A trip to Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon) is a wondrous experience of exotic Asian food and French architecture amidst bustling streets. The Vietnamese metropolis is the heartland of trade and culture that has charmed the hearts of many. Here, KKday brings you the top 10 tourist attractions of Ho Chi Minh City all Pho lovers should visit at least once in their lifetime. (Photo: Jean-Marc Astesana)
Erected in the late 19th century, Saigon Central Post Office is one of the oldest buildings in Ho Chi Minh City. Saigon Central Post Office has preserved much of its remnants from its French colonial years, boasting a spacious hall and cathedral dome ceiling, decked with gothic styled windows.
Photos don’t do Saigon Central Post Office justice; if you wish to admire its architectural beauty firsthand, drop by Saigon Central Post Office when you’re in Ho Chi Minh City.
2. Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
Situated in the central of Ho Chi Minh City, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is just a stone’s throw away from Saigon Central Post Office. Every red brick of the church’s outer walls was directly imported from France, which explains its still vibrant colour despite a hundred years of existence.
In 2005, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica‘s Virgin Mary statue was rumoured to have shed tears down her right cheek, a phenomenon that attracted thousands of people to flock over for a glimpse of the said statue.
3. Pham Ngu Lao Street
Pham Ngu Lao Street was named after Vietnam’s national hero, Pham Ngu Lao. Lined with affordable hotels, western-styled restaurants, travel agencies, discounted clothing stores and night bars, the alley of Pham Ngu Lao Street is known to be a hot spot for budget travellers and backpacking tourists.
Pop by at dusk to get a taste of what nightlife is like in Vietnam at Pham Ngu Lao Street.
4. Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is the biggest trading centre in the entire of Ho Chi Minh City, making it Vietnam’s heaven for all shopaholics. From street food to unique crafts, daily essentials and even souvenirs — you name it, Ben Thanh Market has it.
Ben Thanh Market offers authentic Vietnamese snacks as well, so don’t forget to grab a few bites before heading off to your next destination.
5. Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts
The elegant architecture of Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts, distinctive for its bright canary yellow exterior, is credited to French and Vietnamese architects. Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts has an abundant of contemporary and vintage art collections. Exhibiting over 2000 different forms of artworks, including historic pieces preserved from the 7th to 20th century, Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts is every Picasso lover’s travel requisite.
6. Mekong Delta Floating Market
Indulge in the beauty of Vietnam’s tranquil waters with a sail down the Mekong Delta, home to Vietnam‘s most famous floating marketing. Known as Mekong Delta‘s highlight, vendors set up humble businesses in small sampans and simply deal off their boats. Be prepared to wake up early as most vendors from Mekong Delta’s floating markets are available only till midday.
Merchants identify the goods they sell by hanging them on long poles so keep a lookout for them if you’re looking for a specify product.
7. Independence Palace
Independence Palace, also known as Reunification Palace, was the governing body for the French during their colonial period in Vietnam. Till today, the building is still in use for official meetings and national events, but it’s open to visitors if there isn’t a meeting held that day.
Explore Independence Palace to your heart’s content but remain respectful on its grounds as the Independence Palace is seen as a place of historic and national significance.
8. Cu Chi Tunnels
Cu Chi Tunnels, a huge underground barrack mostly dug by hand, acted as a hideout, shelter and communication hub for Vietnamese against its enemies during the Vietnam War in the 1940s. It was estimated that over 40000 Vietnamese died trying to protect Cu Chi Tunnels during combat.
Visitors can now explore and crawl through Cu Chi Tunnels for a firsthand experience of what the Vietnam War was like 60 years back.
9. Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre
Water puppetry is a Vietnamese tradition originating from the 11th century, where stages are usually performed in a waist-deep pool.
Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre is one of the two most popular places in Ho Chi Minh City to catch a good water puppet show. The water puppet skits performed are often of strong reference to Vietnamese ancient folklore whilst the background music are played by a Vietnamese orchestra using only vocals, flutes, drums, cymbals, and bells.
10. Sax N Art Jazz Club
Round off your vacation in Ho Chi Minh City with a night at the Sax N Art Jazz Club. The owner is a saxophonist himself, so you can expect only the best live music at Sax N Art Jazz Club. Located near the Ben Thanh Market, Sax N Art Jazz Club makes the perfect place to wind down with a couple of quality tunes and drinks after a day of shopping at Vietnam. There’s no better way to jazz up your night than with Sax N Art Jazz Club.