What to Do and See in Ho Chi Minh City

War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh CityWar Remnants Museum
While Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has perhaps developed and evolved into a more metropolitan and progressive city than the capital Hanoi in the north, it played an important role in the 20th century conflict in Vietnam and it still has exhibits and attractions that relate to this. The War Remnants Museum is one such attraction. While many countries do not tend to display the more negative effects of their conflict...
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Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh CityCu Chi Tunnels
While Vietnam has been attempting to distance itself from its troubled past the fact still remains that the war (dually known as the Vietnam War to foreigners and the American War to the Vietnamese) played a major role in the history of the country and, as such, many of the attractions in Vietnam reflect this. One such attraction is the Cu Chu Tunnels that are known all over the world and are one of the main tourist sites in the whole of the country...
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Saigon Opera House, Ho Chi Minh CitySaigon Opera House
When the North Vietnamese overran the South and therefore ‘reunified’ the country in 1975 Saigon, Vietnam’s second city, was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in dedicated to the father of the revolution, Ho Chi Minh or Uncle Ho as he is affectionately known amongst Vietnamese. While this is its official name many people in the South still refer to it as Saigon and some of the attractions have defied the official naming and kept the Saigon tag...
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Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh CityCentral Post Office
Under normal circumstances you would not expect a post office to be on a list of attractions when visiting a country or city however Vietnam generally doesn’t fall under what tourists would deem as normal and the post office is no exception. With its beautiful architecture and history, the Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City is definitely worth a quick visit if you are in the city...
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Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh CityBen Thanh Market
Markets and haggling over items is the norm in South-East Asia and while coming from the West we can find this kind of activity difficult due to the fact that we are used to set prices and also that traditional markets are starting to become rarer, the Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City is a popular visiting spot for tourists to the city. Indeed, it is one of the best known markets in Vietnam and is famous for a whole range of different items from vegetables...
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Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh CityNotre Dame Cathedral
For a supposed communist country, religion still plays a large role in Vietnamese life and some of this is a remnant of the French being in the country. There are many cathedrals and churches around Vietnam that have a long and interesting history however the Notre Dame Cathedral that is located in Vietnam’s second city, Ho Chi Minh City in the south, is one of the main religious tourist attractions in the country...
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FITO Museum, Ho Chi Minh CityFITO Museum
The medicinal history of a country is often overlooked when it comes to sightseeing and aside from a few objects in more elaborate museums there is not usually much time dedicated to this however Ho Chi Minh City has been trying to rectify this. The FITO Museum which is located in District 10 of the city was established to show the history that medicine has played in Vietnamese culture for millennia...
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Ho Chi Minh City HallHo Chi Minh City Hall
The Ho Chi Minh City Hall is a beautiful built building in the centre of the city. It was originally constructed in 1902 - 1908 by the French and certainly retains some of its French architecture and has been built in a colonial style and was originally known as the Hotel de Ville de Saigon. However it has since been renamed several times and now formally known as the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Head Office. The Ho Chi Minh City Hall is also known by other different names...
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Bitexco Financial Tower and Saigon Skydeck, Ho Chi Minh CityBitexco Financial Tower and Saigon Skydeck
Vietnam as a whole has been undergoing massive regeneration as the government tries to maintain the economic strides that the South-East Asian country has undergone since the early 1990’s. This has included extensive building programs and enticing foreign investment into the country and Ho Chi Minh City – formerly known as Saigon – has been the target for much of this...
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Tao Dan Park, Ho Chi Minh CityTao Dan Park
Finding ‘green space’ in a city that is undergoing massive development such as Ho Chi Minh City can be difficult however the Tao Dan Park does provides an escape from the heavy traffic and modernization of one of Vietnam’s biggest cities. Hanoi has some parks and botanical gardens however it is a criticism of the capital in the north in that it has a lack of greenery although Ho Chi Minh City...
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Ho Chi Minh SquareHo Chi Minh Square
Ho Chi Minh, or Uncle Ho as he is often affectionately referred to by many Vietnamese, is a revered figure in the country to the point of deity. While many parts of his life have been manipulated and confined to legend, the Vietnamese leader played an important role during the war and Saigon was renamed after the war to Ho Chi Minh City in his honour. Indeed, all the schools in Vietnam have his picture on their building...
