Still often referred khổng lồ by its old name, Saigon, Ho chi Minh city is a clamorous, chaotic sensory feast. Motorbikes honk in a tidal wave across clogged intersections, locals crouch on street corners slurping steaming hot bowls of Pho (noodle soup); & the sultry air is thick with exhaust fumes and exotic spices.
Ho chi Minh city is Vietnam"s commercial hub & largest city, and it"s a place where old abuts new with striking contrast. Temples huddle amid skyscrapers và designer shops; locals cast bamboo fishing rods into the languorous Saigon River; & in places, the thành phố feels almost European, with its elegant French colonial architecture & wide, tree-lined avenues.
Adding to the fascinating cultural jolt is a clutch of intriguing tourist attractions, from the poignant War Remnants Museum và captivating water puppet shows khổng lồ colorful markets and the time warp of the Reunification Palace.
Not far from the city, the famous Cu đưa ra tunnels are a must-see attraction, & the lush waterscapes & small villages of the Mekong Delta provide a fascinating glimpse of rural life.
For more ideas on the best places to visit & the most rewarding things to lớn do, read our danh mục of the vị trí cao nhất attractions in Ho đưa ra Minh City.
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1. Cu bỏ ra Tunnels
About 60 kilometers from Ho chi Minh City, the Cu bỏ ra Tunnels are a must-see half-day trip and one of the top tours for visitors to the city. This vast 250-kilometer-plus network of tunnels served as the base for the Viet Cong"s military operations during the Vietnam War. Soldiers used the excruciatingly cramped tunnels as hiding places, hospitals, communication bases, supply routes, and even living quarters.
A visit usually includes the chance to lớn crawl through part of the tunnel network, an experience that enhances your appreciation for the stamina & adaptability of the soldiers who lived here. Even if you"re not a fan hâm mộ of modern military history, the tunnels offer powerful insight into the conditions faced by troops during the conflict và the strategies that strengthened the VC"s resistance against American forces.
To make the most of your visit, consider joining a Cu chi Tunnels và Mekong Delta Full-Day VIP Tour from Ho chi Minh city. This 11-hour tour includes round-trip transfers by VIP limousine or air-conditioned bus, snacks và cold drinks during the trip, as well as a full Vietnamese lunch (with a vegetarian option available). You"ll visit the Cu bỏ ra tunnels, learn about the guerrilla welfare & the booby traps used in the tunnels, then step right into one of the tunnels.
After the tour, you"ll head lớn a local restaurant lớn enjoy lunch before you continue on to the Mekong Delta. Here, you"ll board a small boat to paddle along the coconut-fringed canals before you head lớn a farm lớn try local products, including honey tea and fruits grown there.
2. War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum is one of the most popular museums in Vietnam, with harrowing exhibits related to the horrors of war in this battle-worn nation. The museum primarily focuses on the Vietnam War, however, some exhibits relate lớn the first Indochina War with French colonialists.
It"s a good idea to start on the đứng top floor và work your way down, so you cap off your experience with the lighter exhibits on the ground floor.
Most of the displays are photographic images, and some of these are confronting – especially the graphic shots of child Agent Orange victims. Artifacts on display include a guillotine & the "tiger cages" used for Viet Cong prisoners.
Many argue that the museum"s approach is biased; however, the exhibits poignantly portray the brutality of war. The museum also includes a fascinating display on the work of war photographers, from both sides, who lost their lives during the conflicts.
Period military vehicles & weapons are displayed in the museum"s courtyard. After touring the countryside & the Cu chi Tunnels, you"ll find these exhibits even more moving, but lưu ý that some of the exhibits are not suitable for small children.
Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, Ward 6, District 3, HCMC
Official site: http://warremnantsmuseum.com/
3. Mekong Delta
Cruising through the lush labyrinth of palm-fringed channels, rivers, & islands of the Mekong Delta is a popular day trip that seems a world away from hectic Ho đưa ra Minh City. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the way of life of the people who depend on this fragile waterway for their survival.
