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 Saigon - HoChiMinh city

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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh is the largest city in Vietnam and the business centre of the country. The whole city is vibrant and full of character. Everywhere you will see street vendors, office workers, businessmen and the hectic traffic. Chic new cafes and bars, high rise office buildings, hotels, apartment blocks, colourful shops and markets, temples and pagodas - you will find them all in Ho Chi Minh City.

The most popular location for tourists in Ho Chi Minh is District 1 in the centre of the city. You will find many hotels, restaurants, shops and Internet cafes in this area. To the south-west is District 5, Cholon, the Chinese district.

The Zoo and Botanical Gardens on Nguyen Binh Khiem make a pleasant change from the bustle of the city, and can be combined with a visit to the nearby history museum. Ho Chi Minh Museum at Nguyen Tat Thanh in District 4 houses many of Ho's personal effects. It is from here that Ho Chi Minh left Vietnam in 1911 beginning 30 years of excile.

Reunification Palace will be remembered by many from the dramatic news reel footage of the North Vietnamese crashing through its gates on 30th April 1975. Perhaps the most striking aspect of the palace is that it is preserved almost as it was 27 years ago.

Temples, Pagodas and Other Places of Worship

Giac Lam Pagoda, built around 1744, is the oldest in Ho Chi Minh City and has escaped the renovation work that has transformed many of Vietnam's other structures. Phuoc Hai Tu (Jade Emperor Pagoda) is filled with colourful statues of fantastical divinities and grotesque figures. Many of the temple walls are lined with wood panels depicting the torments awaiting evil people after they die. Notre Dame Cathedral is located in the government sector of District 1. It's two 40 metre high towers dominate the surrounding skyline.

Saigon Water Park

Located on Kha Van Can in the Thu Duc District Saigon Water Parks boasts dozens of pools and water slides, and a wave pool. A taxi ride from the city centre will cost $4 to $5, allow another $5 for the entrance fee. Best time to visit is midweek since it is very popular with Vietnamese at weekends when it can get a little crowded

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Binh Quoi Tourist Village

This is more of a park than a village. It includes a swimming pools, boat rides, water puppet shows, tennis courts, river cruises and amusements plus ethnic music and shows. The village also has a guesthouse and bungalows. Ask at your hotel or a travel agent about one of the organized tours to Binh Quoi.

Cu Chi Tunnels

Tom Mangold and John Penycate in their book "The Tunnels of Chu Chi" described this place as 'the most bombed, shelled, gassed, defoliated and generally devastated area in the history of warfare'. Despite all of this the Americans were unable to dislodge the North Vietnamese troops. Both sides suffered an appalling number of casualties in the process. Crawling through the narrow tunnels it's difficult to imagine how anyone could endure months of living beneath the earth. The tunnels are located between 30km and 50km from Ho Chi Minh City centre. Best way to get there is on one of the organized tours (ask at your hotel or a travel agent).

Can Gio Beach

This is not one of the white sand beaches that can be found all along the coastline of Vietnam. It's an island in the Saigon river formed by silt washing down from upstream. The area is a large mangrove swamp that that houses several shrimp farms. You can visit the mangrove park and nearby museum. Can Goi is about 60km from the centre of Ho Chi Minh City and the journey will take about 2½ to 3 hours each way.

Vietnam Golf & Country Club

Located on Nguyen Trai in Thu Duc District around 15km from central Ho Chi Minh City. Expect to pay around $50 for a round of golf and $10 to use the driving range. There is also tennis courts and a swimming pool.


Mekong River cruise
You can do day trip or 2 day overnight boat cruise aboard Le Cochinchine
from Saigon or explore the lush mekong from Saigon to Angkor wat 7 day trip
more information can be found at
www.lecochinchine.com

 

 


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