Many people make the mistake of thinking that it’s not worth stopping off in Ho Chi Minh, a main city in Vietnam previously known as Saigon (although for most the name has stuck). And whilst it doesn’t have the broke down palace quality of Hanoi, or the quaint feel of Hoi An, the blend of old world French colonialist and shiny new sky scrapers is fascinating. Throw in the fact that there are so many great places to eat and also the proximity to the Mekong Delta – and you’ve got a pretty great destination. We spent a very quick weekend there recently and I really liked it! It’s the ideal place for a short stopover to get your bearings on your way into Vietnam or a weekend in and out if your based close by.
Early morning Ca phe at L’Usine
A Quick Guide to Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City
We stayed at the Pullman Hotel, which was pretty centrally located and had the MOST incredible room service breakfast. There are also lots of other affordable options in the city including hostels and boutique hotels.
If street food is your jam, why not try out ‘seafood street’ aka Vinh Khahn Street. I was taken there by local friends and apparently almost zero tourists go there, we had the most incredible meal of snails, clams, mussels and lots of other amazing street food.
I popped my head into the absolutely gorgeous Temple Club on our way past and put it on my list for next time – our local friends said it had gone a bit downhill recently but I think I would go for the furnishings alone. Ya know how I love those colonial vibes!
Feeling fancy? Dunner and drinks at The Deck are just what the doctor ordered. If you’ve got the cash to splash you can even get there by boat!
Chow down on some yummy vietnamese food at colourful Propoaganda.
We had an amazing dinner of BBQ on the roof of this terrace building at Quan Nuong – came highly recommended by our friends who live there (one a born and raised HCM’er).
Naturally you’ll want to check out concept store/cafe L’Usine – with two tres hip branches with coffee, brunch and oh so instagramable floors.
After walking literally miles and miles we got our hands on our favourite vietnamese coffee with coconut frozen yogurt at C.On (possibly the worst name for SEO).
A gorgeous old Opium Refinery has been converted into restaurants and bars, there’s a few in the leafy courtyard including The Refinery and Blanchy Street.
Strap yourself in and wander the markets – Ben Thanh Market and Bin Tay Market will have you enthralled for hours. Drop into the former for the night markets after 6pm. You’ll want to watch your belongings like a hawk though!
Check out the gorgeous Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda.
Take a day trip into the Mekong Delta.
Escape from the craziness with a massage and pool hands at Thao Dien Village.
Good to know
I tend to think that guide books overstate the need to be careful of your bag and phone camera etc when travelling, but my friends who live in HCM said that areas like Bin Tay market are well known for being the sort of place you’d have your things stolen. So listen to the warnings kids! And hold onto that satchel.
Always finding great tiles in Vietnam!
The view from our hotel was incredible!
Wandering the streets of Saigon
Travel essentials: the Saigon edition.
Wandering the back alleyways.
The colonial interiors of the Temple Club
Breakfast in bed at our hotel… Viet style!