Encompassing about 40,000 square kilometers, the delta produces more than half of the country"s grain và 90 percent of its exports, và it"s well-known for its floating markets, which usually take place during the early morning.
From Ho đưa ra Minh City, tours to lớn the delta, usually involve a 70-kilometer drive khổng lồ My Tho, a market town on the banks of the Mekong River; a cruise along the delta; and visits lớn local villages, farms, & factories. The Mekong Delta Discovery Small Group Adventure Tour offers these activities, as well as the chance to sample traditional dishes and tropical fruit from the region.
4. Golden dragon Water Puppet Theatre
The Golden long Water Puppet Theatre is perfect for families with young children and anyone who enjoys light-hearted traditional entertainment. Water puppetry originated in rural villages in the Red River Delta & has been performed in Vietnam for more than 1,000 years.
The captivating 50-minute show provides a window into the country"s culture. It"s presented in Vietnamese, but the strength of the puppet characters, both people và animals, transcends the language barrier.
Live music enhances the experience; the talented musicians play traditional instruments such as bamboo flutes and two-stringed violins. The theater is air-conditioned, và if you"re sitting in the front row, be prepared for some gentle splashes.
Address: 55B Nguyen Thi minh khai Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho chi Minh City
5. Thiên Hau Temple, Chinatown
The atmospheric 19th-century Thiên Hau Temple is one of the best places to lớn visit in Ho chi Minh City"s Chinatown (ChoLon) và one of the oldest Chinese temples in the city. Dedicated to the Lady of the Sea, Thiên Hau, this evocative temple is visited by local worshippers, as well as tourists, & many of the materials used in its construction were brought from China.
Clouds of incense billow in the air, candles flicker on altars, và shafts of sunlight pierce through the partial roof as you enter the green wrought-iron gates & stroll across the small courtyard. From here, you can see the altar, with statues of the goddess, và the intricate porcelain dioramas adorning the roof depicting scenes from 19th-century Chinese life.
According khổng lồ legend, the goddess left two turtles to guard the temple in her absence. On the 23rd day of the third lunar month, a parade takes place in the neighborhood featuring a figure of Thiên Hau, who is believed to lớn save seafarers stranded on the high seas. Entry to lớn the temple is free.
While you"re visiting đài loan trung quốc Town, it"s also worth stopping by the hectic Binh Tay Market, which sells everything from fresh produce to Chinese trinkets. The area is also home to some beautiful examples of classical Chinese architecture.
Address: 710 Nguyen Trai Street, District 5, Ho đưa ra Minh City
A fine example of Neo-Romanesque architecture, the red-brick Notre Dame Cathedral is a distinctive landmark in the heart of Ho chi Minh City. Its twin square towers rise almost 60 meters above the city, capped by iron spires.
Built from 1877 to around 1883, the cathedral was intended to lớn be a place for the colonial missions khổng lồ worship and a symbol of the power nguồn of the French colony.
The exterior consists of red bricks from Marseille, và the clock between the two bell towers was built in Switzerland in 1887.
Notable features of the interior include 56 squares of stained glass by Lorin from Chartres, France; the 12 pillars representing the 12 apostles; và one of Vietnam"s oldest organs. Lớn see the interior, try visiting in the morning or attending a Sunday mass.
Across the street, the French colonial-style post office, completed in 1891, was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the French architect of the Eiffel Tower. Today, the post office is still in use và is a popular meeting place for locals.
Address: Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, Ben Nghé, tp. Ho Chí Minh, Ho bỏ ra Minh;
Also known as The Municipal Theatre of Ho đưa ra Minh City, the elegant Saigon Opera House, at the start of the famous tree-lined Le Loi Avenue, is eye-candy for architecture buffs – especially fans of the French colonial style. It was built as Opera de Saigon in 1897 by Eugene Ferret, a French architect, khổng lồ entertain French colonists, & its striking facade echoes the style of the Petit Palais, which was built in the same year in Paris.
