• River cruise
  • Northern Vietnam
  • Central Vietnam
  • Southern Vietnam
  • Day Trip
  • Beach Destination
  • Ecotourist Destination
  • Vietnam Discovery
  • Cambodia Wonders
  • Laos Highlights

Destinations

HO CHI MINH CITY

Ho Chi Minh City is located in the southeastern region of Vietnam, 1,760km south of Hanoi capital city. It is the most populous city, an important center of economy, culture, education, tourism of Vietnam. It is bordered by Binh Duong and Tay Ninh provinces to the North and Northwest, Đong Nai and Ba Ria - Vung Tau to the East, Long An and Tien Giang provinces to the West and the South. Ho Chi Minh city is at the crossroads of international maritime routes from North to South, from East to West

Ho  Chi  Minh  city  hall
 
Area:  2,095.6 sq.km
 
Population: By the end of 2012, there are about 7,750,900 people residing in Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City’s population accounts for 8.34% of the total Vietnam’s population which makes it the most densely populated area in Vietnam. The majority is Kinh people, accounting up to 90% while the minority is ethnic people like Khmer, Hoa people. Most of the Hoa people live in District 5,6,8 and 11.
 
Topography: Ho Chi Minh city belongs to a transitional region between the southeastern and Mekong Delta regions. Terrain gets lower from north to south anf from west to East. 
 
Rivers: Ho Chi Minh City has a very diverse network of rivers and canals are very diverse:
+ Dong Nai River originated from the Lam Vien Plateau, joined by  many other rivers, is the main freshwater source of to the  city;
+ Saigon River  is the main water supply as well as the host of Saigon Port, handling 10 million tons of cargo per year.
+ Ho Chi Minh City also has a large system of canals .
 
Administrative units: Ho Chi Minh city has 24 administrative units divided into19 urban districts and 5 rural districts.
 
Climate: The city has a tropical climate, specifically wet and dry, with an average humidity of 75%. 
There are 2 distinct seasons in Ho Chi Minh city. The rainy season begins in May and ends in late November, the dry season lasts from December to April. The average temperature is 280C, the highest temperature sometimes reaches 390C, the coolest period is from late December to early January. Ho Chi Minh city basically is not lying in the stormy region. 
 
 
Sights of interest
 
MUSEUMS
 
 
                                 Museum of Vietnamese History                                                Ho Chi Minh city Museum
 
The Museum of Vietnamese History is located at 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1. Formerly known as the Musée Blanchard de la Brosse, built by Auguste Delaval in 1926, and The National Museum of Viet Nam in Sai Gon, it received its current name in 1979. It is a museum showcasing Vietnam's history with exhibits from all periods. It should not be confused with the National Museum of Vietnamese History in Hanoi.The topics covered by the exhibits include the following:
Prehistoric Period (500,000 years ago to 2879 BC).
Metal Age (2879–179 BC), including artifacts related to the Dong Son culture of northern Vietnam and the Sa Huynh culture of central Vietnam.
Chinese Domination and Struggle for National Independence in the Red River Delta (179 BC – 938 AD)
Oc Eo (Funan) Culture of the Mekong Delta region
Stone and bronze sculptures and other artifacts of Champa
Stone sculptures of Cambodia (9th–12th centuries)
Ngo, Dinh, Anterior Le, Ly Dynasties (939–1225)
Tran and Ho Dynasties (1226–1407)
Dynasties from the Le to the Nguyen (1428–1788)
Tay Sơn Dynasty(1771–1802)
Nguyen Dynasty(1802–1945)
 
War Remnants museum, at  No 28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, contains exhibits relating to Indochina and  the Vietnam War. The museum comprises a series of themed rooms in several buildings, with a large display of exhibits, mostly in the American/ Vietnam war.
 
