Ho Chi Minh City: 10 Things to Do in Vietnam’s Southern Metropolis

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Situated in the south of the country, Ho Chi Minh is Vietnam's largest city and powerhouse for the economy. Commonly known as Saigon, this sprawling metropolis has seen a huge spurt of growth in recent years following recent years of economic success. The electrifying capital is the perfect stepping stone for exploring the rest of the country and dipping your toes into Vietnamese culture. Here are ten things you need to see if you're planning to visit Ho Chi Minh City.

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Ho Chi Minh City: 10 Things to Do in Vietnam’s Southern Metropolis:table of contents

1. Cu Chi Tunnels

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Usually at the top of most tourist agendas for the city are the fascinating Cu Chi Tunnels. This large network of connecting underground tunnels lies in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City and belongs to a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of Vietnam. The tunnels were used by the Vietnamese to fight guerrilla warfare, allowing soldiers to appear and disappear in different locations while traversing the network.

2. War Remnants Museum

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One of the city's most famous war museums, The War Remnants Museum contains a number of fascinating exhibits and displays related to the Vietnam War along with the first Indochina War between French colonialists. The museum contains a number of different themed rooms along with a range of historic military equipment in its backyard, including an F-5A fighter, a UH-1 helicopter, an A-1 Skyraider attack bomber and an M48 Patton tank.

3. Saigon Central Post Office

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Another beautiful destination in Ho Chi Minh City is the Saigon Central Post Office, a historic post office which was built between the year 1886 and 1891. The beautiful architectural style features various influences including Renaissance and French designs and is one of the best representations of colonial architecture in the city. Inside the post office, you'll find several maps of different places across Vietnam including Ho Chi Minh City and Southern Vietnam. A mosaic of the city can also be found in the area of the hall at the back.

4. Couleurs d'Asie by Rehahn

The Couleurs d'Asie by Rehahn is a remarkable permanent gallery in Ho Chi Minh City, featuring world-renowned photography by Rehahn, a photographer from Normandy, France. It's home to approximately 140 photos of Rehahn which capture the beauty of both Vietnam and other places around the world. The gallery also showcases his best-selling book entitled, "Vietnam Mosaic of Contrasts Volume 1 and 2." When visiting the gallery, you'll be able to find small photos and postcards which can only be bought at the shop there.

5. Jade Emperor Pagoda

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The Jade Emperor Pagoda is one of the most spectacular temples that can be found around Ho Chi Minh City, particularly famous for the statues of divinities and heroes which are known around the city and the rest of Vietnam. The pagoda was constructed in 1909 to honor the supreme Taoist god. When walking around the pagoda, you'll be able to see some beautiful woodcarvings that are placed in strategic locations around the temple. The statues depict characters from both Taoist and Buddhist lore.

6. The Venerable Thich Quang Duc Monument

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The Venerable Thich Quang Duc Monument is a stunning memorial park in Ho Chi Minh City that is dedicated to Thich Quang Duc. A Buddhist monk who set himself on fire at a busy Saigon road intersection on June 11, 1963, to protest the persecution of the Buddhists by the Southern Vietnamese government which was led by Ngo Dinh Diem. The monument shows Thich Quang Duc who is wreathed in flames before a bas-relief.

7. FITO Museum

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The Fito Museums are a couple of private museums in Ho Chi Minh City devoted mainly to showcasing the traditional medicine of Vietnam. At present, there are approximately 3,000 items which are relevant to traditional medicine dating back as far as the stone age. You'll also find varied instruments displayed here which were used to prepare traditional medicine including grinders, knives, pots and jars, and mortars and pestles.

8. Saigon Opera House

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The Saigon Opera House, also known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, is an opera house at the heart of the city which displays a beautiful style of French Colonial architecture. It was constructed in 1897 by French architect Eugene Ferret. This 500-seat establishment used to be the lower house assembly of South Vietnam and it wasn't until 1975 when it was used again as a theater.

9. Tao Dan Park

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Dubbed as the green lung of the city, Tao Dan Park is a slither of nature that cuts through the center of the city. The park is the perfect spot for taking a moment to relax and enjoy the number of engaging activities that are often offered there. When walking around the park, make sure to check out the large plant and bush sculptures of animals such as dragons and spiders found there.

10. Ho Chi Minh Square

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Surrounded by French colonial style buildings the centerpiece of the square is a statue of Uncle Ho which was installed in honor of the 100th birthday of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. This has become a famous place for sightseeing tourists to take photographs, especially at twilight when many of the surrounding landmarks start to light up. There is also a light show around the fountain performed at night there which is worth waiting for.

Conclusion

From religious structures to historic buildings, these fascinating attractions show just how rich and beautiful Ho Chi Minh City is. Be sure to immerse yourself in the culture and history of the place to appreciate everything this stunning city has to offer.

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