Looking for things to do in Saigon. You won’t be disappointed as Saigon or it’s new name Ho Chi Minh City is awash in investment currently. The cities first modern skyscraper is open and there is a modern condo facility on posh Dong Koi street. Most of it’s most worthy sites are snuggled safely in it’s wealthiest, District 1.
- Chu Chi Tunnels (pr: Gu Chi tunnels)- Viet Cong tunnels about 45 minutes outside of the city. Simply sign up for a tour through your hotel.
- War Remnants Museum– Great perspective of how Vietnam saw the war, which they call the American War.
- Crossing the street – It’s seriously insane over there.
- Drink on top of the Rex Hotel– Besides the insane view of Hotel de Ville, Opera House and traffic round about, there is lots of history here. The Rex Hotel was a daily briefing center for GI’s during the war. Hotel Caravelle was for the journalists.
- Saigon Opera house/Hotel de Ville/Post office – marvelous examples of French architecture during height of it’s power in Vietnam.
- Ben Thanh market – The Swiss army knife of Vietnamese markets and about 10 minute walk from the Rex Hotel.
- Notre Dame Cathedral – A gorgeous gift and reminder of French colonial times.
- Dong Khoi Street – The Rodeo Drive of Saigon. Saigon has come a long way in terms of high end shopping (Chanel, Hugo Boss, Prada), whether you believe in the money laundering stories or not.
- Trung Nguyen Cafe – This is arguably the best coffee in Vietnam and there are cafes all over Saigon (think the Starbucks of Saigon). Stop in for an iced coffee, made with condensed milk for the sweetest libation in this world. Don’t forget to buy a bag to take home with you.
- Reunification Palace – Originally built by the Colonial French in 1858, the palace was then bombed early in the Vietnam conflict only to be torn down and a splendid 1960’s architecture edifice put in it’s place. Mainly empty now, the palace has some restored war rooms and offices from it’s height of power in the 60’s and 70’s. Nice parks to relax surround the palace.
Scam Warning: Beware when in District 1 of a popular scam being perpetrated by a group of Philippino’s, it’s called the 21 card scam. Basically they try to sweet talk you through any means necessary to have lunch where a card card shortly ensues with a wealthy,white, ignorant card player. You are taught how to cheat at this game by the dealer on the guise that you can use this info in Vegas or some other gambling establishment and before you know what’s what, you are thrust into a game with $200 of the scammers money as start-up capital. Seems harmless at first but you are soon asked to ante up in order to win the current hand, which, thanks to the cheating tips beforehand, you know you are 100% going to win. I attached a link to a website with the scammers pictures. I have traveled pretty extensively for 10 years and still fell prey to this scam, although, they didn’t get 1 dime of my money. At least I have a good story to tell.
TIP: Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam and thus has the greatest number of motorbikes. Don’t be dismayed as this suckers whizz and whirl through traffic and honk all day and night.