Ho Chi Minh and its surroundings

Ho Chin Minh OR Saigon

Ho Chi Minh, the city of scooters..... And yes to HCMC, there would be more than 8 million scooters walking the streets every day. Noisy, this economic capital of Vietnam reveals its true personality after a few days. At first glance, she doesn't seem attractive. But when you blend into the atmosphere of the city, you feel quite comfortable there. Of course it is not a museum city like Hoi An or like so many other cities. We do not go there because of the beauty of the landscapes and monuments. However, HCMC remains a necessary step when you want to feel the atmosphere of Vietnam and live locally.

Namely, we visited the city of HCMC in a very different way from other cities. In fact we knew a French expatriate who lived there with his Vietnamese girlfriend, so he took us to the nice places, but unlike the rest of the trip it wasn't necessarily for "small budgets". Some addresses are therefore a little more expensive than what I usually recommend. However, as we were with two connoisseurs, we were able to enjoy HCMC in the best conditions with very good advice for parties, outings, restaurants....

What to do in Ho Chi Minh City ?

Even if you don't walk the streets in awe, there are still some nice places to visit in this big city.

  • Walking in the heart of the city

The avenue Nguyen Huê, which they call the Champs-Elysées de Saigon, is worth a visit. This street connects City Hall to the river. It is one of the main axes of the city. Starting from this street you can then continue on foot your way, to visit the other monuments that are right next door. If you want to take a walk in this large avenue, you should go there in the evening for the atmosphere and street lighting.

  • The City Hall

When you finish or start (depending on which way you take it), Nguyen Huê Avenue, you will come across City Hall. It is the emblematic monument of Saigon. It is not open to the public, but can be admired from the outside. It easily represents the colonial colonial period since it was built from 1900 to 1908 and decorated by Ruffier. Next to it, you can make a quick jump to the municipal theatre. théâtre municipal.

  • Notre-Dame Cathedral

There is no possible comparison with Notre Dame de Paris, which the architects wanted to be inspired by. You can try to enter it to visit it. Personally, I could only see it from the outside since it was under construction.

  • Central Post

Not to be missed! It is a very pretty monument, still in operation, built in 1886-1891 by Gustave Eiffel. This post looks delightfully retro. Go inside to get a feel for the atmosphere. On the wall, a large painting hung on the wall of Uncle Ho (Ho Chi Min)

  • The War Remains Museum

Price: 15 000 Dg open every day. Despite a somewhat oriented view of the conflict. The Vietnamese people reported on the Vietnam War with this museum. On three floors, we have a better understanding of what this people experienced and how they were able to win the war against the United States. The international vision of the conflict is widely discussed, which makes the museum interesting. The second floor is dedicated to the war photographers who covered the conflict. Some of them had to leave their lives behind... These clichés have their place in this museum because the work of the reporters contributed greatly to making this war unpopular in the eyes of America and the world. I found this museum very picturesque and therefore very emotional.

  • Discover Pagodas

Pagodas, you will see them all over your trip to Vietnam, if you want an overview here, do not hesitate to go to the pagoda Xa Loi, that of Emperor Jade or the pagoda of Giac Lâm. Xa Loi, celle de l’Empereur Jade ou encore la pagode de Giac Lâm

Where to go out in the evening in Ho Chi Min City?

  • Bui Viên Street

A lively street in the evening to celebrate. The music has no limits, the speakers will probably make you deaf before the end of the evening. Nevertheless nice to spend good evenings surrounded by Vietnamese people.

  • The Indeka bar

Very little known to tourists, this very cute bar on the underground side. The beers are very good but not given if you want quality beers.

  • Go to a horror movie

One evening right next to the King BBQ restaurant, we went to see a horror movie at the cinema. Vietnamese people love horror movies. It's quite funny since their reactions in the room are really overwhelming. We laughed a lot. Cheap session at all.

