Saigon, the second largest and the most dynamic-developed city in Vietnam, has been an attracting places for tourists around the world. The city can strongly surprise you by its culture and the modern history of more than 300 hundred years.
You have a day in Saigon and want to see local life as well as enjoy the diversity of food, these five destination should be included in your city tour.
War Remnants Museum in Saigon
War Remnants Museum displays a number of pictures and artifacts on wars that Vietnamese has been encountering since the French colonial time. During the 100 years, Vietnamese people had struggling hard with the French colonialists for independence and liberalization. But the US imperialists then continued to conduct the aggressive war and established a new type of colonialism in Vietnam. For another 30 years, numerous Vietnamese scarified their life to chase the reunification for the entire country. Tourists can be scared of photographs showing burned victims of modern weapons or the embryo affected by Agent Orange.
To learn more about Vietnam – the country you have been to, War Remnants Museum should be included in your city. This will be a place offering you another view of Vietnam and help you fully understand of the Vietnam war. These can partly explain why annually 15 billion Vietnamese and foreigners spend their time here.
War Remnants Museum is located at no.28 Vo Van Tang Street, District 3, HCMC (not so far from the city center) and daily opens from 7:30am to 5pm (closed at noon 12pm-1:30pm). If you haven’t finished your visit in the morning, keep your ticket and return in the afternoon.
Reunification Palace, aka Independence Palace, taking three years to complete from 1868 to 1871), was originally the workplace of French Governor of Indochina. After several political events happened, the construction used to serve like the White House of the U.S – the accomoadtion and office the U.S-supported president Ngo Dinh Diem during the Vietnam War.
The palace is a five-floor building with the system of heading rooms in the basement to avoid bombing. Large rooms for meeting and entertainment are gloriously decorated with bright-colored curtains and glass-chandeliers. On the top floor is the helicopter base used as the urgent way of aerial escape. Reunification Palace witnessed important milestones of the war in the South of Vietnam.
Nowadays, it becomes a must-visit destination for tourists and place to hold meeting of government. Every year on April 30th, Vietnamese people gather on the shadow street around the palace to celebrate in Independence Day.
Reunification Palace is located on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1 and open for daily visits from 7:30am-4pm (closed at noon from 11am-1pm).
Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral
Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the most unique architecture in Saigon, with a capacity of up to 1.200 people. The wall of the cathedral is decorated with the system of stained glass, describing the characters and events in the Bible. Moreover, windows are covered with multicolored puzzled glass, creating beautiful pictures. The two 57m-high bell towers are built in 1895 with a 3.5m high cross on each side.
In front of the cathedral is a small garden with the statue of Our Lady of Peace standing in the center. The sculpture was carved from white marble in Italia then moved to Saigon in 1959.
Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral is a true architectural construction with great value in terms of history and art. Tourists around the world once visiting Saigon will be highly impressed.
The cathedral is located in the heart of Saigon, at no.1, Paris Square, District 1 and always available for visitors. The Mass usually takes place at 5:30am and 5pm from Monday to Saturday, except for Sunday with more Mass along the day.
Saigon Center Post Office
Standing right on the side of Notre-Dame Cathedral is Saigon Center Post Office – one of the oldest and busiest building of Saigon. The construction was accomplished around 1891, basing on the design of a prestigious French architect. The elegent exterior decoration of the post office will make you feel like getting lost in an European country. Walking through the door, tourists cannot help surprising at the large space as if in a Western railway station, created by the very high ceilings and a number of telephone booths in function, maintained almost the same as under the colonial time.
Despite being a tourist attraction, Saigon Center Post Office still served the local as well as tourists all postal services and money exchange. So a city tour around Ho Chi Minh city will not be complete without discovering this interesting post office. And don’t forget its working time from 6am to 10pm every single day.
Ben Thanh Market
If you would like to see and take the true photos of the local activities, Ben Thanh market can be a place for you. It was previously a street of vendors near Saigon river in the early. In 1870, the French colonial authority officially called it Les Halles Centrales (central market). Until 1912, the market was moved to the current building and named Ben Thanh. From far away, people can easily recognize Ben Thanh market thanks to its high clock tower.
Throughout centuries, Ben Thanh market is still a very busy market where the locals as well as tourists come to buy almost all kind of products from handicrafts, textiles, clothing, souvenirs to Vietnamese cuisine. Besides, bargaining should be included on your shopping to have good price. It is also recommended that tourists can go around to compare prices before deciding to buy the stuff.
Ben Thanh market opens early from 5am until 8pm. Sellers inside can communicate rather fluently in many languages such as English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and etc.. As more and more people come to the market every day and the large number of stalls, the aisle can be very narrow so tourists should be aware of protecting their belonging.
They are five features places highly recommended for your city tour in Ho Chi Minh city. And you can finish them all within a day. Hope our sharing can be helpful for you on planning a trip in Saigon!
Asia Travel Lover