Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is a sprawling centre of commerce and the country’s biggest city by far. Vibrant and alluring, it is a city of contrasts: traditional and modern, young and old, rich and poor.
The city’s architecture has been termed “tropical Baroque” – an apt description of the once-grand colonial buildings scattered through the city, now aged and enriched by time. Numerous worthwhile sites within Ho Chi Minh City itself reflect that architecture including the Historical Museum, Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, the General Post Office and City Hall.
Ho Chi Minh City has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season runs from November through April; the wet season from May through October. Holding a mirror to city life, the weather is a blend of harmony and chaos, with baking hot days interrupted by torrential rains. Hanoi may have four seasons in a year, but Ho Chi Minh City is renowned for having four seasons in one day.
If Hanoi is the political capital of Vietnam with romance and mellow charm, Ho Chi Minh city is its financial heart with a fury of sights and sounds. A magnet for foreign investors, new business centres and ambitious development projects pop up every year. The city has all the accoutrements of economic revival – fine restaurants, flash hotels, glitzy bars and clubs and shops selling imported luxury goods. Bargain hunters will find good deals on native handicrafts and custom-tailored clothing in China Town or Binh Tay Market.
Downtown streets are dominated by two-wheeled traffic. Fashionably-dressed women with designer sunglasses, high heels and elbow-length gloves cruise past on their Hondas and Vespas, followed by teenage girls wearing traditional Vietnamese ao dai, peddling bicycles and holding hands.
All that progress aside, Ho Chi Minh City is steeped in tradition, a living monument to the past that wears its culture on its sleeve. Whether you are zooming by on a motorbike or sipping designer cocktails at a rooftop bar, there is much to savor and explore in this bustling city.
War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum, formerly known as the War Crimes Museum is one of the most impressive and popular monuments in Ho Chi Minh city. This museum poses a comprehensive collection of the machinery, weapons, photos documenting Vietnam’s wars with both the French and Americans. The exhibits begin with a room listing war facts such as troop numbers, bomb tonnage, statistics on international involvement of the conflicts and numbers of casualities of both sides. Next is a room dedicated to the journalists lost during the war. The exhibits are constantly evolving, and the museum is currently modernizing, improving its presentation and explanations throughout, enabling the visitors to understand more clearly about the history of conflict in Vietnam. The museum represents a call for peace and a hope that history is not repeated.
Known as the home of former President Ngo Dinh Diem, the US-backed leader of Vietnam until his assassination in 1962, the Reunification Palace is most notable for its symbolic role in the fall of Sai Gon in April 1975, when its gate were breached by North Vietnamese tanks and the victor’s flag hung on the balcony. It is a series of empty rooms that are nevertheless interesting because they specialize in period kitsch and remain faithful to the original condition. Tour private quarters, dining rooms, entertainment lounges, and the president’s office, all in such prime condition that it feels as though everybody just up and left one day. Most interesting is the war command room, with its huge maps and old communications equipments, as well as the basement labyrinth. There is an ongoing screening about the years of war (playing in French, English, Japanese and Chinese languages) in a series of rooms in the basement. The Conference Hall in the main room is still used for important national events.
Notre –Dame Cathedral
Notre-Dame Cathedral was constructed at the end of the 19th century by the French, the structure reaching a height of up to 60 meters. Its design aims at showing the influence of the French civilization and Christianity over Ho Chi Minh City. At the time the cathedral was built, the Notre-Dame was the most beautiful cathedral of this kind among all French colonies. All the materials used in this building were imported from France. Notre Dame Cathedral today is not only a religious place but also a historical relic and a popular attraction for both Vietnamese and foreign tourists.
