When mentioning Ho Chi Minh City, people immediately think about a bustling atmosphere around the clock. Not only is it the largest economic center in Vietnam but it is also the leading entertainment paradise for tourists from everywhere. This article will thoroughly reveal all necessary information about Ho Chi Minh City that you need to know before traveling.
1. About Ho Chi Minh City
Nearly 1,730 kilometers away from Hanoi Capital to the North, Ho Chi Minh City is located in the center of the Southeast and the Southwest regions. It is the most populous urban area which is more dynamic than any other city in Vietnam. Among Southeast Asian countries, it stands out as an international gateway because it lies at the international crossroads of some important maritime routes.
In addition, Ho Chi Minh City is a traffic hub which connects each province in the region with one another. Specifically, to the North and the Northwest, it borders Binh Duong Province and Tay Ninh Province in turn. Also, it is contiguous to Dong Nai Province to the East and Northeast, Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province to the Southeast, Long An Province and Tien Giang Province to the West and Southwest.
With the favorable conditions, Ho Chi Minh plays an important role as the economic locomotive of the country as well as a place to attract a large amount of foreign investment capital. Also, with a history of over 300 years, Saigon has great potential for tourism development thanks to its many ancient architectural works, historic monuments and rich cuisine.
2. Ho Chi Minh City weather
Characterized by the tropical monsoon and sub-equatorial climate, Ho Chi Minh City has two distinct seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.
The rainy season takes place from May to November with an average annual rainfall of 1,979 millimeters. During this period, it rains almost every afternoon but the rain does not last long and the sky becomes clear quickly. Sometimes, you can see sunshine and rainfall at the same time while the sky is still blue. Visiting the city at that time, you should bring raincoats or umbrellas in case it rains suddenly.
Meanwhile, the dry season lasts from December to April with an average annual temperature of 27.55 degree Celsius. It is estimated that there are up to 270 hours of sunshine a month here and the highest temperature is up to 40 degree Celsius. However, the weather is not as harsh as in other places. If you come to the city in this season, you should be careful with heatstroke by avoiding going out at noon.
It can be said that anytime in the year is a good time to visit Ho Chi Minh City. Yet, the most ideal time is from December to April because the weather at this time is extremely pleasant. Especially, there is Tet Festival - the biggest Vietnamese traditional festival, in late January or early February that you can plan to join in.
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3. Means of transportation for your Saigon trip
As the leading economic, cultural and political center of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City has many means of transportation to be chosen for your trip.
3.1. Going to Ho Chi Minh city
There are 4 common ways for tourists to go to Ho Chi Minh City, specifically as follows:
- By plane: This is the fastest and most convenient means of transportation for your trip. Tan Son Nhat Airport is currently the largest international airport in the country with many domestic and international flights per day. The fare usually ranges from 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 VND/person depending on the airline and booking time.
- By train: Traveling by train is not a top choice because it may take you up to 30 hours. However, it will provide you a chance to contemplate the peaceful scenery on the way. There are many train lines from the North to the South with the average fare of 500,000 - 2,000,000 VND/person.
- By coach: Saigon has two main coach stations, including the Eastern station and the Western station, where all the inter-provincial coaches come in. Going to this city by coach is an economical option for tourists from the Central and Southern regions in Vietnam. You will only spend about 200,000 - 400,000 VND for a trip with 8 to 9 hours of traveling.
- By private vehicles: The developed urban infrastructure in the region enables you to get to Ho Chi Minh City by private vehicles with ease. For those who are passionate about speed, you can ride motorbikes to this city. Likewise, cars are suitable for families and groups of friends. You should remember to bring your personal papers like driving license, registration license and strictly obey traffic laws.
3.2. Getting around Ho Chi Minh Vietnam
To get around and admire the beauty of Ho Chi Minh Vietnam, you can choose from the below options:
- By motorbike: Nothing is more wonderful than freely exploring every corner of Saigon on a motorbike in your own way. The motorbike rental price in Saigon is similar to that in many other tourist destinations, which ranges from 80,000 to 150,000 VND/day.
- By bus or water bus: Bus is considered as the cheapest means of transportation with the fare of only 5,000 - 6,000 VND/trip. Therefore, this is extremely suitable for those who have a limited budget. Besides, you can take a water bus tour along Saigon River, which costs 15,000 VND/round trip, to experience this city in a unique way.
