September 28, 2011

Ho Chi Minh City - Thing to do

Cu Chi Tunnels

Be amazed at the complex of underground tunnels used during the Vietnam War. Over 200 kms long, up to three levels deep built by the Viet Cong VC in their fight for independence. Definitely not for the claustrophobic as you crawl through these dark tiny tunnels entering supply rooms, living quarters and kitchens. The true horror of the Cu Chi area cannot be relived today. The area has refoliated and villages have sprung up deceiving the visitor of what actually happened in this area. Examples of the traps used to catch unsuspecting enemy are chilling. There is a rifle range where you can fire guns such as AK47s and M16s. To constant rifle fire gives the whole village a surreal and disturbing ambience.


War Remnants Museum

Definitely controversial. This museum specialises in the collection and preservation of evidence about Vietnam war crimes and the consequences. Not for the feint hearted. Images, videos, voice recordings and displays are quite confronting depicting the horror of Vietnam’s conflicts.  A visit to this museum will change your life. Be warned.

Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

Reunification Palace
Reunification Palace is one the most important buildings in Ho Chi Minh City not only because of its striking modern architecture but it was the site where Vietnam war ended. Then known as the Independence Palace or Presidential Palace is where the first communist tanks to arrive in Saigon crashed through the wrought iron gates. The rest is history!

Address: 133 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ho Chi Minh City

Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral
This French-built cathedral occupies scenic Paris Square in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City with its two bell towers dominating the city skyline. This cathedral is impressive on the outside but lacks the guilt and gold Westerners have come to expect in a European Cathedral. Sadly its somewhat dark and grey on the inside but it’s amazing that this fine structure has survived. Daily services are held.

Central Post Office
Designed by Gustave Eiffel (of the Eiffel tower), Ho Chi Minh City’s Central Post Office is a classic example of the French colonial style, featuring an elegant interior with a vaulted glass canopy ceiling, complete with a gigantic portrait of Ho Chi Minh.

Ben Thanh Market
Located right in the center of Ho Chi Minh City this vibrant market sells all manner of goods. It’s open till late and you can buy practically anything you want. Bargaining is a must and even if shopping is not your thing it’s quite fun to sightsee the people, aromatic smells and general bustle of activity

Address: District 1. 700m southwest of Rex Hotel


Both Vietnamese and Western food is widely available in Ho Chi Minh City. “Pho” - A staple of Vietnamese cuisine, is a Vietnamese noodle soup served with herbs, rice noodles and your choice of either beef or Chicken. Try a “Banh Mi” sandwich. A legacy of French rule, combines both French and Vietnamese ingredients to make a very tasty sandwich. Seafood is also abundant and delicious in Vietnam.

Don’t get run over

Crossing the road in Ho Chi Minh City is always a calculated risk. There are over four million registered motorbikes in the city and it seems they are all out just when you want to get to the other side of the road. It takes a bit of practice and courage and don’t be deterred by the horns honking as there’s no such thing as giveway. It’s push, shove and who dares wins. The key is to pick a break in traffic, grab that moment, step off the kerb, keep walking and DON”T STOP. The traffic will flow around you (and this is at a zebra crossing!) good luck.

Mekong Delta Tour – Day tour
Escape the hustle of the city and take a scenic drive through the Mekong Delta and journey down the narrow tree lined canals on board a sampan. Visitors can opt for a one day or a multi-day tour of the vast Mekong Delta where residents still live in stilt houses or on boats and shop in floating markets.
Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon is a wonderful city to explore and obviously there are many more places to visit. If any reader has a personal favourite please help expand this list by adding a comment below

How to get there

China Airlines fly daily to Saigon ex Taipei.

Contact Vietnam Tourism

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