Top 7 Attractions in Ho Chi Minh City Must See
Ho Chi Minh City, the largest and most populated city in Vietnam, is well renowned for its seemingly hectic yet exhilarating traffic and stunning sights of both modern and traditional architectural features that harmoniously complement one another. Ho Chi Minh City is the ideal tourism destination for both domestic and foreign travelers due to its extensive attractions and lengthy history.
Prior to the Nguyen Dynasty conquering it, Ho Chi Minh City served as a trading harbor for the Khmer Empire of Cambodia, also known as Prey Nokor. Ho Chi Minh City was known as Saigon during the French Cochinchina era. During this time, Saigon served as the country’s capital. From the time when French Indochina was divided, it once more functioned as South Vietnam’s capital. Following Saigon’s capture on April 30, 1975, the city was renamed to honor Ho Chi Minh, the revolutionary leader of Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City overview
From then until now, Ho Chi Minh City has been Vietnam’s economic powerhouse. As a result, Vietnamese from all across the nation relocate to Ho Chi Minh City and find employment. Chinese temples and pagodas built during the city’s prime as a trading port, French Colonial architecture, churches and today its modern, distinctively styled skyscrapers, are just a few of the noteworthy architectural structures this bustling city has to offer.
You’ll never be bored in a bustling city like Ho Chi Minh, where there are endless activities to do and sights to see. The entire city is brimming with things to do, delicious food to savor, and fascinating people to mingle with. The tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City perfectly capture Vietnam’s timeless charm.
1. War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum is the most visited museum in Vietnam. The War Remnants Museum combines prominent photographers from both sides of the fight to portray the grim reality of the war.
In order to display the war crimes done by the French and Americans during the Indochina and Vietnam Wars, this museum was first made available to the general public in 1975. The War Remnants Museum is a three-story structure that houses numerous artifacts and gruesome images, including “The Terror of War,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph by Nick Ut. “The Terror of War” or also known as “Napalm Girl”, is a photograph showing a badly burned, naked 9-year-old girl running down a road near Trang Bang, Vietnam, after a napalm bomb was dropped on the village.
Other photographs and war artifacts from the Vietnam War are on display. The courtyard is decorated with abandoned tanks, helicopters equipped with rocket launchers, fighter planes, single-seat attack aircraft, and conventional bombs from the American military.
The realities of Vietnam’s war-torn history and its repercussions are shown in exhibitions that are both thought-provoking and moving. Undoubtedly one of the many attractions in Ho Chi Minh City that merit a visit.
2. Ho Chi Minh City Hall
Ho Chi Minh City Hall is the administrative post of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. As the headquarters of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, the structure is off-limits to the general public. It’s still a popular tourist destination in Ho Chi Minh City, nevertheless. Tourists are allowed to snap pictures outside, and many do so at night when the structure and its surroundings are illuminated.
The Ho Chi Minh or Saigon City Hall was constructed over the course of six years, from 1902 to 1908, and opened as the Hotel de Ville in 1909 before becoming the City Hall. The building, which was designed by French architects working for the Indochina colonial government, is highly reminiscent of City Hall in Paris, which had just finished being rebuilt after catching fire in 1871.
3. Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market, also known as Cho Ben Thanh or the Central Market building, was constructed in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City more than a century ago and continues to play an important role in the local economy. Today, the market serves both foreign visitors and travelers as well as local shoppers and is a must-visit location for all tourists.
Early in the 17th century, local street vendors established the first market as an unofficial wet market. The market was fully built and designated a formal enterprise along French Colonial standards when the nearby Gia Dinh citadel was overthrown by French imperialists in 1859. However, the market was destroyed by fire in 1870 and rebuilt to become Saigon’s largest market. In 1912, the market was relocated to the current location and renamed Ben Thanh Market, which derives from the words “harbor” (Ben) and “citadel” (Thanh). Ben Thanh Market became the largest and most central of the markets in the city.
Despite many restorations over time, the market remains one of the earliest and most iconic surviving structures of Ho Chi Minh City. The market has thousands of booths with small businesses selling wholesale and retail items from consumables to luxury goods. Ben Thanh Market is one of the most popular attractions in Ho Chi Minh. The market is open daily from roughly 6 am until the set closure time of 6 pm and is open all year long. The day market changes into a night market at 6 o’clock and is open until 10 o’clock.
4. Reunification Palace
The Reunification Palace, sometimes referred to as the Independence Palace, is located where the previous Norodom Palace once stood. The palatial home was designed by architect Ngo Viet Thu. It exemplifies conventional thinking, Eastern traditions, and Vietnamese traits in a harmonious fusion with contemporary architecture.
The Independence Palace served as the president of South Vietnam’s residence and office. It is also where the Vietnam Civil War ended in 1975 as the North Vietnamese Army crashed the gates and hung the flag. After the negotiation convention between the communist North Vietnam and their colleagues in South Vietnam was completed, the Provisional Revolutionary Government renamed the palace Reunification Hall.
Now, guests are welcome to roam through the halls and meeting spaces. The Reunification Palace contains various priceless works of art in addition to historical items.
5. Notre Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon was built by French colonists between 1863 and 1880. The cathedral was constructed, with all costs and raw materials coming from France and officially named as Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception. It quickly rose to fame as one of the iconic tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City. The Notre Dame Cathedral is seen as a legacy of France’s colonial rule in this country.
In 1895, two bell towers were added to the cathedral with a height of 58 meters (190 feet). A bronze statue of Pigneau de Behaine, also known as the Bishop of Adran, leading Prince Canh, the son of Emperor Gia Long by his right hand, could be found in the flower garden in front of the cathedral. French artisans created the statue. The statue was taken down in 1945, but the foundation is still there.
6. Sai Gon Central Post Office
Located near the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City Post Office is a wonderfully preserved French colonial building in the center of the city. Saigon Central Post Office was designed by a famous French architect and was constructed during 1886 – 1891 using gothic, renaissance and French architectural influences.
The Saigon Central Post Office was designed by Alfred Foulhoux. This beautiful structure has undergone diligent civic maintenance and is still in use today. The post office provides full postal services and sells a variety of postcards and stamps that make wonderful gifts to send home. It is currently the busiest post office in the country and a significant symbol of Ho Chi Minh City.
7. Thien Hau Pagoda
The Thien Hau Pagoda is a temple dedicated to Mazu, the Chinese Goddess of the Sea. Around 1760, a group of Chinese immigrants built the Thien Hau pagoda, which has since undergone numerous restorations. The pagoda is situated in the heart of Cho Lon, the modern-day site of the first Chinese center.
Lady Thien Hau pagoda, one of Vietnam’s oldest Chinese temples, has had a significant impact on the Chinese people’s cultural life. Aside from the architectural, sculpture, and historical significance, this location serves as a meeting place and source of support for Vietnamese of Chinese descent. The 200-year-old temple is a tranquil place where people can pray for blessings for their families and loved ones.