Beijing has been my favourite city in Asia for some time now, but when I stepped into the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the competition became fierce.
Ho Chi Minh (or previously Saigon) is one of those cities that needs to be visit, either as a stop over or a destination in itself. Whether solo or not, you’ll be sure to feel safe and at home amongst the vibrant colours and welcoming faces that live amongst the streets of the bustling Ho Chi Minh City.
That being said, Ho Chi Minh has a high rate of bag snatching. As the city contains 19 million motorcycles zooming around daily, this makes bag snatching off shoulders and backs that much easier. So, like always, have one hand on your shoulder bag, and if carrying a backpack, sit it on the front of your body.
France or Vietnam?
When Vietnam was ruled as a French colony, they adopted the taste of the French. Which is why around Vietnam and especially in the major cities, you will come across French cuisines and pastries. The French are also the reason why 40% of the population are Christian, making it the largest population of Christians in Asia (the other 60% are Buddhist).
Some of the buildings you’ll come across are also French inspired and designed.
To experience the colours of the city
Ho Chi Minh is one of the most colourful and energetic cities I have ever been to. Around every corner there are buildings with vines growing on them creating life of colour, there are green parks and light displays with the Vietnam flag hanging above the roads.
These things are what make the city what it is, and the very first things I noticed. They stood out at me, as it’s not everyday you come across a city filled with such colour.
To sight see
Ho Chi Minh is easy to navigate around, and you can walk the whole thing (almost) by foot, making sightseeing pretty easy. All you need is a map and a good sense of navigation skills and you can see all that the city has to offer.
If you do happen to get lost, the locals are very friendly and are willing to help you out (I had this experience once standing on the street with a map and trying to figure out what street I was on).
National Opera House
Ben Tanh Market
The Post Office
To experience the best view of the city
If you are on the hunt for the best view that Ho Chi Minh has to offer? Then take an elevator up 68 floors high at Saigon SkyDeck.
To learn about the history
Ho Chi Minh has four major museums.
War Remnants Museum, Gia Long Palace, Museum of Vietnamese History and the Southeastern Armed Forces Museum.
You can easily spend a day getting lost within the Vietnamese history.
Ho Chi Minh can be done on foot, allowing you to get amongst the lively action happening in the streets.
Taxis are cheap within the city, but make sure you catch a metered taxi and watch the monitor as it could potentially increase faster than it’s suppose to.
Remember: Prior to entering Vietnam
Vietnam can be a difficult country to enter if you don’t do your research. Researching your visa requirements is key to coming to Vietnam, as Vietnam has slightly different requirements for each country.
Getting in contact with your local Vietnamese Embassy in your home city is the safest option. Without a visa, you will be denied entry. Some countries allow for visa on arrival, but this is very rare for Vietnam.
I am Australian, and I needed to get my visa prior to arrival, accompanied by a passport sized photo of myself.