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Giac Lam Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh CityGiac Lam Pagoda
Vietnam is a country that is well known to supress certain elements of society that are not in tune with what the government wants and for a large portion of the 20th century, religion was one of them. The French helped to export Catholicism to the South-East Asian country during their time there and its positioning within Asia meant that it was always going to have a Buddhist influence...
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Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh CityReunification Palace
While Vietnam, as a country, may have come on leaps and bounds from its troubles in the 20th century there still remains the perception that it is a battle scarred nation still getting over the effects of the war. This may still be true to some extent in some quarters however for many people the war (called the American War if you are Vietnamese) is a relic of the past...
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Cao Dai Temple, Ho Chi Minh CityCao Dai Temple
Vietnam’s relationship with religion is a peculiar one. While Catholicism, predominately brought by the French, has always played a major role in the country as has elements of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism (due to the close proximity to China), it wasn’t until relatively recently that religion and religious freedom were officially recognized by the Vietnamese government...
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Chua Ba Thien Hau, Ho Chi Minh CityChua Ba Thien Hau
Even though relations between China and Vietnam can be described as strained at best there is a lot of influence inside the country that has come from beyond the Chinese border in the north. Food, culture and, of course, temples have been brought down from China and are now implanted in Vietnamese life. The Chua Ba Thien Hau or The Pagoda of the Lady Thien Hau is a pagoda and temple...
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Dong Khoi Street, Ho Chi Minh CityDong Khoi Street
The view of Vietnam is one of tradition. Old shops and restaurants that haven’t changed in decades are the norm for many places around the country however Ho Chi Minh City in particular is undergoing a massive amount of redevelopment in recent years and Dong Khoi Street is the perfect example of this...
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Pham Ngu Lao Street, Ho Chi Minh CityPham Ngu Lao Street
Ho Chi Minh City welcomes over 3 million tourists every year and even though this is actually down from recent times it still boasts a large influx of visitors on an annual basis. Indeed, the Le Lai / Pham Ngu Lao area of District 1 is one of the most lively areas for tourists. With attractions such as the famous Cu Chi Tunnel system, Reunification Palace and a Notre Dame Cathedral...
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Fine Arts Museum, Ho Chi Minh CityFine Arts Museum
Given its long history, it is not surprising that Vietnam has a multitude of artistic styles and hosts some of the most beautiful Eastern art in the world. While in some quarters, especially in Ho Chi Minh City which is perceived as being somewhat more progressive than the North of the country, the art movement in Vietnam is moving on from the traditionalist style, there is still a lot of admiration...
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Dam Sen Park, Ho Chi Minh CityDam Sen Park
Finding a ‘green spot’ and a place of beauty in such a rapidly developing city such as Ho Chi Minh can be quite difficult however Dam Sen Park provides this. It is often a criticism of Hanoi in the north that it has limited green space however Ho Chi Minh City is trying its best to keep some parks for locals and tourists alike...
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Emperor Jade Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh CityEmperor Jade Pagoda
Taoism and Taoist principles play a significant role in Vietnam and Asia in general. The Emperor Jade Pagoda (also known as Chua Ngoc Hoang or Phuoc Hai Tu or Tortoise Pagoda) which is located in District 3 of Ho Chi Minh City is a Taoist pagoda that has become a popular tourist attraction among visitors to the city. Its beautiful colour and pleasing aromas from the incense and candles...
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Ho Chi Minh City MuseumHo Chi Minh City Museum
Sometimes it feels difficult to get away from the revolutionary and difficult past that Vietnam has experienced especially if you are visiting the country as a tourist. While this is understandable given what has went on inside the South-East Asian country over the past few centuries sometimes attractions for tourists can feel overwhelmed by it. Another one to the list is the Ho Chi Minh City Museum (Bảo tàng Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh) which is located in the former residence...
