Ho Chi Minh City must-dos!

by - 14:03

Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon in Vietnam was by far my favourite Asian city whilst on a 6-week backpacking holiday around Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. I don’t really know what it was – the locals seemed to be a lot nicer than in Thailand, perhaps because Thailand has quickly become overpopulated with tourists whilst Vietnam is a ‘new’ tourism location, and the overall vibe was a lot more chilled out. God, I do miss it – especially now that I am just going to the gym, working and sleeping everyday counting the days down until my next lie-in.

I have created a little itinerary on things to do in Saigon, Ho Chi Minh, whatever you fancy calling it. This has been based on my own opinion and a little help from my good friend Google, as I regretfully didn’t explore all of these places fully (aka the Post Office!) – not to worry, I am sure that I will be back.

1       Ben Thanh Market
Oh. My. God – my biggest regret is not buying any more stuff than I did – I bought a bag, a pair of Adidas leggings and an Adidas jumper. I remember saying to myself whilst in the market, ‘don’t buy too much now because there will be more markets throughout Vietnam’ – oh, how I was wrong. This is the best and biggest market for all of your fake stuff and the market owners love to haggle so you could get a pair of Yeezys for about £15, they rely on tourists obsessed with big name brands. They sell a lot more than that too, I bought a few t-shirts with Saigon on them, typical tourist crap, and there is also a section where you can try new Vietnamese foods. The market will take a good hour, maybe even 2, maybe even 3 if you are us – but don’t worry, there are food places and delis just outside to restore the energy for some more hardcore shopping.

2.     War Remnants Museum
In school, despite me doing history for 6 years in high school, we had never been taught about the Vietnam War. This museum, with vehicles such as tanks and jets in front of the building that was used in the war, has a good 4 floors packed with information and photos. It was so shocking to see what had actually gone on and even more shocking to see how the war was still affecting people today – such as Agent Orange, give this a Google and it will honestly make you so sad. The museum takes around 2/3 hours to go around each floor, I don’t really think you can visit Saigon without exploring more of their history.

3.     The Central Post Office
Isn’t it weird that day-to-day buildings such as a New York train station and even a few libraries across the world are now tourist attractions? Well that is just like the Central Post Office in Saigon. We didn’t go inside when we visited the city, but we drove past it and it really was a beautiful building. What I found most impressive about this (heard on our tourist bus with headphones) is that it was designed by Gustave Eiffel – who designed another famous building – clue is in the last name. whilst it is visited by tourists each day, it is still used by locals wanting to send their mail to family and friends. The interior is apparently stunning and there are also a few souvenir shops inside.

Cu Chi Tunnels
In all fairness, we had the worst experience here - not because of the quality of the day, but the fact that we were caught in the middle of the woods in a heavy, heavy, heavy storm. It is a bit of a drive from Ho Chi Minh itself, probably about 2 hours, so it is best to book onto a tour from one of the tour operators in the street, and don't forget to haggle the prices down. Not only will your tour guide tell you some interesting stories about the tunnels and how they were used during the Vietnam War, you will be given the chance to climb in and out of them. Personally, I didn't because I would never get back out, but credit to those who climbed in and out. This is the best I did (climbed down to the tunnel, realised how small it was, so climbed back up)

Get a caffeine fix!
If there is one thing that the Vietnamese are great for, it is their coffee. I mean, of course we all have Starbucks which is your average coffee chain that for some reason receives so much hype, but this is nothing on the coffee in Vietnam. What makes it so great is that their strong black coffee is mixed with condensed milk rather than normal, balancing the strength of the coffee with the sweet taste. Mmm - I have an iced coffee (which you can literally get everywhere!) and also a normal coffee, and both tastes delicious. Plus, I managed to spend my remaining dong in the airport on coffee to bring back to the UK - although it really isn't the same without their milk.

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