22 September 2011

Things to do in Ho Chi Minh (aka Saigon), Vietnam

Related posts:
Vietnam Hotel Review - Bich Duyen Hotel

The feeling that you spent too much for a vacation is not something you'll feel after going to Vietnam. There's simply a multitude of things you can do there, particularly in Ho Chi Minh (aka Saigon) at a cheap cost (Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take note of the costs of some of them as I didn't expect that I will be coming up with a blog site back then... don't worry, they're all affordable!). Here are some of them:

Cu Chi Tunnel -  Cu Chi Tunnels consist of several kilometers of underground tunnels with branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters, and entrances to other tunnels. It served as the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and was the Viet Cong's operations base during the 1968 Tết Offensive in 1968.

I particularly liked this experience because it made me realize how creative the Viet Congs were in combat. It also gave me a sense of how scary it was to be their enemy because of their traps (click on the videos to realize what I am talking about). 

Watch where you step


Beware when you open the door

You can try to going inside the tunnel yourself... I didn't!

Our tour guide demonstrated entering tunnel entrances that are carefully disguised

Diorama depicting the life inside the tunnel

Reunification Palace - Home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It is also where the Vietnam War ended after a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates. The various types of rooms were fascinating to see!

Cao Dai Temple - Center of the Cao Dai sect which incorporates aspects of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and even Catholicism. This was a nice inclusion to the Cu Chi Tunnel tour I booked. Interesting architecture to behold!


Saigon Opera House - Great to see at night because of the illumination! Its architecture is an evidence of the French's influence in Vietnam.


Hotel Intercontinental Saigon - Just across the Saigon Opera House. An interesting architectural piece that is also illuminated at night.

Peoples Committee Hall Saigon - The most appealing illuminated structure at night. A definite must see!

Quan an Ngon - With its wide variety of selection and good quality of food, Quan an Ngon is a must try if you want to taste Vietnamese cuisine! Its convenient location across the Reunification Palace is a plus! 

Must tries are: 
  • Banh Hoi Chao Tom Cuon Banh Trang (Pounded Shrimp Hash Fried on Sugar Cane Served with Rice Vermicelli, Rice Paper & Vegetables) for VND 60,000
  • Cha Gio (Minced Pork Roll) for VND 28,000
  • Bun Thit Nuong (Chargrilled Pork with Rice Vermicelli Noodles) for VND 28,000


Highlands Coffee - Upscale chain serving Western-style as well as local-style brews. I particularly liked the Saigon Style Sauteed Cubed Beef (VND 68,000) and a Mixed Fruit Smoothie whose exact name I can't exactly remember (either Mango Mania which is mango, papaya with orange juice or Fruity Twist which is banana, mango, strawberry with peach juice)

Post Office - I didn't expect a post office to look this appealing inside!

Notre Dame Cathedral - No... it doesn't look like its counterpart in Paris. Worth seeing but not a must.


War Remnants Museum - I can't exactly consider this an interesting place to visit but it may be because I was already very tired when I arrived there.

Rex Hotel - A place formerly frequented by press corps and the site of the daily news briefing during the Vietnam War. It is famous for its 5th floor rooftop beer garden and its rotating golden crown.

Ben Thanh Market - A big marketplace in the downtown where you can buy souvenirs, clothing, etc.!

Fanny's Ice Cream - A famous ice-cream parlor serving a wide selection of ice cream flavors and appealing ice cream concoctions. 

On the left is Chocolat Liegeois which is made of chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. On the right is an elegantly served scoop of ice cream.

I really enjoyed my trip to Ho Chi Minh/Saigon in Vietnam because it was a definite value-for-money. No wonder it attracts a lot of tourists.