Saigon Vietnam - travel blog 2019
- on Dec 31, 2019       By: BN
Formerly "the pearl of the Far East", Ho Chi Minh City is a must-see destination in Vietnam to discover the economic capital that is bursting with character. Populated by no less than eight million souls, the beating heart of the South is also endearing for many important historic monuments that are not to be missed. The most cosmopolitan city, it is in Saigon that you can stroll during the day in district 5 or Chinatown and wander in the evening along the bubbling alleys of Bui Vien nicknamed "pho Tay" or western quarter.
Saigon Blog 2019
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Ho Chi Minh City is about 1,730 km from Hanoi and 985 km from Da Nang city.
Located in the tropical equatorial region, Ho Chi Minh City, like other Southern regions, experiences fairly high temperatures throughout the year with two distinct seasons. The rainy season, from May to November and the dry season for the rest of the time.
In Ho Chi Minh City, winter is never known due to an average annual temperature of 27°C. It is warmest between April and May with an average temperature of 28.8°C and the coolest, between December and January, with an average temperature of 25.7°C. There are more than 330 days a year with an average temperature of 25-28°C.
For many people, the city can be visited all year round. Note that the heat of Ho Chi Minh City is not suffocating and the rains are intermittent during the day.
The possible means to get there are bus, train and plane.
The Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City train means the train from North - South Thong Nhat (Reunification) which leaves 6 times a day. It will take somewhere from 31h to 36h of road with a price varying between 640,000 VND and 1,500,000 VND. More details on train fare/schedule for Saigon.
Choose reliable agencies like Hoang Long and Mai Linh who offer decent comfort with large berths. The journey normally takes between 30 - 40h with a cost varying between 720,000 and 800,000 VND. More details on price/time of the Hanoi - Saigon bus.
For Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City flights, in addition to the tickets offered by the giant company VietnamAirline, you will have other more affordable choices such as Jetstar, Bamboo air or Vietjet. The journey takes approximately 1.5 hours, the price of the return ticket is from 800,000 VND.
Practical means to get around Saigon are namely taxi, bus, motorbike, bicycle and pedicab. Motorbike rental (manual, auto or semi-auto) is available at a cost of around 100,000 VND per day.
In addition to beautiful colonial buildings, museums, markets and pagodas found in and around the city centre are also worth a visit to gain a deeper understanding of Saigon.
In downtown Saigon
The busiest district, the district 1 of Ho Chi Minh City regroups not only a number of important administrative and commercial establishments, but also the majority of historical landmarks intimately linked to its former name Saigon.
Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
A symbol of the city, the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon charms visitors with the beauty of the Notre-Dame de Paris in reduced size. The most beautiful and important of the city's Catholic architectures, it is known for French materials and a surrounding environment appreciated by both locals and visitors. The site is currently being restored and is going to welcome visitors at the end of 2019.
Saigon Central Post Office
In front of Notre-Dame Cathedral, another remarkable construction is the Saigon Central Post Office, built by the French during the years 1886–1891. Based on the design plan of architect Auguste Henri Villedieu, the site has the elegance of Western architecture with a few oriental elements.
Saigon Opera House
Built in 1897, the Saigon Opera House is a fine example of neoclassical architecture where you can admire, among other things, refined ornaments and beautiful late 19th-century statues imported from France.
City Hall of Ho Chi Minh City
This century-old Gardès building, one of the most beautiful architectures of the time, still functions as the seat of the People's Committee. Built during the years 1898-1909, it attracted, among other things, a belfry inspired by traditional motifs from the North of France. Due to its administrative role, the former Saigon City Hall is accessible only at the level of the surroundings and the garden outside.
Also known as the Reunification Palace, this was the workplace of the South Vietnamese government during the American war. This modern-looking structure nevertheless adopts a structure governed by geomancy, breathing in the harmony and ambition of a head of state. It’s very unfortunate to visit Ho Chi Minh City without a stop at this palace steeped in history, that was a primary witness to strong moments of national reunification.
