For a long time ago, Ho Chi Minh city, or Saigon, has marked its name on the world’s tourist map, as a can’t-miss destination on anyone’s Vietnam tour, even it’s somehow pretty crowded for someone who likes the peace.
Do you want to know why it can be that attractive?
It’s because every seconds here will be truly a new experience to you. Well, still curious about its attraction, the list of fantastic things that you can discover and experience in Saigon below will explain why.
1. Scooter tour
Exploring the streets from the back seat of a Vespa is an exhilarating way to get a feel for a city with nearly 5 million motorbikes. To get your orientation fast, jump on an organized tour with an emphasis on food, nightlife, iconic sights or unusual attractions; a guide can help you discover the hot spots. Note that motorbike helmets are compulsory in Vietnam.
It can be said that Vietnam is the country of scooters.
2. War remnants museums
Not for the squeamish, the War Remnants Museum documents the brutality of the Vietnam War and, although it has received criticism for its alleged propagandist tone, it remains one of the most visited museums in the country, attracting more than half a million visitors a year. Retired military vehicles such as “Huey” helicopters, attack bombers and even an M48 Patton tank dominate the front yard while, inside, a harrowing selection of text and photographic exhibits tell the story.
The War Remnants museums are places full of history.
3. Central Post office and Notre-Dame cathedral
Designed and built by French architect Gustave Eiffel (yes, he designed another fairly famous building or two), the Gothic-styled Saigon Central Post Office began its life in 1886 and remains one of the country’s most celebrated structures. Inside, beneath a long, domed roof, walls decorated with French colonial maps flank a portrait of Ho Chi Minh, while the elaborate tiled floors complete the refined look. Opposite, the neo-Romanesque Notre-Dame cathedral, built between 1863 and 1880 by French colonists, is equally impressive.
The unique French architecture in the central post office
4. Daring foods
Fertilized duck eggs, fermented scorpion wine, deep-fried snake dishes: Vietnam is synonymous with cuisine to put hairs on your chest. Try to avoid restaurants prone to killing the snake in front of you (some diners like to feast on the still-beating heart). It’s not kind to the snake and it won’t increase virility. Reputable hotels can point you in the direction of a good restaurant with such creatures on the menu, or look out for glass bottles of snake wine known as “ruou thuoc” at most markets. Don’t worry, the venom is neutralized by the ethanol.
Fertilized duck egg is one of delicious specialties in Vietnam
5. Reunification palace
Home of the president of South Vietnam during the “American War”, as locals prefer to call the Vietnam War, this is the site where the first communist North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates on the morning of April 30, 1975, resulting in Saigon’s official surrender. It is preserved almost exactly as it was in 1966, and you can look around at your leisure or take one of the free guided tours that depart every 15 minutes.
Reunification palace, home of the president of South Vietnam during the “American War”
Well, I have to admit with you that list is not finished, for more that you want to know and to try in this city, you can read more at my NEXT article.