In less than a decade, Saigon Vietnam has transformed itself into a dynamic Asian boomtown. Everything here is exotic, unique, and absolutely worth discovering. You will get lost in time, in tons of tasty food and among the endless aisles of local specialties.
1. Get lost in time
Museums in Saigon
Many of the most famous attractions in Saigon can take you back in time. Various religious and historical sites here were built centuries ago with unique architectural features. War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace, and Central Post Office are some of the top choices for everyone to discover more the war era and also the classic 20th-century French-influenced buildings. There are collections of posters, photographs, videos and all kinds of armored vehicles. Even artillery pieces, bombs, and infantry weapons are on display. You’ll be lost in a warfare ambiance, just like the past come to life.
Religious attractions in Saigon can also make you forget the present in a rather calmer and peaceful way. Buddhism pagodas, Muslim Mosques, and Catholic cathedrals are best places to find your inner side amidst this bustling city or just sightseeing. Churches and cathedrals here were mainly from the 19th century, with a glimpse of French and Roman architectural style. Besides Notre Dame de Saigon, right opposite of the Central Post Office and perhaps the most famous one, you might want to visit Tan Dinh church (the pink church), Ky Dong church, Huyen Sy church. Remember to bring your camera to capture stunning moments.
The temples and pagodas in Saigon are not just wonderful sights for tourists to visit and religious centers where Buddhists and Taoists practice their beliefs but also a place for organizing cultural and charity events for everybody to attend. Statues, writings, intricate carvings and colorful mosaics create a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere, intensified by the omnipresent scent of aromatic incense.
The best time to visit temples and pagodas in Saigon is early morning since there are fewer people then so you can spend your time enjoy the peaceful ambiance. You may spot several monks praying or doing morning chores to start their day. Famous Buddhism places for you are Giac Lam Pagoda – the city’s oldest pagoda, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda – the tallest stone tower In Vietnam, and Nam Thien Nhat Tru Pagoda – the Southern One Pillar pagoda. For Hindus, you can Mariamman Temple dedicated to Mariamman – the God of fertile land, excellent crop, good health, and happy life.
2. Lost in the taste of local food
Most people will agree Saigon is the food capital of Vietnam. Prepare yourself (and your stomach) cause this city is the best place to discover the variety of Vietnamese cuisine. From fancy restaurants to vendor stalls, you can always find some things you’ve never tasted before. Thousands of vendors in this frenetic city lure the senses with herbs like coriander, cilantro, and lemongrass.
Famous food streets here are Van Kiep Street, Su Van Hanh St., Vinh Khanh St., Co Giang St. and Nguyen Thuong Hien St. Throughout the city, you might also encounter various restaurants serving Indian, Korean. Chinese or Western cuisine and more. International fast-food chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, Lotteria, Carl’s Junior, Burger King and so on are available around the city.
One more thing you should take some time to discover is those so-call Saigon’s secret coffee shops. Thousands of independent cafes with retro or indie vibes hide in narrow alleyways, among colonial villas, or in old apartments. Vietnamese have a special way to enjoy their coffee time, some may call that’s a culture. Going for a cup of coffee is similar to taking a break from the heat. And though you’ll have to wait for a while for the freshly roasted ground beans, it’s totally worth it. Sit down, relax and enjoy a cup of “ca phe sua da” like a real local.
3. Lost in local shopping places
Saigon Vietnam is truly a wonderland for shopping lovers, whether it’s high-end designer label brand boutiques, vibrant shopping malls or busy local markets. You can find almost everything you need. There are popular wares like clothing, footwear, jewelry, foods and home décor. There’re also some unique souvenirs like old propaganda posters, tailor-made T-shirts, beaded handbags and so on. You can find Traditional handicrafts like bamboo-ware, ceramics, and lacquerware in local malls or marketplaces.
For international brands and luxury shopping, the best places to go are Vincom Center and Union Square, Crescent Mall, Diamond Plaza, Bitexco, and Parkson Plaza. You may want to To find the best bargains on clothes and souvenirs, you should find Saigon Squares, Zen Plaza, Lucky Plaza, or get to any markets around the city. Ben Thanh market, Binh Tay market, and Ly Chinh Thang shopping street are most well-known.