Ben Thanh market
A high commercial and tourist place for its old history and its typical bustle, the Ben Thanh market is an essential place to visit to get closer to everyday life in the city. Built from the beginning of the 20th century, its more than 3000 kiosks are in full swing day and night to the delight of residents and visitors.
Museum of Vietnamese History
Built in 1929, this former Blanchard de la Brosse Museum is rich in exceptional collections on the historical development of the country as well as cultures ranging from primitive times to the 20th century. Thousands of valuable objects on display are truly informative for lovers and researchers of history and archaeology.
War Remnants Museum
Frequented by many Western visitors, the museum is a rich and moving stop that highlights American atrocities in the war in Vietnam. The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City has been ranked 5th by TripAdvisor in the top 25 best museums to visit in Asia.
Location: District 3
Fito museum dedicated to traditional medicine
The first private museum of its kind, the Fito Museum will welcome you in a relaxing atmosphere based on a traditional design, evoking the living space of Northern yesteryear. You will discover, through the precious and rich collections, the history of traditional Vietnamese medicine and also the stages of consultation and oriental treatment methods.
Location: District 10
Saigon pagodas and temples
For those who are interested in religious buildings with beautiful architecture, the temples and pagodas of Ho Chi Minh City certainly promise beautiful visits and experiences. Let us cite in particular the names of Thien Hau, Ngoc Hoang or Emperor of Jade, Giac Lam, Vinh Nghiem which, sacred and varied in style, will leave you with unforgettable moments.
Visit Saigon in its surroundings
Cu Chi tunnels
This true maze continues to surprise generations who have come in large numbers to discover a sanctuary of the endurance and courage of the Vietnamese fighters and people during the thirty years of battle against the Americans. Measuring 250 km long and comprising several levels in many parts, the underground galleries housed meeting rooms, dwellings, field hospitals, kitchens, traps and more. Classified as a national historic site, the Cu Chi tunnels are open to visits in two hamlets of Ben Duoc and Ben Dinh.
Location: Cu Chi district, 70km from Saigon to the Northwest.
Caodaism Temple in Tay Ninh
A sacred place of more than five millions believers, the Holy See of Caodaism brings together very many pilgrims and visitors from all over. Built in 1933 and completed in 1955, this building impresses travellers with an original and unique architecture, intended to combine doctrines without distinction of borders, whether Eastern or Western. The principles of major religions, Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, etc. are highlighted there.
Location: Tay Ninh Province, more than 80 km from Ho Chi Minh City.
When you say Saigon, you are also saying the Eldorado of gourmets where flavours from all horizons meet, from North to South of the country, but also from the most exotic. Bun bo Hue, Pho, Lau Ca Keo or fondue with Keo fish, Hu tieu or Saigon noodle soup, Banh xeo Nam Bo or South Vietnamese pancake, spring rolls, che or any kind of sweet Vietnamese snacks… This is a small list of some of the most popular foods.
You will have a wide choice of rooms in Saigon which are affordable for both small and generous budgets. If hotels in district 1 are the most recommended for visitors, those in district 3 and Phu Nhuan district where traffic is more fluid are better suited to business trips.
If you like spending the night in a room with a refined colonial decor, don't miss the French heritage in 3 of the oldest hotels in Saigon.
Here is some information for your reference on the types of hotel in Saigon
Dormitory: the price varies between 200,000 VND - 400,000 VND per room per night.
Good addresses: Saigon Central Hostel, Saigon Charming Hostel, Eco Backpackers Hostel...
Cheap hotel (1-2 stars): the price varying between 250,000 - 500,000 VND per room per night.
Good addresses: Hoai Pho Hotel, Green Suites, Pink Tulip Hotel…
3 star hotel: the price varies between 500,000 - 1,200,000 VND per room per night
Good addresses: Dragon Palace II Hotel, Asian Ruby Select Hotel, Eden Garden Hotel
Comfort hotel (4- 5 stars):
The rooms are offered from 1,200,000 VND as often located in the city centre or suitable location for travel.
Good addresses: Royal Hotel Saigon, Silverland Jolie Hotel & Spa, Grand Silverland Hotel & Spa…
Let yourself be guided by our exclusive selection of items of EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SAIGON!
Have a great stay!
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