Ho Chi Minh is an energetic city in southern Vietnam that is a must stop for any traveler. As our first destination in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh was a lot to take in all at once. Here is a list of things that we did during our stay that really made the trip for us. Check out our post on our YouTube channel here to watch how our days in Ho Chi Minh transpired.
1. War Remnants Museum
War Remnants Museum
A trip to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh is a must for anyone who wants to know more about the American war in Vietnam. Once called the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes, the War Remnants Museum offers an in depth look at one of the most controversial wars in history. Displayed inside the museum are hundreds of photos from over 133 war photographers including the legendary Tim Page. Ak-47s, grenade launchers, and other weapons used during the war are showcased throughout the museum. Just outside of the museum visitors can view tanks, fighter jets, and artillery weapons used by American and North Vietnamese militaries. The museum is open between the hours of 7:30am-12:00pm and 1:30pm-5:00pm with the admission price of 15,000d. For more information visit http://warremnantsmuseum.com/
2. Notre Dame Cathedral
With 40 meter high towers tipped with iron spires, red brick walls stained-glass windows, the Notre Dame Cathedral is truly a sight to behold. Built between 1877 and 1883, the cathedral has been a place for prayer for worship for those living in Ho Chi Minh City. Visitors to the cathedral are offered information from English-speaking staff from the hours of 9:00am-11:00am Monday through Saturday. Fun fact for those who love photography: across the street to the left of the cathedral there is a woman who sells bird feed for visitors to feed the local pigeons. The pigeons are friendly and will get very close to visitors feeding them. When timed right, you can get the most epic shot of the birds scattering away from the street and arching over the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Notre Dame Cathedral
3. Central Post Office
Located just to the right of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office showcases beautiful French architecture from a time long ago. Built between 1886 and 1891, this still operational post office displays historic maps of Vietnam on its massive interior walls as well as a large mosaic of Ho Chi Minh just at the end of the its grand hall. Although some credit the design to the great Gustave Eiffel, it was actually designed another French architect Marie-Alfred Foulhoux. The Central Post Office is the perfect place to pick up and mail out that postcard to family and friends back home.
4. Cu Chi Tunnels
My trip to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels was one of favorite activities near Ho Chi Minh City. Located about 45 minutes outside of Ho Chi Minh, the Cu Chi Tunnels is a series of underground tunnels that were once used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. A tour to the tunnels offers a look into the lives of the Viet Cong fighting during the war. Visitors are offered demonstrations of booby traps, hand-made weaponry, and structural secrets of the tunnels used by the Viet Cong. There is even an option to shoot an AK-47 or a M1-Carbine at a shooting range located near the tunnels(costs $25 for one clip of ammo). Last, but not least, visitors actually get a chance to descend into the real Cu Chi Tunnels and crawl through the narrow passages that extend up to 60 meters!
5. The Ben Thanh Street Food Market
For a foodie like me, street food is life. So when I heard that there was a market solely dedicated to street food I jumped on that like white on rice. The Ben Thanh Street Food Market has dozens of food stalls serving the best viet-noms(see what I did there?) in Ho Chi Minh. Spring rolls, Banh Mi sandwiches, and a plethora of fried noodle dishes to name a few things you can find there. Thirsty? They have local beers on tap for those who want to cool off from the city heat. Music is played over the speakers throughout the market giving out a chill relaxed vibe. To top that all off, free Wifi is available throughout the entire market so there’s no need to worry about that Instragram pic of your spring rolls not loading up.