 
 
 
Ho Chi Minh MuseumNha Rong wharf: Nha Rong Wharf is at first a large trading harbor of Saigon (the old name of Ho Chi Minh City). In 1862, the French colonist built this harbor to meet the demand of transportation between the colonized Vietnam and the world. In September 1979, the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City reformed it into a Ho Chi Minh Museum branch in a city of the same name. This place is tied with Pt Ho Chi Minh’s life as in June 1911, when he set sail on a French ship named Admiral Latouche Treville at Nha Rong Wharf and departed Vietnam for his 30-year journey around the world. The museum houses many of Pt Ho Chi Minh’s personal effects, including some of his clothing, his sandals and spectacles.
Otherwise, it covers the story of Pt Ho Chi Minh from his childhood to his political awakening, his role in booting out the French and leading North Vietnam, and his death in 1969 – mainly through photographs.
 
  
Ho Chi Minh Museum - Nha Rong wharf
 
 
Southern Vietnam Women’s Museum, at No 202 Vo Thi Sau Street, District 3, was established to recognise the cultural and military contributions of the women of South Vietnam over the ages. it was founded in 1985 and occupies ten rooms in three storeys. Within the museum are displays ranging from medals to ethnic clothings.
 
 
 
 The visit usually starts at the 3rd floor, which showcases the contribution of women in the communist struggle for independence. The items displayed show that Vietnamese women were also involved in combat.
 
On the 2nd floor of the museum are statues and large paintings of historical events involving women. There is also a recreated prison cell showing a national heroine held captive.
 
The 1st floor of the Women's Museum displays traditional crafts and customs. There is a replica of a temple entrance, to showcase the Vietnamese practice of goddess worship. Other displays are regional costumes and hand made products by women.
 
 
Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum is the place where activities like fine arts exhibitions usually take place and where paintings and sculpture works during different times of the country are displayed. 
The museum is located at 97 Pho Duc Chinh Street, District 1 and was founded  since September 1987, housed in the wealthiest Chinese businessman in Sai Gon in the first half of the 20th century. That man was called Uncle Hoa, the owner of Hui Bon Hoa Corporation. This edifice was designed by the French architect, following the style of Baroque which is much preferred at that time. The construction was completed in 1925. 
 
The museum contains three floors and all the space is used to display painting, sculpture works and antique objects that have high value of fine arts. This museum is considered as one of the largest centre of fine arts of Vietnam.
 
Floor 1: used for fine art exhibitions of the domestic and foreign authors
 
Floor 2: display the works of painting and sculpture which carry fine art values of the domestic and foreign authors
 
Floor 3: show fine art works from the 7th to the 20th century such as: Champa's fine arts and the cultural base Oc Eo from the century VII to XVII; Vietnam's antiques (including pottery, golden lacquered objects, wood carved with nacre, etc) from the 17th century to the early 20th century; and Western countries' fine arts in Vietnam from the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century.
 
 
Ho Chi Minh  Fine  Arts  Museum
 
 
Museum of Ton Duc Thang: Ton Duc Thang was the first President of the Social Republic of Vietnam, as well as the only Vietnamese to engage in the anti-war activities of 1917. The museum, located on No 5 of the riverside street which is also named Ton Duc Thang, was established in order to celebrate Pt Ton’s 100th birthday in 1988. The museum has 8 display rooms with artifacts and miniature that captured Ton Duc Thang’s life. Detailed record of his early upbringing, including pictures of his hometown in An Giang and O Moi Boat Station from where the president used to go to school, is exhibited in Ceremony room. Other rooms focus on his ongoing struggle for peace – the most significant phase in his life. Especially, “Con Son Pearl” Exhibition Room is where Con Dao Prison – in which he has spent 15 difficult years, is illustrated.
From rooms to rooms, the lively portrait of a simple but great president is clearly pictured: how he lived, how he worked, how he struggled and also how he’s loved and respected.
 
Museum  of  Ton  Duc  Thang
 
 
 
HISTORICAL MONUMENTS
 
Cu Chi Tunnels: Originally built in the time of the French (1946-1948), the tunnels were enlarged during the American presence (1961-1965). When the Americans began bombing the villages of Cu Chi, the survivors went underground where they remained for the duration of the war.
The secret tunnels, which joined village to village and often passes beneath American bases, were not only fortifications for Viet Cong guerillas, but were also the center of community life. Hidden beneath the destroyed villages were schools and public spaces were hospitals where children were born and surgery was performed on casualties of war: underground were schools and public spaces where couples were married and private places where lovers met. There were even theaters where performers entertained with song and dance and traditional stories.
 
