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Welcome in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City (commonly known as Saigon) is a city in southern Vietnam famous for the pivotal role it played in the Vietnam War. It's also known for its French colonial landmarks, including Notre-Dame Cathedral, made entirely of materials imported from France, and the 19th-century Central Post Office. Food stalls line the city’s streets, especially around bustling Bến Thành Market.

Day 1: War Remnants Museum, Cu Chi Tunnels

Start your trip off at one of the most important places in the city, the War Remnants Museum. You might be a history buff, but you’ll come out of here with a greater understanding and different perspective on the Vietnam War (Vietnamese perspective). This educational stop also lays good groundwork for the rest of your time in Ho Chi Minh.

Spend the rest of your day at the Cu Chi Tunnels. A short trip outside the city, this exhibit is very well done and everyone who has gone says it’s incredible, interesting and worth your time. You’ll learn about the structure, geography, how the Vietnamese survived and lived for long periods of time during the war and if you aren’t claustrophobic, you can even get down inside the tunnels.

Day 2: Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Independence Palace

Built between 1863 and 1880 by the French, the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is an architectural wonder in Ho Chi Minh. With its giant twin towers, it’s hard to miss this attraction—whose official name is “Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception”—sitting in between traffic in the city’s bustling District 1. It’s beautiful on the outside and inside, and if you wish to attend, mass is held on Sundays at 9:30 a.m., in Vietnamese and English.

Next on your itinerary should be the Saigon Central Post Office, as it’s right next to the cathedral. And while post offices aren’t your typical city attraction, in Ho Chi Minh it is as it’s the largest one in Vietnam and its late-1800’s architecture is worth seeing first-hand. Admire its beauty or send a postcard to your family back home, since it’s a working post office.

End your day at the Independence Palace. Also known as Reunification Palace, everything is as it was when it was home to the South Vietnam presidents before the fall of Saigon back in 1975. Visitors have said the palace is impressive, the furnishings are beautiful and the underground bunker is an interesting must-see during your visit.

Day 3: Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, Binh Quoi Village, Ben Thanh Market

Start your cultural exploration of Ho Chi Minh at its largest Mahayana pagoda, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda. This top attraction is also a place for locals to practice their Buddhists beliefs and pay homage to Buddha and for locals to see how the pagoda blends Japanese influence with classic Vietnamese architecture. The second floor is open for visitors throughout the year. If you want a quiet, peaceful visit, then go in the morning. If you want to attend and pray with numerous people, visit on the 15th of the month or during the Lunar New Year.

Take a short 15-30 minute drive to Binh Quoi Village for a relaxing afternoon of greenery and colorful flowers. Many locals and tourists venture here when they need a break away from the crowded, noisy city life. Take your camera for some great nature shots, and then enjoy some fun outdoor activities, like taking a rowing boat out on the river or playing traditional folk games.

Day 4: Mekong Delta one-day tour

The Mekong Delta is a maze of rivers, swamps and islands in southern Vietnam. It’s also home to several floating markets, pagodas, villages, farms, workshops, rural bicycle paths and friendly locals.

Day 5: Trying out the shopping and food

Besides Ben Thanh Market, you can also check out An Dong Market, a fashion and craft market, or Bin Tay Market, to find an array of textiles, handicrafts and exotic fruits in Vietnam’s biggest Chinatown. Ho Chi Minh is also well known for its many fashion boutiques, like along Dong Khoi Street. While there, be sure to walk into Khaisilk for Vietnam’s modern fashion using delicate silk fabrics. And if you’re looking for a good tailor, look in District 5 or ask the locals where you can find a quality craftsman.

Day 6: Departure from Tan Son Nhat International Airport

Your delightful journey ends. Fly back to your country carrying fond memories along.

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