Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, has so many places that you must visit, delicious food you should taste and friendly local people to interact with … It really is a fantastic destination for domestic tourists and international visitors.
Ho Chi Minh City (commonly known as Saigon) has a tropical climate. The weather here is divided into two seasons, rainy and dry. The rainy season lasts from about June to November with the rains sudden, without notice, then sun and suddenly pouring rain again. However, the rains in Saigon do not often last long, so the city makes for a great year round vacation destination for travellers come rain or shine.
Ho Chi Minh City has Tan Son Nhat international airport which serves many international routes; therefore it is not difficult for foreigners to come to visit Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam in general. Take a look at Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Airlines, these two are the most popular airlines in Vietnam and if you are lucky maybe you can catch cheap tickets too! Vietnam has just discounted the visa fees for foreigners to boost tourism so coming to Vietnam is getting easier and more affordable.
You can prepare your airport transfer to your accommodation here: http://goasiadaytrip.com/transfer.html
Public transport in Saigon is plentiful and polite. You can plan your route and go sightseeing by bus visiting places and attractions of your choosing and having a fun experience along the way.
If traveling by taxi you should choose a reputable taxi company such as Mai Linh, Hoang Long or Vinasun. Make a note of the meter and car’s code or number … just in case you leave your luggage or any problems should arise.
You can also rent a motorbike to get about in Saigon with prices at about 100,000 VND per day. The procedure is quite simple, you need to leave your identity cards, passport and prescribed deposit, then you can enjoy the freedom of transport to go around Saigon just like local people here.
Saigon has many hotels for you to stay in, with prices starting from 200,000 VND to several million per night. You can choose hotels at the heart of the city such as Nguyen Trai, Le Thanh Ton Street, Ben Thanh Market area, Pham Ngu Lao Street West – all central for easy sightseeing.
If this is your first time visiting Saigon, attractions such as Ben Thanh Market, Post Office, Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral and Reunification Palace are some of the best known and most popular.
Saigon Central Post Office – This is a famous architectural works built in Ho Chi Minh City and featuring French architecture of more than 120 years old (1886-1891). Saigon Central Post Office is the pride of the people in the city. Coming here, tourists not only admire the unique architecture of the post office but also become immersed in the ancient world, from the letter box drop to the call counters. In front of the Saigon Notre Dame Basilica, looking from side to side are the modern high-rise buildings; therefore, this harmonious combination brings together ancient beauties and the breath of modern life.
Independence Palace – Also known as Reunification Palace, located at the heart of the city. It was the workplace of the President of the South of Vietnam during the Vietnam war. This place has had many different names over time: Norodom (1889-1954), Independence Palace (10/1956 – 10/1976) and today “Reunification Hall”. This is not only a unique piece of architecture but also a venue for many important historical city, and national events.
Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica – Located in the heart of Saigon, the church is a landmark within an urban space, with beautiful views from all sides. The architecture of the church is such that the interior has wonderful lighting, giving a sense of calm, a place holy and solemn. We would say, Notre Dame is a perfect work of architecture, emblematic of Saigon. Now a famous location, not only to fascinate visitors from far away, Notre Dame, with beauty, brings majesty but close, and simple carpentry admired by photographers and artists alike.
Ben Thanh Market – Considered a major symbol of the city’s tourism. The market was built in a square with four doors opened east, west, south, north. Discovering Ben Thanh Market, visitors can shop for their favourite items or enjoy delicious food in the food court. Especially when the night comes, Ben Thanh night market attracts hundreds of visitors to shop and enjoy a delicious dish from early evening until late.
Saigon Opera House – Located at street Le Loi – Dong Khoi, City Opera House is another tourist attractions that can hardly be missed in Saigon. Built more than a century ago, yet the theatre retains characteristics of Western architecture. The theatre is not only a venue for musical events, but it is also the venue for the major activities of the city as in art and social activities.
As well as these main attractions, places like the War Remnants Museum (Vo Van Tan, District 3); Ethnographic Museum (Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, District 1); Vietnam History Museum (Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1), Cho Lon area, Nha Rong Wharf, the City People’s Committee …. are also exciting places that you should visit.
5. Local Food:
Broken rice / Cơm tấm
Broken rice dish is a simple traditional food you can find everywhere on the roads in Saigon. Saigon broken rice is usually served with ingredients like ribs, fried egg, spring rolls … and often with a few pickles and a cup of delicious sweet and sour fish sauce.
Rice noodles / Hủ tiếu
Rice noodle dish is very familiar to Southerners. This is a Chinese dish, imported into Vietnam and modified to suit the tastes of Vietnamese people. In Saigon, many famous brands of rice noodle are available such as My Tho, Nam Vang and Sa Dec. Typical noodle dishes will include a full bowl of noodles including broth, shrimp, pork, minced meat and small noodles, served with lettuce and chives. Today, there are many variations of rice noodle served with: fish, squid, ribs…
In the streets of Saigon, famous spots for hotpot include goat hotpot in Nguyen Cong Tru Street (District 1), beef hotpot, goat hotpot at Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street – Truong Dinh (District 3); goby hotpot area at Ba Huyen Thanh Quan – Su Thien Chieu (District 3);… It is really easy to eat hot pot, the taste of hotpot is suitable with everyone. There are many kinds of popular hotpots such as Thai, goby, seafood, mushroom … and many specialties such as crab, snail and frog hotpot…
Snails / Ốc
You cannot ignore this dish in Saigon. Snails or Ốc includes a lot of different types of seafood, such as clams, oysters, snails, etc. Streets like Thanh Thai (District 10) and Vinh Khanh (District 4) are favourite haunts for faithful lovers of Snails in Saigon. The shops are usually open from noon until late night, and some even until dawn the next morning. There are many different flavours: grilled, fried, steamed, boiled, cooked porridge … with many different spices, such as grilled with onion, spicy fried butter, fried garlic…
Besides the delicious dishes mentioned above, there are many other delicacies for guests to freely enjoy the Saigon way: bánh canh, bánh xèo, bánh khọt…
Commercial Centers – Saigon is a shopper’s paradise with many commercial centers. At the heart of Saigon, you can look to the buildings on Nguyen Hue, Le Loi, Ly Tu Trong, Dong Khoi … with every conceivable fashion brand imaginable.
If you like to shop for bargains you can look to Nguyen Trai Street (District 5), Le Van Sy (Tan Binh), Vo Van Tan, Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street (zones district 3 area) …here you can easily find yourself a nice dress or a trendy shirt with a very reasonable price tag attached. Apart from a small number of stores that have a clear price list, however, you do need to confidently bargain to avoid the higher prices on display.
Cho Lon Area, An Dong Market
This could be called the paradise of fashion, where you can get all kinds of clothes, fabrics, handbags, cosmetics … branded or unbranded. The price here will not be clear, but the lowest prices possible can be achieved!
Notes and Travel Tips
The security situation on the streets of Saigon can be quite complex, so you should pay attention when walking on the streets and not be obvious about wearing and carrying jewellery, handbags, cameras, phones etc.
Also when eating out, you should ask the price before enjoying your meals, just to make sure the price is not too expensive, and falls within your budget.
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