Ho Chi Minh City (better known as Saigon) is famous for the role it played in the Vietnam War, but things have changed, and today the city is a fresh mix of commerce, culture, and energy unlike anywhere else. For visitors with a free day, here’s an itinerary that squeezes the best Ho Chi Minh has to offer into less than 24 hours.
Jump start your day by grabbing a coffee and something to eat at the bustling Binh Tay Markets. Vietnamese coffee is unique in that they drip filter the ground beans straight into a cup and sweeten it with condensed milk. Dark and syrupy, it’s the perfect fuel for a big day.
No Disneyland, the War Remnants Museum is an important place to visit, especially if you want to get a deeper understanding of the country and what the Vietnamese people have endured. Make sure you finish your look around with the display of international anti-war posters, so you leave on a positive.
Climbing the stairs of an old apartment building is worth the effort to reach Secret Garden’s beautiful rooftop restaurant. Take a seat, soak up the city views, and enjoy the delicious home style meals. One of those spots you’d never find on your own, the herb garden and resident chickens roaming around only add to its charm.
As the sun starts to dip, grab a xe om (local motorbike taxi) to the Tan Binh district and go fabric shopping around the multitude of wholesale stores. This is the best place in the city to find unique materials at the best prices, sometimes up to a third of what you’d pay elsewhere. Ho Chi Minh has hundreds of amazing tailors to choose from who can copy favourite items of clothing or custom make something special, quickly and cheaply.
Time to unwind and one of the best places to do it is The Racha Room. Beautiful contemporary Vietnamese food, plus fancy cocktails, all in a lovely space, you’ll never want to leave.
TripADeal travels to Ho Chi Minh city here