Best Things to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City
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Ho Chi Minh City, also formerly known as Saigon – a thriving metropolis and Vietnam‘s largest city is home to an abundance of things to see and places to visit. Although chaotic in many ways it still has its charm and excitement and makes a visit worthwhile. To really discover most of what the city can offer we suggest to spend between 3-4 days.
The Reunification Palace is one of the most famous and historic buildings in the city. Formerly called the Independence Palace it was the presidential home and a turning point location for the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. The famous image of a North Vietnamese army tank crashing through its gates is a part of the palace‘s rich history.
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The palace is a landmark in the city and a great way to learn about the country‘s history. It is a large, 5-storey building with many different rooms and chambers such as the war room with all its telecommunication equipment.
War Remnants Museum
This museum should definitely be on your list of things to see as it is a fundamental and integral part of understanding Vietnam‘s history. Formerly known as the ‚Museum of American War Crimes‘ it is a brutal reminder of the cruelty of the Vietnam War.
The museum depicts various pictures and artifacts from the war as well as a collection of old military vehicles such as helicopters, planes, and tanks. The photography can be very explicit and shocking.
Central Post Office
The central Post Office is a marvelous piece of architecture and a beautiful remnant of French colonial times. The building was designed by Gustav Eiffel – the famous architect of the Eiffel Tour in Paris – and still is actively used as a postal office today.
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It has very large, looping arches and marble floors and you will find a large portray of Ho Chi Minh hanging at the far end of the building. Definitely a great place to visit and a must-see piece of architecture in town.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Conveniently, just across the Post Office is the Notre Dame Cathedral – a neo-Romanesque building and copy of the same-named cathedral in Paris. It was built in the late 1880s and serves as a focal point to the large Catholic community in the city.
A very interesting site to see in a Vietnamese city and a somewhat contrast to the other buildings around. Definitely worth a visit! Best time to visit is at mass on Sundays.
Ho Chi Minh City is full of different markets that you can visit. They are a definite must-visit for shopping enthusiasts and a great way to experience the local lives of people living in the city. Within these markets, you can find clothes, foods and loads of other handicrafts and electronic equipment.
The most common markets are the Ben Thanh and Binh Tay Market. Most of the markets are opened from early morning on and can also be partially visited during the evening and night time.
Food and Coffee
Enjoying some great local food and a delicious Vietnamese coffee is definitely a must-do activity in Ho Chi Minh City. The city is packed with different restaurants, cafes and street foods and a true utopia for food lovers. The most common dishes served here is the famous Bún bò and Ph? Bò soup, which is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner and a true classic.
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Alongside you must try some typical Vietnamese coffee. Vietnam is one of the largest exporters of coffee in the world and you will find many coffee shops around the city. The typical black coffee is very strong with a chocolate-like taste and is usually mixed with condensed milk.
One great advantage of Ho Chi Minh is that you can actually enjoy some nice views from the city from high above. There are many different roof-top bars from which you can enjoy some spectacular views and get a different perspective. Truly a nice way to conclude your city trip and a must-do activity while in town.
See Also: Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide