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Ho Chi Minh City

Things to see and do

Temples

  • Giac Vien Pagoda
    3 stars

    Although just down the road from Giac Lam, Giac Vien is hard to find, tucked way back off the main drag down a pot-holed road. To find it, come out of Giac Lam and turn right onto Lac Long Quan St. Go straight on at the roundabout and the entrance is about 200m further down on the right. It seems ... read more

  • Ong Bac Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    Built by the Fukien Chinese just after World War II, Ong Bon Pagoda is dedicated to Ong Bon, the guardian of wealth, happiness and virtue. Being the god of wealth many worshippers come here to burn paper money in the temple's furnace, which is said to bring financial blessings to participants. The ... read more

  • Jade Emperor Pagoda
    4.5 stars

    Set to the north of the botanical gardens on Nguyen Binh Khiem, the Jade Emperor Pagoda is easily Saigon's most atmospheric. Set to the north of the botanical gardens on Nguyen Binh Khiem, the Jade Emperor Pagoda is easily Saigon's most atmospheric. If you've got time for just one pagoda, this ... read more

  • Thien Hau Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    Thien Hau Pagoda, a 19th century Chinese temple in Cholon, is dedicated to Thien Hau, or the goddess of the sea who is said to protect fishermen and sailors. Entering the pagoda through the exterior iron gate, you walk into a partially covered courtyard filled with large incense burners. From ... read more

  • Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    Built by Ho Chi Minh City's Fujian community, this pagoda was constructed in 1902 and is one of the most beautifully decorated in the city. The pagoda is especially well known for its vast collection of figurines, carvings and hanging lanterns. Dedicated to Quan Cong, many Vietnamese visit ... read more

  • Quoc Tu Pagoda
    3 stars

    A short trip outside downtown Saigon, Quoc Tu Pagoda is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the city and is a relatively new one, built in the early 1960s. The main complex of the pagoda spans seven storeys, with the first two open to the public. Visitors are given access to view the beautiful ... read more

  • Xa Loi Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    Set a few blocks north of the Cultural Park at Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, this seven-tiered, pastel-coloured pagoda is known for its tower, which is supposed to contain a relic of the Buddha. During the Diem regime, this pagoda was attacked by ARVN soldiers and more than 400 monks were imprisoned, some ... read more

  • Giac Lam Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    Founded in 1744 and untouched for more than 100 years, Giac Lam is the oldest and most original pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City. People often come here to pray for sick and recently deceased relatives, hence the countless array of pictures inside the main building. Three rooms make up the complex: ... read more

  • Quan Am Pagoda
    4.5 stars

    Believed to be the oldest pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, this is undoubtedly one of the most popular. The roof of the pagoda tells fantastic tales taken from traditional Chinese lore, while the walls are covered with lacquer paintings of various spirits and deities. This pagoda is best visited ... read more

  • An Quang Pagoda
    3 stars

    An Quang Pagoda is the headquarters of the United Church of Vietnam. Since the pagoda was founded in 1948, it has been the training ground for thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns as well as teachers of Dharma. The temple gained some notoriety during the war for being the home of Thich Tri ... read more

  • Phung Son Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    This pagoda is a bit of a walk from the centre of Cholon, but worth a visit nonetheless. It has been rebuilt a number of times, but was originally erected on what are thought to have been Funan ruins. At one time, plans were made to move the pagoda to another site. To facilitate this move, a ... read more

  • Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda
    3 stars

    Located in Saigon's Chinatown district of Cholon, Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda is a small temple built by the Fujian Community in 1839. Also known as Tam Son Temple, it is dedicated to Me Sanh, the Goddess of Fertility, making the pagoda a favourite of Vietnamese women praying for children. You'll ... read more

  • Ha Chuong Hoi Quan Pagoda
    2.5 stars

    Another Fujian temple dedicated to the goddess of the sea Thien Hau, Ha Chuong Pagoda is one of several pagodas packed into Saigon's Cholon district. Along with Thien Hau Pagoda and Quan Am Pagoda, worshippers here come to give offerings to the lady of the sea, Thien Hau. The centrepieces of ... read more

  • Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    One of the first Buddhist temples to be built following traditional Vietnamese architecture practices, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is a complex of Buddhist buildings in District 3. The pagoda has bragging rights to the tallest Buddhist tower in the city, rising up seven storeys to 40 metres in height. The ... read more

