You have just begun to travel around Ho Chi Minh City, haven’t you? This is an ideal place to give a glance for Ho Chi Minh City within a day trip. Even for those who have been in the city for many times, there are wonderful things you need to consider doing again. From a walking tour to main spots such as Ben Thanh Market or the Reunification Palace to drifting on Cai Be floating market, Ho Chi Minh City and the surrounding areas has a lot to offer.
Here are 5 best things you need to do while being in Ho Chi Minh City:
If it is the first time you’ve been to Ho Chi Minh City, you should spend a full day exploring the city center highlight sites such as: Ben Thanh Market, The Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office or the War Remnants Museum. Prepare a local map so that you can travel on foot around the downtown on your own. If you are at your first time here, a tour guide helping you finding out new things are necessary. In that case, tour packages as day tours are always available in any travel agency.
Your first move may be at Ben Thanh Market located in the city center, where you are able to have various choices for your breakfast here. All kinds of rice noodle such as: Pho (the most renowned Vietnamese cuisine), hu tieu and bun. Besides, you can also try Vietnamese Crunchy Pancakes (Banh Xeo) or banh uot, banh beo and many other dishes, after that, you can go shopping around in Ben Thanh market. The sign of “Fixed price” shoulb be highly aware which is above each stalls that implies visitors cannot bargain here. Unless there is a “Fixed price” sign, you are free to bargain with a better deal.
The Opera House and the Peoples’ Committee Building, located on Dong Khoi street, should completely be your next step as they are within walking distance from Ben Thanh Market. You can either walk or take a taxi for convenience to the Notre Dame Cathedral which is 1.5 kilometers away from the Opera House. The Notre Dame Cathedral is beautifully featured with its unique French colonial architecture. There is Saigon Post Office nearby, one of the oldest and largest post offices in Ho Chi Minh City.
From Saigon Post Office, it takes you about 10- minute walking to the Reunification Palace, which is on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai-Nam Ky Khoi Nghia crossroads. The last impressive attraction you should not miss within first day is the War Remnants Museum on Vo Van Tan Street. In the evening, you can experience Ho Chi Minh City nightlife by walking around Ben Thanh Market, where you might surprisingly find your evening quite different from your morning trip. Street vendors and street food courts open making the atmosphere more exciting. If you do not mind sitting at a small table with stool chairs or sharing a table with other people, you should try some local dishes here which is so unforgettable.
Do you want discover about Vietnamese cuisines with how they are cooked or how they are shimmeringly displayed? Are you yearning to learn the way to make Vietnamese dishes on your own with an experienced Vietnamese chef? So awesome that culinary classes are always available for you. In this short course there will be dedicated English spoken chef instructing his/her candidates on how to make basic Vietnamese specialties steps by steps. In addition, you are your own chef while you are being taught. At the end of the class meeting, there is nothing better than tasting your self-made dishes.
Below are some recommended places for a culinary class:
Vietnam Cookery Center
Rex Sai Gon
Saigon Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc
Cu Chi Tunnel has been one of the greatest architecture constructed by Vietnamese ancestors as a place for Vietnamese refugees and soldiers during the 1960s- 1970s wars. Cu Chi Tunnel is located in Cu Chi District, which is about 70 kilometers far from the city center. It takes 1.5 hours driving from Ho Chi Minh City to get there. Unless you are familiar with the public transportation system in Ho Chi Minh City, it is more convenient to book a package tour in advance. The average price is $10-$12/person consisting of transportation, tour guide and entrance fee.
In the morning, you can experience kneeling to move inside the tunnel.. It was the place where people travel back and forth to survive during the war half a century ago. At the end of the tunnel, you are invited to try “Khoai mi”, a specialty of Cu Chi- a kind of junk food which could be eaten as a common breakfast also. Then, in the afternoon you can visit Cu Chi Ethnic Minorities Villages, which is about 8 kilometers from Cu Chi Tunnel. This brings you an oppurtunity to indulge yourself in a peaceful rural landscape.
In addition, you can learn about some ethnic minorities who are now living in all parts in Vietnam about their traditional costumes, unique musical instruments or other interesting stuffs. Cu Chi Ethnic Minorities Villages is a miniature Vietnam countryside, which has a diversity of 54 groups living in harmony. A day at Cu Chi Province will be a joyful and memorable day for those who are keen on Vietnam history and its fertilized culture.
Vam Sat will be a wise choice for travelers who are wild adventurers but can not afford time or saving budget to travel far from Ho Chi Minh City.
Location and history
Located in Can Gio District, Vam Sat lies between the two rivers Vam Sat and Long Tau. The forest used to belong to Dong Nai Province until 1978 that it was merged into Ho Chi Minh City. Vam Sat was destroyed by bombs and defoliants during resistant battle against American invaders, yet it’s having the most gorgeous world biosphere reserve of mangrove forest at the moment thanks to 1996 reforestation program.
Insight into the Salt-Marsh Forest Ecological Tourist Zone
There’s a wide variety of activities offering at Vam Sat Tourist Center, all of which are both ecological and recreational. The basic tour must include these following: observing the unique ecological system of mangrove forest, visiting Bat Swamp, crocodile farm and also bird-watching. To give an example, Bat Swamp is one common attraction that visitors can easily find the natural beautiful scenery of flying foxes hiding themselves behind the foliages of high mangroves. Particularly, the most exciting activity in Bat Swamp is crab angling adding more interesting flavours to ones’ meals. In addition, crocodile farm would be a thrilling place to lots of visitors while seeing them, with their greedy red eyes, devour the fish casted over.
Even at night, visitors never feel boring since they can join exciting local life of fishermen such as catching crabs or shrimps (soi ba khia and xo tom). Camp fire or karaoke are quite ideal, especially for group of travelers or team building tours.
How to get there
It takes about 3 hours driving by motorbikes or cars to get to Van Sat. The route is quite simple to reach: move on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street (District 7), pass Binh Khanh Ferry, and keep going ahead the only-road to Can Gio Sea for about 15km, then turn right at Ly Nhon three-way crossroads. After that, go ahead and pass Vam Sat Bridge, turn left at Goc Tre Bridge and the tourism center is right there.
Another direction is by passing Hiep Phuoc – Doi Lau Boat, which is suitable for motorbike-goers only.
Public transportation to Vam Sat is also available by taking bus number 20 at Ben Thanh Bus Station to Binh Khanh Ferry. After the ferry trip, visitors have to take bus routine Binh Khanh – Can Thanh and drop off at Dan Xay Bridge to arrive at Vam Sat Station. Here a boating trip of scenic view is availably waving for tourists.
Sailboat has just been added to the list of transporting to Vam Sat tourist center, which departs from Bach Dang Wharf in District 1, early in the morning.