The largest city in Vietnam is known for its French and Chinese influences, bustling markets and boulevards full of motorcycles. Formerly known as Saigon, the Ho Chi Minh City has a complex history, going through French colonialism, a communist revolution and one of the bloodiest wars in the modern times. Today, modern skyscrapers stand next to 19th Century colonial architecture, gourmet coffee is sold alongside traditional green tea and Buddhist temples stand in the shadow of cathedrals.
The city is divided into parts, of which the most historic is District 1, located on the west side of the Saigon River. Here you will find attractions like the Reunification Palace, the Main Post Office and the Ho Chi Minh City Notre Dame Cathedral. The European influence on the city from the French colonial days is most pronounced in this area, and you’ll see it in the 19th-century architecture. You'll also find plenty hotels around here, so you can stay close to the sights. Go for a walk through the nearby Tao Dan Park or north to the Phuoc Hai Pagoda.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a visit to the Dam Sen Water Park or Dam Sen park. Take a trip outside the city and explore the infamous Cu Chi tunnels, used during the Vietnam War to escape from and ambush American soldiers. The War Museum is one of the most visited museums in Vietnam, with more than half a million visitors each year.
The evening in Ho Chi Minh City offer a respite from the heat and humidity of the day and is often the best time to explore the more centrally located neighbourhoods. Avoid the traffic and wander through the streets of Districts One, Two and Three. Grab a traditional bowl of pho and quiet your thirst with the local beer, Bia Hoi, which is brewed daily in the region. If you like shopping then go bargain hunting in Ben Thanh night market.
There’s so much to do in Ho Chi Minh City for any type of traveller. Book a budget holiday to Vietnam today.