 
Cu  Chi  Tunnels
 
Ben Duoc Memorial is a cultural history project of the Communist Party Committee and people of Ho Chi Minh City to memorialize the significant contributions of the soldiers and people who were killed in the Saigon-Gia Đinh region during the anti-American and anti-French fighting. The temple is sited at the Ben Duoc hamlet. 
On December 19, 1975, the first stage of the Memorial Monument was inaugurated to welcome many groups of people from inside and outside Vietnam to come to remember, burn incense and meditate.  It is located on a 7-hectare plot in the historical heritage compound around the Cu Chi tunnels.
 
 
Ben  Duoc  Memorial 
 
 
18 betel - garden villages of Ba Diem Commune, Hoc Mon District, 10km from the core of the city. Farmers have lived many years in this profession as a betel plant to make food. But it played an important role in the resistance war against French colonists.
In 1930 the Indochinese Communist Party launched the insurrection, the rural Eighteen-betel garden was chosen as the rear to raise the leaders of the Party and to hide secret documents of the Party. 
 
 
Rung Sac “ floating” guerilla base, nearly 60km from the center of Sai Gon, is a strategic location in Can Gio rural district of Ho Chi Minh city.
 While Cu Chi district with its tunnel is in Northwest of the city, Saigon center with USA army headquarter is in the middle, Can Gio faces East sea. So it has been the most important waterway of the city. Supplies for the center of city by using waterway such as gasoline tankers must pass through Can Gio's many rivers (The main rivers of Can Gio are Soai Rap river and Long Tau river. These rivers connect to Sai Gon river leading to the center of city) 
So, occupying Cu Chi and Can Gio were really important during war time!
 
 
 
In fact, the guerillas stay in the tunnel and mangrove forest and launched many suprisingly attacks to center of Sai Gon. If Cu Chi tunnel was called "hidden base", Can Gio mangrove forest was known as "floating base".
 
TYPICAL ARCHITECTURES
 
Hùng King Temple, directly opposite the History Museum, the Temple honours the first of the legendary Hung kings. They’re said to have been the first rulers of the Vietnamese nation, having established their rule in the Red River region before it was invaded by the Chinese. Hung Vuong is both a semi-mythical figure (the son of the dragon lord and a mountain fairy) and the name taken by many of the early kings.
 
 
Opera House (Municipal Theater of Ho Chi Minh City) is located on Dong Khoi Street, District 1. The theatre is thought of as the central theatre that specialises in organising performances on the art stages and is also the place where a number of important politial events took place. This is an age-old and large theatre whose architecture is of the Imperialism style. 
With one ground floor and two upper storeys together with 1,800 chairs and soothing atmosphere of the great sound and light, The theater has been evaluated as the most ideal and professional place with excellent services by both local and foreign guests.
 
Ho  Chi  Minh Opera  House
 
The Reunification Palace (previously Independence Palace), located in the heart of downtown Saigon, was built on a block of 12 hectares, bordering four streets: Nam Ky Khoi Nghia in the front (the main entrance is open to Le Duan Boulevard), Huyen Tran Cong Chua in the back, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai on the right and Nguyen Du on the left. Surrounded by immense lawns and high trees in its gardens, the main building of the palace is modern architecture, typical of the 60's.
 
The  Reunification  Palace
 
With regard to history, this building witnessed every historic events happening to the Saigon government until the regime finally collapsed in April 30, 1975.
Under the Saigon regime, the "Independence Palace" always symbolized the power of the government of "South Vietnam." In the end, on the morning of April 30, 1975, a tank of the Liberation forces crashed into the iron gate of the palace terminating the existence of a regime.
In addition to historic value, the Reunification Palace is also famed for its architectural characteristics which are unique in Vietnam. History has it that in 1868 a palace for the General Governor of Cochinchina, then a French colony, was built on what is now the Independence Palace. The building later became the presidential palace of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) following the 1954 Geneva Treaty. Later, a new design for the building was carefully drawn up by Ngo Viet Thu, one of the most talented Vietnamese architects. The new building was constructed on the site and completed in 1966.
 
