Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Made Easy

Click Here to Speak

While the drum beats softly in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is best described as an abrasive noise farm.

The sound of a million motorbikes floods the streets and the exhaust from their waste makes the air thick and heavy. It is enough to drive some people mad. Those that do live in Sai Gon long term often become its most vocal opponents.

You'll often see the stress that comes from crossing the streets of Saigon while motorbikes fly past you, sometimes within inches.

It isn't boring and for a short stay it can be quite thrilling.

I have met many who loved their time spent there.

So, love it or hate it you will have to form your own opinion about The city that Ho Chi Minh named after himself.

Perhaps it's the huge salaries that English teachers in Ho Chi Minh City can earn that keeps them here.

Or maybe it's the 'battle of daily life' that keeps people on their toes and their senses 'alive'.

Ho Chi Minh City Police

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is perhaps the only city in the world where the police try to stop you from taking a picture of the sidewalk!

Then again, it was near the American Embassy.

Some people call Ho Chi Minh City harrowing and others heaven, a complete quench of their thirst for action.

Getting to Ho Chi Minh City

Most people start in Thailand and make their way to Cambodia and then Vietnam afterwards.

It's a good plan and the most efficient route.

If you have decided to fly into Saigon then consider booking The Private Ho Chi Minh City Airport Transfer.

Phnom Pehn Airport Transfer

For $8USD they will send someone to wait for you at the airport holding a sign with your name on it. From that moment on everything is taken care of. Just sit back while they carry your bags to your Private Shuttle, which will take you directly to your hotel or guesthouse.

It saves the worry about where I'm going to get a cab and if they know where my hotel is and if they are going to rip me off or not (The cab driver). That is worth the $8USD. Heck, even a Tuk Tuk will charge you $10USD and a taxi will go no lower than $15USD.

How to Get to Ho Chi Minh City by Land

  • From Laos to Saigon

There are many border crossing from Laos into Vietnam but the border crossing closest to Saigon would be the Bo Y (Laos) / Ngoc Hoi (Vietnam) border crossing.

The border at Bo Y is open to foreigners but is probably the most challenging place to cross. You must obtain a valid Vietnamese visa before hitting the border at Bo Y.

Most people over-night in the Laos town of Attapeu then get the Mini-Bus to the border crossing. The first Mini-Bus departs Attapeu at 07:00am in the morning and the last one leaves no later than 10:00am. The price for the 119km ride from Attapeu to the Bo Y border crossing costs 90,000 kip.

The Mini-Van continues from the border into the town of Ngoc Hoi, which is about 18km on the other side of the border in Vietnam. The entire trip takes about three hours. Once you get to Ngoc Hoi, you can get a bus to nearly every destination in Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City.

  • China - Vietnam

Trains run from Beijing to Hanoi, passing Nanning and Pin Xiang in China before entering Vietnam at Dong Dang (North of Lang Son). There is also a road crossing known as Huu Nghi in Lang Son province.

Trains coming from Kunming cross the border at Lao Cai, in North-Western Vietnam.

From Guangzhou, you will cross the border at Mong Cai, a few hours drive from Halong and its spectacular Bay. (Halong Bay)

  • From Cambodia to Vietnam

Taking the Speed Boat from Phnom Penh to Chau Doc in Vietnam is pretty easy but is a longer journey than going overland.

If you leave for Ho Chi Minh City by speedboat then your point of entry into Vietnam is Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta area.

If you arrive from Cambodia by road into Ho Chi Minh City, you will enter Vietnam at the Moc Bai border crossing, which connects Vietnam`s Tay Ninh Province with Cambodia's Svay Rieng Province.

I video taped most of the ride by bus into Vietnam from Cambodia. You can check out the full Cambodia to Vietnam Video here.

Best Accommodation Options in Sai Gon

Most Visitors to Saigon stay in the Pham Ngu Lao area of Ho Chi Minh city. I have stayed in many different areas of the city but I keep coming back to Pham Ngu Lao.

It has the amenities that you won't find in other areas of the city. Sure, it is filled with tourists but for this city that is a good thing. It is actually the safest place for foreigners to stay and the accommodation is good and abundant.

Get more information on where to stay here.

Don't forget that the best source of Ho Chi Minh City hotel reviews are on tripadvisor.com

Things to See and Do in Sai Gon

Full Day Tour Ho Chi Minh City

See the best of Ho Chi Minh City on this Budget full-day tour.

Visit the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum, followed by the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post Office. Eat at the renowned 'Pho 2000' (Cheap, excellent Pho Soup) before heading to Giac Lam Pagoda, the bustling Chinese district of Cholon and finally to Ben Thanh market for a shopping spree.

Mekong Cruise from Ho Chi Minh City

Sail down the Mekong River from Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta. You'll cruise through the lush green vegetation of the Mekong Canals to visit the floating Markets and then to a fantastic Orchard for a delicious lunch complete with every tropical fruit in season. After lunch, you'll be taken to Vinh Long town for the return trip back to your Ho Chi Minh City Hotel.

Saigon Dinner Cruise

There is no better way to experience the vibrant city lights of Ho Chi Minh City than on the Bonsai two-hour dinner cruise on the Saigon River.

