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Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the country forward with its pulsating energy. A chaotic whirl, the city breathes life and vitality into all who settle here, and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride. From the finest of hotels to the cheapest of guesthouses, the classiest of restaurants to the tastiest of street stalls, the choicest of boutiques to the scrum of the markets, HCMC is a city of energy and discovery.Wander through timeless alleys to incense-infused temples before negotiating chic designer malls beneath sleek 21st-century skyscrapers. The ghosts of the past live on in buildings that one generation ago witnessed a city in turmoil, but now the real beauty of the former Saigon’s urban collage is the seamless blending of these two worlds into one exciting mass.
Still often referred to by it's old name, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a chaotic sensory feast. Motorbikes honk in a tidal wave across clogged intersections, locals crouch on street corners slurping steaming hot bowls of Pho (noodle soup); and the sultry air is thick with exhaust fumes and exotic spices. Temples huddle amid skyscrapers and designer shops, locals cast bamboo fishing rods into the languorous Saigon River, and in places, the city feels almost European, with its elegant French colonial architecture and wide, tree-lined avenues. Adding to the fascinating cultural jolt are a clutch of intriguing tourist attractions, from the poignant War Remnants Museum and captivating water puppet shows to colorful markets and the time warp of the Reunification Palace. Not far from the city, the famous Củ Chi tunnels are a must-see attraction, and the lush waterscapes and small villages of the Mekong Delta provide a fascinating glimpse of rural life.
While you're visiting China Town, it's also worth stopping by the hectic Binh Tay Market, which sells everything from fresh produce to Chinese trinkets. The area is also home to some beautiful examples of classical Chinese architecture.
Ciao Bella - Address: 11 Dong Du, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tel: +84 8 3822 3329. E-mail: [email protected] Open: Every day 07:30am – 11:00pm
Ciao Bella is known not only for its unique and reasonably priced Italian cuisine, but also for its great atmosphere, truly one of Saigon's gems. It offers fantastic fresh food, and reliable and friendly staff.Ciao Bella's menu features many signature dishesand it is the perfect venue for all occasions.
2- Café-Restaurant Ho Chi Minh City - Address: 1st Floor 171 CalmetteNguyễnTháiBìnhQuận 1, HồChí Minh City, Vietnam. Tel: +84 8 62 881717. E-mail: [email protected] Open: Every day 07:00am – 11:30pm
Perfect for all occasions, Café-Restaurant Ho Chi Minh City will be popular for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a friendly customer service and an open relaxed ambiance.
3- Baba's Kitchen - Address: 164 Bui Vien Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tel: +84 83-838-6661 / +84 83-838-6662. E-mail: [email protected] Open: Every day 11:00am – 11:00pm
Baba's sets Bui Vien alight with the fine flavours, aromas and spices of India. There's ample vegetarian choice and the atmosphere is as inviting as the cuisine is delectable. If you like your food eye-poppingly spicy, the vindaloo dishes can assist, although the waiter may politely caution you that they are 'rather hot'. Rather excellent service too.
4- La Villa French Restaurant - Address: 14 Ngo QuangHuy, ThaoDien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam. Tel: +84 8 3898 2082 / +84 9 0771 9879. E-mail: [email protected]
A place where Chef Thierry would no longer be bound by the limitations of 5-star hotels or high-end restaurants, where he’d previously worked. It would be a creative space to explore French gastronomy at his own pace, in an environment designed to facilitate the best of what excellent ingredients could offer.
5- Temple Club - Address: 29-31 Ton That Thiep Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
This classy establishment, housed on the 2nd floor of a beautiful colonial-era villa decorated with spiritual motifs and elegant Chinese characters, offers a huge selection of delectable Vietnamese dishes, including vegetarian specialities, alongside a spectrum of spirited cocktails.
