HO CHI MINH CITY
Tradition-meets-modernization in Saigon; A city bustling with an thriving culinary scene, energetic culture and rich history
With a population of nearly 8 million inhabitants and an almost equal number ofscooters, mopeds and motorcycles all competing for space on the ultra-busy streets,bustling Ho Chi Minh City is quite literally a metropolis on the move.The most westernized of Vietnamese cities, Saigon, as it is still commonly known, is acity of contrasts; a place where ultra-modern shopping malls, skyscrapers and fashionablerestaurants vie for space with local street vendors and retailers selling all manner of wares and old-school roadside cafes making delicious Vietnamese iced coffee (cafe sua da) and otherliquid refreshments. Packed with first-rate museums and elegant French-era colonial architecture, HCMC is dubbed Vietnam’s, “culinary capital”, so make sure you immerse yourself in a selection of authentic South Vietnamese dishes like Pho, Banh Xeo, Com Tam and Banh Mi. Away from the city centre, Cholon, where the treasure trove of temples are best explored on foot, is one of the most vibrant Chinatowns in South-east-Asia whilst Ben Thanh Market is the perfect place for a spot of retail therapy and souvenir-hunting.
With so much to see and do, here is always something going on in Saigon.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Expansive network of underground tunnels used during the Vietnamese war. Half day and full day group/private tours are available from Ho Chi Minh City.
Cao dai Temple
Beautiful temple worth the day trip to see.
War Remnants Museum
Eyeopening War museum containing exhibits about the Vietnam war. Popular amongst Western tourists.
Nguyen Hue Street
Closed off to cars, Nguyen Hue Street is a pedestrian road that is beautiful to walk at night.
Vietnam Vespa Experiences
Luxury vespa scooter tours offering specialized tours for everyone in your group.
Ben Thanh Market
Large indoor market selling anything from clothes to food.
Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street
Shopping street with a variety of options for everyone.
Charles & Keith
Luxury in Platys Gialos
Saigon Backpackers Hostel
New luxury beach hotel in Platys Gialos Beach
Posh luxury hotel with upscale dining, spa & infinity pool
Mykonos Blu Grecotel
Romantic, Luxury in Psarou Beach
Ornos Beach, Family-Friendly Resort with a Private Beach
Luxe, romantic private beach retreat with breathtaking sea views, pools & spa in Ornos Bay
The Lunch Lady
A legendary street food stand serving only one dish per day. The lunch lady herself changes the menu each day and picks a new dish to make.
Cuc Gach Quan
Famous restaurant hidden inside a countryside style home in the middle of the city. Beautiful architecture and homemade meals.
A trendy bright colorful cafe located in district one.
Banh Xeo 46 Dinh Cong Trang
Delicious Banh Xeo (vietnamese fried dough) spot.
Qua Hoa Dong
Traditional vietnamese food off of the famous walking street Nguyen Hue.
Banh Mi Hoa Ma
A go to breakfast spot
Banh Mi Huynh Hoa
This holy in the wall (literally) always has a long line of locals waiting for their delicoius Banh Mi.
Bun Thit Nuong Chi Tuyen
A cheap lunch spot where locals go to eat.
A traditional Pho spot popular amongst locals and travelers. Open late!
COFFEE SHOPS & CAFES
Cong Ca Phe
Cozy cafe overlooking central Saigon. Must try the coconut coffee.
The Workshop Cafe
Industrial style cafe where you can get a perfect cup of coffee.
Che My 2
Dessert cafe close walk to Ben Thanh Market and backpackers district.
Che Hien Khanh
Healthy international open air cafe.
Causal and rustic restaurant serving Pizza as well as other well executed dishes.
Sushi Hokkaido Sachi
Japanese restaurant with fresh seafood and sushi.
The Deck Saigon
Romantic riverside restaurant, perfect for a quiet evening away from the center of the city.
Indian restaurant with an inviting atmosphere, delicious food and vegetarian options.
La Fenetre Soleil
Lam Son Bar (in Park Hyatt)
Club with live DJ's.
The Social Club
Wine bar and lounge.
Pham Ngu Lao Street
Backpacker street with numerous outdoor bars and hookah spots.
What to Pack
Shorts and tee shirt. Something to cover your shoulders and knees when visiting temples.
Hire a Private Driver
Ho Chi Minh sees its hottest temperatures during the months of May-October. This conicides with its rainy season as well. Apart from that temperatures remain in the 70s year round and it is relatively dry.
When to Go
There is always something to do in Ho Chi Minh city year round. However, avoid the rainy season it is best to go from November- May.
Arriving by Air: SGN, located about 45 minutes outside of the city, is a domestic and international airport. For example, flight time from Hanoi is about 2 hours. If you choose to take a taxi into the city centre it should cost around 150,000-170,000 VND (6-8 USD). There is a bus (N0.109) that will take you into the city centre every 15-20 minutes.
Arriving by Train: The Saigon Railway Station is located in District 3. Trains are much slower than flights but are a interesting way to see the countryside of Vietnam. The journey from Hanoi will take you about 34 hours if you choose to go by train. Flights often times end up being less expensive than the trains so make sure to keep that in mind when booking!