Sai Gon

Overview

Ho Chi Minh City also called Saigon until now by many people. Perhaps the name Saigon is too familiar to people hundreds of years and perhaps it is short and easy to remmember. Saigon has a history of more than 300 years since the Nguyen Lords, it became the capital of Vietnam when the country was divided in 1954. When the country was unified in 1975, Saigon was renamed after the adoption of voting by local people.
 
Saigon is Vietnam's largest city, with a population of 10 million people. Also the place is considered the most vibrant economies of Vietnam. So Saigon is said to dreamland of the Central and Southern people. 

With its favorable geographical position, near the sea, rivers and central plains. Saigon is a major point of trade with countries in the West for hundreds of years. There was a time Saigon was called the 'Pearl of the Orient' of Vietnam. For tourism, Saigon is an important gateway to Mighty Mekong Delta in the west, Cambodia (Moc Bai) border gate in the southwest and a series of coastal provinces in the North.

The best time to go to Saigon from January to June, this season in the dry season also known as Saigon, tropical climate, but little rainfall. The remaining months of the year is the rainy season, but the rains are short and very finishes quickly in later afternoon which probably will not affect tourist activities much. 

Like Hanoi, Saigon-flavored food special combination of the southern provinces. People use a lot of sugar saigon, often quite spicy food but cooking process is quite simple compare to Northern people.

China Town

Chinatown can be found anywhere, Saigon is not an exceptional. Chinese community was one of the founder group in Saigon. With population of over 1 million people are habited in District 5, District 11 and District 6, Chinese is a part of Saigon, a part of Saigon's culture. They are in great unity and autonomy, most of their cultural works from their homeland of China were brought to Vietnam as temples, ancestor, and of course a way of life too. The largest Chinese community in Saigon is from Guangzhou China. 

What to see?

Saigon can keep you happy for several weeks. You can go to Vung Tau beach which is just more than an hour away by speed ferry or visit the Cu Chi tunnels which is about 50km from the centre. If you have more time, you also can visit the Mekong Delta, visiting locals and overnight at homestay. Here, we will show you a few great spots for sightseeing in the city.

Unification Palace
The first was built of wood in 1863 during French occupation under the name of a Cambodian king Norodom. In 1955, Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem renamed to the Unification Palace. Unification Palace today is a must visiting place for people travel to saigon. It located right heart of the city and can be reachable by foot within a few minutes from Saigon center.


The War Remnants Museum
It contents a full picture of Vietnam Wars since thousand years ago but much focusing on recent war of Vietnam War. It includes some shocked photos taken by international photographers and an outside exhibits that related to Vietnam war with tanks, helicopters and canons. Recommended for people who interested in Vietnam War and all about. 

Dragon Pier (Bến Nhà Rồng)
Place where Ho Chi Minh left Vietnam in 1911 for France. Before that, Dragon Pier used to be the main trading centre of Saigon that built by French in 1864. After Vietnam War in 1975, the Pier became Ho Chi Minh Memorial House

All highlighted places above are included in our tour call 'Saigon City Tour'. It can be done within a day plus another site of China Town. 

Where to eat?

Saigon is paradise of food. It's easily to find a five star restaurant like Nam Kha or Minh Dynesty or just couple of dollars meal on streetside in China Town. Our recommendations are mixture of local food stalls and finest restuurants in town. 

Local foods
  • Southern Rice Pancake (Banh Xeo) - 46a - Dinh Cong Trang - District 1 - Ho Chi Minh City: A local place serving main course of Pancake (wheat, bean spouts, pork and vegetables)
  • Southern Rice Noodle with Pork Broth (Banh Canh) - 443 Nguyen Tri Phuong - District 10 - Ho Chi Minh City
  • Fresh springroll of Trang Bang (Banh Trang Phoi Suong) - 106 Cao Thang - District 3 - Ho Chi Minh City
  • Pho Le (Vietnamese noodle soup) - 303 - 305 Vo Van Tan - Ward 5 - District 3 - Ho Chi Minh City City: A typical Vietnamese Noodle Soup in Southern Style!
Western food
  • Good Moring Vietnam: 197 De Tham - District 1 - Ho Chi Minh City: Pizza and Pasta House in town!
  • Au Manior De Khai: 251 Dien Bien Phu - District 3 - Ho Chi Minh City
You may also want to read more about food at Vietnam travel blog of our Manager

Getting to Saigon & Transfers

Saigon is a large city. Network traffic is very busy from morning to late night. Public transport system does not develop enough cause traffic Jam gets badly especially on rush hours. If you want to go from point A to point B, we always recommend you to add extra time to avoid late or missed flight. Taxi transportation is a common tourist, but you always must be alert to the taxi scam. Like Hanoi, Saigon has dozens of flights to and from the parts of Vietnam. Train is cheaper and safer than the local bus. Some travel company arrange Open Bus for tourist with better plan and quality if you want to travel with stops on the way. 

More links: Saigon Airport transfers or you may want to book an air ticket or Northbound train ticket

Health Care

Health services in Saigon, as well as other big cities in Vietnam divided into two groups, group 1 for local people and group 2 for  foreigners. Group for foreigners usually reserved for tourists or expats, this people often have health insurance because the cost here is really expensive. Some weathy Vietnamese also use this service. The second group for local people, who gets low-income or cheap social insurance. There are very few tourists going to local hospital because of language barriers and physical conditions very different from the standard hospital in the West. Below are some of addresses that meet international standard clinics:
  • Internation SOS Saigon:  167a - Nam Ky Khoi Nghia - District 3 - Ho Chi Minh City
  • FV Hospital Saigon: 06 Nguyen Luong Bang (Phu My Hung) - District 7 - Ho Chi Minh City

 

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