1. Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
The Saigon Notre Dame Basilica was constructed between 1863 and 1880 by the French Colonists. At the time it was built, the Basilica was one of the most beautiful cathedrals.
It is hard to imagine that all the building materials were imported from France. For example, the outside wall of the cathedral was built with bricks from Toulouse. Bishop Lefevre put the first stone for the construction of the church on 28 March 1863.
A Virgin Mary statue was erected in front of the Basilica and it was reported that the Virgin Mary statue shed tears on October 2005, attracting thousands of followers.
2. Ho Chi Minh City Hall
Ho Chi Minh City Hall, one of the city’s most stunning colonial buildings, was built between 1902-1908 for the then city of Saigon. The city hall’s design is modeled after the Hôtel de Ville of Paris. Since 1975, the building has been the headquarters of the People’s Committee.
A bronze statue of the late President Ho Chi Minh was erected in front of the city hall. Unfortunately the interior is not open for tourists, however, tourists are able to take photographs outside.
At night the surrounding area is packed with locals enjoying their evening stroll with families, a good place to experience and be part of the locals life.
3. Ben Thanh Market
The Ben Thanh Market is one of Ho Chi Minh’s iconic landmarks. A large marketplace offering a huge variety of souvenirs, Vietnamese traditional clothes and food.
Bargaining is a must in Ben Thanh Market as the offer price is set very high. In the evening, many stalls are set up around the market’s surroundings, transforming the area into a night market selling a variety of street food, souvenirs, fashion clothes and art decos.
4. Saigon Central Post Office
The Saigon Post Office is one of the oldest buildings in Ho Chi Minh City built-in the end of 19th century. The French colonial style building incorporates a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and French influences. Colonial style phone booths can also be found in the post office.
Since it is a functioning post office, visitors can send postcards or letters to family & friends as well.
5. View from Bitexco Financial Tower
Completed in 2010, the 68 storey Bitexco Financial Tower is currently Ho Chi Minh’s tallest skyscraper located in the heart of the city’s business and entertainment district. Designed by world-renowned American architect Carlos Zapata, the building design was inspired from Vietnam’s national flower – The Lotus which is a symbol of purity, commitment and optimism.
Head up to the skydeck or heli bar for a sweeping 360‐degree panoramic views of the entire city and the nearby Saigon River.
6. Experience Chu Chi Tunnel
Located 40km away from Saigon, Chu Chi Tunnels are an extensive underground pathway made up of 250 km of tunnels and chambers below the city dugged by communist guerrilla troops, Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.
Viet Cong soldiers used these underground routes not only as a refuge but also to house troops, transport food, weapon supplies and coordinate guerrilla attacks on the American troops.
Now the tunnel has become a popular tourist attractions as many tour operators offer day trip for travelers to experience first hand in the tunnel which gave Viet Cong soldiers the victory during the Vietnam War.
Beware of Scams!
In Vietnam, never simply hop on any available taxi or accept any ride from unknown operators. There were many incidents where tourists were threatened with 10x higher fares or drop off in remote areas. Only ride on Mai Linh and Vinasun taxi which are considered safe. Make sure the spelling is correct as some operators mimicked both brand names with just an alphabet different.
Alternatively, you can download use Uber instead. Get your first ride Free with this promo code uber-tommyooi