Ho Chi Minh City is the vibrant and dynamic economic hub of Vietnam. It’s very international and modern compared to its sister cities, however plenty of old colonial structures remain, adding a beautiful contrast to the every day life of its residents.
This emblematic market is the most famous of all markets in Vietnam, and also one of the oldest. It has witnessed the ups and downs of the beautiful city. In addition to being a market, the structure serves as a historical site, landmark, rendezvous point and a background for beautiful photo-ops.
Materials were imported exclusively from France to build this cathedral, modeled to look like the Notre Dame in Paris. It was completed in the late 19th century. Standing out front is a statue of the Virgin Mary that became a sensation in 2005, when eyewitnesses claimed to have seen tears being shed from her eyes.
The Central Post Office is located right next to the Notre Dame Cathedral and this too was constructed in the late 19th century. The name of the architect should be familiar to you–Gustave Eiffel. He’s known for architecting some pretty awesome stuff. The post office looks like a giant railway station and still functions today, so make sure to send some postcards back home to make your loved ones jealous of your adventures.
Nguyen Hue is in the vicinity of other popular sites of Ho Chi Minh City, such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, City Hall and Opera House. This is a pedestrian street that is lively every day. You will find people in smurf and pikachu costumes, people sitting on the floor and enjoying some street food, concerts, and even the occasional art exhibition.
The City Hall is an architectural masterpiece completed in 1908 and still functions as a government office, so you cannot go inside. Yet you can appreciate the beauty of the structure from the outside as it looms at the north end of the pedestrian street, Nguyen Hue. The cream and yellow structure gets lit up with floodlights come nighttime and is a spectacular sight.
The observation deck of the Bitexco Tower, the tallest building in the city, will give you a bird’s eye view of the city’s hustle and bustle from 52 floors above. The photos will surely make your Instagram followers dizzy.
Bui Vien is the popular backpacker street and party central of Ho Chi Minh City, akin to Khao San Road of Bangkok. Neon lights, sidewalk bars, people dancing in the street, nitrous balloons–you will capture all of this in one shot.
This is one of the most famous pagodas in the city and is located in the middle of Chinatown, or Cho Lon as the locals call it. It’s a Chinese-style temple so you can expect a lot of colors and intricate artwork. It is a very photogenic pagoda but be respectful of the locals as the temple is still an active site of worship today.
The Jade Emperor Pagoda has many chambers to explore, each with its own array of intricate woodwork and statues. The dark lighting and incense smoke-filled rooms will certainly allow you to get some unique snaps, but again, please be mindful of the locals.
This golden temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Ho Chi Minh City and mixes architectural styles of India, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. It’s a little far away, in District 9, but the drive is worth it as this is a really unique temple set on tranquil grounds.
Troll your Instagram followers for a bit by pretending you’re in Singapore. Walking around the Crescent Walk really does seem as if you are no longer in Vietnam–it’s high-end and international. There is a bridge that connects The Crescent to Ho Ban Nguyet Park and at night, the fine streams of water on both sides change color thanks to the neon lights installed in the bridge.
Loft Café is already famous on Instagram because of the gigantic analog clock on the wall that looks just as beautiful on the outside as it does on the inside. It is often shared with this hashtag: #somewhereinsaigon.
You don’t expect to find too many garden paradises hidden behind cement walls, but that’s exactly what Du Mien Garden Coffee offers their many customers. This is a little oasis in the concrete jungle of Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a spacious eco-friendly garden café full of trees, waterfalls and ponds, giving off a slight Da Lat vibe.
If your Instagram feed usually only has puppies and kittens, how about adding a whole new kind of animal? Head over to Babo Café, the first reptile themed café in Ho Chi Minh City. Perhaps you can get a picture of a tarantula on your head and a python sharing your seat while you enjoy a nice cup of Vietnamese coffee.