Ho Chi Minh City is the largest Vietnamese metropolis on the Saigon River, famous for its interesting museums, beautiful palaces and Buddhist temples.


Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

The Vietnamese founded Ho Chi Minh City in 1698 and named it Saigon after the nearby river. In 1975, to perpetuate the memory of the first president of the republic, Ho Chi Minh, the city was renamed. But the old name does not lose popularity and is still common among local residents.

Although the city was damaged during the Vietnam War, it was quickly rebuilt after the reunification of the country. Today it is the economic and cultural center of South Vietnam, attracting investors and tourists. Every year, millions of people come to Ho Chi Minh City to experience the fast pace of life in the metropolis and get acquainted with its history.

The stock exchange, offices of banks and foreign companies operate in Ho Chi Minh City. New areas are intensively built up with skyscrapers, in which financial institutions, shopping centers, and hotels are open.

Tourist attractions are most often associated with French colonization and the Vietnam War. The Palace of Independence, the Municipal Theatre, hotels in the French colonial style, Notre Dame Cathedral have historical value. No less interesting are Chinese pagodas and Buddhist temples: Quan Am, Thien Hu, Mariamman.

You can get acquainted with the past in historical museums and at exhibitions telling about the war. The Fine Arts Gallery houses works by Vietnamese artists, French paintings, and Buddhist statues. Artinus 3D Art is ideal for a family visit — this museum contains high-quality 3D paintings and installations that allow you to have fun and take realistic photos.

Ho Chi Minh will not let anyone get bored. Fans of outdoor activities are waiting for cool water parks, attractions for adults and children, a zoo combined with a beautiful botanical garden.

Vietnam is among the top countries recommended for gourmets, as the cuisine here is varied and unusual. It is based on rice, vegetables, fruits, spices, meat and seafood.

Interesting places

Dong Hoi Street

ulica donghoi

The historical center of the city is crossed by Dong Hoi Street, decorated with the best examples of French colonial architecture. Walking along it, you can see the Continental Hotel of 1880, the Majestic Hotel, the Opera House, the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral.

Old houses are adjacent to modern skyscrapers, but this does not spoil the overall respectable appearance of the street. Dong Hoi is the commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City. Fashionable boutiques, stylish cafes, and elite restaurants are concentrated here.

Palace of Independence


The palace was built in 1966 on the site of the dilapidated residence of the French governor. This is a rectangular multi-storey building, lined with white plaster. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens with benches. There is a green lawn in front of the facade, a large fountain is installed in the center.

It was here that in 1975 an agreement was signed on the reunification of South and North Vietnam, which put an end to the war. On certain days the palace is open to the public. Tourists are shown a hall, a conference hall, meeting rooms, photographs and documents of past years.

Main post office

glavnii poshtamt

Ho Chi Minh Central Post Office was built in 1891. The chic Renaissance mansion is popular with tourists. It has an original glass roof, columns and arched windows. The walls are decorated with stucco in the form of mythical animals, bunches of grapes, flowers. The facade is finished with cream plaster and bas-reliefs of famous French scientists. Above the main entrance is a large round clock.

Inside, the interior of the colonial period is preserved: bronze lamps, wooden panels, gilded columns, maps of South Vietnam and Cambodia in 1892.

Municipal theater

munizipalnii teatr

The opera house is a prime example of French architecture. A beautiful building designed by Eugene Ferret appeared in Saigon in 1897. The three-story white mansion is decorated with arches and carved ornaments. In the center of the façade is a large balcony supported by sculpted figures of women.

The main hall can accommodate 500 people. The interior is represented by wooden furniture, tapestries, crystal chandeliers, marble stairs. The municipal theater regularly hosts classical and avant-garde productions, and hosts celebrations and music festivals.

City Hall

city ​​hall

The municipality of Ho Chi Minh was built by the French in 1908. The magnificent palace is decorated with turrets with graceful roofs, thin columns, arched windows. In front of the main entrance is a round square with a green lawn. In the middle, on a marble pedestal, there is a monument to Ho Chi Minh. The city government sits in the town hall, so it is closed to tourists. People come to admire the original architecture, relax among the greenery, and take beautiful photos.