  • Visit the Tax Shopping Center

135 Nguyen Hue St, District 1.

You should visit the Duty-Free shopping Center in downtown Ho Chi Minh City within 5 working days of your arrival in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

After five days they will no longer sell anything to you at Duty-Free prices. I don't know the reasons but just keep it in mind.

If you are coming overland from Cambodia then it is cheaper at the Duty-Free shop at the Moc Bai border crossing.

Barring that, get to the Tax-Free shopping center (address above)within five days of your arrival. You'll need your passport in hand to confirm your arrival date.

  • Notre Dame Cathedral

Quang Truong Cong Xa Paris, District 1.

This Cathedral was built by the French in 1877. It's the best known building in Ho Chi Minh City for its neo-Romanesque architecture and the two towers that stand 57m high.

A statue of the Virgin Mary stands right out front as if to welcome you in. Last year red colored tears began to run down its stone cheeks. It went on for weeks and you couldn't even get in to see it for the crowds.

People sold hot-dogs and made a killing.

  • Ho Chi Minh City History Museum

2 Nguyen Binh Khiem St, District 1, HCMC.

This is one of the oldest museums in the city. That doesn't mean it didn't bore the heck out of me though. The truth is that unless you are an enthusiast about antiques; the Phu Nam culture, Cham arts and Mekong Delta arts, it's difficult to appreciate.

But everyone has a passion and if yours is the fore-mentioned arts, then get down there. And don't be offended when they triple charge you as a foreigner. It's still cheap at about $3USD a person.

  • Ho Chi Minh Museum

1 Nguyen Tat Thanh, District 4

This building was the place where Nguyen Tat Thanh, later known as Uncle Ho (Ho Chi Minh), embarked on the Latouche Treville to go abroad and begin the struggle for Vietnam's independence.

The museum is dedicated to displaying materials pertaining to everything about President Ho's purported activities.

Of course, it's all about seeing Ho Chi Minh through the eyes of blind, reverent communist Vietnamese. He is their hero and a god-like figure so it's a political statement in the old Communist way. I loved that part of it.

It was interesting to see how people react to this account of a man who exterminated nearly two million of his own people and seized their land and assets in the process.

But I should leave my opinions out of it.

  • Dam Sen Park

3 Hoa Binh St, District 11.

Dam Sen is THE hangout place for teens and adults alike. It's usually crowded on the weekends but the water-park inside is refreshing and the roller-coaster is cute for kids and stupid for anyone over 10.

So, of course I went, my knees stuffed into the dashboard of the tiny car. I won't be including a picture of that. It was ugly.

  • Benh Tahn Market

Ben Tahn Market

This is a great place to do some shopping before you leave.

Good for fake Rolex watches (Incredible quality), T-shirts; maybe a traditional Vietnamese dress for any cross-dressers or women out there.

And the coffee and spices to die for can be found here.

Just remember that you can usually shave %50 off of the asking price. I never pay more.

The sales person will crumble as you walk away and if not the other 57 stores will surely help you out.

  • Reunification Palace (Independent Palace)

133 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St, District 1.

This was the site of the former palace of the French Governor of Indochina. Built in 1868, it became the presidential palace of South Vietnam when Ngo Dinh Diem came to power in the 1950s.

After being damaged by bombs during a coup attempt in the early 1960s, the palace was rebuilt. On April 30, 1975, tanks of the liberation army crashed through the main gate of the palace, ending the 20-year war for Vietnam's reunification.

There are some tanks and jet fighter aircraft parked near the front entrance. There is a also a captured American tank as well but there is little else to see here.

Inside the palace is just sterile and has that old man smell. Boring for me but it's there for any of you who would like to see the map room or other wartime memorabilia.

Once the headquarters of the armed forces in Ho Chi Minh City (Then Saigon). Gia Dinh, Cu Chi Tunnel is a system of 200km of tunnels between 2.5m and 12m underground.

Cu Chi Tunnels

A ninety-minute drive north of Ho Chi Minh City, the Cu Chi Tunnels were built by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the long years of struggle for independence and unification.

Four meters below the ground, the three level tunnel complex is spread over 200 kilometers and was able to withstand the force of repeated bombings and the weight of the heavy armored vehicles rolling above.

This subterranean city housed not only conference rooms, guard posts and booby-trapped false tunnels for use by the resistance fighters, but also Kitchens, sleeping quarters, school rooms, field hospitals and a mini-cinema for use by the whole community.

Today the tunnels have been widened to allow easier access for the many overseas and local visitors who come to marvel at the ingenuity of the war-time inhabitants of Cu Chi.

Learn more about the Best Budget Cu Chi Tunnel Tours.

  • Suoi Tien Park

Tan Phu Street, District 9.

For provincial visitors to Ho Chi Minh City, Suoi Tien is a must-see place. It's interesting because of the huge statues of the founders of Vietnam and the kings of the Hung Dynasty.

  • War Museum in Saigon

28 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3.

A must-see for foreign tourists visiting Ho Chi Minh City. On display are exhibits concerning the atrocities during the Vietnam war such as My Lai massacre and victims of napalm bombs and Agent Orange.

