Jun 28 2011

Saigon walking tour

Published by at 5:46 am under Sightseeing & activities

I’m a walker. When I travel, if there is any reasonable chance for me to walk to my destination, I will. When I walk I feel like I get a better feel for a city, and I see the everyday life that I would miss from the back seat of a taxi. My love of walking is one of the many reasons I enjoy Saigon, as all of the city’s top attractions are within easy walking distance. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a good walking tour that will show you what Saigon has to offer.

See the guy in yellow with his hand out as he drives into traffic? It works.

Starting on Pham Ngu Lao, a short walk east brings you to the Ho Chi Minh City bus centre, which sits on the south side of a massive roundabout. This is one of the best places in the city to watch the craziness of Saigon traffic.

Once you’ve got your fill of traffic pictures and video walk up to the north end of the roundabout to find Ben Thanh market. If you want to shop, this is the place, plus it’s a good stop for food and drinks. Continue east on Le Loi and you’ll come to Lam Son Square, which sits between the Saigon Opera House and the People’s Committee Hall. Snap some pictures of these beautiful buildings, and the statue of Ho Chi Minh himself, then head north on Dong Khoi.

Ho Chi Minh: still drawing a crowd.

Your walk up Dong Khoi will take you past several small boutiques selling art and other souvenirs, as well as the new Vincom Centre, a modern shopping complex filled with name-brand designer shops. Finally Dong Khoi brings you to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Snap some pictures of the pigeons, sitting on the statue of the Virgin Mary, then have a look inside.

The pigeons never leave.

Just to the east you’ll find the city’s post office, which is also worth a quick visit, then head west, down Le Duan, through Cong Vien Van Hoa Park. Here you can cool off in the shade, by grabbing a café su da from one of the many street vendors, or you can continue on to the Reunification Palace. The Reunification Palace is my favourite Saigon landmark; it gives you a retro feeling upon entering and offers great picture opportunities from the roof.

No swimming allowed.

Head west along the Palace’s southern fence, along Nguyen Du, then go south when you reach Thu Khoa Huan. This brings you back to Ben Thanh market, at the wet market entrance, and you’re back in the same area where you started.

This tour can be easily done in two hours, if you don’t shop or take any prolonged breaks. There is no right or wrong time for the tour, but I prefer starting in the afternoon so you can see the sunset from the Palace roof and end at the Ben Thanh night market for drinks. So get off your motorbike and see the city the old fashioned way!

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9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Saigon walking tour”

  1. [...] extremely popular and can be found all over the city, and make a perfect meal on the go if you’re walking around the city. Knowing what to order from a cart, however, can be tricky for a first timer. It either hasn't [...]

  2. [...] have mentioned before that I love to walk. If you too love to see a city on foot, try Ho Chi Minh City Walks – Lite. This app gives you [...]

  3. [...] that I particularly love about Saigon is the fact it is a very walkable city.  As you meander through town on your tour of the various sites you may work up an appetite, but [...]

  4. [...] travellers, Saigon is a short stop on a long itinerary with many stops in Vietnam. While you can walk around, or hire a cyclo to cruise you about, it’s hard to see the city without a little help. Many [...]

  5. [...] down the street from the post office and the Notre Dame Cathedral, conveniently close to my city walk, on Nguyen Du you’ll find Pacey Cupcakes. Everything about Pacey is small, from its attic-like [...]

  6. [...] like the obelisk from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and if you find yourself in a similar situation while walking around town, follow your instincts: the tower offers an unmatched view of the city and also some [...]

  7. Saigon ice cream | Travelfish on Saigonon 21 Mar 2012 at 12:37 am

    [...] been hot! We’re only in March; things are going to get even hotter over the next month. If you're walking around the city when it’s extra hot, I can recommend cooling down with ice cream — Saigon has [...]

  8. Vespa Adventures « Angela Schonbergon 22 Mar 2012 at 3:24 pm

    [...] travellers, Saigon is a short stop on a long itinerary with many stops inVietnam. While you can walk around, or hire a cyclo to cruise you about, it’s hard to see the city without a little help. Many [...]

  9. [...] Saigon is an easy place to enjoy a good walking tour, it may by no means be an easy walk; things can get hot and you may end up frantically searching [...]

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