Ho Chi Minh City is the biggest city in Vietnam, also known as Saigon until 1975. It was changed when the South lost against the North. Despite the name changing, a lot of locals still prefer to call it Saigon. North had a war against the South regarding of Vietnam to be turned into a Communist country.
There wasn’t a declaration of when the war started, but it’s widely accepted that it began late 1955 and ended in 1975.
Cu Chi Tunnel
There are plenty of tours to try, places to see and activities to do in Ho Chi Minh City. Here are the things and activities you should not miss during your stay in this amazing city.
Awesome Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City
Stay at District 1
How to make sure you’ll have a fabulous time in this place? Be at the right location. District 1 is the area where most backpackers are staying. It is also very close to most of the museums and attractions. Pubs, restaurants, local restaurants, and travel agencies are all nearby and easy to access. You can check the list of best and cheapest backpackers hostels here in Ho Chi Minh (rates starting from $6/night)
Visit War Remnants Museum
My visit at War Remnants was great, as I love history. The museum showcases the helicopters, tanks, and bombs that have been used during the war. A thorough narration of how the war started and ended is displayed (in English) where people can read them. Photos from the war are also printed and displayed. This museum will give you more idea and knowledge about one of the most controversial wars in the history.
Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels
Going to Cu Chi Tunnel is a must when visiting Ho Chi Minh City. Not far from the city, you will see through your eyes the famous tunnels that Vietnamese dug to hide from the Americans and shield themselves from the bombs. The tunnel is around 120 kilometers long and is preserved by the Vietnamese government. The defense tactics, traps, and way of living at that time will be available for tourist to see and understand more about the war.
A chance to try local Vietnamese snack and tea will also be available while an option to fire an AK-47 Rifle is possible as well.
Never miss the Mekong Delta – A Tinggly Experience!
Sailing through Mekong Delta River should be on your list, as this popular river flows through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I did this tour with Tinggly and the experience was great. We started to walk through a small village where their livelihood work focuses on products made by the bees; honey and face creams. A plate of fruit was served while we were listening to a local song performed live by the local people.
Then we sailed for 15 minutes through the Mekong River and ended up in the area where locals are making a life through producing products from coconut; candies, fan, hat, flip flops and more. Another sailing to a local restaurant where we had a traditional mouthwatering Vietnamese dishes for lunch. A small bus ride to a Pagoda where three big Buddhas are displayed.
Ben Thanh Market – Shop till you drop!
The famous market is worth to visit even you don’t need anything. This market is not the usual kind of market you are used to. A huge one story building where all sort of things you need are available; from clothes, shoes, accessories, food and even flowers can be found here. My friend bought a pair of shoes here, and I must say he’s the haggling master! Don’t be shy to bargain, when they give you a price, remember to cut at least half the price and exercise your haggling techniques.
Go on a walk to Independence Palace, Notre-Dame and Central Office
Holding a remarkable dramatic history when a communist tank crashed to its gate on 1975 and an officer ran up the stair and waved the flag on its balcony. As General Minh was waiting for his cabinets that time, said this line to the officer “I have been waiting since early this morning to transfer the power to you” while the VC officer responded as “There is no question of your transferring power, you cannot give up what you do not have.”.
A remembrance of Vietnam was colonized by France once; this is open and active until today. It was built between 1863 and 1880. This Catholic Cathedral is named after the Virgin Mary. English speaking staffs between 9 am to 11 am.
A few steps away from the Basilica, you can see and visit the Saigon Central office and send a lovely postcard to your home country. Few boutiques are inside the building that offers fantastic souvenirs for your trip.
Saigon Central Office / Photo Credit: James Saw Siew
Party and Food trip in Ho Chi Minh City
Locals and western restaurants, pubs and clubs can be found on the busy street of Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao. Keep in mind that this area is very touristic and could be pricey. For cheaper alcohol and food, sit on a local eatery that is located through the small alleys. Pub and clubs are open until 3 to 4 in the morning.
Had some great sweet snack by the street
Personal Note: I stayed for a week in Ho Chi Minh, but 3-4 days would be more than enough. You might want to decide to cross the border to Cambodia. You can read our guide here.
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About the Writer:
n I’m a bookworm, ice cream hyped (only chocolate flavor or something with chocolate on it, ah, I don’t even know why I’m babbling about this), writer and a traveler. I am a private person, like very. One of my friends even said that maybe I was a hooker before. But if you are highly curious about my personality (which I profoundly doubt), we should travel together. I’m sarcastic in an annoying way, but my very close friends love it, though! Pulling some jokes is like a hobby to me, although this gives me a hard time to open up my feelings. That’s why I love my blog, it lets me express myself in a different angle.
Join me on my adventures here amaryroad.com.