Posted 27 September 2022
Here’s why Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam should be your next travel destination
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's largest city, provides something for everyone. The city's 8 million citizens still refer to it as Saigon, and for many, this name evokes the exotic beauty of its long and fascinating past. The metropolis is never still, growing and extending at breakneck speed. The shouts of street sellers and the honking of motorcycles and buses are mixed with the construction noise of new office buildings and hotels. Elegant restaurants, informative museums, old pagodas, and peaceful floral gardens are just steps away from the rush and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City. A remarkable mix of cultures has been weaved into the tapestry of this rapidly growing tourist attraction.
Read on to know the reasons that make Ho Chi Minh City a once-in-a-lifetime destination:
Rich Local History
Many historically significant places can be found in Ho Chi Minh City. Saigon is great for both history lovers and those who need a beginner's lesson on Vietnam's rich past. It is home to the War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace, complicated system of Cu Chi Tunnels, and a couple of other iconic landmarks.
- Cu Chi Tunnels: You would truly be amazed after seeing this massive network of interconnected underground tunnels located 30 km outside of Ho Chi Minh City. The Vietcong established Cu Chi Tunnels as an operational headquarters for moving men and supplies around Saigon's northern neighbourhood while avoiding detection. Cu Chi Tunnels played a pivotal role during various military battles throughout the Vietnam War.
Places to Visit in Ho Chi Minh City
Here are some of the must-visit places when in Ho Chi Minh City:
- War Remnants Museum: War Remnants Museum is one of Vietnam's most famous museums, featuring heartbreaking displays depicting the tragedies of war in this battle-torn country. The museum's primary focus is the Vietnam War. However, some exhibits are related to the first Indochina War with French colonialists.
- Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre: Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre is ideal for families with small children and anybody who appreciates lighthearted traditional entertainment. Water puppetry started in remote Red River Delta communities and has been performed in Vietnam for over 1,000 yr. The enthralling 50 min presentation offers a glimpse into the country's culture. Although it is performed in Vietnamese, the power of the puppet figures, both human and animal, surpasses the language barrier.
- Thiên Hau Temple: The atmospheric Thiên Hau Temple, built in the 19th century, is one of the top sites to visit in Ho Chi Minh City's Chinatown (ChoLon) and one of the city's oldest Chinese temples. This fascinating temple, dedicated to the Lady of the Sea - Thiên Hau, is visited by both locals and tourists. Many of the materials used in its construction were transported from China.
- Notre Dame Cathedral: The red-brick Notre Dame Cathedral, a remarkable example of Neo-Romanesque architecture, is a unique landmark in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. Its twin square towers, crowned by iron spires, rise nearly 60 m above the city. The cathedral, which was built between 1877 and 1883, was meant to be a place of prayer for the colonial missions and a symbol of the French colony's supremacy.
- Saigon Opera House: The beautiful Saigon Opera House, also known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, is located near Le Loi Avenue. It is a must-see for architectural enthusiasts, particularly those who appreciate the French colonial style. It was erected in 1897 as the Opera de Saigon by French architect Eugene Ferret to amuse French colonists. Its spectacular exterior resembles the design of the Petit Palais, which was completed in Paris the same year.
- Museum of Vietnamese History: The Museum of Vietnamese History, located inside the grounds of botanical gardens, displays the country's cultural progress from the Bronze Age through the early 20th century. The displays are historically ordered and feature items from Vietnam's past ethnic groups, such as the Dong Son, Funan, Khmer, and Cham civilisations. The stone and bronze sculptures and the well-preserved mummies are particularly noteworthy.
- Mekong Delta: The Mekong Delta, located a few hour ride from Ho Chi Minh City, is adorned with lush terrains. This site will give you a totally different view of Vietnam than the crowded streets of Saigon. The Mekong Delta, surrounded by a huge tangle of rivers, rice fields, swampland, and verdant greenery, should be at the top of your list of things to do in Vietnam.
- Can Gio Mangrove Forest: Can Gio mangrove forest, a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve located barely 40 km outside of Ho Chi Minh City, is still a hidden gem for some tourists. It is teeming with monkeys, gibbons, crocodiles, and other tropical forest creatures. The thick green palms and fresh air lure tourists to the wetland. Discover why the beautiful Mekong Delta region has fascinated people for centuries with its enticing colours, sounds, and fragrances by observing native life along the river at a neighbouring fishing town.
Now you know what Ho Chi Minh City has in store for you, so why wait? From rich history and culture to vibrant food and nightlife, Ho Chi Minh City has something for even people with a discerning taste. Fix your plan and get ready to build memories for a lifetime.
Amazing Food in Ho Chi Minh City
When visiting Ho Chi Minh City, you must make it a point to try the local food in order to properly understand the people and culture. Ho Chi Minh City has an incredible selection of both classic and modern, inventive cuisine concepts. Saigon's eclectic cuisine provides many alternatives, from inexpensive yet excellent street food to luxurious and superb Mediterranean mezze or Carolina-style BBQ pork ribs. So, if you enjoy both classic pho and fascinating fusion food, then you will find it on Saigon's streets.
Nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City
In the evenings, Ho Chi Minh City comes alive, with people flocking to cafés and bars, as well as lakes and bridges. There are so many clubs and pubs in Ho Chi Minh City that visiting them all would take a lifetime. Like Bangkok's iconic Khao San Road, Pham Ngu Lao Street is Saigon's backpacker area. And, it is where the party lasts late into the night. If you want something more sophisticated, visit a rooftop pub where you can enjoy a colourful and spectacular view of the city.
Travel Tips for Ho Chi Minh City
- If you want to go shopping, head over to Saigon Square, Zen Plaza, AEON, or one of the supermarkets. If you are seeking high-end items, then go to Parkson, Vincom, or Diamond.
- You should carry some cash and an ATM card with you. When visiting Saigon, your expenses may surpass your expectations. The more you travel, the more lovely souvenirs you will want to buy, so be sure you have enough room in your suitcase.
- During the dry season in Saigon (November to May), the temperature is hot and dry, so all clothing kinds are appropriate. You should be able to dress as you choose.
- Although Saigon enjoys the heat and warmth of the Southern climate, it also has a wet season. If you want to travel between May and the end of October, then do not forget to pack and take an umbrella or a raincoat.
- There are several ways to go about Ho Chi Minh City, including buses, motorbikes, and taxis. However, a taxi is considered the best transport even for the locals. For convenience and to check taxi pricing, you can hail a cab or download the Grab/Uber app.
- Saigon food is simple and delicious, and if you are looking for recommendations, simply ask the locals.
- Choose hotels close to places you want to see or near a bus station. During the busy season, you should book long in advance.
How to Reach Ho Chi Minh City?
Tan Son Nhat International Airport serves as both an international and local airport for Ho Chi Minh City. From several Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolkata, one may reach the city by numerous airlines.
With over six connecting flights between Delhi and Ho Chi Minh City, flying overseas with IndiGo becomes simple. There are several flights from Delhi to Kolkata. Depending on your preference, you may either book connecting flights to Ho Chi Minh City or buy tickets for separate flights for the Delhi to Kolkata sector and the Kolkata to Ho Chi Minh City sector.
Best Time to Visit Ho CHi Minh City
The dry season, which lasts from December to April, is the finest time to visit Ho Chi Minh City. Because it is in a tropical region, average year-round temperatures range between 26 and 29°C (79° to 84°F). While the wet season, which runs from May to November, produces a high number of tropical storms, simply prepare for some flexibility in your trip plans to accommodate any storm that may emerge. Any time of year is a good opportunity to enjoy the stunning surroundings and exciting activities on offer in this intriguing region of the world.
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