Things to do in Saigon

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HA NOI, March 5, 2018 If you have time for only one thing to do in the Vietnam private tours, make it a stint in Saigon for a sense of excitement with these top don’t-miss activities.

Never get bored is how to describe the most animated city in Vietnam as there are dozens of delightful things to explore in this sleepless metropolis. The lowdown below on how to get the best journey in this country’s gem will give you the some valuable insider’s tips.

1. Step back in time in Independence palace or  Reunification palace

Lie in the heart of Saigon, the palace of 120,000-square-meter gross floor area is one of the first 10 special national monuments. It’s also a place witnessing several political upheavals of the country, hence a splendid chance for tourists to step back in time in the Vietnam private tours. This site is a treasure trove of history spanning the centuries from the middle 18th century to the Vietnamese liberation day back in 1975.

Independence Palace

Its design follows the Eastern feng shui as well as architecture, but still packed with modern flavors. There are 35 information labels in total giving full of accurate and compact contents combined with lively images of historical events occurred in this spot. Furthermore, directional signposts are put at prominent corners to support tourists conveniently. If visitors want to have a good grasp of the delightful hidden stories, a tour guide will give you a helping hand. Watching a 25-minute documentary film namely “Independence Palace – the historical witness” after the excursion will round off your tour.

Its campus is a large space of greenery featured by a wide range of old trees grown since French colonial era. The ticket price is exceedingly reasonable ranging from 10,000 VND to 40,000 VND. Particularly, the adult type is the most costly, 20,000 for college students and only 10,000 for pupils.  

135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

2. Hit up a touch of Paris

Notre-Dame Cathedral is a symbol of Saigon, constructed by French and the Paris version’s namesake as well. Being made up of a mix of European architecture, Roman and Gothic style is its main draw and uniqueness. It also boasts of owning a couple of the biggest bells in Vietnam. Notre-Dame Cathedral is the most beauteous and pompous church in the Saigon diocese. The locals even consider it as their own pride.

Notre-Dame Cathedral from above

Lie imposingly in the heart of Saigon, it becomes a haunt of locals as well as tourists and still remains itself a huge reputation. Hence, almost nobody comes here without an Instagram-checked-in photo to grab their friends’ attention. Due to its picturesque and eye-catching appearance, it’s now providing an ideal backdrop for a gorgeous pre-wedding album or student yearbook. Folks usually gather in the front of the cathedral and sit down to a cup of coffee.

If you are seeking an ideal cafeteria to contemplate the Cathedral, Runam d’Or is definitely your ultimate choice. Situated right on the opposite side of the Cathedral, with about $5 and above, you will be rewarded an entirely spectacular view of the church in one of the fanciest coffee shop in Saigon. Address: 3 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe, District 1

3. Don’t forget to bargain

If you intend to go grocery, why not make a beeline for Ben Thanh market. It’s one of the oldest markets existed in the city until now.

There are a plenty of stalls serving anything from typical traditional goods to the modern ones, divided into many different zones. However, the gaps between these stalls are relatively narrow so it perhaps makes shoppers frustrated when moving in a group. Get haggling is a must for first-timers if you pick up any item in this market because its price is usually exaggerated up to 2 fold or maybe more.

The cuisine in this neighborhood is well worth giving a try. Banh Bot Loc is highly recommended when paying a visit to this market. It is suggested by tons of both locals and visitors. This dish is made from pork and shrimp, wrapped in the tapioca flour. This takes a little translating during steamed or boiled period. Eventually, it becomes clear and offers a chewy texture. Sit down in the food court, this must-try dish will satisfy any exhausted shopper’s stomach after a long shopping day and hit the highlight of many Vietnam private tours.

This lively market is a haunted destination of cut-throats and robbers. Remember to pay attention to your valuable belongings like wallet, watch, cellphone, etc, as a variety of unexpected incidents occurred here.

Address: Le Loi, Ben Thanh, District 1.

4. Take a stroll on Nguyen Hue walking street:

A journey on foot may alleviate all the bustle of Saigon. A newly pedestrian-friendly street located smack-bang in the middle of downtown Ho Chi Minh City called Nguyen Hue walking street will satisfy you. It’s a gathering place where fancy restaurants, cool cafeterias, shopping center, hotels, etc are wrapped into one.

A block of coffee shop on Nguyen Hue street

This boulevard is worth a stroll. You, of course, can totally pay a visit whenever you want during a day, but when the sun goes down, it’s the perfect time to get there. In the evening, local citizens, especially in college age, congregate to sing, dance, prestidigitation or just take a stroll to enjoy the open space in this neighborhood. Besides, lots of hawkers gather to ply their wares to cater for people right on the street. Traditional toys, eye-catching handmade stuff are the most common goods. Especially, if you want to seek a nice place to eat or drink, a ton of restaurants, bars, pubs lies directly on Nguyen Hue street or you can simply try locally sourced food from food vendors.

If the crowd is your pet hate, late night is right for you. The fact is it’s also the time when this place becomes more sparse and the temperature is pretty cooler and more pleasant thanks to the cool breeze of Saigon river located nearby.

5. Make a stop for a cup of coffee:

Undoubtedly Vietnam is a melting pot of coffee as a plethora of cafeterias is available almost every corner in cities, especially in a metropolis like Saigon. Hence, coffee is somehow entwined in the Vietnamese spiritual life. From tourists’ perspective, almost no Vietnam private tours would be completed without giving it a try.

A cup of Vietnamese coffee

The demand for coffee of Saigonese is inescapable. Perhaps almost no place on earth can grab a cup of coffee easier than in Saigon. From street vendors, simple sidewalk café to the tiniest ones, visitors are totally able to own for themselves the best cup. Ca Phe Den Da ( Black coffee with ice) and Ca Phe Sua ( coffee with condensed milk) are the top-rated types drawing mostly local and foreign crowd. Once you taste it, you constantly understand why Vietnamese in general and Saigonese, in particular, are crazy about it.

It’s not only a seductive drink but offering any drinker a delightful chance for gathering. Vietnamese, as a rule, hit the coffee shops to seek an inspirational working space or just simply socialize gossip with friends. Why not purchase a pack of coffee from a local coffee brand as a gift for your loved ones and a way to bring a little Vietnam’s flavor to your home as well.


Read more:

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Ben Tre: A pearl in Mekong Delta Vietnam

Getting to know Bun bo Hue – The ultimate Hue noodle soup



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