After 1956, the building was used as the trang chủ of the Lower House assembly of South Vietnam and again became a theater in 1975, after the fall of Saigon. The only way to see the theater"s interior is to lớn purchase a ticket khổng lồ a show.
Both the Ho bỏ ra Minh city Ballet Symphony Orchestra và Opera perform here, và tickets are available at the box office or local travel agents. In the area around the opera house are some of the city"s new shopping malls và exclusive hotels. You can also combine a visit here with the nearby Notre Dame Cathedral and Reunification Palace.
Address: 7 Lam Son Square, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho đưa ra Minh City
A visit to lớn the Reunification Palace, once known as Independence Palace, is more about the historic events that took place here than any pomp và grandeur. In fact, this 1960s-style building, with its large, airy rooms and dated furnishings, seems frozen in time since April 30, 1975, when a North Vietnamese army tank crashed through the iron gates here, bringing an over to the Vietnam War. For locals, the palace represents this historic event and the reunification of the country.
Set on 44 acres of lush lawns và gardens, the palace also offers a fascinating glimpse at the lifestyle of privileged heads of state in 1960s Saigon. It was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, which was bombed by fighter jets in 1962 in an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem.
The current building was completed in 1966 và became the trang chủ and workplace of the successive president when Vietnam was split between the north & the south. Notable features include the president"s living quarters, the war command room with large maps và antiquated communications equipment, & the maze of basement tunnels.
You"ll also see military vehicles outside, including the fighter jet that destroyed the Norodom Palace, & tank 843, which rammed through the palace gate on that fateful day in April more than four decades ago. Guided tours in English are available.
Address: 135 nam giới Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1, Ho chi Minh City
For sightseers, the hot & hectic Ben Thanh Market is almost an obligatory stop, even if only to lớn witness the crammed stalls & market chaos. The stalls are piled high with everything from local delicacies, fish, flowers, and tropical fruits to lớn shoes, clothes, colorful candy, and souvenirs. The markets are also notorious for pickpockets, so make sure any valuables are secure và out of sight.
After soaking up all the ambiance, head khổng lồ Saigon Square, about a three-minute stroll away, for a slightly less frenetic shopping experience with the added bonus of air conditioning. Here, you"ll find fantastic deals on everything from clothing and backpacks to jewelry và shoes. Haggling is customary at both locations.
Within the grounds of the botanic gardens, the Museum of Vietnamese History unveils the country"s cultural evolution from the Bronze Age lớn the early 20th century. The exhibits are organized chronologically & include artifacts from Vietnam"s former ethnic groups, including the Dong Son, Funan, Khmer, and Cham civilizations. Particularly interesting are the stone và bronze sculptures, Angkor Wat relics, & the well-preserved mummy.
For an extra fee, you can attend a water puppet show in the museum"s small theater, with performances held every hour (except during lunch).
Almost as interesting as the museum exhibits is the building itself, which dates from 1929 and fuses French and Asian architectural styles. After viewing all the museum exhibits for an hour or so, you can enjoy a relaxing stroll around the botanic gardens.
Address: 2 Nguyen Binh Khiêm, Ben Nghé Ho Chí Minh City
Built in the early 20th century, the evocative Jade Emperor Pagoda (Chua Phuoc Hai) sits in an unassuming neighborhood a few blocks away from the Botanical Gardens. The temple was built in honor of the Taoist god, the Jade Emperor or King of Heaven, Ngoc Hoang, & within its dimly lit interior, you"ll see many representations of both Buddhist and Taoist deities.
As you step inside, incense shrouds the many local worshippers, and candles illuminate altars brimming with offerings. Of special chú ý are the intricately carved panels of woodwork and the many elaborate dragon & animal sculptures adorning the roof.