- By cyclo: Many foreign tourists love this option. The fare for taking a cyclo ranges from 50,000 to 80,000 VND/2 people. It is a popular means of transportation for tourists to go around Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace and Ben Thanh Market in District 1.
4. Top 10 must-visit destinations in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam
Below are the 10 most famous tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City that you should visit once in your trip:
4.1. Notre Dame Cathedral - The symbol of the city
Located in the center of District 1, Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon stands out with its ancient French architecture and spacious area from the outside to the inside. This is a symbol of the city and a tourist attraction that tourists cannot miss out on.
The cathedral is specially designed with the ability to withstand 10 times the entire structure of the building. It has a length of 93 meters, the width of 35 meters and the dome height of 21 meters. With this much space, Notre Dame Cathedral can accommodate up to 1,200 people.
4.2. Reunification Palace - The famous historical site
If you have the opportunity to travel to Ho Chi Minh City, remember to visit Reunification Palace at 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1. It is classified as a special national monument because it has witnessed many historical events through the ups and downs of the country, especially the liberation of Vietnam's Southern region on April 30th, 1975.
As a famous historical site, this place attracts a lot of tourists to visit and learn about Vietnamese history during the resistance war. The palace is divided into 3 separate areas, each has its own unique features. Coming there, you can see a lot of documents which show Vietnamese history in detail.
4.3. Ben Thanh Market - The busiest Saigon market
Ben Thanh Market is known as the symbol of the bustling atmosphere of Saigon that tourists should visit once. It consists of 4 main gates and 12 side gates spreading out in many directions. Each main gate is located on a different street and at these gates, vendors sell many popular items and food for tourists to buy as gifts or enjoy on the spot. Its main gate, which overlooks Quach Thi Trang Square, is most famous for its three-sided clock tower.
There are two suitable time slots for you to visit Ben Thanh market: from 7:30 a.m to 6 p.m and after 7 p.m. If you want to visit and shop in the market, pick the first period. The other one is befitting for those who want to wander and enjoy the vibrant market at night. Ben Thanh Market is quite large with a lot of different stalls and areas so it may take you about 1 - 2 hours to explore around.
4.4. Saigon Central Post Office - The emblematic structural architecture
As one of the unique architectural works of the city, Saigon Central Post Office is an attractive tourist destination for those who spend their vacations in Ho Chi Minh City. With the beautiful Renaissance architecture still preserved, Saigon Central Post Office is considered as a special highlight in the heart of a busy and modern city.
One of the things that makes this place outstanding is its meticulous and delicate carvings and its system of large curved arched doorways. The combination of royal European and liberal Asia styles creates a perfect background for you to take photos with your family and friends on the tour.
4.5. Landmark 81 - The tallest building in Vietnam
Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Vietnam with a height of 461.3 meters. Before being surpassed by The Exchange 106 of Malaysia, it used to be the tallest building in Southeast Asia in 2018. Standing anywhere in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam, you can always easily see this skyscraper.
Since its launch, it has been considered as a symbol of luxury and modernity. Its unique architecture is inspired by the image of bamboo in Vietnamese villages, which is a metaphor for the development and prosperity of the country in the future.
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4.6. Ho Chi Minh City Opera House
Ho Chi Minh City Opera House is a Gothic-style architectural work. With a convenient location in the city center, this is not only a place to host major art shows but also an interesting tourist destination which attracts numerous tourists each year.
The front of the Opera House faces Lam Son Square and Dong Khoi Street, and it is only about 1.2 kilometers away from Ben Thanh Market. If you want to visit this place, it is advisable to buy tickets to see the shows at the ticket counter or via the website. After the show ends, you can go around to admire the architecture and take photos here.
4.7. War Remnants Museum
Located on Vo Van Tan Street, District 3, War Remnants Museum is always on the list of the top-rated destinations in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam. It is a modern building with an area of 5,400 square meters. This place will promisingly bring you a vivid picture of Vietnamese life during the war time in the past.
The museum consists of 3 floors and each floor has its own theme. The surviving artifacts and pictures at this place serve as strong evidence to denounce the crimes of the colonial invaders, and at the same time reflect the Vietnamese’s will to regain national independence.
