Old Compass Travel

"Travel with an old compass"

Welcome to Old Compass Travel

We're a new, boutique travel company - but we’re definitely not new to travel. We run a daily walking tour of Saigon focused on history and architecture and the emerging contemporary life of the city. We also operate a two week small group tour, Vietnam by the Book - created around 3 books.

We love to dig deeper and do things differently. We care about history, art, culture, food, architecture, photography and the amazing contemporary life of the places we visit.

If that sounds like you, check us out.

Saigon - Tales of the City

Saigon - Tales of the City, is a half day, walking tour that tells the incredible story of Saigon through its bustling streets, and its most evocative historical sights - a unique Saigon experience of history, architecture, food and contemporary life.

Every day 3.00PM - 6.30PM: (during the wet season the tour operates in the morning) Maximum 8 travellers Min 2. Includes dinner. 900,000VND (40USD) per person.

Please note that children under twelve are not permitted on the daily tour and can be accommodated on a private family tour.

NB. During the wettest months of the year (June - September), the tour operates in the morning to reduce the likelihood of interruption. Morning tours are inclusive of lunch.

Designed by Rusty Compass

more info Book Tour

Vietnam by the Book - 15 days - Old Compass Travel Book Club

Join Mark Bowyer on an unforgettable 15 day journey through the history, culture, cuisine and unique beauty of Vietnam, using the works of three authors to help us along our way.

Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, Duong Van Mai Elliott’s Sacred Willow and Nguyen Qui Duc’s Where the Ashes Are, tell three different tales of Vietnam’s modern history. The insights of these authors will give context to this unique travel experience.  Our shared reading will help to tell the stories of the places we visit. We’ll travel and read beyond these books too.

Our travels will take us to Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Dien Bien Phu, Sapa, Hue, My Son, Hoi An and Saigon. Travelling in a small group, we'll capture the remarkable diversity and historical depth of Vietnam, meeting wonderful people and enjoying delicious meals as we go.

2018 will mark 25 years since Mark first led a tour through Vietnam. He's been exploring and getting to know the country ever since. You can read about his travels at www.rustycompass.com.  This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive and the Battle of Hue - both events we'll consider as we travel.

Tour dates:
16th - 30th March 2019

6th - 20th April 2019

$3950US per person twin share
$1190USD single supplement

Single and will to share?
Single travellers can opt to share with another traveller of the same sex and pay the same price as TWN / DBLs. If we can't match you with another traveller, we'll cover it.

Group size:
Maximum 14

For more read on....

more info Book Tour

About Us

We have some old ideas about what makes great travel experiences. We’re interested in history, architecture, art, food – the stories – and the incredible changes sweeping our region. And we’d much rather be on the streets than sitting in a coach.

We’re a boutique company in every sense – offering an in-depth walking tour of Saigon, special interest tours and customised travel advice.

Our tours are designed by our founder, Mark Bowyer. Mark first set foot in Vietnam in 1990 when the country was opening its doors to the world. He’s been hooked ever since. In March 2018, Mark will be leading our “Vietnam by the book” Old Compass Travel Book Club tours.

Mark publishes the travel website www.rustycompass.com. He’s been photographing, filming and writing about travel in Vietnam for decades.  He’s fascinated by Vietnam’s incredible history, culture, language, architecture and the country’s economic development. Mark’s love of Vietnam imbues the tours he designs.

Vietnam is a visual feast for travellers. All the photos on this website and on Rusty Compass were shot by Mark.

Read more about Mark in this New York Times profile.

Duong, leads our Saigon – Tales of the City tour and  was born in the central province of Nghe An. Nghe An is one of Vietnam’s poorest provinces – but it’s also the proud home of Ho Chi Minh. She moved to Saigon as a child. Duong loves art, design and her country’s incredible history. She has worked in furniture design and production, architecture and in art galleries. Duong loves to share her stories, and the stories of her city. She co-owns Old Compass Travel and The Old Compass Cafe.


Send us an email: info@oldcompasstravel.com
or come and visit us in Saigon at
The Old Compass Cafe
3rd Floor, 63/11 Pasteur St., Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.