At the temple"s entrance, masses of turtles swim in a pond, some with inscriptions on their shells, và for this reason, the temple is often called the tortoise pagoda. Locals come here frequently lớn worship, so it"s important to lớn be respectful when you visit.
Address: Ða Kao quan liêu 1 Vietnam, 73 Mai Thi Luu, Ða Kao, Ho Chí Minh
Near the Reunification Palace, the Ho chi Minh đô thị Museum occupies an impressive Neoclassical building, formerly known as Gia Long Palace, that was once trang chủ to the Cochinchina"s governor. It"s worth a stop for an overview of the city"s history and a look at the grand architecture, which includes Oriental và European flourishes.
The museum traces the city"s past with exhibits on the struggle for independence, nature & archaeology, trade, village handicrafts, currency, và the culture of Saigon. Interestingly, the building sits on a network of tunnels và bunkers, which served as escape routes for past dignitaries, though these are closed lớn the public.
Address: 65 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho đưa ra Minh City
Official site: http://www.hcmc-museum.edu.vn/en-us/home-page.aspx
Although it"s a little challenging to lớn find if you"re traveling without a guide, the first Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine (FITO) occupies a beautiful old five-story building framed by bamboo. It"s worth a look for anyone who is interested in alternative medicine or wants to soak up some Vietnamese culture away from the main tourist trail.
The museum displays thousands of items relating lớn Vietnamese traditional medicine, from the Stone Age to lớn the present day, including books, documents, herbs, và implements used in preparing the medicines. You can also try your hand at grinding up some of the ingredients. The presentation begins with a short film on the history of Vietnam"s traditional medicine, and herbal cures are available for purchase before you leave.
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Official site: http://www.fitomuseum.com.vn/
We recommend these great-value hotels in Ho chi Minh thành phố close to shops, restaurants, and attractions:
While the northern half of Vietnam experiences a cool season between the months of December & March, the southern half of the country sees average temperatures in the 30s Celsius all year long. However, these are still the best months lớn visit Ho đưa ra Minh, as there"s little rain, lots of xanh skies, & the humidity actually drops just enough khổng lồ make the weather more bearable.
December might even give you a few days here & there where the temperature drops just under 30 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, April is the hottest month, with temperatures in the upper 30s và high humidity.
As a general rule, the best time to lớn visit Vietnam is always outside the rainy season, which runs between May và September và can cause flooding & make outdoor time a little uncomfortable. August & September are particularly rainy months in Ho đưa ra Minh – strong storms often hit the đô thị during these months, causing power outages và forcing people to stay indoors.
Vietnam"s capital should be on everybody"s list – Hanoi is a frenzied, hectic thành phố with lots of energy and a charming Old Town Quarter. Aside from walking the old winding streets & haggling at the local markets, visitors can also stop by other Hanoi attractions, like the Ho đưa ra Minh Mausoleum, and visit Hoa Lo Prison Memorial to lớn get an insight into the history of the country. A walk around trả Kiem Lake is a great way to end the day.
For a trip back in time, both Hoi An và Hue offer stunning architecture going back hundreds of years. Hue sits on the banks of the Perfume River & is trang chủ to the thai Hoa Palace & the walled Imperial City.
Hoi An, a 15th-century trading port, is home to a number of beaches, including popular An Bang, the not-so-secret Hidden Beach, and Cua dai Beach, which is becoming narrower & narrower due to erosion but is still beautiful và a great place lớn escape the crowds.
The small đô thị of Nha Trang is best known for being the getaway khổng lồ one of Vietnam"s most famous stretches of shoreline. Trắng sands, clear blue waters, và beautiful seaside promenades have earned the beaches here the nickname "the Riviera of the South china Sea." In town, the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers are well worth a visit, và so is the Alexandre Yersin Museum, dedicated lớn the French-Swiss bacteriologist who co-discovered the bacteria responsible for the bubonic plague.
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