Notre Dame Cathedral, located in a very peaceful picturesque corner in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, at No. 1 Cong truong Cong xa Paris Street, is constructed between 1863 and 1880 by the French colonists. Amidst an active and continuously moving Saigon today, the French-influenced design of Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral still acts as a stop for people who seek for old beauties and calmness. Not only followers keep praying under candle lights in front of Virgin Mary statue everyday but tourists and local people also come there to discover the true soul of the city.
 
 
Central Post Office: Located right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City - at No 2, Paris Commune Street, District 1, the Central Post Office is one of the oldest buildings in Ho Chi Minh City. It was built around 1886 – 1891, based on the design of Gustave Eiffel – a famous French architect and has become a significant symbol of the city, just like its opposite neighbor Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral. It has long been the busiest post office of the country.
 
 
Hai Thuong Lan Ong Quarter: in the 5th District, called China town, had been the biggest trade center of Chinese in Vietnam. Hai Thuong Lan Ong is the street where are concentrated a large number of herbal medicines stalls. The People’s Committee has presented a project for the restoration and preservation of this historic Cho Lon ancient quarter.
 
 
ANCIENT PAGODAS, CHINESE TEMPLES
 
Giac Lam Pagoda located at 118 Lac Long Quan, in the 23rd ward of Tan Binh district, in the Phu Tho Hoa region of the city, is a historic Buddhist pagoda. Built in 1744, it is one of the oldest temples in the city. It was officially listed as a historical site by the Vietnamese Department of Culture on November 16, 1988.
 
 
Thien Hau Temple, at No 710 Nguyen Trai Street, located in the center of Chinatown, is dedicated to Thien Hau, the Goddess of the Sea and Protector of Sailors. It was built by the Cantonese Congregation in 1760 in order to express their gratitude to this Goddess for her protection during their immigration trip to Vietnam by sea. 
 
COMMERCIAL CENTERS
 
Ben Thanh Market, standing at a modern and crowded corner of the business district, is absolutely a must-see attraction of the most dynamic city of Vietnam. Built in 1870 by the French, the market was initially called Les Halles Centrales before being renamed Ben Thanh in 1912. From a wet market created by street vendors by the early 17th century, Ben Thanh has experienced many ups and downs throughout its history, and is now the oldest surviving market and one of symbols of Ho Chi Minh city. That makes it a must for any visitors travelling to this 300-year-old city. From clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry to kitchen ware, grocery, sweets... every thing that HCMC residents need for their daily life can be found here. Nowadays, tourists can find all kinds of souvenirs here.
 
 
Ben  Thanh  Market
 
Binh Tay Market, located on Thap Muoi Street, District 6, is the largest marketplace before the road leading West to the Mekong Delta, via a very important ground transportation hub. Despite many wars over the years, Binh Tay Market has always been a major business hub not only for the local Vietnamese and Chinese, but also for the Vietnamese farmers trading daily goods coming from all directions of South Vietnam.
It was built, or at least heavily financially supported by a Chinese businessman named Quach Dam, in the 2nd decade of the 20th century.
 
 
Saigon Tax Trade Center, at No 135 Nguyen Hue Street, District 1, is a big four-floor shopping mall packed with cosmetics, sportswear, home wear, electronics, souvenirs and clothing shops in a comfortable environment and for a competitive price. The top-floor supermarket here offers good range of products with incredible prices.

The Saigon Tax Trade Center has officially closed down since 2 p.m. on September 25, 2014  for construction of Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro project.

 
Modern malls: Vincom A, Vincom B, Diamond Plaza, Parkson, Crescent Mall, Aeon Mall.
 
