Ho Chi Minh city, Saigon, the old capital
From sprawling markets and food stalls to luxury shops and opera. Ho Chi Minh city really has it all.
The former capital of Vietnam holds some of the best food cultures and variety in entertainment in the world.
Like most big cities the Ho Chi Minh city airport is only about half an hour away. Transportation with taxi costs about 500.000 Vietnamese Dong. There are also shuttle buses available but they don’t get you everywhere.
Getting around the city is quite easy. The city is divided into small areas like Benh Tanh so it is easy to navigate by foot.
Mototaxi and regular taxis are available at almost every street corner and the drivers might try to pursue you that you need a ride somewhere. Even if you don’t know it yourself.
Sights & attractions
So what is there to do in Ho Chi Minh city. Many tourists vaul to the food and the richness of it. Many curse the markets for emptying their wallets.
Ho Chi Minh is all about that and so much more.
Benh Tanh market
The most known and visited market is the Benh Than market. Located just a stone throw away from the most popular backpacker streets many tourists make it a mandatory visit.
If you wish to buy souvenirs it is a perfect place to go. Everything is under one roof. But even if you’ re not in an urge to splurge it is still a popular place. Once you get inside you will be thrown over by the shop owners who will touch you and drag your shirt until you look their shop or even reply and say something to them.
Although it is a market you man find small restaurants and juice stalls here. When you are tired of shopping clothes, fabrics, makeup, tea, coffee or souvenirs then you can have a break here before moving on.
The shop owners are aware that the Bench Tanh market is the most popular in town so the prices are in direct reflection of that. Be prepared to bargain starting with half the price.
Binh Tay market
Known for being a wholesale market the busy Binh Tay market is often included in city tours it not always appreciated by the convenient tourists. It is crowded, hot and messy. But if you like to get with the locals and do some bargaining starting at half the price as the popular Benh Than market then you might just be up for the challenge.
The Notre Dame cathedral
Even though it’s not in comparison with the French Notre Dame, Ho Chi Minh has its own Notre Dame cathedral. Just a few blocks away from the Benh Tanh market.
The post office
Designed by Gustave Eiffel himself ( you know the guy who designed the Eiffel tower) is a big and popular landmark in the city. Reminding somewhat of an old train station the post office is now the countries biggest and most efficient. It is located just next to the Notre Dam Cathedral so you can make it a two in one sightseeing and stop by to see the architecture of both the post office and the cathedral.
War remnants museum
What we like about Ho Chi Minh city is that most things that are listed as “things to do” is mainly quite close to each other which gives you more time to explore the more unknown parts of the city. One attraction that is listed high as one of the “musts” by Vietnam tourist information is the War remnants museum. Dedicated to the Vietnamese wars and what once was and to those who where lost. Walk through the Vietnamese history in photos and memorabilia. It is said to be an unforgettable experience.
Cu Chi tunnels
When you feel a bit adventurous and had enough of the big city for a moment or two you could always head out to the Cu Chi tunnels. These tunnels where once used by the locals during the Vietnamese wars with the French and Americans and is now built up and recreated to stand for what once was. Some tunnels are authentic and some are modified to fit a more western crowd. Read all about the tunnels and our visit here
Ho Chi Minh city has many parks and is a part of the everyday life for many locals, expats and others.
A joyful afternoon is spending an hour or two in the park with a coffee or ice cream if you’d like and do some people watching or watch some enthusiastic locals rehearse some dance moves with their uncoordinated dance group.
Many parks has a few machines for workout sessions and anyone is welcome to use it. Whether you just came out of the office with suit and tie or just passing by. Everyone uses them. Come as you are.
Whether you would like to stay in a five star hotel and eat caviar for breakfast or live cheap with the many backpackers the accommodations come in plenty and in different price range.
The area around Ho Chi Minh post office and the Opera House offers a wide selection of star hotels one more fancier than the other. This area also hosts some of the more upscaled fashion shops and malls.
Pham Ngu Lao street is the great backpacker area of Ho Chi Minh where you a can get a double room for as little as 100.000 Vietnamese Dong per night.
To sum it up Ho Chi Minh offers a huge variation of entertainment whether you are after a nice city break with sightseeing or like to spend a weekend shopping or clubbing. For young and old. Ho Chi Minh really has it all.