It’s easy to mistake Ho Chi Minh City for Vietnam’s capital as it looks more developed and definitely gets more chaotic and bustling compared to the country’s actual capital up North, which is Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon to most, has a charm that grows on you, and a city that not only will make you fall in love with how enjoyable it is to walk around here, but also will teach you valuable road-crossing skills.
Here are five more reasons why you should definitely make a stop here:
- Beautiful, French colonial architecture
As a former French colony, the city still has traces of beautiful, French colonial architecture. Walk around and be dazzled by the beauty of the Opera House, Post Office, Hotel Continental, and the Notre Dame to name a few. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a European country, with all these beautiful European details.
- Vibrant and thriving hub for backpackers
District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City near the Pham Ngu Lao and Bui Vien streets is a great place for choosing accommodations if you’re a backpacker because this area is thriving with things to do and is full of vibrant energy. Here you will find an eclectic mix of world cuisine, nightlife that stays awake until 3am, and a vast array of shop houses that are great for shopping. There’s never a shortage of things to do and people to meet. It’s also a great base for tourism as you can book out of town trip conveniently from the many tourist agencies in the area.
- A haven for coffee culture
Vietnamese coffee is unparalleled, and that is the truth. If you’re a huge coffee junkie, then Saigon is for you. The most famous chain of café here isn’t Starbucks, but Trung Nguyen coffee which boasts of a wide selection of coffees you can never have elsewhere. However, it’s even more worthwhile to explore the many charming coffee shops dotting the city as a memorable cup of ca phe is never too far away, that perfectly goes together with the hip ambience and cozy atmosphere of a lot of Saigon’s cafes.
- Glimpse of important Vietnamese war history
If you’re big on war history, Saigon is the place to be to revel in this period in time as you can visit the famous War Remnants museum. You can also book a trip to the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels for an in-depth insight into WWII history.
- Affordable shopping
Ben Thanh Market is the most prominent shopping area of Saigon for tourists. However, prices here can be sorely inflated, so haggling is a must. You can get a better deal in the night markets outside of Ben Thanh market. Shopping here can be a thrill as you can get cheap deals on Vietnamese décor and handicrafts, iconic Vietnamese vintage propaganda posters, and even authentic (and knock offs) of branded backpacking gear for more than 50% off its original price. You’ll also enjoy going around the many shop houses in the streets as you’re bound to find unique treasures to bring home from your trip.