 
                               Diamond Plaza shopping center                                                Vincom shopping center
 
 
ENTERTAINMENT  PLACES
 
Dam Sen Cultural Park is an amusement park located in District 11.The park has an area of 50 hectares, of which 20% comprises lakes and 60% trees and gardens.
The park comprises 30 areas: games zones, theater, gardens, fishing areas, cultural square, water musical scene, bowling area, sport services area, crayfish fishing lake, Thuy Ta restaurant, children's play area, picture lamps, nine fragment edge, Monorail station, and Monorail track...
 
 
Dam  Sen  Cultural  Park
 
The park has a number of features unique in Vietnam: its 2 km monorail affording views from five meters above the ground; adventure boats that cross the waterfall; and the unusual "Roman" square, featuring European flowers including roses, classical Roman-style stone pillars, statues, and a musical water show with 3,000 seats. This water display, located just behind the European flower garden, was built in 2005 at a cost of 12 billion dong and placed behind the Europe flower garden. It features a musical performance on a specially designed stage featuring water sprays and laser lights, with films projected onto a 28-meter-high screen of water. The technique was based on a similar display in Sentosa Island in Singapore.
 
Suoi Tien Theme Park, located about 40 minutes from downtown Ho Chi Minh City, in Thu Duc district, is the biggest cultural theme park of Ho Chi Minh City. The park is famous for its Oriental architecture, with the concept based on oriental beliefs. This concept is shown by all the statues, buildings and games in the park. They symbolise the wish for peace, happiness and wealth. Tourists visiting Suoi Tien can learn about legendary history of Vietnamese people.
 
 
Suoi  Tien  Theme  Park
 
 
Binh Quoi Tourist Villages: The two Binh Quoi Villages offer quite similar services and both reflect particular scenery of the Mekong Delta region. Just 15 minutes away from busy and crowded downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Quoi Villages gives a completely relaxing experience. These sites are endowed with valuable airy premises and fresh atmosphere, thanks to the Thanh Da Peninsula where sit the two villages.
 
 
There, tourists can find themselves drowned in the charming beauty of a bygone Mekong Delta, with gigs, a blue canal, dinghies, a rough monkey bridge and thatched cottages among lush water coconut trees. Moreover, a culinary buffet program is held outdoors weekly, where numerous dishes from hundreds of years ago are served in a harmonious blend of people an nature. There are also rowing boats, fishing and folk games available for those who seek activities. 
 
Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden - As one of the oldest zoos in the world, the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden is famous not only with Vietnamese but also with foreign visitors. It is the home for many rare orchids, ornamental plants, and over a hundred species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden is a cultural place of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). It was ranked 8th among the oldest zoos in the world. Up to now, it is 133 years old. Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden is located on 2B Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, District 1. The zoo has two gates: the main gate is on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street at the corner of Le Duan Street, and the other one is on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street.
 
Water Puppet Theatre - Water puppet is a traditional art performance that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. The puppets are made out of wood and then lacquered. The shows are performed in a waist-deep pool. A large rod supports the puppet under the water and is used by the puppeteers, who are normally hidden behind a screen, to control them. Thus the puppets appear to be moving over the water. When the rice fields would flood, the villagers would entertain each other using this form of puppet play.
 
  
Water  Puppet
 
Water puppet show may be watched at:
Rong Vang Water Puppet Theater, 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street, District 1
HCMC Museum of History, 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem street, District 1
Thao Dien Village, 195 Nguyen Van Huong street, Thao Dien, District 2
 
Hon Viet The Soul of Vietnam : Hon Viet is a unique, high quality culture show presented every 15th and 23rd of the month at the Saigon Opera House. It is a magic theatrical experience of music, dance, song and folk tales. Hon Viet is highly popular with both visitors and Vietnamese nationals. Launched in 2011,  Hon Viet provides a highly professional, but fun and affordable introduction to Vietnamese music and culture, at the most prestigious stage venue in Ho Chi Minh City.
 

 

Some  scenes  in Hon Viet  show

 

 

 

 

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Our Trip in Vietnam

Have you ever thought about going to the other side of the earth? I hadn’t until Noelle E. and David asked me to travel with them to Vietnam. After traveling 10,000 miles,...

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