Where to Visit in Ho Chi Minh?
Ho Chi Minh also known as Saigon by the local Vietnamese, is the most action-packed cities in Vietnam. There are so many spectacular places to see and so many delicious foods to eat.
This historical city witnessed a number of devastating wars and went through a plethora of ups and downs, but is still standing tall, proving Vietnamese are a resilient lot.
Ho Chi Minh was originally a part of Cambodia which was taken over by the Vietnamese back in the 17th Century.
Khmers ruled Saigon until the Vietnamese overthrew them. In 1859 French attacked and captured Saigon and made it the capital of Cochin China. At that time, the French colony constructed a lot of buildings and broad boulevards with elegant architectural designs which are still present to this day. Finally in 1969, Ho Chi Minh saw one of the most controversial wars of its history which is called the Second Indochina War. You may know it as the Vietnam war.
But if you think that Ho Chi Minh is all about war and dramatic history then you are wrong. There are a number of things that you can do in this dynamic city of Vietnam.
Chu Chi Tunnel Tour
Chu Chi tunnel tour is the most popular tour among international visitors and local alike. This tunnel tour gives the visitors a glimpse of the lives of soldiers during the Vietnam war. These tunnels are now part of a war museum. This interesting site is covered with 120 km of underground tunnels.
Not only that, this site is even equipped with trapdoors, kitchens, living rooms, hospitals, storage area and command centers. These tunnels were expanded after the war against French. The later version of the tunnels has air filtration system. This helped the soldiers to survive the Chu Chi carpet bombing.
There are numerous activities to enjoy in this site. For the convenience of the visitors, parts of the Chu Chi tunnels have been widened so that they can crawl in a better manner. For safety purposes, they have installed emergency exists point after every 10 meters. But be aware of the fact that the whole tunnel trips could be hazardous to people who have a breathing problem.
photo: Boordo @Instagram
Interestingly, there are even demonstration and food tasting of the meals that soldiers had to live on. It will take a half day for the complete tour.
video: singh.sumeet1990 @Instagram
For those of you who are longing to put your Battlefield or Counter Strike skills to the test, there is an on ground shooting range available as well. The gun of choice would be the legendary AK-47 rifle and M30 machine gun.
Enjoy The Water Puppet Show
If you intend to get some cultural essence of Vietnam, then head on to the water puppet theater. The place of origin of water puppetry is in the rural villages of Red River Delta. This light entertainment is part of the Vietnam culture for the past 1000 years. This theater is a perfect place in Ho Chi Minh City for families to enjoy
This is a light source of entertainment compared to the War Remnants Museum. Apparently this water puppet show is presented in Vietnamese, but don’t worry the motions and actions of the puppets are so easy to understand that language does not becomes a barrier.
I was mostly intrigued by the live music and this part was icing on the cake for me. There are many talented musicians who uses traditional instruments such as two stringed violins and bamboo flute. The water in the theater might not bother you but beware because you might be the victim of the splashes
Join the Cooking Classes
Vietnamese food is one of its kind. It is one of the first fusion cuisines. Whereas when you have tasted and you are now a fan of this cuisine then try for yourself.
Yes, you can learn how to cook Vietnamese food in Ho Chi Minh. These cooking classes are mostly offered by the top restaurants and hotels. Bi Saigon Cooking Classes is one of them. These cooking classes take place in Bi Saigon Hotel and Restaurant. Here you will get to learn traditional Vietnamese recipes.
When you visit Ho Chi Minh, not only the place welcomes you with the essence of history but also with its food.
There is no particular time set for these classes as they are held at the request of the visitors. Hoa Tuc Restaurant Cooking Class is another cooking class where you can learn how to cook fusion Vietnamese cuisine. The Hoa Tuc Restaurant holds classes twice a day.
Last but not the least, Many Trip’s very own Cooking Class. Our cooking class is priced at a very affordable rate and provides you with authentic local chefs with authentic local cooking and flavors. Our dishes and ingredients are 100% local and are not made to cater to foreign tastebuds. We want to provide you with a true authentic experience that you will surely never forget. I mean look at the smiles on their faces…. Awww… That is a smile of satisfaction!
Witness The History
Museums are always an interesting place to visit and the same goes for this museum as well. This museum consists of artifacts and images that focus mainly on the Vietnam War and the first Indochina War.
The artifacts in this museum portray the pain and horror related to war. By the images, I could feel the suffering that this war-worn nation had gone through. The displays even included “tiger cages” which were used for the Viet Cong prisoners. It was so surprising for me to find out that in the courtyard of the museum they displayed many weapons and vehicles that belonged to the military period.
Beware that there are some exhibits which are not suitable for children. It is best to start the tour of War Remnants Museum from the topmost floor as the intensity of the exhibits is lighter on the ground floor.
Be A Part of a Food Tour
One of the best thing that you can do in Ho Chi Minh is the food tour. You do not have to be a foodie to enjoy the food tours. But if you are one then it will be a heavenly experience for you. it is an interesting and unique concept of the Vietnamese to make visitors familiar with their cuisine.
The Pho Trail, it is a morning walking tour. At the first stop of this tour, you will be served noodles. Finish the noddle you can then head on to the next stop around the back streets that will serve you Com Tam which mean broken rice. If you are not hungry then you can keep collecting the food.
Next comes the section where you will find pickled, dried and fresh products. Finally, a few steps away you will find a peaceful park where you will find rice restaurants. It is not possible to keep eating food at every stop but what is important here is the four and half hour tour.
This is not just the one tour that you will find in Ho Chi Minh city whereas there are many. Explore every tour and relish the taste of Vietnam cuisine as much as possible.
Experience The Beauty If 19th Century Temple
If you want to experience 19th century Chinese’s life, then you should definitely visit Thien Hau Temple. It is one of the most visited spots in Ho Chi Minh City. This temple was dedicated to Thien Hau, who is the Lady of the Sea according to Chinese tradition.
This temple in the city is not only visited by tourists but the local people even pay their visit. As I entered the temple I could see intense fog all around me. This was because of the candle flickers; the fog was so dense that it was really hard for me to get a clear view of the sunlight.
A parade takes place on the 23rd day of the lunar month in this temple and it is considered as one of the auspicious days. On the way to the Thien Hau Temple, mindfully visit the Binh Tay Market. You will find many winsome classical Chinese architectures.
Mekong River Delta Tour
Mekong river tour is another interesting tour that you must add to your bucket list of things to do in Ho Chi Minh. The Mekong river is even known as the “rice bowl of Asia”. The reason behind this is the emerald paddy field. The land surrounding this river is fertile and rich that it portrays a scenic view.
While moving on to the tour, you either take a cruise or a boat. But a boat offers you a peaceful journey compared to a cruise. The river tour by boat is slow compared to cruise but you can enjoy every passing moment when you are in it. If you are a hurry and want to only view the highlight of this Mekong river journey, then the cruise is a better option that you have got.
Most travelers in this tour choose boat over cruise because of the extra noise it makes. The highlight of this tour is visiting the local farm and learning about the life of the people who live by the side of the Mekong river. The traditional rural life of this place is even a fascinating thing to evidence. Along the way, you will even find Buddha pagoda and Cao Dai Temple.
Looking to jump on the next plane to Ho Chi Minh? Check out our range of tours below. Prices are super affordable, you’ll want to go for more than one tour.