Chapman Freeborn blog

The sights and sounds of Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is Vietnam’s largest and most well known city, with a population of nearly 8 million people. It’s a fascinating city with so much happening and plenty of things to see and do.

Meander the markets


Markets are commonplace throughout Vietnam and the Ben Thanh Market at the heart of the city is full of all different types of goods and fresh produce. You’ll find kitchenware, lades and men’s accessories, clothes, shoes, vegetables, fresh fruits, meat, fish and pretty much everything else you can think of. You’ll find real silk and mother of pearl for utterly fantastic prices.

Bargaining is customary in Vietnam and always be sure to buy the item for at least half of what the seller first asked for. This is normal practice in Vietnam and bargaining can be quite fun.


Admire the architecture


Ho Chi Minh City is full of incredible architecture with a wonderful mixture of styles, thanks to the period where Vietnam was under French Colonial rule.

The Central Post Office is a magnificent building that was built in the late 19th century and has Gothic, Renaissance and French influences. Inside the post office there is a huge map of old Indiochina which is fascinating to see.

Notre Dame Cathedral sits opposite the Central Post Office and is strikingly similar in design to the original Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, although on a smaller scale. It is entirely free to enter and is just as beautiful inside as it is outside.


Wander around


One of the most enjoyable things about visiting Ho Chi Minh City, if you aren’t familiar with Vietnam, is simply wandering around the streets and taking in the atmosphere and sights.

It’s a city filled with motorbikes and mopeds and you’ll see entire families crammed onto one single bike weaving in and out of the traffic. It’s a rather unusual sight if you aren’t used to it!

The juxtaposition of architectural styles is also interesting to see, as the new mixes with the old. Brand new towering skyscrapers mix with the French colonial style 19th century buildings and it shows the metamorphosis of a city throughout the ages.

The streets are also filled with stalls and hawkers selling knick knacks and all manner of delicious street food.


Sample Vietnamese cuisine


Vietnamese food is absolutely delicious and there are so many great places to eat there. There is a diversified dining scene in the city and there are a mixture of high-end restaurants and also traditional Vietnamese street food. There’s something to suit all palates, budgets and tastes. If you’ve never had Vietnamese food before you’ll be sure to love it.


Getting There


Tan Son Nhat International Airport is the only airport nearby, and those who wish to arrive in style can charter a private jet to Ho Chi Minh City.


Images courtesy of: booleansplit, tartarin2009gareth1953joshua