Ho Chi Minh City, the southern city of Vietnam, is the most populated city of the country. The city is renowned as one of the most popular backpacker’s destinations in Vietnam. The city has a lot to offer for everyone. Here, you will find beautiful shops, delicious foods and fantastic nightlife. You will also get to see some fascinating museums like the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi Tunnels. This article gives you the tips that you should know before traveling to Saigon and also a few places that you must visit.
Ho Chi Minh City, unlike Hanoi, has only two seasons; Dry and wet. The temperature of the city is warm all year round, with an average of 28degree Celsius.
Ho Chi Minh City's dry season falls between December to April. It is the best time to visit. During this time, Christmas and New Year also falls, which makes it a festive time to visit the city. However, it is also the time when number of tourist is at peak, which means that there will be a huge crowd. Also, accommodation prices will also be very high during this time.
Ho Chi Minh City’s dry season is from May to November. During this time, humidity is at its highest, and there will also be frequent tropical storms. This season is not well-liked by travelers, mostly due to the rainy and sticky weather.
Weather-wise, the best time to visit Saigon would be between January and March as the temperature is relatively mild, the humidity is at minimal, and the skies are clear.
As one of the most popular cities of Vietnam, there are many ways to get to Ho Chi Minh City. If you are flying to the city, then you will reach Tan Son Nhat International Airport, which is about half an hour from downtown Saigon.
The easiest way to get to your hotel from the airport is by private transfer. Most of the hotels can arrange it for you, although it won’t be the cheapest.
You can also take grab to get to the city center. The cost from the airport to the city center will be around VND 65000.
From the Airport to the city center, a taxi should cost you around VND 150000. But, make sure to set on a price before making the ride as some taxis will try to rip you off. It is even better if you take taxis from the most reliable companies. Mai Linh (white and green) and Vinasun (white) are the two most reliable companies in Saigon.
The bus is the cheapest way to travel between the airport and the city. They run from 5:30 AM to 1:30 Am and cost about VND20000. It runs through the city center and makes the final stop at Pham Ngu Lao Street.
Most travelers set their itinerary for Ho Chi Minh City as a stopover. Most of them stay about only a couple of days before moving to less urban areas. You can visit the major attractions of the city within just a day or two. You can visit the highlights in a day, but if you want to take it slow, you can complete it in two days.
Source: Stefan Ferreira
Reunification Palace is one of the most popular sights in Ho Chi Minh City. During the Vietnam war, this palace served as the general’s quarters, and it even saw the battle’s end when a North Vietnamese tank crashed through its gates in 1975. The exterior of the palace might seem ordinary, but its interior is quite fascinating. Here, you can see many exciting things like the bunker filled with 70’s paraphernalia, strange spy machines, general’s wife’s perfumes, and many more. You can explore the palace with an entry fee of about 1.70USD per person.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Central Post Office of Ho Chi Minh City is a must-have place on your itinerary. It is an iconic colonial building, designed by the French architect Alfred Foulhoux at the end of the 19th century. Ever since then, it has been a working post office. Here, you will see both locals and tourists walking through the main hall. One of the best parts of the Post Office is its indoor architecture. Here, you can also buy postcards that you can send to your home as a souvenir.
Source: Saigon Local Tour
Binh Tay Market is a wonderful Chinese market, located in Chinatown of Vietnam. Built by the French at the end of the 19th century, it is the perfect spot to do souvenir shopping. Here, you will get great souvenirs at a bargain rate.
Another great choice is Ben Thanh Market. This market is pure Vietnamese Market, unlike the Binh Tay market. The market is targeted to tourists and travelers, so here, you can find almost all types of souvenirs. There are also many food stalls in this market that offers delicious Vietnamese dishes. Also, you can find many well-made brand imitations. But, make sure you haggle down the price a lot as they tend to keep it very overpriced.
Source: Vietnam Travel Guide
The Bitexco Financial Tower, a 260m high skyscraper, is the second tallest building in the Ho Chi Minh City. It is the perfect place to see the whole city. The view from here will leave you speechless. You can admire the architecture of this gorgeous building while sipping on a cold beer on the Saigon Skydeck and also enjoy the sunset views.
Source: Vietnam Travel Guide
The most renowned pagoda in the city is Jade Emperor Pagoda (Ngọc Hoàng Pagoda), also known as the Tortoise Pagoda. It is one of the most important shrines in Saigon and a perfect example of the blend of cultures and religions in Vietnam. Inside, you will see Taoist paraphernalia and Buddhist icons. Some other beautiful temples are Thien Hau Temple, a Buddhist and Taoist Chinese-style temple dedicated to a Chinese sea goddess, Mazu, and Giac Lam Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in the city.
Source: Culture Trip
The Notre Dame Cathedral is located next to the Central Post Office and is a Catholic church established by French colonists. It is the main catholic church of the city. It is not a twin of the famous Parisian cathedral-like the Hanoi’s Notre Dame, so it is a great example of the Vietnamese-French take on Catholic churches.