  • Mariamman Hindu Temple
    3 stars

    This small Hindu temple is frequented by both Saigon's tiny Hindu population along with resident Vietnamese. If it were not for the beggars hassling you throughout your visit, it would be quite an enjoyable place — it's believed the temple has the power to heal the ill. After 1975 the Vietnamese ... read more

  • Khanh Van Nam Vien Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    One of the harder to find temples in Cholon, Khanh Van Nam Vien Pagoda is located on a small street off busier Lo Sieu. The pagoda was built in the early 1940s by Cantonese immigrants and is one of the few, if not only, Taoist pagodas in the city. The focal point here is a statue of Laoste, one of ... read more

  • Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    Easily recognisable by the intricately-carved wooden boat hanging over its entrance, one of the attractions of this pagoda are the carvings within. This pagoda is dedicated to a famous Chinese general, Quan Cong, who is highly revered for his morality and loyalty. As you enter, on your left is ... read more

Museums

  • Museum of Ho Chi Minh City
    4 stars

    Previously known as the Revolutionary Museum, this large grey circa-1885 building is on Ly Tu Trong Street, a short walk from the centre of District One and the Reunification Palace. The colonial building has played a number of roles: firstly it was a commercial museum, then the Cochinchina ... read more

  • Reunification Palace
    4 stars

    This building was originally known as the Presidential Palace or Independence Hall, and is a classic example of 1960s architecture. The original building was bombed in 1962 in an attempt by the South Vietnamese Air Force to assassinate President Diem. The assassination attempt failed, but the ... read more

  • War Remnants Museum
    5 stars

    This museum, dedicated to documenting the various alleged war crimes undertaken by the US, is a must see. If the only side of the Vietnam War you have seen has been through films such as Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now, then a visit here should help bring a bit of balance. ... read more

  • History Museum
    3.5 stars

    Saigon's History Museum has been known by a number of names since its construction in 1928, but the theme remains the same. The museum traces Vietnamese history from prehistoric times till the period of French occupation and carries an impressive range of artefacts. Displays include Funan pieces ... read more

  • Fine Arts Museum
    3.5 stars

    This museum is comprised of three floors in an old colonial setting in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. The courtyard contains an ancient looking tennis court, upon which an image of French aristocrats dressed in white playing a leisurely game is hard to dismiss. The marble floors throughout and ... read more

  • Ho Chi Minh Museum
    3.5 stars

    Set back all alone on the banks of the Saigon River, which sweeps out of District One down towards Saigon's port and eventually the Mekong Delta, sits the Museum of Ho Chi Minh. Not only a great location to see up and down the river and gaze back over District One, it's also the city's shrine to ... read more

  • Ton Duc Thang Museum
    3 stars

    This museum, set close the river on Ton Duc Thang, celebrates the life of communist hero Ton Duc Thang. Imprisoned on Con Dao for his part in rebellion against French rule, Ton Duc Thang succeeded Uncle Ho as president of Vietnam, and remained in office until his death in 1980. Spread over four ... read more

  • South East Armed Forces Museum
    3.5 stars

    Also known as the No 7 Army Museum, the South East Armed Forces Museum sits near the airport in Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Banh District. Unlike the War Remnants Museum, which primarily focuses on the American War, this museum also covers the early Indochina wars with France as well as national ... read more

  • Geological Museum
    3 stars

    One of two museums of its kind in the country, the Ho Chi Minh City Geological Museum was established in 1954 and sits on the corner of Nguyen Binh Khiem and Nguyen Huu Canh. A small building, it still houses more than 20,000 samples of stones and minerals as well as a small collection of fossils. ... read more

  • Southern Women's Museum
    2.5 stars

    Opened in 1985, the Southern Women's Museum sits in the former palace of the Police Force General of Saigon. A large building, it displays thousands of rare photos and artefacts of Southern Vietnamese women's contribution to the foundation and defence of South Vietnam. Particular importance is ... read more

Public Parks and Zoos

  • Cong Vien Van Hoa Park
    3.5 stars

    Also known as Tao Den Park, this park is a great place to escape from Saigon's traffic. Set in the middle of the city, it is a bicycle-free zone with neatly landscaped lawns and benches to enjoy life as it goes by. Go early morning to see the park full of tai chi practitioners and badminton ... read more

  • Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens
    3.5 stars

    Perhaps a visit to the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens isn't wise if your sole intention is viewing animals. Although there is a good range of creatures, they've seen better days and the whole facility is in need of a good clean up. As a destination for a lazy afternoon walk in the shade under ... read more

