As Vietnam’s largest city and the previous capital of the old Republic of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh is still known by its old name, Saigon. Nowadays a visit to Ho Chi Minh or Saigon will bring you to a city full of a chaotic energy. While its troublesome past has been carefully recorded, commerce is booming and a fresh culture is being cultivated. All to create one of Vietnam’s most exciting cities.
- Sample traditional Vietnamese food at the Ben Thanh market, where you can also find interesting and inexpensive gifts, souvenirs and general wares.
- Immerse yourself in Chinatown. Full of temples, medicine shops and, of course, food!
- Visit the red-brick Notre Dame cathedral, built in the late 19th century, an unexpected sight amongst so many golden temples.
- Visit the 48th floor Saigon Skydeck at the Bitexco Financial Tower at sunset, you won’t be disappointed.
- The Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine is an interesting alternative to history museums. If this interests you then make sure to head to a traditional herb store.
- If the city if becoming a bit too much, escape to Can Gio island. The beaches of the islands are a welcome respite from the city’s chaos.
- Enjoy the delicious and nutritious Vietnamese street food. From noodle soups called pho (pronounced as ‘fuh’) to Bahn Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich, it will save you money while giving you a real taste of Vietnam.
- Beware of pickpockets while wandering the many markets of Ho Chi Minh.
- Bargaining is common here, but be confident and firm with market sellers who can often be quite insistent.
Always dress conservatively when visiting religious sites.
- When finished eating, place chopsticks across the top of your bowl to avoid causing offence or gaining bad luck!
- Make sure you have all the relevant vaccinations for Vietnam before you travel.