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Suoi Tien Theme Park, Ho Chi Minh CitySuoi Tien Theme Park
Taking time out from seeing the many historical and cultural sites throughout Vietnam can be a good idea to unwind and the Suoi Tien Theme park provides one of the best ways in which to do this. While Vietnam’s historical and cultural significance cannot be ignored and there are many interesting thing to see which relate to this – the Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral are two notable examples in Ho Chi Minh City...
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Cholon (Chinatown), Ho Chi Minh CityCholon (Chinatown)
Vietnam and China have a complex if not trouble historical relationship with each other however the Chinese influence on the country cannot be overstated. Even though there is an uneasy connection between the two countries China has had a massive influence in many parts of Vietnamese life for centuries and the Chinatown area which is located in Ho Chi Minh City in the south of the country is an example of this...
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Quoc Tu Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh CityQuoc Tu Pagoda
Vietnam and indeed many parts of Asia in general have a long history when it comes to pagodas and their use in daily life. For the Vietnamese a pagoda is something that is entrenched in their culture and they have played an important role in both strengthening the community and on an individual basis when it comes to spirituality. The Quoc Tu Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam...
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Can Gio, Ho Chi Minh CityCan Gio
Vietnam benefits from having some of the best natural beauty in the world with stunning hills and views into the distance. Indeed, many nature reserves have been set up over the past 40 years that protect certain species of animals, birds and plants and also provide good opportunities for opening up tourism in the area. On the flip side, Vietnam is industrializing and modernizing...
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Cong Vien 23 Thang 9 Park, Ho Chi Minh CityCong Vien 23 Thang 9 Park
For cities such as Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam and Hanoi in the north of the country finding green space can be difficult. While these cities are trying to keep a lot of its traditionalism while also attempting to modernize and bring themselves into the 21st century. That being said, Ho Chi Minh City does have quite a few small parks located in some of the busiest spots around the metropolis...
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Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh Museum
The Ho Chi Minh Museum (Bảo tàng Hồ Chí Minh) which is located on Nguyen Tat Thanh in district 4 of Ho Chi Minh City is a popular and interesting attraction for tourists and visitors to the second biggest city in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh is undoubtedly the most important figure in modern Vietnamese history...
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Cong Vien Van Hoa Park, Ho Chi Minh CityCong Vien Van Hoa Park
For bustling and lively cities such as Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam, finding green space in amongst the traditional streets and newly erected imposing modern buildings can be a challenge. This is even more difficult when you are a tourist to the city. While Vietnam is awash with natural beauty in the shape of places such as Halong Bay and Sapa in the north of the country sometimes taking...
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Temple of the Buddha's Relic (Xa Loi Pagoda), Ho Chi Minh CityTemple of the Buddha's Relic (Xa Loi Pagoda)
You are unlikely to find any populated place in Vietnam that does not have a pagoda of some sort given how predominate a part they play in Vietnamese life. That being said, the Xa Loi pagoda which houses the Temple of the Buddha’s Relic is one of the most fascinating in the country and a pagoda that has a rich and interesting history that goes far beyond just a community gather place and a temple of Buddha...
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Cai Be Flower Market, Ho Chi Minh CityCai Be Flower Market
Floating markets are a phenomenon that is well known throughout Asia and South-East Asia in particular. In Vietnam these markets serve a very useful purpose in that they provide valuable goods to the local population however they also act as a popular tourist destination and many can be found throughout the country. The Cai Be Flower Market especially is a common excursion for visitors...
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Dai Nam Zoo, Ho Chi Minh CityDai Nam Zoo
While the south-east Asian country of Vietnam can boast to having some of the most beautiful natural scenes and landscapes in the world – Halong Bay around 4 hours from Hanoi being the prime example – sometimes man made tourism spots are just as popular as the Dai Nam Van Hien complex shows. This massive and imposing tourist (and local orientated) complex has almost everything...
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Ton Duc Thang Museum, Ho Chi Minh CityTon Duc Thang Museum
Ton Duc Thang, the first president of the unified Vietnam after the conflict that scarred the nation’s history in the 20th century, almost has an understated role both by the Vietnamese and tourists to the country. He came after a revered Ho Chi Minh who died a few years before he took office and, as such, his reputation is almost diminished due to coming after the deity like figure of Uncle Ho...
