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10 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN SAIGON
Saigon (also officially known as Ho Chi Minh City or locally as Sài Gòn) is Vietnam’s most booming up and coming city, a place where the action never stops. If you don’t have much time and don’t know what to try, here are our top 10 things to do when visiting Saigon.
- 1. Visit historic places
- Independence Palace (Reunification Palace)
Independence Palace (Dinh Độc Lập), also known as Reunification Palace, is built on the site of the former Norodom Palace. It was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam war. It witnessed the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates.
- Saigon Cathedral Of Notre Dame
The cathedral is beautiful with two 40 meter high towers and a statue of the Virgin Mary in the front lawn area. Inside the cathedral, you’ll see beautiful stained glass windows, wooden pews, and classic plaid floor tiles.
- Central Post Office
The Ho Chi Minh City Post Office, or the Saigon Central Post Office, is near Saigon Cathedral Of Notre Dame. The building was constructed between 1886-1891 when Vietnam was part of the French Indochina. It has Gothics, Renaissance, and French influences and is now a popular tourist attraction. War Remnants Museum – Ho Chi Minh City
This place is a reminder of the atrocious and horrible effects of war. The museum comprises a series of themed rooms in several buildings, with military equipment placed within a walled yard. The War Remnants Museum is currently one of the most popular museums in Vietnam, attracting approximately half a million visitors every year. According to the museum's own estimates, about two-thirds of these are foreigners.
- Opera House – Ho Chi Minh City
Considered to be one of the best representations of French colonial architecture in Saigon, the Opera House theater was built in 1897, and has been beautifully preserved.
2. Selfie at the most beautiful landscape
- Starlight Bridge at Phu My Hung
Phu My Hung is in District 7 of Saigon. Although it’s only 6 km south of the central Ben Thanh Market (considered the downtown), the area has a completely different feel to it from other parts of the city. It’s quieter, there’s less traffic, there are unique malls, cafe’s, and wide spacious, uncluttered sidewalks.
Along with restaurants, modern malls, and the shops that fill Phu My Hung, one of the main draws is the Starlight Bridge, a bridge that spans across the Ban Nguyet lake, with a waterfall cascading down, illuminated by flashing lights in a rainbow of colors.
- Landmark 81
Landmark 81 is a skyscraper in Saigon that was designed by the British design, engineering and consulting firm Atkins. Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Vietnam, the tallest completed building in Southeast Asia as of July 2018 and the 14th tallest building in the world.
The tower is at the heart of the $1.5 billion high-end mixed-use urban areas called Vinhomes Central Park. The development comprises hotel and conference facilities, luxury apartments, high-end retail spaces, restaurants, bars, and a multi-story observation deck at the tower's crown.
- Bitexco Financial Tower
Bitexco Financial Tower is a skyscraper in Ho Chi Minh City. The tower was designed by Carlos Zapata, Design Principal and Founder of Carlos Zapata Studio, with French company AREP as an architect of record. And in 2015, Thrillist.com named the Bitexco Financial Tower the #2 Coolest Skyscraper in the World.
- 3. Try Vietnamese street food
Food and travel go extremely well together. Saigon is an overwhelming paradise for food lovers, both because of the delicious flavors and combinations of Vietnamese food, and the abundance, quantity, and variety of food available everywhere you look.
You should try these dishes: Pho,Banh mi (Vietnamese style sandwich), bun rieu (crab noodles), com tam suon (pork chop over rice), banh khot (savory griddle cakes), bo la lot (minced beef wrapped in wild betel leaves and grilled), especially Banh trang tron and Banh trang nuong.
Banh trang tron – Banh trang are Vietnamese rice paper sheets (the same ones used for summer rolls), and banh trang tron is a snack salad made with strips of dry rice paper mixed with hot sauce, slivers of green mango, quail eggs, strips of dried squid, and all kinds of random goodies. It’s the latest and most popular craze snack in Vietnam.
Banh trang nuong – Also known as Vietnamese pizza, banh trang nuong is also made with rice paper, which is grilled like a pizza crust over charcoal, topped with a quail egg, chili sauce, dry pork, green onions, among other things.
If you go out wandering around Saigon, you’ll have no trouble finding unbelievably delicious food to try. Just pull up a tiny plastic stool at a plastic table, and try whatever you see available.
