Ho Chi Minh City - The modern city from the past

Ho Chi Minh City Airport Directory (SGN)
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Steeped deep in history, Ho Chi Minh City is the financial and business hub of Vietnam. Also known as Saigon, it played a crucial role in the Vietnam War, the remnants of which are still present across the city. Starting from the broad avenues to shiny skyscrapers, luxurious hotels to budget guesthouses, chicest restaurants to street food stalls, the city is always bustling with energy and innovation. A cosmopolitan megapolis, Ho Chi Minh City's vibrant and serene cityscape is filled with elegant structures, representing a unique amalgamation of the past and the future.

Best time to visit: Ho Chi Minh has a tropical climate with two distinctive seasons - dry and wet. The ideal time to visit the city is between December to April, when the weather is dry. Let us take a look at the various seasons round the year to help you plan your trip better.

  • Monsoon: Ho Chi Minh City experiences an average rainfall of almost 1800mm yearly. The rainy season usually starts in May and continues till November.
  • Dry season: December to April is the dry season, with an average temperature of 33 °C and no rain. It is recommended to plan a trip during this period.

Most spoken language in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Vietnamese

How to reach Ho Chi Minh City

  • By Air: Located at a distance of 6 km from the north of the city centre, Tan Son Nhat is the international airport serving Ho Chi Minh City. IndiGo now provides flights to Ho Chi Minh City with direct connectivity between Ho Chi Minh City and Kolkata along with a seamless connection to other key destinations.
  • Getting around: Travelling around Ho Chi Minh City is not that difficult despite the traffic.  Cyclo is quite popular among tourists, and bicycles & motorbikes are also available on rent. Taxi, Xe Om (Motorcycle Taxi) and bus are some of the other ways to get around.
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Places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Reunification Palace: Also known as the Independence Palace, Reunification Palace is a landmark spot in Saigon, Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, it was the home and workplace of the then President of South Vietnam. The complex features secret rooms, antique furnitures, and a command bunker. Do check out its impressive recreation room, featuring an eerie basement, circular sofa, several vintage telephones from the 1960s, office equipment and radios among other items. There is also a photo gallery featuring a film on the South Vietnamese military and American forces surrendering to the Ho Chi Minh forces.
  • War Remnants Museum: Opened to the public in year 1975, Ho Chi Minh City's War Remnants Museum recounts the horror of the Vietnam War. It displays American military equipment and photographs of the victims of 'Agent Orange.' The most highlighted exhibit includes the 'Tiger Cages' wherein the South Vietnamese Government confined the political prisoners. According to the locals, almost 14 people were kept inside the cages at a time.
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica: The Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is among the few remaining reminiscent of Catholicism in a majorly Buddhist Vietnam. Built-in the late 1880s, the cathedral is an essential landmark of the Ho Chi Minh City and features two bell towers measuring 190 feet. Apart from being a popular tourist attraction, it is also a religious centre for the locals.
  • Central Post Office: Built between 1886 and 1891, Ho Chi Minh City's Central Post Office is a beautifully preserved structure, and a reminder of the French Colonial times. It is located next to the Notre Dame Cathedral, making it easy for you to visit both the places at one go. The post office is adorned with wooden shutters, intricately designed marble floors and arched windows. It gives an exciting glimpse into history, highlighting the importance of the post office at that time. The post office is still operational.  You should plan on sending a letter or postcard from here to your loved ones back in your country.
  • Ba Thien Hau Temple: Dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess - Mazu, the temple features beautifully designed interiors and exteriors. The interiors feature colourful dioramas on the roof, representing scenes from the 19th century, while the exteriors are decorated with porcelain figures from Chinese folk tales along with a traditional curvy roof. The most noticeable element inside the temple are the three statues of the Lady of the sea.