Rex Hotel

rex hotel

The Rex mansion was built in 1927 with the money of a French businessman. In the early years, it was used to demonstrate European cars, and then converted into a hotel with rooms, a cafeteria and a cinema. The hotel gained popularity during the Vietnam War. It housed the US military, and the rooftop bar hosted regular briefings for the military press.

Today’s Rex Hotel is a chic place that symbolizes Vietnamese hospitality. Tourists are waiting for cozy rooms, a garden and a swimming pool overlooking the city, a restaurant, a spa.

Ban Thanh Market

rinok ban than

A huge bazaar along the Saigon River was founded by street vendors about 300 years ago. It was spontaneous until the beginning of the 19th century. Then the French built the first covered pavilion and systematized trade.

Ban Thanh is the symbol of Ho Chi Minh City and the most famous market in Vietnam. The image of the main tower of the pavilion with the clock is found in books and advertising booklets. The vast territory is divided into food and clothing markets. Here they sell spices, tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables, household appliances, souvenirs, antiques.

Temples and churches

Kuan Am Pagoda

weather kuan

The Buddhist pagoda of the 19th century is dedicated to the Chinese goddess of mercy Guanyin. The colorful temple is decorated with lanterns, wooden statues of dragons stand on the roof, and the walls are painted with scenes from Chinese mythology and floral ornaments.

In the main sanctuary, Guanyin herself flaunts, surrounded by numerous sculptures of Buddhas. Believers light candles, incense and ask the goddess for help. In the courtyard there is a lake with fish, in the middle of which a fountain beats. Behind the lake is a bas-relief depicting a dragon and the Jade Emperor.

Thien Hau Temple

hram thien hun

The temple of the sea goddess Thien Hau in the traditional Chinese style appeared in Ho Chi Minh City in the 18th century. It was erected by sailors from the Celestial Empire as a token of gratitude to the goddess. The wooden walls of the pagoda are decorated with porcelain inserts and carved ornaments, the entrance doors are finished with gilding.

There are statues of Thien Hau on the altar. A large wooden boat hovers under the ceiling, symbolizing those who are guarded by the goddess. Traveling people come to the temple and light aromatic spirals that smolder for a long time. While they smoke, Thien Hau protects the faithful.

Mariamman Temple

hram mariammam

The Hindu temple of the goddess Mariamman was erected over 100 years ago for immigrants from South India living in the vicinity of Saigon. The facade is decorated with large and small animal figurines. Above the entrance is a monumental tower 12 meters high. On its walls are carved paintings illustrating texts from the Mahabharata and Ramayana.

The corridors are equipped with niches for statues of Lakshmi, Murugan, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma. In the main hall there is a figure of the many-armed Mariamman surrounded by servants and an altar with incense and candles.

Tomb of Le Van Duet

grobnica le van

Within Ho Chi Minh City is the mausoleum of the Vietnamese General Le Van Diet. An outstanding commander who lived 200 years ago contributed to the strengthening of imperial power and the expansion of the southern borders of the country. The tomb of the national hero stands on a high hill and has a rounded shape resembling a tortoise shell.

The sanctuary is surrounded by a stone fence with four gates. On the territory there is a temple with a two-tiered roof, decorated with carved patterns, ceramic mosaics, and bas-reliefs.

Temple of the Jade Emperor

hran nefritovogo imperatora

The temple was built by the Chinese community in 1909. The Taoist pagoda is dedicated to the lord of heaven, the supreme god Ngoc Hoang. It attracts with a multi-tiered roof, carved facade, graceful sculptures of mythical animals and deities. In the yard there is a beautiful pond where turtles live — a symbol of good luck.

Notre Dame Cathedral

sobor notr dam

The Basilica of Notre Dame was built in the early years of the colonization of Indochina by the French. This is a beautiful Romanesque temple, reminiscent of the famous Parisian Notre Dame de Paris. The facade is decorated with arches, stained-glass windows, a rose window. On the sides are two belfries with gabled roofs and crosses. Bronze bells hang at the top of the towers. The total length of the cathedral is 60.5 meters. On the square in front of the main entrance there is a granite statue of the Mother of God.