  • Go out to the rooftop bar on Sky XX

Evening crush at HCMC. You can find the information on their website : https://elements.vn/skyxx/#entertainment

This bar, located at the top of a building, is really famous. I warn you, this may be one of the most expensive evenings you will ever have in Vietnam. But it's really worth it. As soon as we enter, we are greeted by dancers in costumes, who make us a ballet in front of us. We take the elevator, to get to the top of the building. There's a big open-air scene over there. A DJ in the middle and drinking tables. The atmosphere is at its height all evening long. Between dancers' choreographies, shows and nightclub atmosphere, it's a great evening guaranteed!

Where to eat well at HCMC ?

  • Oc La

Sea food restaurant, excellent, where Vietnamese people go when they leave work. A little off-centre but accessible by scooter without problems.

  • King BBQ

It's a chain of restaurants where Vietnamese people like to eat. Unlimited meat and vegetable formula. A little excessive in terms of price but we eat very well there.

Where to drink coffee at HCMC ?

  • Pho-Do-Lar Coffee

A very nice vegetable decoration, the pretty decoration too. Prices not given but smoothies are excellent.

In the vicinity of Ho Chi Min

The Cu Chi Tunnels

Huge underground galleries, in which Vietnamese soldiers hid to turn during the Vietnam War. Before closed to the public, they can now be visited. A real immersion in the past, since you can really enter these huge narrow corridors accompanied by a Vietnamese guide. This is one of the places that has suffered most under the bombs. Thus, we go back in time.

How to get to the Cu Chi tunnels ?

We have taken the bus line 13, look for the nearest stop to your home. Then stop at Cu-Chi. From there, take bus 79 to Ben Duoc. That's where the tunnels are. Be careful, there are two different tunnel sites. We chose Ben Duoc's, as we were told they were the most interesting. The journey takes 1 hour and 15 minutes with the first bus, then 30 minutes with the second. The first ticket costs 10 000 dg and the secod 7 K Dg. It's nothing at all. Less than 1 euro per trip. That's why we opted for the bus.

Immersion in tunnels

At the entrance, we pay 90 k including the guide. The visit lasts 1h30, it starts with a short documentary of about twenty minutes then goes to the tunnels. At the time, there were 3 levels of tunnels. The ones at 3, 6 and 9 meters. During the visit, we enter the 3-metre by 30-metre long ones. In the site there are 250 km of tunnels dug but only a few are open to the public. In some of them, there are reconstructions of war scenes. The site closes at 5pm

The floating market of Can Tho

For about 4 $ per person at 3 hours of HCMC, you can go to Can Tho. A small friendly village on the banks of the river. To get your bus tickets at the lowest price, I advise you to be well in advance on the different ticket offices at the station, as the prices are different depending on the company. Even at the station you can negotiate. We made it out for 90,000 Dg just to go.

Once there, we take a taxi to reach our hotel, booked on Booking for 5 euros. Then, a short walk on the quays near the city centre. Several people call us to book our boat trip for the Floating Market of the next day. We ask about the different prices.

In the evening, a short walk to the Night Market, to eat and enjoy the atmosphere of the city. In front of the Night Market, a very cute place to enjoy a smoothie : Cho-To, sit at the top, to get a view of the market. You can buy it at the market downstairs and then go upstairs to eat it, perched on your stool. 30k the smoothie.

The next morning, get up at 6am to attend the Cai Rang floating market. Return to the pier to find the boat that will take us there for the lowest price. We're getting by for 50 k per person. Phew! Phew!

The walk lasts 4 hours on the Mekong River. A guide on board explains the surroundings. In addition to the market, we take several breaks at places such as the noodle factory, the sauce factory. We can discover how Vietnamese dishes are made. Then, if you wish, you can stop on a small bank to cycle, for that you have to add 2 $. Sounds like fun, let's go! 1 hour of bike ride to admire the small branches of the Mekong. But above all, the most impressive thing is when you stop near a large tree over 130 years old whose trunks and branches fill more than 5000 m2. Impressive!

Overall a very nice morning, even if you can't expect a floating market worthy of the colourful photos you often see.

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