There are many things to see in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam, not its capital which is Hanoi. Located in the south of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, or as it is known all over the world, Saigon is a vibrant city, crowded with people, and with a lot of charm.
Until the seventeenth century belonged to Cambodia and was known by the name Khmer of Preah Nokor Khmer, once annexed to Vietnam was renamed Saigon (Sài Gòn), which is actually as everyone knows it in Vietnam, it is still written that name on many traffic signs and even on train tickets. It is located in the north of the Mekong Delta and in its metropolitan area 14 million people live, being one of the largest metropolises in Southeast Asia.
The biggest attraction of the city, in my opinion, is to walk through its most popular neighbourhoods, without a fixed direction, to let go. More than a city to visit monuments, it is a city to contemplate the daily life of the Vietnamese, to eat, or to drink some fresh beers in its thousands of food places or street stalls, to see traditional products stores, which are very curious and long etcetera. All this while we try not to be run over, because the traffic is terrible, as in the whole country.
What to see in Ho Chi Minh City
As I said before there is a lot to see and do in Saigon, then I will put a list with what I found most interesting. But first, humble advice, do not limit yourself to going from one point of tourist interest to another. The city has to be kicked, you have to explore its alleys, and you have to live it because this is precisely the best of Ho Chi Minh City, the other are monuments, which are not bad, but they are nothing special.
Vietnam War Museum You cannot leave Saigon without seeing this interesting museum about the Vietnam War. The story is told in favour of their interests, although they do not lack reason in many things. Obviously obviate the part in which they severely punished the inhabitants of South Vietnam, allies of the USA and in the war against North Vietnam.
It has an interesting collection of weapons and all kinds of tanks, planes, cannons, helicopters, ammunition and also propaganda of the time. They also include photos, some of them quite harsh, and most focus on the effects that the orange agent caused on the inhabitants of the country.
The entrance costs about 10,000 Dongs and the hours are from 9:00 to 11:45 and from 13:30 to 17:00. By the way, that strange schedule, closing at 12 or 11 noon is quite frequent in many places.
Palace of Reunification or Independence Palace
In 1975, after the fall of Saigon, and the victory of North Vietnam, this palace became a symbol of the reunification of the country. You can visit inside, as long as there are no official events, the interior is exquisitely decorated. One of the places that attract the most attention is the bunker in the basement, which still has a control room of the period and a leisure room.
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica and Post Office
They are next to each other in the Plaza de Cong Xa Paris. The Notre Dame Cathedral, built by the French in 1863, is one of the symbols of the city. It has two beautiful bell towers of almost 60 meters high, when I went by it was closed and cannot enter, I do not know if it is usual that it is closed or I had to stay without seeing it.
At the post office, I recommend you enter, and it’s quite curious, it looks like a train station. Surely it will be crowded with people, so if you want to send a postcard, it will touch you to queue.
Bitexco Financial Tower
If you want to see the city of Ho Chi Minh from above, nothing like climbing to the viewpoint of the highest tower in the city. Bitexco Tower located on Hàm Nghi street on the banks of the Saigon River, it is one of the most modern buildings in the city, from the top we can see spectacular views of the city centre and the Saigon River. Of course, at the price of gold because the entrance costs 200,000 Dongs.
Ben Thanh Market and Ben Thanh Night Market
Located on Le Loi street is one of the busiest in the city centre, we can buy anything, especially imitation brand clothes. The truth is that I am not much of buying clothes and did not put many issues, but I imagine that to get good imitations, we will have to search well.
The night is mounted directly opposite, and I have to say it is much more pleasant than the other, being outdoors. They also assemble hundreds of food stalls, so more than to go shopping, I liked to go to try a variety of different local foods at good prices, yes, you have to haggle a bit because you will always want charge double or triple.
As for shopping centres, I cannot say enough about that because I never visit any of them. Well and that’s almost everything, there are other interesting buildings such as the town hall in the street Lê Thánh Tôn and the opera house, very close to there in Lam Son Square.
There are also some interesting temples to see in Ho Chi Minh City such as the An Quang pagoda and the Giac Lam, but nothing of the other kind. As I said before, it is a city to get lost for it, flip with the hordes of motorcycles and see the daily life of its inhabitants, its shops and street stalls, rather than to see great monuments. We can also go to the banks of the Saigon River for a walk, especially at night when there is a lot of atmospheres.
Where to party from Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon has a lively nightlife in the purest Asian style, crowded places, music to every host, that you cannot even talk about and posture. There are several types of venues, the Vietnamese party very early, at 9 or 10, in fact, there are many places that close at 12 at night, so it is difficult for Latinos to catch them open.
There are some party venues in Saigon that close later, until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, I was in Q Bar 7 that is below the opera building and the truth is that it was not bad, you could tell that there Only Vietnamese people were possible, who also love that everyone knows they are covered.
One of the things that most attracts my attention in Vietnamese clubs and other Asian countries, especially China, is that the rock is asked for fresh fruit dishes to accompany the drink.
There are also the typical places for tourists mostly, although there are also local, they close later, I was in the famous Apocalypse Now on Thi Sach Street. A den of care, garrafón alcohol and whoring in traditional Asian style. That night I ended up in a kind of after that close that closed at 7 in the morning, the truth is that I do not remember what it was called, in fact, I do not remember how I got to the hostel that night …
To take some cold beers at the price of laughter (30 or 40 cents per third of beer), we can approach Pham Ngu Lao and nearby streets. The premises are very small, and everyone drinks beers in the street, sitting on the sidewalks. There are also some places with live music and tables and chairs where you can sit, but there the beers cost more and more.
As for food, of course, we cannot leave Saigon without tasting their famous Pho (soups), I also liked Vietnamese rolls, but the raw ones, not the fried ones.