Saigon or HO Chi Minh City is a hot spot for transient tourists. Having a strategic geographic location just a few hundred kilometers from the Cambodian border and being connected by land to the other beautiful cities of Vietnam, travelers who aim to travel across Indochina spend a couple of days in Vietnam’s main business district. One need not spend a long time in the city to see the main historical sites, knowing where to go is the key to covering Saigon essentials in just 3 days. Here’s an ideal itinerary…
The one day city tour can include the structures in the city that greatly reflect the city’s history. Start the tour with the Notre Dam Church which shows the attempt of the French colonizers to spread the Catholic faith in Vietnam. The church boasts of a distinct European structure and stands proudly in the center of the central business district. A few meters across the street from the Notre Dam Cathedral is the post-office which is known for using the old-fashioned technique in sending out letters. The post-office also prides itself of a distinct French architecture inside and out.
The next stop is the reunification palace, historically relevant for being the home of the president before the fall of Saigon. The palace is a peak into the president’s life and surrounding before abdicating to the North. Currently, the structure stands as a symbol of the unity of North and South Vietnam. The palace has also been turned into a popular location for elegant events.
A break from the scorching heat would then be needed. For those who are hungry for Vietnamese food, the famous Pho (noodle soup) restaurant is Pho 2000 located at Le Loi Street. Any local can point tourists to the right place. The humble restaurant boasts of serving popular figures in the past, including the ex-US president Bill Clinton whose photo still adorns the restaurant’s wall. The next stop is the famous Ben Than market where shopaholics will go crazy with trinkets for souvenirs, beaded bags and local delicacies such as coffee, cashew nuts, almonds, among many others!
After a good nap to recuperate from the heat and sweat, get dressed for a night out. Head to the historical architecture called the “Opera House.” Another structure that is distinctly European holds occasional Operas and other cultural show. Underneath the Opera House is the popular night spot called Q Bar that offers a huge maze-like interior and a wide variety of cocktails.
Wake up at 7:30 AM the next day and head to Pha Ngu Lao street to book a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This famous city underground was home to Vietnamese soldiers during the American war. It shows the brilliance of the Vietnamese in the battlefield. The tour ends around 2PM which gives enough time for the War Remnants Museum back in the city. This museum holds photos of the war atrocities brought about by the Americans. It gives a good look at what the people suffered from. At night, dress casually and have a few drinks at Go 2 in Pha Ngu Lao Street. The easy-going atmosphere is a great way to shake-off the war mood!
The last day can be spending on a whole day tour to the Mekong Delta. Again, tour operators at Pha Ngu Lao Street can arrange the whole day tour which starts at around 8 Am and ends around 6PM. The Mekong Delta is a peak in the regular lives of fishermen and their families in the fishing village. The river cruise is a wild experience of old Asia!