We didn’t want to spend 50 USD on a Saigon city tour however interesting a ride around the city on a Vespa might be, so we opted for a DIY walking tour instead.
We set out at 9 in the morning, and then came back at 3 in the afternoon. Just like our Mekong Delta tour, it was an exhausting walk, but we managed to visit a total of 7 attractions.
Ben Thanh Market
Our first stop was the famous Ben Thanh Market, probably the most complete place in Ho Chi Minh (HCM) to shop for souvenirs to take back home. It was exactly what we were expecting as far as merchandise is concerned. There were stalls upon stalls selling t-shirts, bags, fridge magnets, and other knick-knacks.
Saigon Square is another shopping spot that’s not very far from Ben Thanh. Head over to this place if you’d like to check out imitations of your favorite brands (e.g., The North Face, Gucci, etc.).
Ho Chi Minh City Hall
After lunch at Lotteria, we headed to the City Hall, a building known for its beautiful French Colonial style. There was nothing to do here other than to marvel at the structure and probably to cool down at a nearby Starbucks.
Ho Chi Minh Statue
In front of City Hall is the statue of Ho Chi Minh, said to be the “Founding Father of the Vietnamese Revolutionary Diplomacy.”
On a side note, don’t forget to check out the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum when in Hanoi. It’s next to the Presidential Palace. Check out these top-rated Hanoi hotels to know where to stay.
We weren’t enthusiastic about paying the entry fee, so we just spent 10 minutes at the benches facing the palace before moving on to the next attraction.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
One of the most-photographed spots in HCM, the Cathedral is just a stone’s throw away from the Reunification Palace. Of course, we didn’t pass up the opportunity to take a picture with the Virgin Mary statue in front of it.
In the Northern Vietnamese town of Sapa, there’s also a Notre Dame church. Don’t forget to check it out when you spend an afternoon trekking or walking around town.
Saigon Central Post Office
Constructed between 1886-1891, the Central Post Office is said to be the “grandest post office in all of Southeast Asia” — at least according to this website.