If you visited Ho Chi Minh after the Vietnam War, you'd never imagine it was capable of burgeoning this fast. Now, the city once known as Saigon, has literally risen from the ashes of the war and is making its presence felt, especially among tourists who find the peaceful coexistence of the old and the modern both charming and highly energizing. Put yourself in the thick of things in this dizzying and electrifying metropolis on the rise.
Things to Do
Pagodas, temples and historic landmarks are plentiful in the city, especially in District 1, the true heart of old Saigon. The Reunification Palace, with a replica of the tank that ended the war on perpetual display, is one of the best ways to understand the war from Vietnam's point of view. The War Remnants Museum in District 3 holds one of the most graphic displays of war's brutalities and is not for the faint-of-heart. For a more tranquil and traditional visit, the Giac Lam Pagoda, the oldest in greater Ho Chi Minh City, is definitely worth a trip out of the busy metropolis. Other pagodas and temples include the Thien Hau Pagoda, Saigon Central Mosque, Tran Hung Dao Temple, and the Mariamman Hindu Temple. If you are tired of all the sightseeing, relax at Cong Vien Van Hoa Park next to the Reunification Palace. A recent tourist development in town is the Dai Nam Tourist Park, with a temple, zoo, restaurants and shopping areas.
Noodles are big in Ho Chi Minh and you can get them from any of the restaurants or mobile food stalls in the city streets. Many of the restaurants, eateries and cafes can be found along Dong Khoi Street. For quick and cheap eats in the evenings as well as for coffee and dessert, there are many food stalls and cafes in Ben Thanh Market. If you want a more lively dining alternative, try the riverboat restaurants along the river at the far end of Dong Khoi Street.
Silk, lacquerware and other genuine crafts are interspersed with fake designer bags in many of the markets in Ho Chi Minh. The central shopping district is the Ben Thanh Market. Other markets in the area worth checking out include the Old Market, Huyn Thuc Khang Street Market and the Binh Tay Market in Chinatown.
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