Hochiminh City used to be known as Saigon, but after the Vietnam war it was decided to change its name to Hochiminh. However, you will see that Saigon is still widely used. Today, Hochiminh City is the Vietnam’s largest and most exciting city, a popular tourist destination due to its fascinating culture, classic French architecture, and sleek skyscrapers as well as ornate temples and pagodas.
One of the most popular things to see in Hochiminh City is the Reunification Palace, which played a big role in Vietnamese history. This palace served as the general’s quarters during the Vietnam war and it even saw the end of a battle when a North Vietnamese tank crashed through its gates in 1975. The outside might look a bit bland, but the inside is remarkably interesting. You can see many exciting things there, from the bunker full of 70’s paraphernalia and strange spy machines, to the general’s private chambers.
Notre Dame Cathedral was built from 1877 and 1883 and sits in the heart of the city. The cathedral is designed in the neo-Romanesque style and you can check out the towers here which soar to a height of 40 meters and are topped with impressive iron spires. The cathedral got its name from the Virgin Mary and the inside is covered in devotional tablets and pretty stained-glass windows.
Central Post Office was designed in the Gothic style by Gustave Eiffel in the 19th century and is still one of the most famous monuments in the city. Today visitors can buy post cards, letters and parcels from here; take photos of the beautiful marble floors and antic phone boxes
Ben Thanh Market should be your next stop. Here, you will find practically every staple commodity imaginable except automobiles and real estate. If consumerism offers intimate glimpses of how people live, wandering among the tiny, packed stalls here will give you some unique insights into modern Vietnamese life. The food court here has delicious and very tasty local specialties. Produce, flowers, and meats are sold on the sidewalks surrounding the building.
Located some 60 kilometers to the northwest of Hochiminh City, the Cuchi tunnels is an extensive labyrinth of underground tunnels stretching all the way to the Cambodian border. Built by the Viet Kong, the tunnels played a strategic role in the Communists’ victory. Since the vast network included hospitals, kitchens, dormatories, weapons factories and even classrooms, thousands of guerillas could move themselves and their weapons undetected for great distances.
Saigon is a paradise for shoppers. If you love to shop, all you need is have bargaining skill and a good eye to shopping everything here. Lacquerware made here is practically the best in the world. Scores of shops around District 1 sell boxes, trays, desk accessories, vases and other lacquerware items. Rosewood boxes and bowls are especially lovely. These make wonderful gifts.
If you are a coffee lover, Vietnamese coffees are among the best in the world. Saigoneses drink so much of it, you can buy them for own use and as gifts for friends and relatives.
One of the greatest things in Saigon is its diverse cuisine. You can find delicious dishes on every corner: from small stalls on street pavement to big fancy restaurants. Exploring the culinary culture of Saigon is one of the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh city.