Visit Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in 1, 2 or 3 days, what to see and do?
- on Dec 28, 2019       By: BN
The capital of former South Vietnam, an economic capital and the largest city in the country, Ho Chi Minh City is a must-visit stopover during your trip in South Vietnam. In the past, Saigon was a very dynamic and warm city, despite many historical changes, and to this day this place still maintains its unique characteristics. Combined with technological advances and changes in life, Saigon is moving towards a sustainable future. Whether you stay one, two or three days, you will be seduced by this dynamic city because Saigon seems to display boundless energy every day.
Ho Chi Minh City in one day
In one day, it is advisable to concentrate on District 1 of the megalopolis of the South, where all the tourist attractions of Ho Chi Minh City are concentrated. During this day, you can discover the Notre Dame Cathedral, built by the French from 1877 to 1880, in a revised Romanesque style, mixed with the Gothic style and based on the model of Notre-Dame de Paris, but smaller in size. You will observe that the exterior wall of the cathedral was built with red bricks made and imported from Toulouse. Just opposite is the beautifully renovated Central Post Office, built between 1886 and 1891 by the administration of the French Post Office. Inside, you can admire the metal framework designed by Gustave Eiffel, a map of Saigon, a map of the Cochinchina telephone network dating from the early 1930s and a portrait of Ho Chi Minh.
The discovery of Ben Thanh market is another must-visit. Over a hundred years old, Ben Thanh market is a symbol of Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a mix of Saigon in the past and present-day Saigon. You will certainly find something that will allow you to bring back beautiful memories to your home nation. During the rest of this day, you can discover the Reunification Palace, a place steeped in history which is also a magnificent example of a combination of modern and traditional oriental architecture. If you have some time left, you can also visit the War Remnants Museum, a necessary step to understand Vietnam and its vivid, contemporary history. A visit which is certainly poignant but will allow us to realise the harshness of conflict and to better understand the values of peace.
In the evening, take to the heights by visiting one of the many rooftop bars that bloom on the roofs of buildings and enjoy an unforgettable view of Saigon at night when it shines brightly. Then, dine at one of the city's varied restaurants to suit your taste. You will not be disappointed with your culinary journey to a city that offers all types of cuisine.
Ho Chi Minh City in 2 days
On the second day, you can explore the city in more depth. To do this, we invite you to go to Cholon, the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City. The city in the city, a real anthill, Cholon is the old district of opium dens and dance halls during the colonial era. This once naughty and sulphurous district is today the city's great shopping centre. People come to feel its very special atmosphere, to stroll alongside the traditional stalls decorated with Chinese ideograms, to taste some Chinese specialities and to discover its superb pagodas drowned in the smoke of incense that burns continuously.
For this second day dedicated to visiting Saigon, you can ask to discover the rich colonial architectural heritage such as the city hall, the Majestic hotel, the Opera house, the old bank of Indochina or the Messageries Maritimes building, the oldest in the city converted into a museum. You can also discover the museum dedicated to Ho Chi Minh City and/or the Museum of Fine Arts, both of which are located in beautiful old colonial buildings. In the evening, you can take a Vespa food tour to explore the city at night and to sample the extraordinary variety of street food in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City in 3 days
If you choose to stay for three days in the vibrant capital of South Vietnam, then you can leave the city to explore two tourist attractions close to each other. The first is the Cu Chi tunnels, a surprising and ingenious system of tunnels over 250 km long on several levels. Originally created by Viet Minh in the period of French Indochina, the Cu Chi tunnels housed thousands of Viet Cong guerrillas during the Vietnam War against the Americans. This is one of the best half or full day excursions from Ho Chi Minh City and is an excellent history lesson. Also, you can combine this visit with that of the Tay Ninh Caodaism Temple. This very unique religious building with picturesque decorations and mixtures of bright colours is the headquarter of the Cao Dai religion.
You can attend one of the daily masses, a striking spectacle whose adepts dressed in white render worship in a stunning architectural setting, harmoniously combining the architectural styles of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity and Islam. Back in Saigon, you can go to the Bitexco tower. With its height spanning 262 metres for 68 floors, it is the tallest building in the city, an emblematic building and a symbol of the modernization of Vietnam and its economic development. You can visit the tower and climb to the 49th floor to enjoy a stunningly breath-taking view of the city.
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