Off to the South! We leave central Vietnam and fly with Vietnam Airlines to the metropolis Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), where we will spend the next two nights. The city is lively and modern with its skyscrapers and millions of mopeds, but has retained much of its french colonial charm.
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Our flight from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City
Today it was time to get up early, because we already drove with our tour group to the airport in Da Nang at 6.40 a.m. Our Gebeco tour guide accompanied our group to the airline counter to make sure everything worked out with the check-in. At 9.30 a.m. our flight with Vietnam Airlines took off, which lasted about 70 minutes.
At the airport in Ho Chi Minh City, our new Gebeco tour guide was already waiting for us and when we were all gathered, we could start our city tour.
Our Hotel Sonnet Saigon
For two nights we stayed at the Hotel Sonnet Saigon. The location of the hotel was very convenient, as we could reach the main sights on foot (e.g. 900 meters to the Palace of Reunification). Small supermarkets, snack fairs, food stalls etc. can also be found in the surrounding area.
Unfortunately we had one of the worse rooms, but we also saw online that there are probably more modern rooms. Our room looked very old-fashioned, the curtains were broken, the windows leaked (so it was very noisy) and the bathroom was not clean (hair on the floor). The bed was not comfortable either. We had informed the staff at the reception of the defects, but unfortunately we could not offer another room.
The hotel’s breakfast was included in the price and was very good. There were both cold and hot food, vegetables, fruit, baked goods, etc.
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city and economic center of Vietnamwith 9 million inhabitants. Under the old name Saigon, which is still used parallel to Ho Chi Minh City, it was the capital of the Republic of Vietnam until 1975.
Saigon was founded between the 1st and 6th centuries as a small fishing village. Surrounded by navigable waterways on three sides, the village experienced its first ascent as a port of transshipment for Cambodian ships sailing along the Great Mekong River. Towards the end of the 17th century, the Vietnamese had conquered the Champa Empire on their march south. In the following century, the entire region was captured by the Nguyen dynasty in Hue.
End of the In the 18th century, the French fought with the Vietnamese for seven decades for control of the region in order to establish a permanent trading post in Asia. On 17 February 1859, the French army finally occupied Saigon under a pretext. The city owes its present appearance and character above all to the French colonists. Buildings of European architecture were built, and numerous cafés and boutiques were opened.
Since the beginning of French colonization, Saigon has seen rapid population growth. From 1986, the city rapidly developed into the financial and economic center of Vietnam.
Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
As part of a city tour and a walk we were able to get to know the most important sights of Saigon.
The Ben Thanh Market
Our first stop was the Ben Thanh Market,built in 1914, which is located in a large market hall. We had a good hour to stroll through the corridors and let the impressions affect us. We find such markets super interesting every time, because you can see a lot of new things here.
The Main Post Office
Built between 1886 and 1891 in gothic style, the main post office was designed by the famous engineer Gustave Eiffel. The highlight is on the one hand the cast-iron ceiling construction inside and on the other hand a small inconspicuous man who sits here every day on his chair. This man is called Duong van Ngo, is 90 years old and actually still works as a state letter translator. He used to translate love letters, but today business correspondence in English and French ends up on his table. Here is a report about the old man from the ARD. Insanely impressive!
The Thien-Hau Temple
The Thien-Hau Temple was built around 1760 by immigrant Chinese. The highlight are the countless small porcelain figures, which were painstakingly produced and arranged on the roofs of the temple. If the temple receives a larger donation, a large bronze-colored bell from 1830 is struck.
The town hall with the Lotus Fountain
The town hall of Saigon was built from 1901 to 1908 in colonial style by the French. Today, the building serves as the seat of the city’s People’s Committee. In the square in front of the town hall there is a statue of Ho Chi Minh and a beautiful fountain, in the middle of which is perched a pink lotus flower.
More sights and photo spots
Saigon has a few other attractions to offer, such as the Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Reunification Palace, and the Bitexco Financial Tower with its observation deck.
We found the colourful Café Apartments Houseparticularly interesting from the outside, which is a real eye-catcher. The building is a hotspot for Vietnamese youth with ice cream cafes, bars and small hip shops spread over a total of 8 floors.
Otherwise, of course, what you see on the road every day is the most exciting: millions of mopeds in dense traffic, sometimes dogs without a leash sit on the seat or huge quantities of goods are transported on the small scooters. If there is traffic jams on the roads, the footpath is quickly captured by the mopeds. From time to time they have to share it with barber shops or cooking kitchens 😉
A map with all sights
On the following Google MyMaps map we have mapped all the major sights in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).
All travelogues from VietnamDuring our 10-day trip with Gebeco through Vietnam we got to know many different sides of the country. Starting with the pulsating capital Hanoi and the millions of scooters on the streets, the majestic beauty of Halong Bay, an exciting night train ride to the cultural centre of Hue, further to the old town of Hoi An, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and on to the megacity of Saigon in the south of the country. Our trip was very varied and full of contrasts and here you can find an overview of all travel reports: Day 1: Our trip “Typical Vietnam!” with Gebeco (Vietnam)
Day 2: Hanoi – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots (Vietnam)
Day 3: Halong Bay – A day trip from Hanoi (Vietnam)
Day 3: The Night Train from Hanoi to Hue (Vietnam)
Day 4: Hue – Citadel & Imperial Palace with the Forbidden City (Vietnam)
Day 4: Hue – Emperor’s Tomb of Minh Mang & Thien Mu Pagoda (Vietnam)
Day 5: From Hue to Hoi An – The Cloud Pass & Da Nang (Vietnam)
Day 5: Hoi An – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots (Vietnam)
Day 6: My Son – The ruins of the ancient temple city at Hoi An (Vietnam)
Day 7: Saigon – Die Sehenswürdigkeiten von Ho Chi Minh Stadt
Day 7: Saigon – A culinary Vespa tour of the city (Vietnam)
Day 8: The Mekong Delta – A bike & boat tour (Vietnam)
Day 9: Cu Chi – The Tunnels of the Vietcong in the Vietnam War (Vietnam)
Starbucks Global Icon City Mug from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)We are collecting the Starbucks Mugs from the cities and islands we visit on our travels. Unfortunately, not every city that has a Starbucks store with an own mug. But if the city has an own mug we like to collect them as a souvenir. We only collect city mugs from the "Global Icon Series", which was released in 2008. You can see our complete collection here: Starbucks - Our collection of Mugs from the Global Icon Series
Ho Chi Minh City has several Starbucks stores and also has its own cup 🙂