There is also a guillotine brought to Vietnam by the French colonialists. In the late 1950s, this guillotine was moved to several provinces in South Vietnam to execute revolutionists.

There is also a souvenir shop that sells items related to the war.

Your Ho Chi Minh City Stories and Questions

Share with us your views on Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Is it better to spend your time in nearby Phnom Penh, Cambodia and avoid Vietnam altogether?

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]

 

Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

 submission guidelines.


(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to read what ideas other visitors have contributed...

Bodyguard in Saigon 
I want 3 bodyguards. How can I get it and how much? I appreciate your support and immediate feedback, Answer from Travel-Budget-Asia.com I'm …

Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi or Siem Reap to Hanoi 
Hi! I'm planning a Vietnam and Cambodia trip this April. Would like to ask if there are bus / train routes from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi (and vice-versa) …

Cheap Dental Work in Ho Chi Minh City 
I heard Ho Chi Minh City is a great place to get some dental work done on the cheap. I don't have any insurance back home so I'm thinking of getting my …

Seriously ILL While in Ho Chi Minh City 
What should I do if I get seriously ill while I'm in Ho Chi Minh City? Are the hospitals any good or should I be worried about it? Not to be paranoid …

Hanoi to Siem Reap Not rated yet
Hi, I have booked a flight from the Philippines to Hanoi and it's only an 8 day trip. I really want to visit Siem reap and I don't know if I can squeeze …

Successful Companies in Ho Chi Minh City Not rated yet
I. Machinery, Electricity-Electronics: 1 Nidec Tosok Viet Nam * Investment capital: USD 60,000,000 * Address: - Tan Thuan Export Processing …

Banks and the Banking System in Ho Chi Minh City Not rated yet
Vietnamese banking system include: 1-State Bank of Vietnam (SBV): is a Government body and is also the central bank of Vietnam. State Bank of Vietnam …

Con Artists Ho Chi Minh City Not rated yet
Beware of con artists in Ho Chi Minh City! They will take you for everything you have with the misleading hope of more in return. They are good and will …

Atm Bank Card Ho Chi Minh City Not rated yet
Can I use my bank card (Scotia Bank) in Ho Chi Minh City? ========================================= Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com Ho Chi …

Personal Safety Ho Chi Minh City Not rated yet
I was just wondering how safe you consider Ho Chi Minh city to be. It's not like I'm going to walk down any dark alleys alone but am I fairly safe …

Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, Cambodia Not rated yet
We are wanting to travel from Ho Chi Minh city to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, part of this we would like to do by boat to take in all the scenery. Can …

Ho Chi Minh City - What to Do Not rated yet
Ho Chi Minh City is a great place where you can buy high-quality handicraft, and enjoy excellent yet very low-cost Asian and European foods. Go to any …

A Good Tailor in Ho Chi Minh City? Not rated yet
Is there a good tailor in Ho Chi Minh City? Can you recommend one to me...please. I heard that they make some great custom tailored clothes in Vietnam …

Click here to write your own.

Google
 

Return to the Top of the Page

Leave for Our Vietnam Travel Page

Return to Our Budget Asia Travel Home Page

New! Comments

Tell us what you think, add some information or just Leave your thoughts in the box below.

CAN'T FIND IT HERE? TRIPADVISOR WILL HAVE IT


No One Offers Cheaper Airfares

CheapOair-Logo


The Best Quality No-Frills Budget Tours


Avoid Disaster with a $30USD Insurance Package.


Compare Hotel Prices from Every Booking Agency in one Place

HotelsCombined.com - Search top travel sites at once!

Recent Articles

  1. Immigration Regulations for Vietnam

    • Entry visa exempted for the following countries' citizens holding official passport: 01 Albania 02 Argentina 03 Algeria 04 Afghanistan 05 Bangladesh

    Read More

  2. African American Teaching In Sai Gon

    To whom this may concern, I am a native speaker currently living in the United States with a recently acquired TEFL certification (no

    Read More

  3. Incomplete bachelors degree

    Hi, i recently got offered a job teaching English at a school in Hanoi. Its a hospitality school and i have worked in hospitality for 3 years. That combined

    Read More

  4. Looking for FT job

    Hey, I am in Thu Dau Mot City (Binh Duong) only 25 km north of Saigon. I am currently looking for an IELTS type of job here or in the Saigon area (I am

    Read More

  5. Angkor Thom and The Bayon Temple of Faces

    Angkor Thom was built by a King who feared irrelevance in Khmer Empire history. Here are the best ways to get to Angkor Thom and to see the Bayon Temple

    Read More

  6. The Most Intense Vietnam Travel Guide with Video Guided Tours

    Vietnam travel with destinations like Hanoi, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and the breathtaking Halong Bay. We take you to them all, finding our diamonds with budget minded looking-glasses.

    Read More

  7. Budget Asia Travel Specializing in Cambodia Travel and Vietnam Travel Tips

    Asia Travel information on Vietnam and Cambodia travel that's well researched and containing specialized videos to get you 'Up Close' before you make the trip.

    Read More