Saigon, also presently called as Ho Chi Minh City, is a city worth coming to with friendliness and hospitality from the people here and the exciting experiences exploring famous landmarks and enjoying a lot of incredibly delicious Saigon street foods. When first arriving in Saigon, many visitors will feel quite shocked by the chaos in the busiest area in Vietnam. But, if there is a chance of scrambling around the narrow streets or alleyways on a motorbike, you will find things beyond your original imagination. Although the traffic here is crazy, most vehicles are moving at a very slow speed, and seldom does any accident or scuffle occurs on the streets. Besides the usual crowded, Saigon also brings in itself a very idyllic beauty. You can discover a city with its own character, personality, and cuisine at the cheapest price if you take the time for it.
Saigon is very a dynamic city; especially the young generation here is always full of dreams and intense ambition. They seem to want to become entrepreneurs rather than go to the state work. In addition, Saigon people are also very cute. They are not as arrogant or unapproachable as you think; on the contrary, their friendliness along with enthusiasm will make visitors unforgettable. Despite living fast and somewhat hurried, Saigon people are extremely enthusiastic and ready to stop to help the one in trouble.
Summarize the History of Saigon
Prey Nokor, Gia Dinh, Saigon, and now Ho Chi Minh City since the 1970s, the name changes of the city are enough to reflect its colored past. Saigon was originally part of the Kingdom of Cambodia until the 17th century, known as Prey Nokor. The city became Gia Dinh when the Vietnamese wrested the South area from the Khmer people who lived there originally, and this name existed right up until the French occupation in the 1860s. The name Saigon was chosen to name the capital of Cochinchina a few years later. The city served as the capital of the Republic of Vietnam from 1956 until 1975, but it didn’t last as long. When the control of the South Vietnam was ceded to the North, Saigon was renamed after the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s first leader, Ho Chi Minh.
Dubbed as the "Pearl of the Far East", Saigon has long been a cultural, economic and political center of Vietnam. With a 300-year long history of development, Saigon today is very large and crowded with more than 8 million people. Over many ups and downs, but somewhere streets, buildings, roads in Saigon still retain its beauty of the past. The best way to explore Saigon is driving on a motorbike which you can stop temporarily and park your motorbike easily, then visit Saigon notable sights and enjoy numerous delicious Saigon street foods.
The busiest area along the Saigon River is Ton Duc Thang Street, also in the center of Ho Chi Minh City. This street has high-class hotels and restaurants, from which you can admire the Saigon River in the poetic twilights. There is a pier for visitors to take a trip Saigon Special Night and to dine out at floating restaurants on the river.
Paris Square in Saigon
Located on the main street in the center of the city, Notre Dame Cathedral is now becoming the symbol of Saigon. It features European architecture combining with Roman and Gothic style, together with the couple of biggest bells in Vietnam. Notre Dame Cathedral is the most beautiful and most important church of Saigon diocese, the pride of the city people.
Near Notre Dame Cathedral is Saigon Central Post Office. The building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century. It counts with Gothic, French, Renaissance and Asian influences. It was designed by Alfred Foulhoux and constructed from 1886 to 1891 and is now a tourist attraction.
Established in the 19th century, Ben Thanh Market is a witness to many historic changes. The market has four gates turning to main streets in the central Saigon. Coming here, visitors can shop a lot of souvenirs, fabrics, clothing, and handicrafts.
Chinatown is the busiest shopping center in Saigon including the largest wholesale and retail markets such as Binh Tay Market, Kim Bien Market, Soai Binh Lam Market, etc. It is also home to a large concentration of Chinese in the South and the whole country.
Pagodas and Temples
On Lang Pagoda was built in the 17th century by Chinese immigrants from Quanzhou in Fujian, China. It is considered one of the oldest Chinese temples in Ho Chi Minh City. The nearly 300-year old pagoda is a sacred place of worship for the Chinese community in Cho Lon area. This pagoda has attracted a large number of domestic and foreign visitors annually.
The Jade Emperor Pagoda - Why I Love Saigon
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The Jade Emperor Pagoda is a Taoist pagoda located in District 1. It was built by the Chinese community in 1909. The former U.S. President Barack Obama paid a visit to the pagoda during his state trip to Vietnam on 22 May 2016.
If you are a history lover, Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum will be the places you must visit when coming to Saigon.
Reunification Palace was the home and workplace of the Presidents of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Having designed by Vietnamese famous architect Ngo Viet Thu, the Reunification Palace has become one of the symbols of Ho Chi Minh City. This palace is an architectural masterpiece with the harmonious combination of modern art and traditional Oriental architecture.
War Remnants Museum contains exhibits relating to the Vietnam War and the first Indochina War involving the French colonialists. Travelers come here will feel the most true of a fierce war time, to further appreciate what is in the present.
Cu Chi Tunnels are about 70 kilometers northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. The Cu Chi District was a VC stronghold during the Vietnam War and the nerve center of an underground war. The North Vietnamese dug an elaborate system of tunnels under Cu Chi over the course of 20 years. After the war, the Vietnamese government included the tunnels in a war memorial park.
=> Read more: The Untold Stories Cu Chi Tunnels
Have you ever wondered why many local residents and foreign tourists love Saigon? That is because Saigon is the paradise of street foods which is unmatched by any other city all over the world.
Take your time exploring this dynamic city; and I make sure that you will love Saigon as I do.
After a hectic day at work, especially on Saturday evenings, co-workers, friends and family members usually tend to gather at their favorite spots for “di nhau”. It is a popular way to talk about drinking in Vietnam. Similar to Western culture, people say “một, hai, ba, dzô!” out loud with laughter and joy before they start drinking. This is the Vietnamese equivalent of “1, 2, 3, cheer!” You can easily find many incredibly delicious Saigon street foods which stimulates the taste for drinking, including varieties of seafood, tasty steamed or grilled chicken feet, and tens of choices for hotpot, etc. There is nowhere else but these places that you can truly feel an exciting part of Saigon people’s culture.
Saigon is beautiful, not only due to its modernity but also its simplicity. When walking around Saigon streets, the image of ladies in straw hats carrying bamboo poles with baskets full of street snacks including boiled eggs, mixed rice paper, popcorn can be easily found. Every day, these women still patiently keep earning their hard living on these poles, regardless the heat or sudden rain of Saigon. If you have an opportunity to talk with a Vietnamese school girl about her favorite street foods, it would probably be “banh trang tron”, meaning mixed rice paper; and surely, she will point you towards one of these lovely ladies. Saigon is a city that prides itself on its local cuisine and considered as one of the best cities in the world for street foods. Every stall has its specialty dish. There are a countless number of other restaurants or sidewalk stalls and dishes available here, including pho, banh mi, com tam, bot chien, just a few mentioned. The dishes with typical flavors of Saigon which make you never forget. Down alleyways or deep into the markets is one of the best places to enjoy Saigon delicacies, and I believe that you’ll love all the yummy foods and love Saigon as well.
Although I am not an original Saigon people, I’ve lived here for 5 years and from its simplicity, I love Saigon a lot. If you have never been to Saigon, come here with us. VN Bike Tour will be always ready to bring you real and amazing experience which you will never forget.
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