Vietnam in Brief – A Quick Guide to Saigon
A Quick Guide to Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon as the locals call it), is a young city with big dreams. It is Vietnam’s most developed city and it screams cool. Sky rise buildings topped with swanky cocktail bars dot the landscape. Art house installations adorn old warehouses. Cool cafes catering to young hipsters have taken over the sidewalks. The street food has been moved in doors and given an upgrade at Ben Thanh Market.
What to do and see in Saigon
Get yourself a mod suit
Hoi An’s tailors may be good but Saigon’s are out of this world. If you are looking for something special (and have the cash to splash) check out Saigon’s new generation of ultra-cool tailors and cobblers.
See the sights
Saigon isn’t all new. For history buffs there is plenty to do. Don’t miss the confronting War Remnants Museum for an in-depth presentation of the American War in Vietnam. Check out the Cu Chi Tunnels for a slice of Viet Cong life. And visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office for a taste of French colonial architecture. If you’re into photography try out Nguyen Hue walking street which features regular exhibitions.
Check out Saigon’s creative underground
Saigon is where Vietnam’s creatives go to live and play. If you miss their work you’re missing the best Vietnam has to offer. Make sure you check out Saigon’s cool cafes, independent clothes stores, excellent music nights, art installations and newest restaurants by visiting saigoneer.com
Pick up some home comforts
If you’ve been missing home comforts on your journey then Saigon is a great place to stock up. As well as hosting great western restaurants (and Vietnam’s only McDonalds) you can pick up western clothes, medicines and toiletries in one of Saigon’s megamalls.
Visit the Mighty Mekong
The Mekong River is teeming with river life, floating villages, submerged forests and vast fruit plantations. Just a few hours drive from Ho Chi Minh City it’s a great way to get out of the city and see a different side of Vietnam.
How’s the food?
Diverse. Saigon’s street food is sweeter and spicier than that found in Hoi An or Ha Noi but it’s still absolutely delicious. For a taste of everything head to the special street food market behind Ben Thanh Market to try out the city’s most famous dishes. Saigon also has Vietnam’s finest western and Chinese food. Burritos, burgers, pizzas, pastas and curries can be found all over the city. There are plenty of fine dining options for those looking to splash out too.
Plan your time here wisely. It’s a huge city with a lot to do. If you aren’t careful you can spend most of your time battling the traffic and being sucked into tourist traps. The Saigoneer.com has great listings.
Is Saigon for you?
If you want to experience a developed Asian city, soaking in creativity and cool then Saigon is perfect for you. Saigon is well developed and shares more in common with modern Bangkok than it’s Northern sister Hanoi. If you’re looking for an old worldy, traditional Asian town you might want to give it a miss.
The best time to go to Saigon
Any time is good but December to April is best. The temperature is cooler and drier than most other times of the year. May to November is rainy season with high humidity, temperatures above 30c and frequent heavy showers.
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