Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most developed cities of Vietnam. It is a very important economic, political, cultural and educational centers in Vietnam. Both domestic and foreign visitors when visiting Ho Chi Minh City are much interested in its modern appearance and vibrant life here. With its incredible growth, Ho Chi Minh City has become top choice must-visit for those who wish to discover Vietnam.
You are planning to travel to this bustling city but have no experience for trip-planning? Don’t worry! Here is a full-package travel guide that you need.
1. A city of a 300-year history:
In the past, the area was called Prey Nokor. Later, Nguyen Huu Canh, an important general of Nguyen Dynasty, had discovered this land and established Gia Dinh province as an official administrative units. When France entered Indochina, in order to serve colonial exploitation, Sai Gon was established and rapidly developed, becoming one of the two most important cities in Vietnam. Along with Cambodia’s Phnom Penh, Saigon was known to the French as the Pearl of the Far East among its colonies.
After the victory of the North Vietnam army in 1975, Sai Gon was renamed after the first president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. That is how the city got its name: Ho Chi Minh City. From a province of the Nguyen dynasty to the most vibrant city in Southeast Asia, Ho Chi Minh City has been playing an important role in many areas both domestically and regionally.
2. How to get to Ho Chi Minh City:
a. By plane:
The most common and easiest way to get to Ho Chi Minh City is by plane. You can fly to Ho Chi Minh City since there is an international airport. Tan Son Nhat is one of the busiest airport and also a major international air gateway of the Southeast Asia. The airport has welcomed more than 25 million passengers and 43 international airlines opened the route. However, immigration protocols at the airport here are not really fast so you should be prepared to line up! The airport is located Tan Binh District, only 5 kilometers from the city center. Therefore, you can easily catch a cab or an airport bus to get to your hotel.
b. By bus:
Another way to get to Ho Chi Minh City is by bus. This is an optimal choice for those who have just visited its neighbor country Cambodia. As Vietnam and Cambodia are sharing border in the south, traveling between the two countries is quite convenient. More and more cross-bordered bus lines are established to meet the travel demands of local people as well as the tourists.
There are two options for you. You can go straight to Ho Chi Minh City from Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or Sihanoukville by bus from Kumho, Mekong Express, Long Phuong, etc. Another choice is that you get to Kien Giang province or An Giang province and then catch a local bus to Ho Chi Minh City. Compared to traveling by plane, this kind of way is much more economical. It costs about 10 to 20$ per ticket for one way. Additionally, immigration protocols at the border gates are fairly quicker and more simple than at the airport.
3. Five highly-recommended sites for you to visit in Ho Chi Minh City:
a. Notre Dame Cathedral – Central Post Office – Independence Palace:
Established by French colonists who initially named it Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saïgon, the Notre Dame Cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters. Especially, this cathedral was originally 100% made by French materials. Thanks to its ancient beauty, Notre Dame Cathedral has been one of the city symbolic icons for century along with the Central Post Office and The Independence Palace nearby.
Next to the Cathedral is the Central Post Office. The building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century. It counts with Gothic, Renaissance and French influences. It was constructed between 1886-1891. The post office not only amazes tourists with the exterior but also with two huge painted maps in the wall inside. Though it is a main tourist spot, the post office still operates now.
Way about 1 km is the Independence Palace, one of the most important historical sites in Ho Chi Minh City. The building was built by the South government in Vietnam War. It also witnessed the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. Since, it was named after the event: The Independence Palace or Reunification Palace.
b. Vietnam History Museum – Ho Chi Minh City botanical zoo
If you are a nature lover, you would love to visit the City Botanical Zoo. It has hundreds of kinds of plants and various of animals in the City Botanical Zoo. The grounds also include a temple to the Hung Kings, which is respectfully visited by Vietnamese people in 10th March in Lunar calendar.
Also within the grounds, located the Vietnam History Museum. It is a museum showcasing Vietnam’s history with exhibits from all periods. One special note about this museum is a mummy displayed inside. This is the body of a royal woman found in 1990s in Sai Gon. It is maintained so well that you still see her hair. Interesting, right?
c. War Remnants Museum
War Remnants Museum is considered as one of the most inspiring and also obsessive museum in the world. It contains exhibits relating to the Vietnam War and the first Indochina War involving the French colonialists. The museum comprises a series of themed rooms in several buildings, with period military equipment placed within a walled yard. Visiting this museum surely provides you a very different perspective towards wars.
d. Jade Emperor Pagoda
Located in District 1, Jade Emperor Pagoda is a famous Chinese-style pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City. It used to be a temple where people worshiped Chinese Gods. Later, it became a mixed-religion Pagoda for both Gods and Buddhas. It has been even more famous since the visit of U.S President Barack Obama in 2016.
