Best places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

These are the best places I visited in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. I want to list the places located inside the city, and only those I personally visited. If you think I missed something please write in the comment below! I spent a couple of days in Ho Chi Minh before heading north to Mui Ne, and I totally loved the mixed French-Vietnamese architecture of the city!

10 – Old Saigon City Walk

If you’re a Lonely Planet lover I recommend to follow their walking tour through District 1 which also takes you to the most modern part of the town. The city walk basically starts at 23/9 Park, passes through the antique shops in Le Cong Kieu, arrives at the riverside area (Tran Hung Dao’s statue) and ends nearby Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s about 4 km long and took me half day (can be done within 3h if you don’t stop to take pictures every 5 minutes just like me).

9 – People’s Committee Building

One of the most iconic places in Saigon but unfortunately closed to the public (as far as I know). A photo in front of Ho Chi Minh’s statue is a must!

8 – Saigon Opera House

The “Municipal Theatre” is one of the nicest buildings in the city. Don’t just look at the facade: on the left side of the building there’s a lovely garden!

7 – Central Post Office

Beware: inside is super crowded and super hot!!

Designed by Gustave Eiffel (yes, THAT Eiffel !) this exquisite French building was build more than 120 years ago.

…and of course an inevitable giant-Ho Chi Minh’s portrait dominates the hall 😀

6 – Saigon Notre Dame

Completed in 1883, this cathedral is of course the most popular (and beautiful) catholic church in Ho Chi Minh. It’s located just in front of the Central Post Office, so you can get 2 birds with one stone 😉

5 – War Remnants Museum

Being very interested in the Vietnam War this was an obliged stop. The museums has 3 floors, and if you’re in a hurry skip the ground floor and go directly upstairs. There you’ll find an impressive display of the U.S. Marines’ weapons and very rare photographs about the war. The comments are clearly one sided but it’s absolutely worth a visit. Huge maps explain the various phases of the conflict and the American advance in Vietnam. An entire hall shows the effect of napalm and other weapons on the Vietnamese population, stay away if you’re very sensitive to these matters. Some photos are really horrifying. In the outside of the museum there’re some U.S. vehicles and pieces of artillery.

Allow at least 2 hours for the visit.

4 – Jade Emperor Pagoda

Not really easy to reach on foot (far north of District 1), this Taoist pagoda is more than 100 years old. It’s also known as the Tortoise Pagoda because of the many tortoises swimming in the big courtyard’s pond (I guess!). Who’s the Jade Emperor? Well, he wasn’t a Vietnamese emperor. He’s actually the supreme Taoist God, largely worshipped in China as well. The Pagoda is a little maze of stairs and halls, a quite dark and gritty place, but certainly one of the best temples in town. Closes around 6pm, be there at least at 5pm to see the red lanterns lit on.

3 – Bui Vien Street

crazy bui vien Ho Chi Minh Saigon

oh dear!

Bangkok’s Khao San Road is definitely the craziest street in Asia but this one gets really close! Billions of pubs, clubs, bikes, tourists, beer mugs and the inevitable “winking ladies”. If that’s what you’re looking for, Bui Vien has it all. And even if you’re not, just walking down the street and people watching is extremely fun!

2 – Cho Lon’s wonderful temples

Definitely one of my favourite areas of the city. Cho Lon lies on the west bank of the Saigon River, between District 5 and District 6. It’s also simply called Chinatown. Cho Lon sights consist mainly in the Binh Tay Market (closed for renovation in February 2017) and dozens of temples. The Lonely Planet list 10 among the best, and I visited them all. If you’re addicted to buddhist-taoist-confucian temples allow 4 to 6 hours. Otherwise just visit the main one: the Ten Thousand Buddhas Temple.

1 – Chua Van Phat (Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas)

As I said right above, even if you’re not so interested in asian religions and temples make sure to pay a visit to Chua Van Phat. There’re numerous temples of “Ten Thousand Buddhas” in Southern East Asia, actually there’s one even in Guangzhou where I live! Definitely one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I spent almost two hours inside this beautiful and quiet temple, don’t miss the last floor and the balcony.

These are my favourite places in Ho Chi Minh! let me know if I missed something, and check out my Instagram for new pics!



Italian Vagabond

Born in Italy, lived in UK, wandered across Southeast Asia, Europe, USA, Africa and Australia. Amatheur photographer, passionate traveller, enthusiastic reader, addicted football fan.

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