  • Dong Dieu Entertainment Area
    3 stars

    An open area in the outskirts of the city, the Dong Dieu Entertainment Area has become a popular spot for Ho Chi Minh locals. Although it is a popular picnic site, it's even more popular as a spot to fly kites, especially on the weekend. Here you can see many different shapes of kites, including ... read more

  • Suoi Tien Theme Park
    3 stars

    Off of the Hanoi Highway in Ho Chi Minh City's District 9, Suoi Tien Theme Park is attempting to be the new standard of theme parks in Vietnam. Decorated with Buddha statues and sculpted dragons, the centrepiece of the park is a large waterfall with the face of an emperor sculpted into it. The ... read more

  • Kizciti
    3.5 stars

    Saigon isn’t the most kid-friendly spot in world; but you can find a few parks plus one place worth checking out is entirely for kids, and it’s within walking distance from Pham Ngu Lao: District 4’s Kizciti.

  • Van Thanh Park
    2.5 stars

    Van Thanh Park is an escape from the honking motorbikes and grinding traffic of Ho Chi Minh City. Sitting on the banks of the Thi Nghe River, a branch of the Saigon River, and just three kilometres from downtown, the park is a popular spot for tour groups, who commonly drop guests off for ... read more

  • Dai The Gioi Water Park
    3 stars

    Just outside of downtown Saigon, Dai The Gioi Water Park offers a sweet spot to escape the heat in the city's Cholon area. The park is home to a few slides as well as a lazy river and an indoor complex. Inside you'll find a large pool, male and female wet saunas, and massage centres. Expect ... read more

  • Dam Sen Park
    2.5 stars

    Dam Sen is about a 20-minute ride from the city centre, out in District 11. A combination of theme park and water park, it also houses a large boating lake in the middle. The theme park contains dodgy fairground rides including a big ferris wheel, and also a show featuring monkeys, bears and other ... read more

Viewpoints

  • Bitexco Financial Tower
    3.5 stars

    Towering above Saigon's skyline, the Bitexco Financial Tower, opened in 2011, offers you a bird's eye view of the city and surrounding area. The $10 admission gives you access to the unique 187-metre high observation deck, the highest of its kind in HCMC. The deck presents a panoramic view of ... read more

Markets

  • Binh Tay Market
    3 stars

    Referred to by locals as the New Market of Cholon, Binh Tay market is a wholesale market known for its bargains. It was built by a Chinese businessman, Quach Dam, after the original market was destroyed. A statue of Quach Dam was erected but later replaced with a grass altar. The market is ... read more

  • Ben Thanh Market
    4 stars

    Arguably Saigon's most famous landmark, Ben Thanh market has occupied its present location in the heart of District 1 since 1912. One of the larger markets in the city, it sells all variety of goods, including food, T-shirts, fabrics, souvenirs, kitchenware, spices, fruit, flowers, watches, ... read more

General Activites

  • Swimming pools
    3.5 stars

    Ho Chi Minh City is home to a number of Olympic-size public pools and there are also a few hotel pools that you can pay to frolic in. Try the one in District Five called Lam Son, at Tran Binh Trong — it's open 08:00-20:00 and costs 5,000 VND an hour. A more centrally located pool is at 258 ... read more

  • Cooking Classes
    4 stars

    Vietnamese food is fabulous and should you want to try your hand at preparing it, there are quite a few good cooking school options in Saigon. Saigon Culinary Art Centre runs quite a packaged product, where customers are met at their hotel by a SCAC chef who leads an ingredients buying tour to Ben ... read more

  • Saigon city tours
    3 stars

    While many travel companies in the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker district offer tours of places outside of Saigon like the Mekong delta and Cu Chi Tunnels, they also offer cheap half-day tours of the city itself. Although all the places included on the tours can be visited independently, it's not a bad ... read more

  • Phu Tho Racetrack
    3 stars

    Only open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the racetrack is hardly a family day out, but rather a collection of gamblers trying to increase what little money they have. Still, it can be an interesting excursion - play dumb and the locals may give you some tips though of course you'll have to ... read more

Churches

  • Notre Dame Cathedral
    3.5 stars

    Notre Dame Cathedral, near Saigon's GPO on the northern stretch of District One, was constructed from 1877 until 1883, though it wasn't consecrated until 1959. Le Place Pigneau de Behaine, the square in front of the cathedral, holds a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary. If you pop inside, take a ... read more

  • Cha Tam Church
    2.5 stars

    This pastel-yellow and white, slender church is worth combining with a trip to Cholon as it had a small but important role to play in Vietnam's wartime history. Following a coup on November 1, 1963, President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother fled their palace through a tunnel network and eventually ... read more

