We used to talk about fantastic things to try in Ho Chi Minh city, right! So now let’s continue our fantastic Vietnam tour to Saigon with a great deal of fantastic experience, which can help to refresh your mind in every second of the tour!
There isn’t much you can’t buy from a market here, and although haggling is an art form requiring practice, it’s still easy enough to pick up a bargain. District 1’s Ben Thanh Market is certainly the most famous — there are more than 3000 stalls — but prices can often be inflated for tourists. For a lesser-known alternative, District 1’s Tan Dinh specializes in silks and clothing material, while Ben Thanh night market is popular for those who prefer bargain hunting free from the noon heat.
Markets are an important part of Vietnamese culture
Equivalent to Bangkok’s famed Khao San Road, Pham Ngu Lao Street is HCMC’s backpacker district, and it’s where the revelry goes on long into the night. If you’re looking for a more urbane option, try a rooftop bar hop of three of the city’s most famous hotels, the Rex, Caravelle and Majestic. Yes, drinks are nosebleed expensive, but there’s a colorful history and impressive view from each. For a refined colonial feel, Temple Club serves up a mean gin and tonic in a former temple guesthouse, while the Dong Khoi area is home to several live-music venues and more upmarket bars.
If you can discover the nightlife here, be careful! Because you may fall in love with this place.
Since its introduction to Vietnam by French colonists in the 19th century, coffee has become a national obsession that rivals our own. Thanks to the intense humidity, iced coffee, known locally as “ca phe sua da”, is generally favored, and is brewed with a dark roast over a single metal French drip filter called “ca phe phin”. Served with sweet condensed milk poured over ice, it’s the perfect kick-start. Head to the Tan Tao Park to enjoy an early-morning brew with the locals or order a cup from any street vendor.
Coffee is definitely an attractive element of Vietnam
4. History Museum
Ensconced among lush botanic gardens in a beautiful 1929 French colonial building is the history museum, showcasing 4000 years of Vietnamese life and culture, starting from the Bronze Age. The collection includes items from the Cham and Khmer civilizations as well as artefacts illustrating mountain culture, revolutionary periods and even gifts bestowed on president Ho Chi Minh before his death. Not all exhibits are clearly labelled in English, but the setting practically justifies the visit.
This place keeps every important milestones of the process of formation and development of Vietnam.
5. Mekong Delta
Often dubbed the “rice bowl” of Vietnam, this 39,000-square-kilometre labyrinth of waterways remains one of the most densely populated parts of the country. About four hours’ drive from the city, it’s another world, where markets, villages and schools float on sprawling, life-sustaining estuaries. It’s easiest to experience the delta on a tour, with most ranging from between one and five days. Spend a few days here if time permits; you can even make your way over to Cambodia by river.
A simple but unique lifestyle on the mighty Mekong
6. Pagodas and Temples
The kaleidoscopic Jade Emperor Pagoda is widely regarded as the city’s most spectacular, but it’s one of many. For a dose of southern India’s colour, check out Mariamman Temple, built in the 19th century by traders to honour the Hindu goddess Mariamman. For a wealth of Chinese temples, check out Cholon or take a day-trip to the Cao Dai temple at Tay Ninh, which is easily combined with a tour of the nearby Cu Chi tunnels. Incorporating aspects of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism and even Catholicism, it was built between 1933 and 1955.
Religion plays an important role in Vietnamese spiritual life.
So, is your curiosity satisfied? I bet that when you meet me here, at the end of the article, you made some decisions, right?
And one of those decisions is taking backpack and making a trip to Saigon right away, am I right?
So what are you still waiting for? Let’s go!