e. Cu Chi Tunnels
The tunnels of Cu Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi District of Ho Chi Minh City, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Củ Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, of which the general offensive and uprising of Tet Mau Than in 1968 is the most reputed. You will be surprised by this unimaginable structure for sure!
f. Mekong Delta
If you’re looking for a tranquil trip with the hands-on experience of a local, the Mekong Delta is a must! The Mekong Delta is also called the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, as well as ‘Nine Dragons River Delta’ and a ‘biological treasure trove’. Encompassed by mighty rivers, picturesque paddy fields, languid stilt houses, and rustic floating markets, there’s no end of things to see and do
4. Wide range of accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City:
Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City is very diverse, from extremely luxurious hotels to affordable guest houses. Depending on your budget, you can choose a suitable accommodation for your own needs. You can refer the list below to decide what is the best option for you.
a. Luxury hotels
Like other major cities in Southeast Asian, Ho Chi Minh City is capable of supplying a wide range of luxury hotels for its premium visitors. Mostly, 5-star international hotels can be found in District 1, particularly in Da Kao Ward, Ben Thanh Ward, Ben Nghe Ward. The note-worthy names are New World Hotel, Pullman Hotel, Lotte Legend Hotel, Rex Hotel, Majestic Hotel, Renaissance Hotel, etc. It usually costs you 50$ to 200$ for a night in these hotels, depending on your room and service choice.
b. Mid-range hotels
Beside high-end hotels, there are also numerous mid-range hotels in the list. Of course, the huge advantage of these kind of accommodation over 5-star hotels is that they are considerably cheaper. Although the price is not too high, service in these mid-range hotels are quite adequate and acceptable. Average cost for a night stay is around 20$ to 150$. You can easily find such hotels in the area surrounding Ben Thanh market and Bui Thi Xuan street.
Another choice for travelers is renting apartments. Many backpackers prefer this kind of accommodation thanks to its convenience and privacy. For people who plan to stay at this city for a long duration such as two week or a month, apartments seem to be a right choice. With a reasonable price from 50$ per day, an apartment can provide you a comfortable stay with high privacy, especially when you want to invite some of your new friends to come over!
In recent years, homestay services have become familiar to travelers around the world. And it is the best option for self-sufficient travelers who have a modest budget. You can find several lovely homestay in Ho Chi Minh city. These homestays are usually located in districts near the center such as: District 2; Binh Thanh District; Phu Nhuan District; etc. Only from 5$ to 20$, you can find yourself a comfortable room with nice decoration. Some preference names for you are: The Common Room Project; The Laban; Town House;…
5. Transportation in Ho Chi Minh City:
You may be surprised by the fact that Vietnamese people do not like to walk. When going out, local people prefer using other means of transportation. Well you know, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”! So, here are some suggestions for you:
Obviously, taxi is convenient and safe. It is the most common transportation for foreign tourists around the world! In Ho Chi Minh City, you can easily catch a cab in center districts. However, it will be a real struggle for you when in farther districts such as: District 7, District 8, District 9, District 11, Tan Binh District; etc. Therefore, you should save the hotline of some taxi agencies in case you cannot catch a taxi. The most popular taxi agencies in Ho Chi Minh City are: Vinasun Taxi; Mai Linh Taxi; Futa Taxi;…
b. Local bus:
An interesting way to discover Ho Chi Minh City is going on a local bus. There is a bus system distributed throughout the city. If you have time, you can travel around the city by bus with just about 10$. However, you should research carefully about the bus route in order not to be lost. And one more thing, be carefully with the pickpockets in the bus. Don’t bring valuable properties with you for safe!
c. Mobile car reservation app:
Just like the taxi, you should install some car reservation app in your smartphone in case you want to go out. It can cost lower than taxi and even be more convenient. One advantage of this kind of service is wide variety. There are a lot of choice for you, from motorbike to taxi and high quality cars.
Beside options mentioned above, you have another choice to consider: renting a motorbike. Motorbikes are the main characteristic for traffic in Ho Chi Minh and in Vietnam generally. With more than 90% of the population travels by motorbike, it is a must-try experience for foreigners to understand more about Vietnamese culture. Riding a motorbike does not require much skills so you can learn to control one in a very short time.
If you are looking for a low-cost, high-quality service, multicultural destination, Ho Chi Minh City might seem right for you. Hopefully, with the instruction above, you will be able to plan your own trip to this wonderful city. And now, let’s enjoy the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City!
For more information, you can find in this website: https://inspitrip.com/ho-chi-minh-city