Ho Chi Minh City is like a pearl of the East Sea. Therefore it is not difficult to understand why Sai gon (Ho Chi Minh city) is so attractive. The following article will tell you top 7 places you must see in Ho Chi Minh city.
Top 7 places you must see in Ho Chi Minh city
01. City Skyline
The skyline of HCMC can be viewed from a few different locations that provide a good opportunity to get some awesome panoramic photographs.
The most popular choice is to visit the Bitexico financial tower sky deck, giving the highest view in the city, from one of the tallest buildings in the world. The total height is 262 metres and is designed like a lotus bud. The sky scraper can be seen from most parts of the city, and is situated near the Saigon River in District 1. The entrance is on 36 Ho Tung Mau Street, a shopping and entertainment complex is situated in the lower floors, higher up are offices a restaurant and the sky deck is on the 49th floor. The sky deck is 178 metres up and provides a 360 degree view of the city. The lift up travels at 7 metres per second, and the view is particularly popular at sunset. The displays are informative and there is a souvenir shop. Travel up to the 50th to 52nd floors to find the bar and restaurants. The sky deck is open daily 9.30am until 9.30pm and costs around 200,000 VND. (www.bitexcofinancialtower.com)
Another option for good views of the city without having to look through a glass window is the Chill Sky Bar, giving views across the main roundabout, located on the roof top of the AB Tower, 76 Le Lai Street, adjacent to the New7 World hotel in Ben Thanh. Open from 5.30pm until 2.30am the open air terrace on the 26th floor looks out across the Ben Thanh roundabout. The circular bar and lounge make it a very cool place, no entrance fee and a happy hour daily make it a great place to get a view of the city7, a drink or a meal in the restaurant. (See night time over the roundabout picture.) (www.chillsaigon.com)
02. Reunification Palace
The Reunification Palace is also known as the Independence Palace and before this was known as Norodoms Palace. It is situated in the Ben Thanh part of District l, about a 10 minute walk from the Ben Thanh Market and roundabout or Notre Dame. From Le Loi follow7 the Nam Ky Klioi Nghia road, the palace is surrounded by lovely gardens. The palace is open daily between 7.30am and 11am, then again in the afternoon from lpm until 4.30pm. Entrance fee is around 30,000 VND. The palace has a significant place in history as it is through these gates that a Northern Vietnamese tank crashed its way through to mark the end of the war in 1975. Previous to this it has been used by the South Vietnam government. In the various rooms visitors can see equipment for communication and planes that were used during the war. Touring over four different floors see the communications and president’s war room, the cabinet room and security7 room, along with exhibitions, accounts and photographs of Independence Day and the Palace in previous times. Outside see jeeps and tanks, helicopters and a fighter jet, and even a Mercedes that was used by the president. Check their website for special exhibitions www.dinhdoclap.gov.vn
03. War Remnants
The War Remnants Museum has a collection relating to the Vietnam War involving the US. The museum was opened by the Vietnamese Government to exhibit the horrors of war. Although many say it is propaganda, and some will find the photographs and exhibits shocking and upsetting, the museum still attracts many visitors from overseas every year. Pieces of military equipment can be found outside including; tanks, planes and helicopters. Probably the most shocking is the tiger cages in the courtyard, used to demonstrate the torture and conditions suffered by political prisoners.
Situated in District 3, on the corner of Vo Van Tan and Le Quoy Don Street it is about a 5 minute walk from the farthest perimeter of the Reunification Palace. Entry is around 15,000 VND per person, and it is open daily from 7.30am until noon, and in the afternoon from 1.30pm until 5pm. (www.baotangchimgtichchientranh.vn www.warremnantsmuseum.com).
For those wanting to buy war memorabilia there are many places around the city which sell artifacts and remnants supposedly left over from the war, however be ware as it is not allowed to take some items (such as bullet casings) on return flights. For the biggest collection check out the war surplus market on Yersin off Tran Hung Dao, a couple of streets down from the antiques street.
This has the biggest and most shocking items such as; photographs, cigarette lighters and dog tags supposedly from military personal.
04. Ben Thanh Market
The market of Ben Thanh established in 1912, is a large in and outdoor market situated on the large roundabout in District 1 where Le Loi meets Le Lai and Tran Hung Dao and four other roads join. This major intersection is an important hub for Vietnamese people, adjacent to end of the long strip of park. At night locals can be found playing games in the park, walking their dogs and mingling with their children. One of the earliest markets that has survived, here visitors can find local delicacies including the civet coffee, handicrafts and locally made textiles. Souvenirs are cheap, and bartering is a must do. Be prepared for the persistent sellers, a few tip here; keep your money safe and in separate pockets watch out for pickpockets, never except the first price, remember if you point at something or pick it up it is generally considered you have bought it! The market is open daily from around 8am until late evening, the inside section shuts around dusk but there are plenty of stalls open around the outside in the evening.
05. Binh Quoi Tourist Village
The Binh Quoi tourist area and village is situated about 30 minutes’ drive from the city consisting of beautiful Vietnamese traditional gardens and the opportunity to experience traditional Vietnamese cuisine and culture. The village is situated on the Saigon River, and has lakes running through the gardens and giant lily pads.
Try and cross using the bamboo constructed bridges or take a sampan along the water. The extensive gardens are great for getting photos amongst authentic backdrops and props and are quite often used for weddings. The village gets busy in the evenings as people come to graze the various dishes at the open air Vietnamese buffet. Local music adds to the ambiance, watch the food being cooked and presented using traditional methods. A lovely way to learn about Vietnamese culture without venturing too far from the city. Enjoy some time in a tranquil setting away from the bustle of the city. Open from 8am until 10pm, entrance is free; the village has two branches; l & 2 about 400 metres apart, accommodation is available buffet cost around 270,000 VND. (www.binhquoiresort.com.vn)
06. Notre Dame
Notre Dame Cathedral is about a 10 minute walk from the Ben Thanh roundabout, District l situated on Cong Xa Paris Square. Its impressive statue of nearly 60 metres makes it visible from quite a distance and is easily recognizable by its two bell towers each housing six bronze bells. The cathedral was built in 1863 taking some 17 years to complete by the French, on the site of the old Saigon Church, which was wooden and was damaged by termites. Using imported materials including the red bricks from Marseille it took three years to complete, a plaque inside commemorates the designer and completion dates. The Vatican anointed it and it is known as a basilica. The cathedral hit the headlines in 2005, when crowds flocked to see the marble statue of the Virgin Mary in front of the entrance which appeared to have shed a tear. Entry is free and is open to visitor daily from early morning until around 5pm, Sunday mass is at 9.30am.
07. Saigon Central Post Office
Looking to the right of the Notre Dame Basilica entrance is the post office with a large clock over the entrance. Built by the French in the late 20th century, the post office is a popular tourist attraction. Situated at the top of Dong Khoi it has really interesting architecture both inside and out as designed by the architect Gustav Eiffel. Two painted maps adorn the walls inside, one of Saigon and one of South Vietnam and Cambodia as mapped around 1892. There is a large mural of Ho Chi Minh, underneath which the letter assistance writer sits. The post office is a busy place with war remnant sellers and old style telephone boxes that still work and show different time zones above the doors. Open from 7.30am until 6pm daily.