Ho Chi Minh city – commonly known by its previous name, Saigon, is a place that can transport you to the past and the future at the same time. Exploring Saigon and famous attractions around the city will definitely bring you exciting experiences. There are some destinations to get by during your 5 day trip.
Before you go: Vietnam visa
Many tourists, perhaps, know but some of them even don’t check in advance whether they have to apply for a visa in the country they head for. Traveling to Vietnam is no exception.
In preparation, you only need to search Vietnamvisa.org.vn then click on nationality on the website’s article; detailed information will be displayed.
For example, when checking visa to Vietnam for English, you will see this link: https://www.vietnamvisa.org.vn/requirements/united-kingdom/
This link displays full pieces of information for you as regards whether British citizens need to apply for a Visa to Vietnam or not, conditions for Visa exemption, and occasions that you have to apply for a Vietnamese visa.
On Vietnamvisa.org.vn, you may find such a direction for citizens from over 200 countries all around the world.
Day 1: Visiting Saigon City
In the morning: Notre dame Cathedral – Saigon Central Post office – “Bet” café
These places in the city center are must-visit destinations for those first time travellers to Ho Chi Minh City. Located in the middle of Square, Notre Dame Cathedral is known as an architectural masterpiece having breath-taking views from all sides.
On the left side of Notre Dame Cathedral is the Saigon Central Post office. Built-in between 1886 to 1891 and designed by architect Villedieu and his assistant Foulhoux, this is an Eurasian architectural wonder.
30-4 Park is called “Bet”m which means “ sitting on the footsteps” café because there are no tables or chairs here. The shopkeeper will show you the newspaper to cover on the ground to enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the pace of life in Saigon.
In the afternoon: Jade Emperor Pagoda – Nhieu Loc Canal – Ben Thanh Market
Over 100 years old, Jade Emperor Pagoda has kept the quaint architecture with the roof encrusted with elaborate tile work. In the past, the pagoda was well-known for prosperity, peace, and merit, then it was renamed Phuoc Hai Tu and recognized as a national architectural heritage in 1994. In May 2016, the pagoda was also visited by President Barack Obama on his visit to Vietnam.
Not far from the Jade Emperor pagoda lies Nhieu Loc Canal. Here, you can explore the local life through the story of the history of this canal along the riversides. There are also some famous temples on the river bank and two boat stations in District 1 and District 3. You should note that the departure time depends on the weather and tide but often runs from 8:00 to 20:00.
Just 3 minute walking form Nhieu Loc, Ben Thanh Market, the oldest architecture, is one of the most attractive destinations in Saigon. Apart from buying delicacies, local souvenirs, you can discover Saigon’s cuisine in the back of your hand with excellent restaurants selling spring rolls, noodle soup, Vietnamese crepe…
In the evening: Nguyen Hue Walking Street – the European Street
Waling Street is a popular destination for the youngsters every evening in Ho Chi Minh city. You can watch the hectic and exciting life going by while enjoying a sip of coffee.
The end destination for a 1-day trip in Ho Chi Minh city is “No sleep” street which attracts foreign and national tourists. Some roads are very crowded such as Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, De Tham…Besides, you can choose a wooden chair in a small shop to enjoy catchy songs.
Day 2: Saigon – My Tho – Ben Tre – Can Tho
In the morning, the city scene is replaced by rice terraces and villages in My Tho. Boating in Ben Tre, you will cross at four famous Holy Beasts Islands is Long (Dragon), Lan (Unicorn), Quy (Turtle), Phụng (Phoenix) having a lot of fresh fruit trees of local families. You can take a rest at a Bee farm to taste Honey kumquat tea as well as enjoy southern amateur music. All of those are future planned into ecotourism destinations to serve better.
After lunch, you can take a boat trip or hop on a car to transfer to Can Tho to explore typical Vietnamese houses with a spacious room and outdoor kitchen. It makes you feel like a home away from home, especially with the warm-hearted locals. Accommodation in Can Tho is quite affordable, it’s highly recommended for you to choose a 4-star hotel in Can Tho overnight.
Day 3: Can Tho – Sai Gon
Traveling to Can Tho, you should not miss Cai Rang Floating Market with many boats hanging commodities they sell. The majority of goods are fruits and vegetables. The waterway seems to be a maze by hundreds of boats selling mangos, bananas, papayas, pineapples, and floating houses providing noodles. Before going back to your hotel, you should visit flour-grinding mills and rice. At the local restaurants, you have chances to taste signature foods before discovering the most peaceful beauty of the Mekong River Delta.
After lunch with traditional Mekong style, you continue to go directly to Binh Thuy’s ancient house of Binh Thuy orchid garden in French architectural style. On your way back to Saigon, the countryside landscape is an ideal background for you to take some great photos.
Two days of the weekend: Tan Lap floating village
A plethora of things are waiting for you to discover in Tan Lap floating village. Please bear in mind that the cost of tickets changes depending on your boat’s choice. Because the cheap entrance fee is only 55.000 VND/person (2,5USD), you will travel around all corners of this tourist attraction.
The winding road and high trees create an extraordinary and impressive landscape that is like a mysterious maze and inspires you to discover and explore.
Melaleuca forest is over 30 meters high, so when moving in this area, you will feel very cool and comfortable. There is also a bird sanctuary. You can follow the directions to fully explore the beauty of this place.
If you come here at the time of the lotus season, you will admire the beauty of the lotus blooming everywhere. In addition, you have to conquer the 38 meter high tower in this Tan Lap floating village. Standing on this and looking down will help you get a panoramic view of all the natural sights here. You will understand how beautiful and attractive this place is.
However, there is a point you should note that the food service here is not developed yet. Therefore, preparing snacks to bring along in your journey is very essential. In the tourist area, the dishes to serve tourists will be the specialties of the South West.
Hopefully the above journey will be helpful. Have a nice trip in Saigon!