Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is home to beautiful buildings from the French colonial era.
We stayed two nights in Ho Chi Minh City, so we had a whole day for sightseeing.
The main focus of the day was eating and wandering around to see colonial buildings.
First, breakfast banh mi
Breakfast first. The classic banh mi at Bánh Mì Phố Cổ 159 with coffee.
War Remnants Museum
This museum exhibits documents related to the Vietnam War. We visited the museum on our previous visit to Ho Chi Minh City, so we did not go in this time. Entrance fee is VND40,000.
Independence Palace – Reunification Palace
Built in 1873 during the French colonial period and used by the French Governor-General, it was destroyed in a coup d’état in 1962 after the establishment of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam); it was rebuilt in 1966 and used as the Presidential Palace until the end of the Vietnam War.
The ticket office is located to the left of the main gate and admission costs VND65,000.
South Vietnamese Women Museum
This museum is dedicated to women in southern Vietnam. Free admission.
An exhibition on ao dai was on display at this time.
The ao dai, the traditional costume of Vietnam, is characterised by its beautiful shape that fits the body perfectly from the high collar to the shoulders and armpits. It is made from a variety of materials, including silk and velvet, and is a wonderful costume that makes women look gentle and graceful.
In addition, a permanent exhibition shows the political struggles of South Vietnamese women from the early days of the Vietnamese Communist Party to 1959.
Women in South Vietnam organised themselves in legal forms of struggle, including protests for people’s welfare, democracy, anti-tax and anti-fascism.
Particularly in the nine-year resistance war against the French colonialists (1945-1954), South Vietnamese women mainly participated in many areas of political struggle.
The Women’s Contributions in Armed Struggle section displays the tradition of women who fought bravely in the history of Vietnam, which has always been invaded by foreign powers.
It depicts the active participation of South Vietnamese women in the Self-Defence Forces, guerrillas, artillery, special forces and espionage against French colonialism and American imperialism.
Noodles for lunch
We ate noodles from a pho shop for an early lunch.
Jade Emperor Pagoda
A beautiful Buddhist temple with a pink temple and surrounding green vegetation. Free admission.
Many orchids were growing there and it’s a great spot to chill.
Founded by Chinese merchants of Cantonese immigrant origin.
Saigon Central Post Office
It is said to have been built on the model of the Musée d’Orsay in France. It is a colonial-style building with beautiful arches.
Notre Dame Cathedral
This catholic cathedral was built during the French colonial period, 1863-1880.
Unfortunately, it was under renovation at the time.
Saigon Opera House
Built in 1897 during the French colonial period, the Saigon Opera House has been used as the seat of the Congress of the Republic of South Vietnam since 1956.
This mosque is set between rows of luxury hotels.
Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Building
The People’s Committee Building was built between 1902 and 1908 as the Saigon City Hall of the time. Although it is not possible to enter the building, but it is a popular photo spot, along with the statue of Ho Chi Minh in the square opposite.
Ho Chi Minh City Museum
Built in 1886, the museum was originally used as a residence for French bureaucrats. It is now open to the public as a museum, displaying materials on the liberation of France and the geology of Ho Chi Minh City.