During our visit to District 2’s undeveloped Thú Thiêm neighborhood, we noticed a pier to which a few fishing boats were anchored. Interesting. A week later, we returned to try our luck. A fisherman met us on the pier, evidently clued in to what we might be proposing. And he was game.
That’s the story of how we hired a local fishing boat to take us on a private sunset tour of the Saigon River. He suggested $20 for an hour-long ride. That was exactly what we had earlier decided would be fair, so we didn’t even bother to haggle.
We hadn’t expected this to work out so easily! In fact, we hadn’t expected it to work out at all. This pier, close to the Dòng Mến Thánh Giá convent, is not at all set up for tourists, and there was no guarantee that we’d even find anybody at the boats.
After setting us up with plastic chairs on the deck, our captain took us on a tour to Saigon’s docklands and back. It was a clear evening, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. As we returned, we watched the sun set behind the skyscrapers of downtown Saigon, turning the sky a beautiful gradient of purplish yellow.
We don’t have any contact information for our captain, nor can we provide any assurance that this will always work out; I have a feeling we got a little lucky with how smoothly our experience went. But if you’re interested, it’s definitely worth a shot. Just head down to Thú Thiêm, and see if there’s anyone hanging out by their boats.
If not, it doesn’t have to be a busted evening; walk over to the nearby Miếu Cô temple, where a line of chairs is set up along the river bank, providing another perfect sunset view of Saigon.