Ho Chi Minh City Saigon Travel and Hotel Guide

Ho Chi Minh City Saigon Travel and Hotel Guide – Ho Chi Minh City the former Saigon with its 8 million population, at first sight it’s a great destination for the young with its bustling streets and fast paced lifestyle, but looking deeper into Saigon it offers more than just a cheap getaway for young backpackers.

On arrival in Saigon the first thing you notice is the traffic, lots of motorbikes weaving in and out around your taxi, this is Saigon and its people going about their everyday life, and it is what makes Saigon one of the most exciting places to visit in all of south east Asia.

Ho Chi Minh City Saigon is truly the Paris of the east, during the 100 year rule of the French, Vietnam and its people took on and kept a lot of French culture, which makes Vietnam and Saigon quite unique for the part of the world. From the great bread, cakes, coffee and cafe’s thru to the superb French architecture it’s easy to experience the French side of Saigon just do as the locals do, Saturday morning go out to one of the thousands of cafe’s that are found everywhere in this great city, follow this up with a Vietnamese Baggett (Bánh Mì) filled with Vietnamese ham, pate, carrot, and cucumber, then wonder around district one admiring the inspiring French architecture.

If shopping is your thing, you won’t be disappointed, Saigon’s CBD District 1 has many name brand boutiques, but if it’s a bargain you are looking for the entire city is jammed packed with Markets and shops, nearly every house with main road frontage is a shop selling anything from Shoes to detergent, and yes the prices are negotiable.

Just watching the people of Ho Chi Minh City Saigon go about their everyday life is an experience, Family’s of 5 all riding on the one motorbike, gracious girls in their beautiful Áo Dài riding their bike to school or university, street sellers selling lotto tickets, and the knock knock knock of the noodle knocker advertising their nearby approach for the order of fresh noodle soup. 

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Ho Chi Minh City Saigon

  • Drink Vietnamese Coffee in Vietnamese coffee shop (Cà Phê Sữa Đá for the famous Iced coffee Cà Phê Đá for Cold Black coffe with sugar, Cafe Sữa Hot White coffee) 
  • Shopping in District 1 at Bến Thành Market, or Chợ Lớn District (China Town)
  • For Families Visit Đầm Sen, Suối Tiên or Saigon Water park, to cool down from from Saigon’s heat
  • Take a one day trip to the Củ Chi Tunnels, the famous tunnels the North Vietnamese used for the movement of troops and supplies into South Vietnam
  • Girls and Ladies have a traditional Vietnamese Dress (Áo Dài) Taylor made
  • Vietnamese Food try a traditional Phở Bò (Vietnamese Beef Noodle soup) or Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese pan cake wrapped in Lettuce) at Bánh Xèo 46a 46a Đinh Công Tráng Street, district 1 (near Tân Định church)
  • Visit Ho Chi Minh City Saigon’s Reunification Palace (Former Presidential Palace)
  • Take a ride on a Cyclo – Xích Lô (Important Negotiate a price before you get on) or the Back of motorbike (Xe Ôm) to experience traffic as the locals do.
  • Drink the local Bia (Beer) Ba Ba Ba (333) Saigon Bia or rice wine (Rượu Đế)
  • Pluck up the courage to cross a busy Saigon Street, its easy wait for a less traffic or small break step out from the kerb and walk at an even pace across the road, the locals will ride around you, they do it every day.  Better still sit near a busy intersection and watch other new tourists crossing the road.
  • Sample some of the many exotic fruits this great city has to offer, fruits include, Durian, Mango, Mangosteen, Jackfruit, Papaya, Lyches, Rambutan, logan

Food and Dining

If food is your thing then Ho Chi Minh City Saigon is for you, the city is jam packed with great and cheap places to eat. Some of my favirotes include:

 