Ho Chi Minh Museum

musei hoshimina

In the center of the city is the Gia Long Palace, built by the French in 1890 to host a commercial trade show. The two-storey Baroque building is decorated with balconies, columns, openwork carved patterns. In the interior of the exhibition, introducing the history of the city, archaeological finds, ethnographic exhibits. Tourists can see the numismatic collection, ancient weapons, porcelain dishes, photographs of Ho Chi Minh City, paintings by local artists.

Historical Museum

istor museum

The Vietnam History Museum opened in Ho Chi Minh City in 1925. It contains exhibits reflecting historical events from antiquity to the beginning of the last century. Museum collections tell about the formation of the first royal dynasties, the Nguyen imperial house and the French colonization.

Special departments report on the religions of Vietnam and display cult objects, statues of deities. In addition to the permanent ones, the museum holds temporary exhibitions dedicated to various historical figures.

Museum of War Victims

musei gertv warrior

The museum, opened in 1975, displays items related to the First Indochina War and the American War in Vietnam. The departments of the museum contain exhibits that tell about the struggle of the Vietnamese with French colonization and the American invasion. Documents and photographs confirm the destruction of civilians, the use of chemical weapons and napalm by the US Army.

Tunnels Kuti

toneli kuti

Underground tunnels in the Ho Chi Minh area were laid by Vietnamese rebels during the French colonization. After the US invasion, they were used by fighters with the American army. Vietnamese soldiers, hiding in the tunnels, suffered from hunger and disease, but despite this, they inflicted heavy damage on the enemy.

Today the complex has been turned into a military memorial park. Lanterns and explanatory signs are installed in the tourist zone. In front of the entrance to the dungeon there is a shooting range, a souvenir shop and a cafe.

Bing Qu Village

derevnia bin cu

An important tourist attraction of Ho Chi Minh City is the village of Bing Qu. It is built on the Thanh Da peninsula and includes picturesque canals with wooden bridges, moorings for boats, huts on stilts with thatched roofs.

The village is identical to the settlements scattered along the rivers 100-200 years ago. Tourists come to boat along the Vietnamese canals, listen to ethnic music, admire old houses and go fishing. The village has a restaurant and bungalows for travelers.

Nature and entertainment

Zoo and Botanical Garden

zoo bot sad

Ho Chi Minh Botanical Garden was founded in 1864 by the botanist Louis-Pierre. Under the guidance of a French scientist, the site was planted with trees from different Asian countries, equipped with a rose garden, flower beds with orchids, a garden of dwarf plants, greenhouses with medicinal herbs and cacti. A little later, among the greenery, a zoo was opened. Spacious cages and enclosures were installed for the animals.

Today, brown bears, tigers, leopards, crocodiles, monkeys, deer, giraffes live on the territory of the botanical garden.

Dam Shen Park

park dem shem

The Dam Shen amusement park has an area of ​​50 hectares and is divided into zones. Popular destinations are lakes, an old castle with attractions, an open-air puppet theater, bowling and sports grounds, a butterfly garden, a water park with pools and high-speed slides.

The central place is occupied by a tropical garden. Exotic trees grow in it, there are caves, waterfalls and fish ponds. The park runs a train on a two-kilometer monorail. In addition, here you can move around on electric vehicles and horse-drawn sledges.

Black lady

black ledi

The Black Lady in the vicinity of Ho Chi Minh City is the highest mountain in South Vietnam (996 meters). It is famous for its magnificent natural landscapes and Buddhist temples on picturesque slopes. In wartime, Vietnamese partisan detachments hid on the mountain — this is evidenced by the preserved trenches and dugouts. To the top of the Black Lady climb along the path and the cable car. A gondola ride saves energy and provides a good overview of the surroundings.



The biosphere reserve, formed in 2000, consists of mangrove forests. These are the peculiar lungs of Ho Chi Minh City, spread along the Saigon River. Tall grasses, evergreen shrubs, black mangrove, pomegranate Xylocarpus, pointed Rhizophora grow here.

The animal world is rich and varied. In the forest there are king cobras, wild Asian cats, monkeys, combed crocodiles are found in the water. Pelicans, ducks and snails nest near the shore. Excursion around the reserve includes hiking along the river, feeding crocodiles, watching birds and animals.