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Ho Chi Minh City (1 day)

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

Key Points:

  1. Ho Chi Minh City is not one of the best travel destinations, but is an important part of travelling around the world.

  2. WikiVoyage has the original version of travelling in Ho Chi Minh City. But we have rewritten and integrated several articles together to create a better version.

According to Wikipedia, "Ho Chi Minh City, formerly (and still commonly) known as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. Situated in the southeast region of Vietnam, the city surrounds the Saigon River and covers about 2,061 km2 (796 sq mi). Ho Chi Minh City is a major centre for finance, media, technology, education, and transportation. The city generates nearly a quarter of the country's total GDP, and is home to many multinational companies."

Here we quote the best way to travel in Ho Chi Minh City provided by wikiVoyage, a multilingual, web-based project to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable worldwide travel guide. Wikivoyage is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization that also hosts a range of other project such as Wikipedia. Please edit the articles and find author credits at the original wikiVoyage article on Ho Chi Minh City. Content on wikiVoyage can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Part 1: Understand. Following the fall of Saigon in 1975, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. However the old name Saigon is still widely used by both Vietnamese and foreigners, especially when referring to the most central part of the city to which most tourists flock. Although the capital of a united Vietnam is Hanoi in the north, Ho Chi Minh City remains Vietnam's main economic and financial centre.

Part 2: Get Around.

By taxi and rental car

Taxis are the most comfortable way of getting around, and very modest in price compared to other major cities in the world. Rates fluctuate over time depending on the cost of fuel. Expect to pay around 15,000-20,000 dong per kilometre. Taxis are numerous and it's usually not hard to flag one down anywhere in the city centre from early morning until about 01:00, though finding one in the rain or during workday rush hours can be difficult.

By motorbike

Motorbike taxis are plentiful (get used to hearing "you want moto?" everywhere), cheap, and are generally quite safe. All riders are now required to wear helmets, a rule that is strongly enforced. Make sure the driver supplies you with a helmet. If he doesn't, find another one, as you'll be the one stung for the fine.

By cyclo

A ride on a cyclo through HCMC is a great way to see the city the way the locals do. Cyclos resemble a backwards tricycle, with the passengers sitting in front and the driver peddling at the rear. The sights, sounds and smells are a large part of the excitement of the city, and are best experienced at the relaxed pace of a cyclo. A word of warning: be careful with cameras, purses and watches while cyclo riding as these items are easily stolen by drive-by motorbike thieves.

By bus

  • Local bus terminal, Phạm Ngũ Lão, District 1. Local buses start here. Clear indication of timetables on a updated screen. Pay fare in the bus. Bus 109 to the Airport leaves here.

  • Cho Ben Thanh Bus Station (Bến Thành Phạm Ngũ Lão). This station is in the center of HCMC, within walking distance of accommodation options and tourist sights.

On foot

Traffic is made up of a staggering number of motorbikes. Crossing the road in HCMC can be a nightmare and scary. If ever in doubt, HCMC's "Tourist Security" officers (in green uniforms) will happily help you across. A quicker way of getting across is to simply follow the lead of a local crossing the street.

Part 3: Itinerary

  • People's Committee Hall, Nguyen Hue St. Built as the Hôtel de Ville, it's a striking cream and yellow French colonial building beautifully floodlit at night. No entry, but the statue of Uncle Ho in front is a very popular place for photos.

  • Ho Chi Minh Museum, 65 Lý Tự Trọng, Bến Nghé (in the center of the city, a few blocks from Ben Thanh Market, the Reunification Palace, and Notre Dame Cathedral).

  • Reunification Palace (Also known as Independence Palace (the old name)), 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St, ☏+84 8 969 3272. Daily 07:30-11:00, 13:00-16:00. This is a restored 4-floor time warp to the 1960s left largely untouched from the day Saigon fell to the North; construction started in 1962 and finished in 1966. It was South Vietnam's presidential palace.

  • Notre Dame Cathedral (Nhà thờ Đức Bà), Han Thuyen St (facing down Dong Khoi, it's next to the Post Office). It is closed for renovations as of Feb 2020. A French-built Catholic cathedral in the city center. Free.

  • The Venerable Thich Quảng Đức Monument, intersection between Cach Mang Thang Tam & Nguyen Dinh Chieu streets. A monument dedicated to the Buddhist monk Thich Quảng Đức, who self-immolated at the site in 1963 in protest against the persecution of South Vietnam's Buddhist majority by the Roman Catholic-dominated Ngô Đình Diệm government.

  • Jade Emperor Pagoda, 73 Mai Thi Luu St. Considered by many to be Saigon’s finest pagoda, dedicated to the Jade Emperor, the king of the gods in Chinese mythology. Check out the room filled with unusual figurines, to the left of the main hall. There are many turtles in a concrete pond in the courtyard. A calm place to rest from the city noise.

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