a reliable tour operator to make sure you can have the best experience and not fall for any scams. Most of the free tours are usually organized by individuals and small groups without any authorization, so you will need to find one with more credible feedback from previous travelers.

Know what kind of experience you want to have. If you are on vacation and want ease of mind, booking a private tour seems like a sounder choice. But if you don’t mind a little research and the possibility of an alteration in your plan like tour cancelation, choose the one you find the most reasonable.

The Merits of Free Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

Hang out with young people in the city. Many young people in Ho Chi Minh City, especially university students, are eager to practice speaking English with foreigners outside of their schools and classrooms. And these free tours are one of the ways they can do so and gain more practical experience in tourism. Young and enthusiastic, they could be good companies for a walk around the city.

Get an opportunity for cultural exchange. As an exchange for the free tours you benefit, you can also share with the guides the insights to your culture and help them practice speaking a foreign language (English, French, or anything they are trying to be good at). It is a good chance to share the knowledge with one another.

free tours in ho chi minh local experience 1

Easy to cancel a tour. Because you don’t have to pay any money upfront when booking the tour, cancelation of a tour from your side (and theirs as well) is quite easy. If you have other things and cannot make it to the tour you have already booked, you can just tell them in advance.

The Downsides of Free Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

Free tours are most likely without insurance. Because the free tours exclude all personal fees, so the travel insurance will surely be on your charge. Find out here Do you really need travel insurance when visiting Vietnam.

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Free tours may not be available at all times. As the free tours are operated voluntarily, you should know that it is harder for the organizers to find a volunteer tour guide. You will have to book well in advance to ensure they are available. Besides, some of the tours you have heard good reviews for might have stopped (permanently or temporarily) their service.

The itinerary of a free tour can hardly be changed. A fixed itinerary will be easier for the operators and guides of free tours to handle. You can make little change to a tour to fit a change in your agenda like flight time or exploration in places other than what they offer. Even in the case that the itineraries can be changed, you will need to pay extra money for the transportation to the destination (if you cannot get there on foot or motorbike), and extra effort for research about your little detour, as the guides and operators may not be familiar with what you suggest.

You have to pay money along the way. If you want to visit attractions like the Independence Palace and the War Remnants Museum, you will have to pay the entrance fees when you get there. All the meals and drinks you have will also be charged to you. This will be harder to keep your travel to a budget if you don’t know the pricing in advance.

Your free tour may not be a private one. The free tour in Ho Chi Minh City can be a group tour, which means you will join a tour with strangers and share one tour guide. This is because the free tours are usually operated by individuals and small groups; there might not be enough people when there is a large demand.

In Conclusion, Is It Worth to Sign up for Free Tours in Ho Chi Minh City?

To decide to go with a free tour in Ho Chi Minh City, you should know what kind of tour experience you want. Free tours in Ho Chi Minh City are operated voluntarily by students and young people who want to practice English and gain experience in tourism. You can cancel the tour easily if you don’t have to pay fees upfront when making the reservation. You will also meet with young and enthusiastic locals in Ho Chi Minh City.

free tours in ho chi minh value 1

However, there are some limitations regarding their itinerary and availability. Also, “free” means you don’t have to pay the fee for tour guides and tour operations, but you still need to pay your own expenses, like entrance fees to attractions, meals, and drinks.

Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
for fun and insightful trips in Ho Chi Minh City!

family outing in ho chi minh city motorcycle

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