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Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Ho Chi Minh CityZoo and Botanical Gardens
Aside from all the usual cultural and historical places of interest in Ho Chi Minh City – the various museums in addition to the Reunification Palace etc… - sometimes it is worthwhile to visit something a bit different and not usually an attraction you would go to see when visiting a city. The zoo and botanical gardens in Ho Chi Minh City represents an interesting and relaxing day out for a tourist...
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Southern Women's Museum, Ho Chi Minh CitySouthern Women's Museum
Women have played a major role in the history of Vietnam and even though it is still considered a very male dominated society the role that women have played over the years should not be underestimated and many museums and exhibitions have been set up to document this. The Southern Women’s museum is one such attraction and it is found in District 3 of Ho Chi Minh City...
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Mariamman Hindu Temple, Ho Chi Minh CityMariamman Hindu Temple
Vietnam is not a country you would think has a devoted Hindu following – and census statistics back this – however the Mariamman Hindu Temple which is located in the country’s ‘second city’ Ho Chi Minh City is one of the main tourist attractions in the area. While the majority of Vietnamese call themselves atheist which keeps them in line with the socialist and communist ideals of the government, religious minorities...
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Lac Canh Dai Nam Van Hien, Ho Chi Minh CityLac Canh Dai Nam Van Hien
Vietnam as a country has been specifically trying to target tourists in recent years and to expand their growing tourism industry. This has meant paying a lot of attention to restoring old parts and attractions in the country as well as building completely new complexes as well of which Dai Nam Van Hien a vast tourist centre is testament to. The park consists of entertainment, hotels, a zoo...
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Cho Quan Church, Ho Chi Minh CityCho Quan Church
It wasn’t until relatively recently that Christianity was accepted in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam even though it could trace its origins in the region back to around the 17th century. Today only a small section of the population associate themselves with the various Christian denominations however statistics are to be taken with a pinch of salt in the country...
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Museum of Vietnamese History, Ho Chi Minh CityMuseum of Vietnamese History
Vietnam has an interesting, if not troubled, history to say the least and the Museum of Vietnamese History which is located on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City illustrates this to great effect. While many observers would concentrate themselves on the well documented conflict in the 20th century there is a lot more to Vietnam than just American and French involvement...
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Mai Home – The Saigon Culinary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh CityMai Home – The Saigon Culinary Arts Centre
One thing that just about everyone takes away with them from their visit to Vietnam is a love of the food. Asian food in general is popular throughout the world however Vietnamese cuisine has built up a large following in recent years since an influx of Vietnamese migrants have extended to the West and tourism has begun to boom in the south-east Asian country...
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Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh CityVinh Nghiem Pagoda
A relatively new pagoda to the Ho Chi Minh City scene, the Vinh Nghiem pagoda was built in the 1960’s and 1970’s and is one of the most beautifully designed in the city. In fact, it has an interesting blend of both Vietnamese and Japanese designs with modern and traditional styles and it was the first pagoda to utilize a Vietnamese style made from concrete...
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Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater, Ho Chi Minh CityGolden Dragon Water Puppet Theater
Water puppets have long played an important part in Vietnamese culture. You can trace the roots and the tradition of using water puppets all the way back to the 11th century especially in the northern areas of the country and it is still popular today both with Vietnamese and visitors to the country. While the water puppet theater in the capital Hanoi is probably the most well known in Vietnam...
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Water Puppet Show at Thao Dien Village, Ho Chi Minh CityWater Puppet Show at Thao Dien Village
Water puppet shows have long played an important role in Vietnamese culture. They originated from the Red River Delta area around 1200 AD and have been a prominent part of life in the country ever since. The performances are an elegant mix of water puppets, music, storytelling as well as a lesson in history and culture of Vietnam. Indeed, while Hanoi is probably more renowned for showcasing water puppets, Ho Chi Minh City and the Thao Dien Village...
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