Ho Chi Minh City used to be known as Saigon although this was officially changed after Ho Chi Minh unified Vietnam following the Vietnam War. Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most dynamic spots in Vietnam, and you can see this through the cutting edge buildings and the exciting nightlife on offer here. If you want to sample some of the local delights, then the street food scene in the city is also one of the best thing in the country.
Here are the 10 best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City:
1. Try a bowl of Pho
Despite looking simple outside, Pho has the fascinating complexity of textures and flavors. Vietnamese people love eating pho for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Thanks to its wonderful taste, Pho Vietnam now appears in many corners all over the world.
“The soup itself tells you so much about Vietnamese culture” – Andrea Nguyen
2. Grab a fresh beer in Pham Ngu Lao Street
Pham Ngu Lao Street is on the western edge of District 1 and is renowned as the place where most backpacking travelers stay during their holiday.
Set along these alleyways are western-style restaurants and international bars. It becomes foreigners’ “heaven” when it comes to Saigon’s nightlife.
3. Notre Dame Cathedral
Ask any local people about the location of the city’s center or its symbol, the answer would definitely be Ben Thanh Market or Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral
Its design, apart from the intention to create a religious look, aims at showing the influence of French civilization and Christianity over Saigon.
4. The Mekong Delta
In Southern Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is home to myriad attractive destinations and unique ecosystems that deserve more than a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City.
The best time to travel to the Mekong Delta is from October to March, when the river water level is highest, ideal for boat markets and sailing trips. This is also when life on the river becomes the busiest.
5. Crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels
Most people think of the most modern and crowded city in Vietnam when it comes to Ho Chi Minh City. However, the city itself also has a great deal of historical values relating to the war against the French and American army. If you want to get to know more about Vietnamese history, visiting Cu Chi Tunnels is a great activity.
Located about 60 kilometers to the northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, it is an extensive labyrinth of underground tunnels that stretch all the way to the Cambodian border. The Cu Chi Tunnels network was built within 25 years from 1948 during the war against the French.
6. Explore the Fine Arts Museum
Fine Arts Museum, or Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts, is one of the largest museums in Ho Chi Minh City. It has witnessed the ups and downs of history as well as the rise of Ho Chi Minh City after the unification in 1975.
The Fine Arts Museum has the functions of researching, collecting, preserving, displaying documents and typical objects belonging to fine arts and reflecting the special features of Vietnamese ancient handicrafts, especially typical art works in the South.
7. Visit the War Remnants Museum
The current location of the War Remnants Museum used to be the building of the US Information Agency.
The museum aimed to praise the patriotism and resilience of the Vietnamese people and army during the two wars. At the same time, condemn the cruelty of war and its terrible consequences on the innocent.
8. Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is located in the center of Ho Chi Minh City and is a great place to come to shop and eat.
On a visit to the market you will find a range of street food vendors selling local snacks, as well as an area where you can pick up some souvenirs.
9. City Sightseeing Saigon Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
Enjoy a special Hop on – Hop off bus tour around Ho Chi Minh City that allows you to discover many of the city’s landmarks in just 45 minutes.
The bus runs every 30 minutes from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day of the week.
10. The Independence Palace
During the Vietnam War, the Independence Palace served as the residence and office of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu. It witnessed significant changes in Saigon’s history and keeping the essence of Eastern culture.
The palace is well-known not only for its historical significance but also for its unique architecture. It is a harmonious blend of modern Western and classical Eastern styles.
Note: Now Vietnam Immigration department only issues Vietnam electronic visa (Vietnam e-visa) before arrival.