Nestled in the heart of Vietnam resides the energetic, pulsing city of Ho Chi Minh. Known for being the country’s premier location for trade and culture, this intoxicating city captivates travellers, purely because of its deep blend of business and pleasure.
This bustling city has everything the modern traveller desires; from beautiful hotels to the best hoteliers across the world, to boutique guesthouses that ooze the old-world charm, there is a relaxation spot to suit any budget. Eat by the market street stalls, or uncover the famous restaurants with international influence, and you will discover why Vietnamese cuisine is something to truly savour.
Visit the breathtaking architecture from centuries ago, marvelling at the rich history that fuelled the city’s development into the modern hub it is today. Absorb the modernity as you walk around Ho Chi Minh’s skyscrapers and impressive contemporary buildings. Bring an empty suitcase simply to indulge in the expansive fashion malls that fuse international designers and locals under one roof.
Travelling to Ho Chi Minh city won’t break the bank; many airlines travel directly into the heart of Vietnam that offer affordable, cheap airfares all year round. Here are the airlines you can choose from:
Jetstar, Vietnam Airlines, Qantas Airlines, Scoot, Jetstar Asia, Singapore Airlines, China Eastern, Philippine Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Emirates, Air New Zealand, Garuda Indonesia, China Southern, Japan Airlines, Air China, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Cebu Pacific, Thai Airways, ANA (All Nippon Airways), Royal Brunei, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Xiamen Airlines, AirAsia, EVA Air, China Airlines, and Hong Kong Airlines.
Tan Son Nhat International Airport is the most likely way you will arrive in Ho Chi Minh city. Being an international terminal, it’s important you have all of your relevant travel documentation whilst moving through the airport, and you are prepared to pass through immigration upon your arrival.
The airport is filled with many fast foods and dine-in cuisine options, perfect for the hungry traveler. You have your choice of chains such as Burger King and Starbucks, and more sophisticated options such as sit down cafes and noodle houses. With a small section of duty-free, it is very possible to pick up your favourite perfume with the usual traveler’s discount.
Vietnamese Dong is the currency and cash will be needed in certain places around the city. Before you leave the airport, utilise one of the many ATMs scattered around to withdraw cash, ensuring you are prepared for the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh.
Getting from the airport to your accommodation is easy, as you have a few options to choose from. One of the most popular choices is by taxi; outside the terminal, you will find a taxi rank where you can embark on a meter taxi to your hotel, or prepay the taxi from inside the terminal before you leave. The most reliable airport taxi services are with Vinasun, which are white vehicles, and Mai Linh which are white and green. The other popular option is via the public bus system, which you can get on from just outside the terminal as well.
Traveling around Ho Chi Minh is considered one of the must-do attractions when staying in Vietnam. While you have your usual public transport in the form of the extensive bus network, taxis are also readily available. Always opt for a metered taxi, however, to ensure you are receiving the right fare for your journey.
The city is littered with cars, motorbikes, and bicycles, which is a popular way to move around the city, favoured by the locals and by the tourists. A now rarity in the city, but still enjoyed by many travellers, is the Cyclo, a cycle-powered carriage large enough for two people to enjoy.
Start your journey through Ho Chi Minh at the War Remnants Museum which presents a moving tribute to the brutality of war that has ravaged the country for many years. What sets this museum apart is how it focuses on the story of civilian victims and survivors, and what was like from their innocent standpoint. However, this must-visit museum is filled with confronting, real images from some of the most horrific moments in Vietnamese history, so consider your options before bringing young children with you.
Ho Chi Minh is known for its rich spiritual history, and visiting one of their famous places of worship is highly recommended. The most famous and beautiful of all of these is the Jade Emperor Pagoda, built-in 1909 to honour the Taoist God of the same name. When you arrive, take note of the intricate artistry of the roof, the portrayed characters made from paper-mache.
Street stalls filled with Banh mi (pork rolls) and Pho (noodle and broth dishes) are easily one of the cheapest and easiest ways to fill yourself up in Ho Chi Minh. However, you will find your fair share of indulgent restaurants; Michelin starred chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel brought their unique French cuisine to the city with Jardin des Sens, that is inspired by Vietnamese flavour and produce.
Wherever you dine in Ho Chi Minh city, you must indulge in the freshly brewed beer; this preservative-free brew is found on most street corners and will cost you next to nothing to try.