HO CHI MINH CITY ATTRACTIONS
FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT AT HO CHI MINH CITY
You can go to Ho Chi Minh City on a package tour or on your own.
City break or tour to Vietnam
Finnish tour operators, such as Apollomatkat, make package tours to Ho Chi Minh City during the winter season. Tours of Vietnam are also popular with package tourists and their program in Ho Chi Minh City includes almost without exception.
During the winter months, it is possible to fly directly from Finland to Ho Chi Minh City on Finnair flights. The direct flight takes about 14 hours and at its cheapest round-trip flights cost about 600 euros.
With possible flights to Ho Chi Minh City, you can travel through either major European or Asian cities. Often the exchange destination is, for example, Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong. A self-employed traveler can save money by booking a direct flight to Bangkok and continuing from there with a local low-cost airline.
Ho Chi Minh City Airport Tan Son Nhat is located about six kilometers outside the city and is the busiest airport in all of Vietnam. The journey to the city center is folded either by airport bus or taxi.
Accommodation does not end in the middle
Ho Chi Minh City offers accommodation options from side to side. In the Pham Ngu Lao area, crowded with backpackers, a hotel room is easily available for about ten dollars, while in luxury hotels you can burn a lot more money. There are both traditional Vietnamese hotels and international chains.
In high season the hotel room is good to book in advance.
Vietnamese traffic requires getting used to
The traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is not only busy – it is chaotic. Dozens of motorcycles run side by side in an uninterrupted stream and sometimes motor traffic seems to come from all directions. The whole family can travel in Vietnamese style on a small moped.
Crossing the street in the hectic Ho Chi Minh City initially requires courage. Walking slowly but surely is usually the best way to get across the street, but if the situation seems hopeless, you should wait for the locals and move in their wake.
Ho Chi Minh City has plenty of taxis and moped taxis. Bicycle taxis are also a popular and slightly calmer way to see the city.
Walking is not part of the local style – everyone has a moped. Despite the wonders of the locals, walking is a great way to explore the city. However, good shoes, a clear map and extremely tuned caution are absolute aids.
Car rental in a major Vietnamese city is not recommended.
HO CHI MINH CITY ATTRACTIONS
There are plenty of interesting sights in Ho Chi Minh City.
The War Museum presents a shocking past
The War Museum, which documents the military history of Vietnam, is one of the city’s most popular places to visit. The horrors of war are recorded in photographs, artifacts, and videos, and wartime planes can be explored outdoors. In a thought-provoking museum, it’s worth preparing for shock – things are presented without embellishment.
Vietnam Unification Palace
Built in 1966, the Unification Palace of Vietnam, often referred to in English as the Independence Palace, was once made the presidential palace of the South Vietnam region. The modern architecture of the place does not appeal to everyone’s eye, but the palace is an equally interesting place to visit.
The palace is especially remembered for the fall of Saigon in 1975. North Vietnamese tanks broke through its gates and are still on display for visitors to see.
European-style Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral seems to be in the wrong place in Ho Chi Minh City – it would be better suited to the streets of old European cities. Completed in 1883, the cathedral is an impressive sight with its red-brick towers and statues of the Virgin.
Cholon and Chinese Pagodas
Chinese temples or Pagodas are an integral part of the Vietnamese street scene. Especially many beautiful temples can be found in Cholon’s Chinese Quarters.
There are also temples worth seeing elsewhere in Ho Chi Minh City. Dating back to the 18th century, Giac Lam Pagoda is considered the oldest temple in the city. The Jade Emperor Temple with its colorful statues is one of the most famous in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels
There is an extensive network of tunnels in the Cu Chin area where Vietcong guerrillas hid during the war. Both storage facilities and hospitals were built underground. During the war, there were more than 200 kilometers of tunnels in the Cu Chin area. Some of the tunnels have had to be slightly enlarged to accommodate Western tourists. Even a short section inside a cramped and hot tunnel is surprisingly heavy to carry.
For an additional fee, visitors can shoot at the shooting range. Cu Chi tunnels can be criticized for turning the horrors of war into a theme park, but the place attracts a huge amount of tourists.
The tunnel area is located more than 15 kilometers from the city and in congested traffic travel is slow. There are small travel agencies in almost every corner of Ho Chi Minh City, and most organize guided tours of the tunnels.