Places to eat in Ho Chi Minh City

Nha Hang Ngon
Nha Hang Ngon

Touted as one of the most popular eateries in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Hang Ngon is known to serve an array of street food. It is housed inside an attractive French Villa that is well restored and painted in canary yellow. The courtyard is complimented with twinkling fairy lights along with a beautiful lily pond in the middle. The popular dishes on their menu includes, Minced Prawns on Bamboo, a variety of Noodle Soups and Grilled Crab accompanied with a delicious sauce along other Vietnamese dishes.

Deck Saigon
Deck Saigon

Situated on the banks of the Siagon river , Deck Saigon is housed in a stunning pavilion. You can plan to relax here all afternoon while sipping wine and munching on some dim-sums. Their three-course lunch is a good pick for lazy afternoons.

Pizza 4P's
Pizza 4P's

This Italian-Japanese fusion restaurant serves some of the best pizzas in the city. It's not just a restaurant but also an institution which serves the city's expat community an array of stone-baked Pizzas. Remember to make a reservation before heading to Pizza 4P’s, since it is usually gets packed over the weekends.

Quan An Ngon
Quan An Ngon

This place boasts of an elegant design scheme, something that looks straight out of a fairytale. It is an ideal place to try authentic Vietnamese cuisine like, Black Pepper Crab, Spring Rolls, and Hue Noodles. Quan An Ngon is located inside a restored mansion with lotus ponds, intricately carved teak furniture and the staff wearing classic satin attire.


Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh is an experience. Boutique fashion is the highlight of Ho Chi Minh City shopping arena, which offers more than malls and boutiques. You will find traditional street markets spread all across the city with local vendors selling Vietnamese coffee beans, household stuff, authentic woodwork, lacquer and ceramics along with quality silks and hand weaved fabrics.

  • Ben Thanh Market: If you want to take back home some beautiful souvenirs, then head to the Ben Thanh Market. It is an excellent place to shop for Vietnamese art, local handicrafts, branded goods, and of course souvenirs. Here you can also try delicious local Vietnamese food items like, Wok-Fried Noodles, Crispy Rice Pancakes, Barbecued Fish and Meats, and more. It is a vast market and often gets difficult to navigate, but it is definitely worth a visit.
  • Binh Tay Market: Also known as Cholon Chinatown Market, Binh Tay Market is a great place to experience local lifestyle as it mainly serves the local population with everything you can think of. The market is spread across a two-storey building situated along the Thap Muoi Street. You can shop for a variety of handicrafts, souvenirs, textiles, and lacquerware from this market.
  • An Dong Market: This place is a hub for fashion wholesalers and handicraft stalls. It's an indoor market, divided into four levels and you will find an exclusive collection of shoes, textiles, clothes, handbags, and accessories here. It's a great place to shop for superb quality handicrafts and ornaments made by local artisans.
  • Vincom Center Shopping Mall: Ho Chi Minh City's largest shopping mall, the Vincom Center Shopping Mall comprises of over 250 shops. Owing to its size, the mall is separated into two buildings located across the street. Vincom Center A is a beautiful French styled building connected to the Continental Hotel and Vincom B is located behind it in a skyscraper, occupying the first five storeys.
  • Saigon Square Shopping Mall: If you are looking for a bargain deal, then Saigon Square Shopping Mall is the ideal address. This mall is packed with shops selling accessories and fashion jewellery at two levels.

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City


Ky Hoa Hotel It's a three-star luxury hotel that offers a peaceful and convenient stay for its guests. The hotel is in proximity to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport and to the famous tourist spots like the Reunification Palace and Ben Thanh Market along with several shops, restaurants, and bars. The rooms are well-designed, featuring an impressive blend of style with an aesthetic touch.


The Reverie Saigon The Reverie Saigon is situated in the centre of the city, just few steps away from the Saigon River and Saigon Square. The hotel comprises of 15 meeting rooms well-equipped with all amenities, including a business centre, limo/town car service, and wired internet access.


LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon LOTTE Legend Hotel provides the best of natural beauty coupled with sheer magnificence. This hotel is breathtakingly beautiful, with unique architectural interiors. It is an ideal pick for business travellers as the meeting facilities are well-equipped.


