Try the shopping
Shopping on Ho Chi Minh City holidays is a definite must for any visitor. You can see everything from designer boutiques to huge shopping malls to traditional markets. Whether you want to pick up authentic hand-made goods or shop for high couture outfits, you’re sure to find somewhere that suits. When you’re in the markets, don’t forget to haggle as vendors usually put up prices for tourists. Ben Thanh Market is the biggest and best in the city. You can buy tasty street food and souvenirs like scarves, lanterns and chopsticks. For a unique experience, go at night! Binh Tay is another market worth browsing. It’s in the centre of Chinatown, and specialises in fresh fruit, vegetables and meat.
Learn about Ho Chi Minh’s history
The city has many war museums and sites, so make sure that your Ho Chi Minh City holiday includes a trip to one of the poignant displays. The War Remnants Museum – once called the Museum of American War Crimes – displays exhibitions about the Vietnam War. Visitors can see shocking photographs and American military equipment like rocket launchers, fighter planes and tanks. Another historical site to visit is the Reunification Palace. Since a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its main gate in 1975 and ended the Vietnam War, it’s been frozen in time – not a day seems to have passed once you step inside. Visitors should also head to the Central Post Office. It’s a gorgeous building that harks back to the French colonial times – and must be one of the grandest post offices in the world!
Sample the nightlife
If you’re looking for a holiday in Ho Chi Minh that has great nightlife, you’re spoilt for choice. Either go to the downtown part of District One to sip cocktails on rooftop bars or splurge out in casinos, listening to live jazz bands. This Vietnamese city has an impressive variety of rooftop bars, and the views are fantastic. You can either soak up the cosmopolitan vibes of the sleek high-end bars or chill out as you watch the sun rise in some of the more relaxed venues. If you’re after a more party-animal vibe, dance your way down to District Three. The street Pham Ngu Lao has plenty of fun bars, budget cafés and loud clubs. It’s legendary in the city, and both backpackers and locals flock to its buzzing atmosphere.
Go underground in the tunnels
Take some time to head out of the city and tour the Cu Chi Tunnels. It’s an eye-opening experience – and one that every visitor should embark on. These immense tunnels were used by the Vietnamese during the war to make sure civilians could stay safe. They had everything from living areas, kitchens and hospitals to storage facilities and armouries. Crawl through 100m of tunnels and see first-hand the various traps and ambushes the Vietnamese soldiers used during the war. The tunnels have since been widened and made easier to move through. There’s also a shooting range on site where you can shoot M16 rifles.
Try the local food and drink
Street food is undoubtedly a highlight of any holiday in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. However, the first thing you should try when you arrive is the coffee. The Vietnamese have perfected the hot drink, using condensed milk to finish off the process. It creates a deliciously sweet complement to the bitter taste of the coffee beans.
When it comes to food, you’ll be pressed to find something that you don’t like! The street food vendors in Ho Chi Minh dish up aromatic meals that’ll have you coming back time and time again. For an authentic taste of good-value Vietnamese cuisine, go to Com Nieu Sai Gon in District Three. It’s best to ask them to bring you what they recommend – you won’t be disappointed.
Admire the temples and pagodas
In addition to the war museums, Ho Chi Minh has some gorgeous architecture, temples and pagodas on display. These serene buildings give you a breather from the bustling atmosphere, so be sure to check them out. The Cao Dai Temple, The Emperor Jade Pagoda (also known as the Tortoise Pagoda) and the Mariamman Hindu Temple should be top of your list – just remember to dress conservatively if you want to go inside. There’s also the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the 1880’s.
All Ho Chi Minh City holidays are filled with incredible sights, busy streets, and poignant reminders of a scarred history. You’ll love wandering around its classic French architecture, taking time out to try the delicious street food. The city is a place of discovery, whether that’s finding quirky bars and tasty cocktails, or learning about its culture, traditions and history.