2 Nights and 1 Day in Ho Chi Minh City, VietNam

I started a new segment in my blog since a lot of my followers asked for a sample travel itinerary. I called it, the Globetrotter’s Path. In this section, I’ll be making blog entries on how I spent my travels in a very brief and detailed way which includes tour destinations and timetables. Here is my travel route when I was in HCMC or Saigon, VietNam.

Night 1: Arrival in HCMC, VietNam

0100H – Arrived at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport and went directly to Passpor Control.
0200H – Arrived and checked in at N.Y. Kim Phuong Hotel

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N.Y Kim Phuong Hotel Contact Details

0300H – Settled in the room and got some rest.

Day 1: Free and Easy Tour within Ho Chi Minh City, VietNam

0700H – Call time! Took a bath, getting dressed, and ate breakfast.
0930H – Start of the free and easy day tour in Saigon. First on the itinerary was Saigon Opera House.

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Saigon Opera House

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The AO Show in Saigon Opera House

Seeing Saigon Opera House will only take minutes if  you are not planning to get inside the opera house. It was never in my schedule to take a peek on the insides of the opera house. I only spent 10 minutes just taking photos of the Saigon Opera House.

1005H – Next was the famous Dong Khoi Street which is also known as the famous shopping street in Saigon. Since Saigon Opera House is already located in Dong Khoi street, I just followed the street to my next destination.

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Dong Khoi Street

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Versace outlet in Dong Khoi street

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1010H – Following the Dong Khoi street, we got to see Ủy Ban Nhân Dân Thành Phố Building or also known as the People’s Committee Hall but unfortunately, Ho Chi Minh Square was currently under renovation when we were there.

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UBND Thanh Pho Building

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1030H – Got to Reunification Palace which was my next destination but I also didn’t include it in my itinerary to see the inside of the museum and its gallery.

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Reunification Palace

It has an entrance fee and opens from 0800H to 1200H with 1 hour lunch break and resumes from 1300H to 1600H daily. It is known also as the Independence Palace.

1100H – Few blocks from the Reunification Palace was the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica. I spent 30 minutes in the basilica and took the time to pray for all the blessings I received. I also had time to snap some photos.

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Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

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Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

The basilica is in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It is located in downtown city and is also inspired in a French architecture.

1130H – Across the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica is the Central Post Office.

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Central Post Office

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1200H – Left the Central Post Office and went out to grab lunch. Whenever I travel, I always make sure to have time to take a rest. I went back to the hotel and took a nap.

1600H – Went back to the road and that time, I went out to the market. The most famous market is the Ben Thanh Market. It took about almost an hour to get there by walking even though it was just 1.3km away from the hotel due to I got easily distracted by how the Vietnamese people spend their everyday life on the streets. The very reason why I like walking and wandering around downtown cities.

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Ben Thanh Market

It is a large marketplace in central Ho Chi Minh and is popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, souvenirs, as well as local food cuisine. I spent an hour in the market just to get souvenirs.

Night 2: Possible Night Attractions

1800H – I passed by Mariamman Hindu Temple but the neighborhood where the temple was located was a little bit suspicious at that time so, I didn’t bother checking out and went out to get dinner before heading back to the hotel and sleep.

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Mariamman Hindu Temple

Tourist attractions at night:
-view of Saigon at night at Saigon Skydeck in BiTexco Financial Tower
-gamble at a casino in Saigon’s famous hotels
-getting drunk in Pham Ngu Lao which is the Backpacker’s hub
-enjoy music bars and night clubs
-cruise down the Saigon River while having dinner
-watch performances in Saigon Opera House
-shop until you drop in Ben Thanh Night Market

0600H – the next day, I checked out from the hotel and went to the bus station in Pham Ngu Lao Street to head to my next destination.

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Sightseeing While Venturing Viet Nam

If you are wondering why sightseeing in Viet Nam is venturing, then you need to find the answer when you get there and you will be amazed. If you have been there, then, you definitely know it is a risk doing sightseeing by foot on the road.

Well, Ho Chi Minh City is indeed an amazing city. It has a lot to offer to a traveler like me who is seeking for fun and adventure. In Ho Chi Minh City or also known as Saigon, you will see great and magnificent piece of architectural designs inspired from Europe. To mention the places I’ve been to are:

1. Saigon Opera House
It is located in the famous shopping street of Dong Khoi. Saigon Opera House is inspired in a French colonial architecture. Every night, they have a show for an affordable fee.

Saigon Opera House

Saigon Opera House

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The AO Show in Saigon Opera House

The AO Show in Saigon Opera House

2. Dong Khoi Street
The street itself is a tourist attraction. It has wide choices of store known locally and internationally. Thus, a lot of tourists comes to this street to shop.

Dong Khoi Street

3. People’s Committee Hall
They also called it Ủy Ban Nhân Dân Thành Phố Building. Too shame that I didn’t appreciate the view due to the current construction of a subway yet I was able to get some photos of the building. The façade of the building was amazing.

UBND Thanh Pho Building

4. Reunification Palace
The Reunification Palace is also one of the attractions in Viet Nam. It has an entrance fee and opens from 0800H to 1200H with 1 hour lunch break and resumes from 1300H to 1600H daily. It is known also as the Independence Palace. I have decided not to go inside because there were a lot of tourists and maybe it was overcrowded. I saw almost 5 big buses coming inside so, I have thought to just take pictures outside the palace.

Reunification Palace

5. Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
The cathedral is in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It is located in downtown city and is also inspired in a French architecture. Upon seeing the cathedral, I was astonished with its magnificent design. I have the opportunity to look on the interior design and it was stunning. Since I am a Catholic, I sat down and spent almost an hour of prayers there. I made also a wish because it was my first time to get inside the church. My family does that whenever we entered a new church.

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

View Inside the Basilica

6. Central Post Office
It is just across the street from Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica. Currently, they are doing restoration on the right wing of the building. But it still looked great.

Central Post Office

7. Bến Thành Market
This market is so famous in the country. It is a large marketplace in central Ho Chi Minh and is popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, souvenirs, as well as local food cuisine. Most vendors here were wearing the national costume called áo dài. When you want to buy something, you can haggle the price until you can buy it at its lowest cost. I bought my souvenir here.

Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market

Souvenir

Souvenir

Here is the tour map I followed during my free and easy tour and I did that by foot without any help of anything that has wheels.

Tour Map

Tour Map

OK, too much has been featured about this city yet you might still wonder why sightseeing in the country is risky. Well, in Viet Nam, most of the locals travel by motorcycle. They can take the motorbikes wherever they want to go, they even use footpaths as roads just to get away from traffic. So, if you are not careful enough, you might get hit by motorbike while walking in the sidewalk.

To sum it up, wandering in Ho Chi Minh City felt like I was somewhere in France. As you all know, Viet Nam has been under the French for quite some time during the years of 1862 to 1945. That might be the reason that most structures and buildings in the city are influenced by French.