Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam's commercial hub is bursting at the seams with culture, history and activity; a vibrant city where towering skyscrapers jostle with French colonial architecture, where Vietnamese delicacies are served in western style baguettes and where areas of bustling street markets merge into designer districts. Ho Chi Minh City holidays leave the mind boggling with its hotchpotch of landscapes, attitudes and cultures.
Things to do
The variety of things to do in Ho Chi Minh City is vast. Learn about Vietnam's chequered past at the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, the moving War Remnants Museum, or witness the ingenious Cu Chi Tunnels. Soak up the city's contrasting architecture at the Jade Emperor Pagoda or the colonial Hotel De Ville. For children, visit the Zoo or Dam Sen Water Park or for relaxation, take a short trip to the beaches of Vung Tau, have a massage or take a cooking course.
Food & restaurants
Ho Chi Minh City restaurants have something for all appetites. For travellers on a budget, Binh Tay Market has numerous stalls selling fragrant soups and sticky rice cakes. Bun Ta has an overwhelming choice of cheap noodles while Anh Xeo Dinh Cong Trang is notorious for serving the best banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes). For a treat, head to Nam Kha, Dong Khoi's esteemed restaurant with a sunken pond and regal columns or Sango Aquarium Café where fish swim around in the countertops.
While Ho Chi Minh City hotels vary from backpacker hostels in Pham Ngu Lao, De Tham and Bui Vien to opulent five-star high rises in Dong Khoi, many of the top end hotels have excellent mid-week discounts. For luxury, Caravelle offers lavish rooms and spectacular city views while Rex's charming rooftop bar is edged with caged songbirds. For budget travellers, Linh has ten bamboo furnished rooms with a friendly, family-run atmosphere.
Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City is an addictive experience. To witness the city's pulse and real centre of trade, head to Ben Thanh Market where stalls sell everything from basket-ware, coffee and rice paper paintings to canonical hats, live frogs (for cooking), chopsticks sets and opium pipes. For herbal remedies and top quality silks, visitors should go to the markets of Cholon and for more upmarket boutiques, Don Khoi has a plethora of shops selling paintings, silks and antiques.
For a real taste of Vietnamese culture, the best way to travel around Ho Chi Minh City is by cyclo. Speed through the bustling street markets before heading to Si Hoang for a fashion show accompanied by live traditional music with stone xylophones and bamboo flutes.
Ho Chi Minh City Holiday Deals
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