6- Lush - Address: 2 Ly TuTrong, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam
Tel: +84 8 3824 2496. Open: Tuesday – Sunday 08:00pm – 03:00am
It is large and well furnished with contemporary lounge decor on 2 levels. Great DJs playing the latest hip hop, RnB and pop tunes keep the mixed crowd of locals, expats and tourists bopping along. It is one of the better bars in Saigon nonetheless.
7- Apocalypse Now Bar – Café - Address: 2B ThiSach Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tel: +84 8 3825 6124. E-mail: [email protected] Open: Every day 07:00pm – 04:00am
A sprawling place with a big dance floor and an outdoor courtyard, the bar's eclectic cast combines travellers, expats, Vietnamese movers and shakers, plus the odd working girl. The music is thumping and it’s apocalyptically rowdy.
8- Carmen - Address: 8 Ly TuTrong, District 1,Ho Chi Minh City70000, Vietnam
Tel: +84 8 83829 7699
It is a curious live music space. The atmosphere is intimate. This is definitely not a sweaty live music venue. Can be lots of fun and this is a unique Saigon night out in a convenient downtown location.
9- Chill Skybar - Address: 76A Le Lai, District 1 | Rooftop of AB Tower, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tel: +84 93 882 28 38. Open: Every day 05:30pm – 02:30am
It is a modern stylish and vibrant club, lounge bar and dining that offers both entertainment nightlife and social dining experiences destination. It is notably the first and the original "Skybar" concept in Vietnam. The music played in the lounge and skybar ranges from Hip Hop and R&B to Mash Up and Electro.
10- Sax n Art Jazz Club - Address: 28 Le Loi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tel: +84 8 3822 8472. E-mail: [email protected] Open: Every day 08:00pm – 12:00pm
Sax N’ Art is Saigon’s only jazz club. The house band churns out jazz standards nightly and an impressive lineup of guests, including international names, has graced the stage over the years.
11- Glow Skybar - Address: 93 Nguyen Du, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel: +84 93 887 4569. E-mail: [email protected]
Glow Skybar Saigon, set within District 1, boasts a beach club atmosphere with expansive views of the city’s modern and colonial architecture. Attracting well-dressed expats and locals looking to dance to deep and tropical house tunes, this rooftop bar is fitted with plenty of tropical trees, black-and-white furnishing, spacious dancefloor, and a fully-stocked bar on the main deck.
The main means of transport within the city are motorbikes, buses, taxis, and bicycles. Motorbikes remain the most common way to move around the city. Taxis are plentiful and usually have trip meters, although it is also common to agree on the trip price before taking a long trip. Public buses run on many routes and fares can be purchased on the bus. For short trips, "xeôm" motorcycle taxis are available where the passenger sits at the rear of a motorbike. A popular activity for tourists is a tour of the city on cyclos, which allow for longer trips at a more relaxed pace.
War Remnants Museum - Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tel: +84 8 3930 5587 / +84 8 3930 6664. E-mail: [email protected]
2- Museum of Vietnamese History - Address: 2 Nguyen BinhKhiem Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam. Tel: +84 8 829 8146
3- Southeastern Armed Forces Museum - Address: 247 Hoang Van Thu Street, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
4- Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine - Address: 41 Hoang Du KhuongStr.,Ward 12, Dist 10, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tel: +84 8 38642430. E-mail: [email protected]
5- Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts - Address: 97A Pho DucChinh Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City - Tel: +84 8 3829 4441.
6- Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre - Address: 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Official site: http://www.goldendragonwaterpuppet.com.vn/
7- Thiên Hậu Temple, Chinatown - Address: 710 Nguyen Trai Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
8- Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica - Address: Cong Xa Paris, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tel: +84 8 3822 0477
9- Independence Palace - Address: 106 Nguyen Du, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City70000, Vietnam. Tel: +84 80 85094
10- Municipal Theatre, Ho Chi Minh City - Address: 7 Lam Son Square, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tel: +84 8 3823 7419
11- BếnThành Market - Address: Intersection of Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao Avenues and Le Lai Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tel:+84 8 3521 0004\