General Post Office
Located right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh city, the General Post Office has long become a prominent feature of the city. It was constructed toward the end of the 19th century by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel. Its architecture represents the French colonial style, in harmony with the surrounding area. The modern skylight of this grand old structure resembles the famous European buildings like Paris’ Les Halles or Milan’s Galleria of the late nineteenth century. The central pavilion, with a huge clock and symmetrical extensions on both sides, adds to its beauty. The main entrance of the General Post Office is decorated with intricate ironwork, creating an unusual architectural style drawing the curiosity of visitors. The vaulted and shining interior is considered to be the most interesting feature with its glass canopy, huge ceilings and a giant portrait of the city. The busiest post office of Vietnam not only provides the usual mail services but also offers phones and fax machines for public use. Within the post office, there are also the counters selling stamps and souvenirs. The speciality stamps counter of the General Post Office offers some interesting collector sets for sales.
The City Hall, also called Town Hall or Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Building is a charming cream and yellow-colored French Colonial Building standing at the end of Nguyen Hue Boulevard on the Le Thanh Ton Street Saigon. The construction of this building started in March 1898 and was completed in 1908. The building is said to be designed by the famous French architect P. Gardes’s whose design contributed to the main hall and the rectangular wings. On the top of the building is the famous bell tower which is placed on a pyramid like pedestal. The presence of bell towers is adapted from Renaissance architecture and is a feature common to most European town halls.
China Town in Ho Chi Minh city, also known as Chợ Lớn, is the largest Chinatown in Vietnam. It lies on the west bank of the Saigon River, having Binh Tay Market as its central market. The Vietnamese name Cho lon literally means ‘big market’. China Town used to be the city’s famous and attractive center of commerce with the traditional and distinctive lifestyle of a Chinese community. You can not only enjoy traditional Chinese dishes, like noodle, rice and wontons, but also the colorful decoration, housing styles and vibrant lifestyle. One noticeable characteristic of this area is the structure of shop house which Chinese brought from South China at the beginning of 18th century. A typical shop house is only 3-4m in width but 4-5 times more in length, with an inside yard. Trading activities often take place in the front part of the house while daily activities occur inside. There are streets which specialize in selling unicorn head and royal costumes like Luong Nhu Ngoc Street, gems like Ham Tu- An Binh Street, rice in Tran Chanh Chieu Street, Chinese medicines in Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street.
Binh Tay Market
Binh Tay Market, the central market of Cho Lon, is always an attractive destination for foreigners, thanks to its special structure, long-standing history and a well-preserved exciting and lively atmosphere. It is an indoor wholesale market which is well known for its great bargains. If any one place epitomizes Cho Lon’s vibrant commercialism, it’s Binh Tay, its well- regimented corridors abuzz with stalls offering products of all kinds, from dried fish, pickled vegetables and chili paste to pottery piled up to the rafters, and the colorful bonnets that Vietnamese women so favor. Beyond Binh Tay south side, stalls provide cheap snacks for shoppers and traders.
Pham Thanh Hung
Deputy General ManagerMr. Hung passionately focuses in building an organization that adds value to both its customers and employees. Upon years of experience in tourism and e-commerce
Ms. Duong Thi Thoan
Assistant to Deputy General ManagerWith intensive experience in hotel management, tour operator and sales, Ms. Thoan is a master at execution – 'Getting work done'. Born in Halong city, the famous tourism city in Vietnam, travel and hospitality comes naturally to her mind
Ms. Phung Thanh Yen
Travel ConsultantMs Yen has worked as Travel Consultant for years and has enjoyed every minute of it. Her kind and polite demeanor make her ideal for customer service and she works tirelessly in dedication to our company
Mr. Nguyen Tran Quang
Code LeaderLeveraging a diverse set of experiences and talents in IT Project Management to his work and interpersonal awareness, Mr. Quang excels at building great high performing teams that thrive on the most complex and challenging opportunities to successfully bring excellent web design ideas into reality
Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong Nhung
Operation AdministrationHas worked for years in several tourism companies, Ms Nhung joins Wlinktravel to continue pursuing her passion in travel trade. She loves to explore new destinations and meet new people and Asia is always her frequent travel stop
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