  • Cho Quan Church
    3 stars

    Cho Quan Church, located off a busy intersection in Saigon's Cholon district, is one of the oldest and largest churches in the area. While the existing church, built by one Father Nicolas Ham who is now buried under the foundation, is more than a century old, it was built on the site of two ... read more

Mosques

  • Cholon Mosque
    3 stars

    Serving Cholon's Muslim community, the Cholon Mosque is a small place of worship built by Muslims from South India in 1932. With its blue gates, pastel details and white walls the mosque stands in quiet contrast to the surrounding busy area. A pool in the courtyard is used for ablutions, and ... read more

  • Saigon Central Mosque
    2.5 stars

    Located in the heart of the city, the blue and white Saigon Central Mosque is a quiet oasis is the busy business district of Saigon. Constructed in the 1930s by South Indian Muslims, the mosque is one of around a dozen that serve the city's Muslims and it stands on the site of an earlier mosque. ... read more

Shopping

  • Shopping in Saigon
    4.5 stars

    Many consider Saigon and greater Ho Chi Minh City as primarily at eating destination, but it also has considerable flair as a place to shop. Ben Thanh market is where you'll find everything you need under one roof, though the quality of goods varies and you must bargain — expect the initial price ... read more

  • Vincom Centre
    3 stars

    The new fixture of luxury shopping in Saigon, Vincom Centre is much like the malls we are used to back in the West. Unlike the small boutique stalls found in Diamond Plaza or Hung Vuong, here the Centre has actual stores. This is the place to come if you're looking for a real Gucci handbag or ... read more

  • Hung Vuong Plaza
    3 stars

    At one time the biggest shopping complex in Ho Chi Minh City, Hung Vuong Plaza still stands as one of the few all-in-one retail and entertainment centres in Saigon. The first three levels consist of Parkson boutique stalls selling a variety of name brand apparel and accessories. You can find the ... read more

  • Saigon Square 2
    3.5 stars

    On a corner bend of a quiet street close to the Legend Hotel you'll find Saigon Square 2. It is a two-storey boutique shopping centre selling similar, but slightly higher quality, products as those you'd find in the more famous Ben Thanh market. Unlike Ben Thanh, which is dark and packed tight, ... read more

Day trips

  • Ho May Eco-Tourism and Cultural Park
    3.5 stars

    Southern Vietnam’s coastal city of Vung Tau makes for an interesting, easy and cheap daytrip from Saigon — go by hydrofoil, see the sights, have a splash at the beach and enjoy the food.

  • Saigon Day Tour
    3.5 stars

    A quick walk through Saigon’s backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao will lead you past several locations selling tours.

  • Minh Phuong
    3.5 stars

    If you find yourself shopping in Saigon, a walk through any market or mall will inevitably lead you, sooner or later, past a souvenir stand selling lacquer art.

  • The Sinh Tourist
    4 stars

    Set around 35km from central Ho Chi Minh City, the Cu Chi Tunnels earned legendary status during the American War. A massive network of underground tunnels and chambers, Cu Chi, in its entirety, stretched for more than 250km, from Saigon all the way to the Cambodian border. Few sites bear stronger ... read more

  • The Cao Dai Holy See at Tay Ninh
    4 stars

    Best know as the birthplace of the Cao Dai religion, people flock here to see the Cao Dai Holy See — the great temple of the Cao Dai faith. Tay Ninh province sits to the northwest of Ho Chi Minh City and is bordered by Cambodia to the west and north, with its eastern border formed by the Saigon ... read more

  • Can Gio
    3 stars

    This small mangrove island lies in the delta of the Saigon River and makes for one of the closest "beaches" to the city. The beach here is the closest to Saigon, but don't pack the suncream and bathers just yet — it's more of a mudflat than a beach. The tide goes out for miles to reveal huge ... read more

Interesting buildings

  • Saigon Central Post Office
    3.5 stars

    The Saigon Post Office is no ordinary place to buy stamps. Vietnam's largest working post office is housed in one of the country's finest examples of colonial French architecture. From outside, the building's wide arched windows and doorways, statuesque carvings and enormous clock -- which hasn't ... read more

  • Ho Chi Minh People's Committee
    2.5 stars

    Built in the beginning of the 20th century, this grand old building was once one of Saigon's classic hotels, the Hotel De Ville. Following the end of the war though, the building was converted and is now home to the rather more stoic Ho Chi Minh People's Committee. The building stands out in ... read more


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