Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon, situated in the southern part of Vietnam, is still called Saigon by most of the locals. This modern city used to be considered as the "Pearl of the Orient" by the French.
The wide Saigon River, which takes a huge turn from the east of Saigon, links the city with the sea. Unlike Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City may lack charm and elegance, but the city, with its essential French colonial character, has enough to draw your attention.
The city's colonial villas, wide avenues and a lively cafe society remind you of the days of French dominance. Over the last 10 years, Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City has experienced a spectacular change in it's cityscape. The once low rise landscape of the city's central area, District 1, is now marked with shining skyscrapers including high - rise apartments, international hotels and office buildings. The bustling, vibrant industrial hub of the nation is also Vietnam's biggest city.
Saigon is also the cultural centre and economic capital of the country. The city is well connected with the rest of the world through air routes and sea, and thereby draws huge foreign funds in the fields of oil and gas, agriculture, textiles, and marine products.
However tourism contributes a major part of the Government's revenue and visitors will also find intriguing attractions like the Ben Tanh Market, sandy beaches and mouth watering food stalls. Saigon has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate, with an average humidity of 75%. The year is divided into two distinct seasons.
The rainy season, with an average rainfull of about 1,800 millimitres, usually begins in May and ends in late November. The dry season lasts from December to April.
The average temperatures sometimes reach 39 degrees celcius, around noon in late April, while the lowest may fall to 16 degrees celcius in the early mornings of late December.
Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh and its surrounding streets comprise one of HCMC's liveliest areas. Everything that’s
commonly eaten, worn or used by the Saigonese is piled high, and souvenirs can be found in equal
abundance. Vendors are determined and prices are usually higher than elsewhere , so bargain vigorously and ignore any 'Fixed Price' signs.
Central Post Office
It was built in the decade after the cathedral, and opened in 1891. The interior is mostly original and features an impressive barrel vaulted ceiling and large maps of old Saigon. The painting of Ho Chi Minh watching over proceedings on the rear wall was installed after 1975.
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral
Built between 1863 and 1880 by French colonists, Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is one of HCMC's architectural marvels. Located in a very peaceful picturesque corner in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, the church is the most famous landmark as well as core Cathedral of the city.
Daily 6:00 –24:00
Le Loi District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Daily 07:00 – 19:00
2 Cong Xa Paris , District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Daily 08:00 – 17:00
1 Cong Xa Paris, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Ao Dai Museum
The oblong exhibit, 200 square meters wide with a double tiled roof, displays approximately 150 ao dai designs. It carries a brief written history of the dress and also features the dresses worn by famous Vietnamese women who’ve made great political and social contributions to the country in the 20th century.
Binh Tay Market
Cholon’s main market has a great clock tower and a central courtyard with gardens. This is a wholesale market. It was originally built by the French in the 1880s; Guangdong-born philanthropist Quach Dam paid for its rebuilding and was commemorated by a statue that is now in the Fine Arts Museum.
Bui Vien Walking Street
This place is absolutly amazing. during night the street turns into one club. An amazing variety of venues from flash bars to simple old Saigon style street bars sitting on the foot path. Look for the signs "Bia Saigon" and enjoy the night.
If you are searching for the best photogenic spots in Ho Chi Minh City, never skip the 60-year-old building on No.42 Nguyen Hue Walking Street. The newly redesigned street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, is right in the center of District 1. The coffee apartment at 42 Nguyen Hue is right in the middle of the street inbetween the Saigon River and the City Hall
Fine Arts Museum
The Fine Arts museum is a restored home with sixteen showrooms displaying paintings, pottery, sculpture . Besides the permanent exhibitions that feature medieval icons, and folk art such as embroidery, weaving and birch-bark creations, there's a collection of 18th-century Russian Masters that includes a dark and creepy Christ in Gethsemane by Ilya Repin, and interesting temporary exhibitions.
Museum of Traditional Medicine
Fito Museums - are a couple of first private museums in Vietnam which are devoted to the Traditional Vietnamese Medicine & Pharmacy.
Nearly 3,000 items relevant to traditional Vietnamese medicine dating back to the Stone Age.
An instruments used to prepare a traditional medicine: knives, grinders, mortars and pestles, pots and jars.
A grand neoclassical structure built in 1885 and once known as Gia Long Palace (and later the Revolutionary Museum), HCMC’s city museum is a singularly beautiful and impressive building, telling the story of the city through archaeological artefacts, ceramics, old city maps and displays on the marriage traditions of its various ethnicities. The struggle for independence is extensively covered, with most of the upper floor devoted to it.
Built in 1929, this notable Sino-French museum houses a rewarding collection of artefacts illustrating the evolution of the cultures of Vietnam, from the Bronze Age Dong Son civilisation (which emerged in 2000 BCE) and the Funan civilisation (1st to 6th centuries CE) to the Cham, Khmer and Vietnamese. Highlights include valuable relics taken from Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and a fine collection of Buddha statues.
Jade Emperor Pagoda
Built in 1909 in honour of the supreme Taoist god (the Jade Emperor or King of Heaven, Ngoc Hoang), this is one of the most atmospheric temples in Ho Chi Minh City, stuffed with statues of phantasmal divinities and grotesque heroes.
From Norodom Palace to Independence Palace 1868-1966” explores the century-long history of the building that once served as the seat of the French colonial government in Cochinchina. In 1954, this building was renamed Independence Palace. It subsequently witnessed many dramatic episodes in the rise and decline of the government of Ngo Dinh Diem, the founding leader of the Republic of Vietnam.
Thien Hau Pagoda
This gorgeous 19th-century temple is dedicated to the goddess Thien Hau, and always attracts a mix of worshippers and visitors, who mingle beneath the large coils of incense suspended overhead. It is believed that Thien Hau can travel over the oceans on a mat and ride the clouds to save people in trouble on the high seas.
War Remnants Museum
Museum store more than 20,000 documents, exhibits and films, in which more than 1,500 documents, artifacts, films have been applied to introduce in eight thematic exhibition frequently. In 35 years, the Museum has welcomed over 15 million visitors at home and abroad.