Tourists from around the world are discovering the delights to be found in Viet Nam, particularly Ho Chi Minh City. The city, formerly called Saigon, has grown and has delights both from the modern world, the Colonial times and further in the past.
The things that can be done in Ho Chi Minh City depend on what you, the traveler, seek. If you like history, it’s covered. If you like trying local cuisine, you have a lot of choices: everything from street food to luxury dining.
Food and drink
How would you like to enjoy a cocktail on the roof of a skyscraper overlooking the cityscape of the city? This is an option, and the bar is considered very nice. There are a lot of opportunities to enjoy the nightlife in HCMC, but more on that part later.
Luxury dining is excellent in the city. There are restaurants from cuisines far and wide, including traditional Vietnamese. Because the French occupied Viet Nam for so long, there are several excellent French restaurants.
If surf and turf is more your thing, there are a number of steak and seafood restaurants. Some make a point about the wines they offer, so if you enjoy the beverage, these places will delight you. Other choices include Italian, Japanese, Mexican and Chinese.
One of the greatest experience for any foodie when traveling to foreign countries is street food. The venders prepare quick food ready to eat. They are frequented by locals and tourists alike, and often have some of the best food in the country.
This is true of HCMC as well. In fact, several enterprising locals offer motorcycle tours to their favorite venders. If you find one who is also a travel guide, you may be able to scope out places you want to visit when the tour is done and/or you are full.
On the water
HCMC is located on the banks (both sides) of the Saigon River. This river provides a lot of things to do. If you are interested in history or geography, you can take a speedboat to the Mekong Delta. You can get there by road, but it is nowhere near as pleasant as via the river.
There are dinner cruises, cocktail cruises and sunset watching cruises. Some of these are combined to increase the amount of fun you may have using the waterways. Along the way you can see the cityscape and a lot of interesting aspects of life in Viet Nam.
Those with an interest in this subject have a great deal to do in HCMC. A large number of the French Colonial buildings are not just still standing; they are in use. One of the post offices in the city is in such a building so you can send off your postcards while studying architecture.
There are also modern skyscrapers in HCMC. Bitexco Tour used to be the tallest building in the city, but has been eclipsed by Landmark 81… the tallest building in Southeast Asia. Bitexco Tour is built in the shape of a lotus flower and is complete with a helicopter landing pad off to the side.
While many in the United States thinks of the Viet Nam War as a U.S. war only, that isn’t the case. Before the United States stepped in, it was the Vietnamese people were at war with the French. That means that the conflict went on far longer than the years the U.S. was involved.
Because this war lasted so many decades, there are a number of war memorials in the country. In Ho Chi Minh City, there are at least three sites that are a must for those interested in war history. The first two are attached; the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi tunnels. Afterwards, you may also want to visit the Reunification Palace.
If you are single and wish to mingle, HCMC has a lot to offer. If you are married and would like a bit of the nightlife with your significant other, there is just as much. One of these is called Nguyen Hue Walking Street.
The streets of HCMC where vehicular traffic is constant is also chaotic. Cars, trucks and motorcycles have to contend with bicycles and rickshaws. On this street, you can walk in safety and enjoy whatever parts of nightlife you prefer.