Here’s your Vietnam Travel Guide to Ho Chi Minh City’s Top Attractions
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon is a city in Vietnam located at the southern part of the country. It played a vital role in the Vietnam War and today, it has become one of the places to visit in Vietnam boasting French elegant architecture, sleek skyscrapers, ornate temples and modern rooftop bars that offer the best view of the city. Know more about Vietnam’s business and financial hub as we take you in today’s Vietnam travel guide on Ho Chi Minh City!
Get to know Ho Chi Minh City
The history of Ho Chi Minh City dates back to the 18th century when it was conquered by the French, resulting in one of the city’s prominent landmarks – the stunning French architecture. In the year 1969, during the peak of the Vietnam War, almost 5 million dwellers were forced to evacuate Saigon as the city and the rest of the South fell to North Vietnam. But years after, Ho Chi Minh City has recovered and is regarded as a beautiful Vietnam tourist attraction with an eclectic blend of the old and new.
Ho Chi Minh Attractions
The beauty of Ho Chi Minh lies in the fact that its historical past and bustling modernity today live side by side. From timeless alleys to lush shopping malls, 5-star restaurants to mouth-watering street stalls, here are places to visit in Ho Chi Minh to start off your Vietnam holiday adventure.
Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
Standing almost 60 metres in height, the Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Paris Square is one of the few that represents Catholicism in Vietnam – a country where Buddhism is most practiced. It was built by French colonists in the late 1880s and its distinct neo-Romanesque features make it a stunning sight to see in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Address:1 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
A Vietnam travel guide to Ho Chi Minh City will not be complete without including the Independence Palace also known as the Reunification Palace. It is a distinct landmark in Ho Chi Minh and plays an important role in the city’s past. The Reunification Palace was the base of Vietnamese General Ngo Dinh Diem which he stayed at until his death in 1963. It made history in the year 1975 when a tank which belongs to the North Vietnam Army crashed through the main gate, ending the Vietnam War. Today, aside from the fact that it is used to host special occasions in the city, it also serves as a time capsule from 1975 where it displays two of the original tanks from the war.
Opening Hours: Daily 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Address:135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum is a Ho Chi Minh attraction that displays unforgettable details of what happened to the 30-year-long America – Vietnam War. Aside from the preserved planes, tanks, and war machines, the most important displays here are the photographs and written documents shown inside. It is definitely a must-visit attraction to include on your Ho Chi Minh travel itinerary especially for those interested in the city’s history.
Opening Hours: Daily 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Address:38 Vo Van Tan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai religion is a bit of Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, and Taoism. It’s practiced by a few dedicated followers who wear a white robe and sash that states its previous religion. The Cao Dai temple is a bright, colourful temple and a great place to go to where tourists can observe and learn more about the Cao Dai religion.
Opening Hours: Daily 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Address:60 miles northwest of Ho Chi Minh City
Ben Tanh Market
It wouldn’t be a complete Vietnam travel guide without showing off the city’s local markets, right? First off on our list is the Ben Tanh Market in District 1. A great place for both eating and shopping, the Ben Tanh Market hosts a number of stalls that sell local handicrafts and restaurants to sample the best of the Vietnam local food scene has to offer. And one of the must-try is a delicious bowl of pho, a serving of fresh rice noodles with herbs and chicken or beef! Ben Tanh Market is a huge market and often times difficult to navigate but its atmosphere is the most authentic Vietnamese you can experience during your trip.
Opening Hours: Daily 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Address: Le Loi, Ben Tanh, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Binh Tay Market
Unlike Ben Tanh Market, Binh Tay Market is more popular with the locals. It was built by the French in the 1880s and is located at the centre of Ho Chi Minh’s bustling Chinatown. Binh Tay Market is a two-storey building where one can find fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and seafood. There are also stalls that sell textile, handicrafts, and lacquerware which are sold in bulk although not as varied compared to other markets such as Ben Tanh Market.
Opening Hours: Daily 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Address:57A Thap Moui, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City
Bitexco Tower and Sky Deck
Photo Courtesy: Saigon Skydeck
To give you uninterrupted views of the city, better include Bitexo Tower and Sky Deck on your itinerary. Bitexco Tower and Sky Deck is a 68-storey modern office tower that stands 262 metres tall and is the highest building in Vietnam. It even has a sky bar called Alto – the perfect place to capture the stunning sunset while enjoying a cocktail in hand.
Opening Hours: Daily 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Address:36 Ho Tu Mau Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon Opera House
Take in the local Vietnamese culture and schedule a night or two to visit the Saigon Opera House. Situated at the intersection of District 1’s Le Loi and Dhong Koi Street is the 3-storey, 800-seat Saigon Opera House. The elegant colonial building is a place to experience not just classic opera but a variety of performances from musical concerts to ballet and Vietnamese traditional plays. Something interesting to include when exploring the nightlife in Ho Chi Minh!
Address:7 Lam Son Square, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
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