Hotel Nikko Saigon It's a 5-star luxury hotel comprising of 388 rooms, apartments and suites. The rooms are spaciously designed to offer the optimum level of comfort to its guests. The hotel features Ho Chi Minh City's second-largest ballroom, seven meeting rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, spa with a treatment room, a Chinese restaurant, among others.

More reasons to visit Ho Chi Minh City

Here are some of the other places to explore on your trip to Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Bitexco Financial Tower & Sky Deck: This 68-story structure stands at the centre of the city's business district and houses a helipad, shops, offices, and restaurants. The main attraction of this place is its Sky Deck that offers a 360-degree panoramic view of this vibrant city and of the Saigon River. The Sky Deck also hosts local art exhibitions from where you can buy souvenirs, textiles, and local tea.
  • Saigon Opera House: Located in proximity to the famous Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Opera House is a stunning colonial structure. The opera house is spread across three storeys and comprises of 800 seats. It is used to host various performing arts like musical concerts, ballet performances, Vietnamese dance, plays along with opera. The Opera House is an excellent place for photography, especially at night when it is immersed in soft orange light.
  • Cao Dai Temple: The followers of Cao Dai temple believe that all religions are ultimately the same and they strive for harmony and world peace. The temple design is similar to a Christian Cathedral with an altar, long central nave, and side aisles. The structure of the building features a combination of Oriental, Baroque and Neo-Gothic design, complimented with dragon wrapped pillars and sky blue ceiling. One of the main highlights is watching the Caodists pray, dressed in long flowing robes of blue, yellow or red for the priests, and white for the lay followers & bishops with Divine Eye embroidered on their headpieces.

Nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City

Nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City varies in different parts of the city. District 1 is all about rooftop bars, smooth jazz bands and happening casinos, whereas District 3 and Pham Ngu Lao's backpacker street resonates a fun time vibe along with lively street bars. Depending on your plan for an ideal night out, you can choose to spend the night in the city.

  • Rooftop Bars: Ho Chi Minh City has some of the most impressive rooftop bars in the world such as - Saigon Rooftop Bar, Chill Sky Bar, Level 23 Wine Bar at Sheraton Saigon Hotel, Glow Sky Bar and EON Heli Bar at Bitexco Financial Tower to name a few. From old world charm to chic modern style, the city has rooftop bars to suit all kinds of mood. All you need to do is sit back, take a sip of a cocktail, and enjoy the stunning view of the city in the evening.
  • Pham Ngu Lao: The street drinking experience on Pham Ngu Lao is not to be missed. The place is a hub for the backpackers, and you can spend a nice time hanging out with locals and foreigners. There are also several nightclubs on this street.
  • Casinos: Try your luck at any of the Casinos in the city. Hit the Roulette Table or play on the slot machines to try your luck. Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers and the Caravelle Hotel houses two of the largest casinos of the city.
  • Live Music Bars: Ho Chi Minh City is a heaven for live music lovers. From heavy rock to smooth music, you will get your preferred choice of music at any of the clubs or bars. Some of the best ones in the city are Acoustic Bar, Sax n' Art Jazz Club, Yoko Bar among others.
  • Dinner Cruise on the Saigon River: Spend a romantic night by sailing through the Saigon River on the Bonsai Dinner Cruise with a view of the stunning cityscape while enjoying traditional Vietnamese dance and live jazz performance. The cruise is combined with a slow river ride on a stunning wooden barge along with a delicious feast.

Visa and Immigration

If you're an Indian passport holder travelling to Ho Chi Minh City, then you are eligible for Vietnamese Visa on Arrival (VOA). For this, you need to apply for the visa online through the official website of Vietnam Visa.  This will be followed by an approval letter, issued by the Immigration Department of Vietnam, giving you permission to enter and exit Vietnam for the specified time.

To ensure a hassle-free and seamless travel, here is a detailed information about the Vietnam visa – www.goindigo.in/information/visa-information/vietnam-vn-visa.html


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