It’s a quick flight from Manila to Ho Chin Min City to immerse yourself in one of Southeast Asia’s newest emerging travel hot spots. Vietnam is a contrast of old and new with pagodas and temples in the city center beside shopping malls and freeways.
The city’s backpacker area lies in District 1 in and around Pham Ngu Lao Street – imagine Khoa San Road of Bangkok, only bigger with more of everything on offer. Rooms come cheap starting from just $10 a night for a basic double room and with guest houses lining each of the alleyways there are more than enough options to choose from. It’s a great spot to be based for a few nights as it’s within walking distance to a number of top attractions in the city and right next to a large city park which offers a quiet reprieve from the crazy motorcycle traffic throughout the rest of the Ho Chi Min.
One of the city’s top attractions is the War Remnants Museum that offers artifacts, photos and stories on display. Whatever your opinion might be on the controversial Vietnam War, it is worth a visit to gain an interesting perspective and understanding of how far the country has come in the last 38 years. There are several other museums within walking distance which offer historical information on old Saigon as well as insights into the Vietnamese way of life.
Of course no stay in Vietnam would be complete without sampling the national dish, Pho. Eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this beef noodle soup will fill you up for a dollar or two and can be found at every restaurant and street stall throughout the country. You won’t go hungry in Vietnam with tasty food from all corners of the globe being served up in all of the big cities for only a few dollars a plate. Gluttony is highly recommended.
From Ho Chi Min you can book onward travel to anywhere in the country, including day trips into the Mekong Delta and surrounding country side. It’s the perfect place to dive head first in Vietnam and get your bearings before making your way North up the coast.
Jen’s Overall Rating: A must see city, with great food, excellent attractions and cheap accommodation.