Quán Ăn Ngon Restaurant (District 1 across from entry to Presidential Palace)
138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia District 1
Phone: (+84 8) 829 9449
Price: Cheap but delicious.
The word Ngon means delicious and as the name suggests the food here is delicious, (P.S  I come to this restaurant every time I come travel to Saigon, I think my first trip to Saigon I visited Quán Ăn Ngon 6-8 times)

Bánh Xèo 46a
46A Dinh Cong Trang District 1
Phone: (+84 8) 824 1110
Price: Cheap a great experience
Serves Bánh Xèo a Crispy Vietnamese Pancake filled with Prawns (Tôm) Pork (Heo) and Bean sprouts, tear off a piece of pan cake and wrap in leatuce leafe filled with Vietnamese mints, Thai Basil and dip in Nước Mấm (Vietnamese dipping sauce)

Hội An Restaurant
11 Le  Thanh Ton District 1
Phone: (+84 8) 822 9783
Price: Medium-High
Experience Imperial Hue dishes, in a royal atmosphere

Getting around

Saigon is an easy and cheap place to get around, if you want to do it on foot, get yourself a cheap map from one of District 1’s bookshops, taxis are cheap but if you want to go into one of the surburan districts are a little slow as they get stuck in traffic. To get somewhere faster, go on the back of a motorbike Xe Ôm (Xe meaning motorbike and Ôm meaning Hold on).

Note there are many fake taxis in Saigon, I recommend getting into only new looking, taxis of a known company, companies include Mai Linh, Vinasun, Saigon Taxi, etc, etc. Before you the driver drives off ensure the meter has been turned on and only pay the amount on the meter.
Hire a personal driver or minibus – for extended trips to the Mekong Củ Chi you might want to hire Minibus with and personal tour guide. A trip into Vĩnh Long on the Mekong will cost around $70 for a day.

Ho Chi Minh City Saigon Hotel Guide
Hotel wise Ho Chi Minh City Saigon caters for all budgets from cheap backpacker and budget/mini hotels up to five star International hotels.

Asia Travel Magazine’s top hotels in Ho Chi Minh City Saigon

Take a look at the following site for the best range and cheapest prices on hotels in Saigon Ho Chi Minh City, their prices blew us away, they compare the best online retailers to find you the cheapest rate:

Hotels Combined Cheapest Rates for Hotels in Saigon

Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers
88 Dong Khoi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone (+84 8) 827 2828

Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers centrally located in Saigon’s District 1, is in the thick of Saigon’s most popular tourist destinations, with a short walk to Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, and the Saigon Opera House, all rooms include Sheratons famous Sweet Sleeper, and are decked with all features and amenities you would expect from a Sheraton hotel including in-room safe, Broadband internet access and 24 hour room service.

Cheapest price online for Sheraton Towers & Hotel Saigon

Caravelle Hotel Ho Chi Minh City Saigon (Full Review coming soon)
19 Lam Son Square District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: (+84 8) 3823 4999

The Caravelle Hotel originally built in 1959 by the French, has long been regarded as Saigon’s best and most prestigious hotel, with 334 room extending 24 floors into Saigon’s skyline. All rooms are decorated in fine style, that include creamy gold carpets and fluffy duvet’s. The hotel’s 9th signature floor that includes access to the signature lounge. All rooms include fax machines and broadband data connection for an additional cost.
For a nice drink at the end of a long day the 10 floor bar is well worth a visit, and has quite a lot of history it was a favourite hangout for journalists during the Vietnam War. 

Cheapest Price online for Caravelle Hotel Ho Chi Minh City Saigon

New World Hotel Ho Chi Minh City Saigon (Full Review coming soon)
76 Le Lai St., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone (+84 8) 822 8888

Over looking Saigon’s famous Ben Thanh market, the New Wold is Saigon’s Largest hotel and is packed with facilities, that include tennis courts, swimming pool, golf driving range, jogging track and a children’s playground.

Cheapest Price online for the New World Hotel Ho Chi Minh City Saigon