- 4. Pick up some souvenirs
There are many places that sell souvenirs but not all of them have good quality and price. Sometimes, you will be annoyed by street traders; don’t buy if you don’t know what they’re selling.
There are a few places that you can come to see many kinds of souvenir product, especially the products which are all handcrafted locally, one of which is The Craft House store. The Craft House is Vietnam's first curated retailer of modern craft and design. They are a collective of independent, well-established brands based in Vietnam that offer products ranging from handmade stationery, souvenirs to jewelry, leather goods, and furniture. You can find many cool and useful items like coasters, passport holder, notebook, T-shirt,etc….
You can visit some store at
📍The Craft House 28 Nguyễn Trãi, Quận 1
📍The Craft House 53a Nguyễn Du, Quận 1
📍The Craft House 63 Xuân Thủy, Quận 2
5. Cruise on Saigon River
A boat tour around Ho Chi Minh City on the Saigon River offers the chance to see the varied lifestyles surrounding this busy metropolis. The Saigon River flows from Cambodia through South Vietnam before merging into the South China Sea close to the Mekong Delta. In Ho Chi Minh City the river is also joined by the Dong Nai River and the Ben Cat River. Along the riverbanks are villages, underground passages dating back to the Vietnam War, city skyscrapers and ancient houses. Pass through the most affluent part of the city, where the wealthiest Saigonese build ornate homes, come across completely undeveloped natural areas with palm-tree-lined river banks, and discover the often-overlooked Thanh Da Island, a rural area right in the heart of this modern mecca. Enjoy a beverage onboard as the sun sets and the city becomes illuminated in light before returning back to dry land. There are a number of tour operators offering cruises which can be booked as private charters or as part of a tour group, some offer Saigon River dinner cruise and fire dancing on board, others are day trips further afield to see some of the historical and cultural hotspots only accessible by boat on the Saigon River.
6. Wander at local markets
- Ben Thanh market
Bến Thành Market is a large marketplace in central Ho Chi Minh city, District 1. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and an important symbol of Hồ Chí Minh City, popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, áo dài, and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine.
- Binh Tay Market
Binh Tay Market is one of the major official markets, located in the Cholon (Chinatown) area of Ho Chi Minh City. It has a similar feel to as Ben Thanh, and many of the products that are sold – from clothes to food – are basically quite similar. Binh Tay Market caters a bit more to local Vietnamese, and therefore the prices are lower, and overall a little less touristy.
7.Visit local religious sites
- Phu Chau temple
Phu Chau Temple in HCMC’s Go Vap District has long been known as one of the city’s most unique religious sites. The 300-year-old temple covers an entire islet of 2,500 square meters in the heart of Vam Thuat River, so it is always referred to as a floating temple. First-time comers might be strongly impressed by the elegant architecture of the temple carved with images of hundreds of dragons in different sizes and shapes on each rooftop. For many first-time comers, getting to the temple is really challenging but the magnificent beauty of the place there deserves a visit.
- Hue Nghiem Pagoda
Hue Nghiem Pagoda is located on Dang Van Bi Street - Thu Duc District. Today, the pagoda is often called Hue Nghiem 1 to distinguish it from Hue Nghiem 2 Pagoda located in District 2. It was constructed in the 18th century by the Zen master Thiet Tuong (168 - 1757). Established in 1721, Hue Nghiem is one of the oldest pagodas in HCM City.
- Giac Lam Pagoda
Giac Lam Pagoda is built on a spacious plot, which has now been surrounded by the urban sprawl of the city. The pagoda and the ground are completely surrounded by walls.
Immediately upon entering through the main gate, you’ll find the garden, which is dominated by a large statue of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara under a tall and healthy bodhi tree. The tree present in the garden was brought to Vietnam from Sri Lanka by the famous 20th Sinhalese Theravada Buddhist monk Narada, known for his worldwide efforts in propagating the dharma.
- Thien Hau Pagoda
The temple is located right on busy Nguyen Trai Street. It can be accessed by entering through an iron gate and crossing a small courtyard. The roof is decorated with small delicately fashioned porcelain figurines expressing themes from Chinese religion and legends. Lanterns and wooden models of Chinese theaters hang over the entrance.