4.8. Nha Rong Wharf and Ho Chi Minh Museum
Nha Rong Wharf is located at no. 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, Ward 12, District 4. It has great significance in the history of Vietnam because it is the place where Uncle Ho began his 30-year journey to find a way to save the country.
Nha Rong Wharf has been repaired and renovated many times, now includes some main areas such as Ho Chi Minh Museum, Uncle Ho's monument, a fountain and a harbor campus. This place keeps many documents, artifacts and pictures recording the revolutionary activities of President Ho Chi Minh during the resistance war.
4.9. Cu Chi Tunnels - A well-known underground monument
Cu Chi Tunnels is not only a destination but also a famous Vietnamese military work which has great historical and cultural value. If you want to visit this underground labyrinth once, you will have to travel about 70 kilometers from the center of the city.
This tourist attraction has a total length of up to 250 kilometers with 3 different levels. Particularly, the top level is about 3 meters under the ground while the middle one is 6 meters under and the bottom one is up to 12 meters under. Thanks to these features, Cu Chi Tunnels is recognized as one of 6 famous man-made structures in the world and among the top 7 most exotic destinations in Southeast Asia.
4.10. Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street - A very bustling place at night
Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street is likened to the heart of this busy and bustling city. This street connects the headquarters of the City People's Committee with the banks of Saigon River and Bach Dang Wharf. It is often said that Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street is a paradise for tourists with many exciting activities along with plenty of tasty dishes.
Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street is open all day and some vehicles like motorbikes or cars are allowed to go through on both sides. However, on Saturday and Sunday nights, all vehicles are prohibited from entering the street. At this time, Nguyen Hue Street is really for pedestrians only.
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5. Sai Gon cuisine: 5 mouthwatering dishes you should try
Below are 5 popular dishes in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam that you should enjoy once when visiting this city:
5.1. Steamed broken rice with grilled pork chops
When referring to Saigon, it is hard not to mention broken rice with grilled pork chops. Broken rice is very popular with the locals here because it suits many people's tastes. This dish is palatable thanks to the harmonious combination of ingredients including grilled pork chops and green vegetables. In addition, the typical fish sauce contributes to the characteristic flavor of this dish.
5.2. Banh mi - One of the most common street foods in Sai Gon
Banh mi is a typical Vietnamese breakfast food that is suitable for those who have to go to work or school early in the mornings. Inside this Saigon street food, meat is the most important ingredient which can determine whether the food is good or not. Besides, sellers can add cucumber, pickled carrot, daikon radish, scallion and cilantro according to the demands of buyers.
5.3. Pho - The most recognised Vietnamese dish around the world
Pho is one of the most typical foods that international tourists should try once. The main ingredients of this dish are linguine-shaped rice noodles called “banh pho”, a few herbs and thinly sliced beef or chicken. In addition, there are spices such as soy sauce, chili, pepper, lemon, fish sauce,... which are added depending on the taste of diners.
5.4. Noodle soup
Saigon noodle soup, or “hu tieu” in Vietnamese, is considered the quintessence of Vietnamese culinary delights which helps show the culture as well as the life of the locals. To make this dish, people use many ingredients like pork bones, pork thighs, minced shoulders, pork ribs, dried shrimp, quail eggs, white radish, onions, green onions,… If you have a chance to visit Saigon, don't forget to enjoy this flavorful dish!
5.5. Saigon sticky rice
Although not a delicacy, sticky rice is an indispensable dish in Saigon's culinary culture. To the locals, sticky rice is not only delicious but also very handy for a dynamic life because the customers can easily take it away. There are various kinds of sticky rice in this city like corn sticky rice, black bean sticky rice, durian sticky rice,... Each of them has its own distinctive color and flavor which is always worth enjoying.
6. Where to stay during your trip to Ho Chi Minh City?
In Ho Chi Minh City, there are many places for tourists to relax. However, for ease of traveling, you should choose to stay in a hotel which is in the city center and near some famous Saigon attractions as mentioned above.
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Ho Chi Minh City is a destination chosen by many domestic and foreign tourists. Thanks to its prosperity in all aspects, especially tourism, this city will give you a perfect chance to experience and explore a lot of interesting things during your trip. Hopefully, the information above can help you make the best preparation for your upcoming vacation to Ho Chi Minh City.
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