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What to See and Do in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

by Jarone Ashkenazi

Nov 30, 2023

© Takahiro Sanui | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Asia

Ho Chi Minh City is the most-populous city in Vietnam, known for its historic landmarks, well-preserved French colonial architecture and vibrant street life. It’s home to Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport, the busiest airport in the country, and is the business and financial hub of Vietnam. Named after the revolutionary leader who declared independence back in 1945, the city is organized into districts, each offering its own unique offerings. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City:

 

War Remnants Museum

As the best museum in the city, it is located in District 3 and gives visitors a deep understanding of the conflict with the United States that lasted nearly 20 years. The museum is essential to understanding the devastating impact the conflict had on Vietnamese civilians, as well as containing exhibits relating to the First Indochina War.

 

The Independence Palace

Also known as Reunification Palace, it was the home and workplace of the president of the Republic of Vietnam and the site of the Fall of Saigon, which ended the Vietnam War. Located in District 1, the palace is an incredible example of 1960’s architecture, and visitors can visit the bomb shelter in the basement along with an impressive bar on the second floor.

 

Jade Emperor Pagoda

Also known as Phước Hải Tự, this pagoda (a many-tiered Hindu or Buddhist temple or sacred building) is located in District 1, built in 1909 in honor of the supreme Taoist god. From its dozens of statues of phantasmal divinities to the elaborate tile work on the roof, the smoke of incense (huong) surrounds the pagoda.

 

Ho Chi Minh City Post Office

Constructed in the late 1800s with Gothic architectural influences, the post office is located in District 1 and is the most magnificent piece of French architecture in the city. From the marble floors and grand arches to the old wooden telephone booths, the post office is actually still in use, and visitors can buy a few postcards from one of the souvenir stands to send to friends and family back home.

 

Cu Chi Tunnels

Used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, the Cu Chi Tunnels are 75 miles of interconnecting tunnels under the city. Visitors can discover the tunnels’ wartime significance and get first-hand experience by crawling two tunnels and visiting a shooting range.

 

Other top attractions include strolling along the Pedestrian Mall, dining on dumplings in Chinatown, seeing the skyline from Bitexco Tower, eating seafood on Vinh Khanh Street and partying on Bui Vien Street.

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