First time in Ho Chi Minh city ? We Saigonese thank you, travellers for choosing Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh city is your place to spend some good time with. This is your first time here, of course you may have some challenge “what should I do?” as this large city is filled with unique landmarks. And also Ho Chi Minh city had a really lovely other name that locals used to call “Sài Gòn”.
It’s widely known as Vietnam’s business and financial hub, as well as a popular tourist destination. Travellers enjoy its fascinating culture, classic French architecture, and sleek skyscrapers, as well as ornate temples and pagodas and yummy foods and drinks. You can also find plenty of rooftop bars and fantastic restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world.
Checking out our Ho Chi Minh helpful guide to get your feets on starting to discover new things in this beautiful city.
Ho Chi Minh city in “a blink of eyes“
Ho Chi Minh is divided into several neighbourhoods, commonly known address included number in front of the name of the street, ward and finally district. The city centre is located in District 1, where you can visit some of its most popular landmarks.Travellers can find any affordable accommodation, restaurants, and bars at Pham Ngu Lao Street (from normal to luxury). Most travellers use taxi for moving, also you can book mortobikes or car via app for best price. The most important thing is getting a map, you can be got lost because there are so many street and Saigon is a crowded place. But don’t worry, there are a lot trav el company at District 1, you can ask them for help.
- 1 Excitements from Saigon
- 2 What is less good in Saigon’s first time ?
- 3 Best historical places to visit
- 4 Best places to shop
- 5 Good place to eat
- 6 Where to stay?
Excitements from Saigon
- The modern city along with classic look
- Excellent for shopping
- Yummy food and drink
- Good range of restaurants, hotels suitable for all budgets
- Nice mix of modern and historical landmarks
What is less good in Saigon’s first time ?
- Traffic jam – too many scooters!
- Pickpockets are known in touristy areas
- Been cheated by people who are not tourguide, tour company
- The price is more expensive than most cities in Vietnam
Best historical places to visit
Come to Sai Gon, we highly recommend these place for you to discover and witness your mind by amazing construction such as Notre Dame Catheral, Central Post Office and Reunification Palace.
NOTRE DAME CATHERAL
Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 – 17:00
Address: 1 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
No fee entrance
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the late 1880s by French colonists, is one of the few remaining strongholds of Catholicism in the largely Buddhist Vietnam. Located in Paris Square, the name Notre Dame was given after the installation of the statue ‘Peaceful Notre Dame’ in 1959.
The building is covered by orange with red orange brick tiles, bringing the color heat in the heart of the city. Along with the white window, you will be dazzled with rows of bricks in the cathedral with beautiful dome.
CENTRAL POST OFFICE
Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 19:00
Address: 2 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
No fee entrance
The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh was constructed between 1886 and 1891 and once inside, the looping arches, intricately designed marble floors and antiquated telephone boxes all serve as a reminder of the importance the post office played in days before email and mobile phones. If you still love old school things, you can send a letter or postcard from here and guess what ? Glue pots are still in use for sticking stamps to letter. You can also buy souvenirs, postcards but you should consider carefully about the prices ‘cause its inflated and the same products can probably be found elsewhere for a better price.
Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 – 11:00 & 13:00 – 16:00
Address: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Fee entrance : 2-3$ ( ~40,000VND)
Reunification Palace was the base of Vietnamese General Ngo Dinh Diem until his death in 1963 which made its name in global history in 1975. North Vietnamese Army used a tank to the crash the main gate, ending the Vietnam War. The palace is like a time capsule frozen in 1975. You can see two of the original tanks used in the capture of the palace parked in the grounds. It has lush gardens, secret rooms, antique furniture, and a command bunker. Today, it’s a “gotta be there” tourists in Ho Chi Minh City.
You can buy tickets at the main on the east side of the palace gardens. Security will check your bags for safety reasons. Free guided tours are available in English, French, Japanese and Chinese.
Best places to shop
You can find that Saigon is a mix of diversity malls housing international fashion brands to traditional markets selling authentic handicrafts and street foods.
BEN THANH MARKET
Opening Hours: Daily 6:00 –24:00
Address: Le Loi, Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Ben Thanh Market based in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 is a good place to buy local handicrafts, branded goods, Vietnamese art and other souvenirs. And also can try local taste of food and drink, best hour for shopping is in the morning because when it’s in the middle of the day, the heat will hit you. Checking and carefully consider the reasonable price you can afford. The market is one of Ho Chi Minh’s most famous landmarks and is known by all taxi drivers and locals, although if you are staying downtown check first to see if you can walk to it from your hotel as it’s very centrally located.
SAI GON SQUARE SHOPPING MALL
Opening Hours: 08:00 – 22:00
Location: Corner of Nam Kỳ Khởi and Le Loi in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Anyone looking for bargains while in Ho Chi Minh city should come to Saigon Square on the corner of Nam Kỳ Khởi and Le Loi in District 1. This shopping place is packed with stalls on two levels selling fashion, accessories and jewellery – be aware of forgeries though, and remember the old adage that if it seems too good to be true it probably is.
BINH TAY MARKET (CHO LON CHINATOWN MARKET)
Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 – 17:00
Address: 57A Thap Moui, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City
Binh Tay Market was built by the French in the 1880s which located in the centre of Vietnam’s largest Chinatown District 6. Unlike Ben Thanh Market in District 1, this market mainly serves the local population with its extensive range of fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat and seafood from regions across Vietnam. Of course, if your hotel stay at district 1, you are not able to walk there. The only way to be there is booking a car or taxi.
Good place to eat
Saigon will always get suitable taste for you if you can not try local food, from French, American, Thai to Chinese …etc. You can find affordable street food and snack stalls at Pham Ngu Lao street and local markets such as Cho Lon and Ben Thanh. Affluent travellers can enjoy pleasant ambiance, views and high-class service at dining restaurants that are mostly located in District 1.
Where to stay?
As Sai Gon is one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations, it offers a diverse collection of accommodation options from five-star hotels are located in the city centre to plenty of hostels and backpacker inns in Pham Ngu Lao and De Tham Street. Or you can choose some deal and hotels through website at your hometown.