- Buu Long Pagoda
This pagoda is in District 9 in the far east of the city. There is no convenient direct public transport from District 1, and it’s still a rural district. A visit to Buu Long will give you a glimpse of another side of Saigon.
At Buu Long, visitors are impressed by its splendid architecture and can get lost in Buddhism by listening to monks’ dhamma talk. Being situated on a hill and shadowed with green trees makes Buu Long pagoda a cool space for visitors. Putting work aside, and taking a breath, they get relief from their chaotic lives.
8. Chill at Bui Vien Street
Bui Vien Street is the main street of the so-called ‘backpackers area’ of Ho Chi Minh City. Here you find a wide variety of inexpensive restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and hotels/hostels. While being seated at one of the places you can soak up the local lifestyle and culture. You can shop, dine and party on Bui Vien Street.
On Bui Vien street you also find many bars that offer drinks with a view of the busy city life. Depending on the location you can have a beer for VND 10.000 to VND 80.000 (US$ 0.5-3). Besides this, there are many souvenir shops that sell affordable gifts ranging from paintings, statues to clothing and bags. As this is the heart of the city center it can easily be reached by foot or taxi and almost all locals in here speak English. It gets busiest from early evening, around 18:00, with the many bars and pubs popular until 02:00 or even later.
- 9. Watch the performing arts of Vietnamese
- Watch Theatrical Performances
What better way to gain insight into Vietnam’s folk stories and cultures than to watch them performed? There are several theatres where you can watch highly-rated contemporary theatrical performances highlighting Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage.
- Watch a Water Puppet Show
Puppetry is a form of entertainment you can find in many cultures. However, water puppetry, where the puppets appear to be moving on top of the water, is unique to Vietnam and has intrigued many people from all around the world. The show is traditionally performed on flooded paddies and is very popular amongst tourists.
- Enjoy Traditional Vietnamese Music
Do not miss the opportunity to discover Vietnam’s enchanting music. Each culture has its own unique music, which is a reflection of the character of the people as well as their past history. Such is the case with Vietnam’s music.
You can see many musical instruments in Vietnam. Two of the most popular are the sáo (the Chinese flute), and the dàntranh (a long zither highly similar to China’s guzheng).
You can also find many other traditional instruments in Vietnam. Some resemble Chinese musical instruments, others are completely unique, such as the T'rưng, a vertical bamboo xylophone, or the H’mong Pen Pipe, a unique reed instrument commonly played at funerals.
- Travel to resort BCR
The BCR Resort is located at 191 Tam Da Street, Binh Thanh District, District 9. it takes about 45 minutes by car from the city center to get there. This is a resort for recreation, for those who love nature, water sports, outdoor sports such as shooting guns, shooting water, shooting fishing, river fishing, kayaking, fishing, mini golf, experimental farm, smash down, zorb ball, tennis, fishing Bungalow, camping, shopping area, outdoor play area, ...
With beautiful terrain, the BCR Resort welcomes more than 200,000 visitors a year, accommodating about 3,000 guests at the same time. Suitable for family groups, teenagers, children, companies team building, birthday, parties, weddings, conferences, seminars, workshops ... in green and clean space.
Coming to the BCR tourist area, visitors can try their skills in many games such as shooting guns, shooting archery, shooting fruit… Kayaking windsurfing, surfing is a thrilling sensation of speed and adventure sports. Excursions on the river by canoe, water motor for those who like river water, natural scenery.
The BCR consists of 16 bungalows (garden view and river view) designed with roofed house, brick, bamboo. The BCR Hostel has an ideal base for strolling on the waterfront park in the early morning or sunset. Guests will feel the poetry of quiet, peaceful space with the wind, the birds chirping…
Tennis courts, children's play area is designed centrally in the central park. Thanks to that, the whole family can have fun and still look after each other. Especially, the spillway pool is located near the Tac River with a length of 63m, about 1,000 m2 of water surface with 5 lanes. The swimming pool is divided into 2 areas: Children's area & Professional area with 50m length. The pool is designed with water overflowing to the river and rest chairs. An interesting experience is that when swimming, it feels like swimming in the middle of the river, swimming and watching the immense river. Particularly, an exciting experience that any other travelers to the BCR resort also take part in is "Catching the Crabs," a game that not only relieves stress but also helps us remember an old age.
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