Ho Chi Minh City, also informally known by its former name as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam by population. It has gone by several different names during its history, reflecting settlement by different ethnic, cultural and political groups.
Ho Chi Minh City
Formerly known as Gia Long Palace, the Hồ Chí Minh City Museum is a historical site and museum housed in classical Baroque architecture with European and Oriental influences. Construction of the palace began in 1885 and completed in 1890. During World War II, control of the palace changed hands several times. Over the years, the building was used for various purposes. It was eventually established as a city museum in 1999. Its exhibitions, consisting of 8 sections, tell the stories of Ho Chi Minh City and its people from the late 19th century to present day.
Ho Chi Minh City Hall or Hôtel de Ville de Saïgon was built in 1902-1908 in a French colonial style for the then city of Saigon. It was renamed after 1975 as Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee. Although this elegant colonial building is not open to public, it is very popular with tourists and offers great photo opportunities.
The Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon Opera House, is an example of French Colonial architecture in Vietnam. Built in 1897 by a French architect, its architectural style is influenced by the flamboyant style of the French Third Republic, with the façade shaped like the Petit Palais in France. The 800 seat building was used as the home of the Lower House assembly of South Vietnam after 1956. It was not until 1975 that it was again used as a theatre, and restored in 1995.
Ho Chi Minh City, Hồ Chí Minh
The War Remnants Museum is a war museum that contains exhibits relating to the Vietnam War and the first Indochina War involving the French colonialists. An earlier version of this museum opened in 1975 and it became the War Remnants Museum in 1995. The museum comprises a series of themed rooms in several buildings. It is currently one of the most popular museums in Vietnam, attracting approximately half a million visitors every year.
Independence Palace, also known as Reunification Palace, built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Ho Chi Minh City. It was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates. The origin of the Palace dates back to 1858 when France invaded southern Vietnam and the present structure was built in 1962.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon is a cathedral established by French colonists who initially named it Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saïgon. It was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters. All the original building materials were imported from France. Many tiles have since been made in Ho Chi Minh City to replace the tiles that were damaged by the war. There are 56 glass squares supplied by the Lorin firm of Chartres province in France.
Saigon Central Post Office is a post office constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century. It counts with Gothic, Renaissance and French influences. It was constructed between 1886-1891 and is now still a working post office. Inside the building are two painted maps that were created just after the post office was built: a map of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia, and a map of greater Saigon.
Bến Thành Market is a large marketplace in the center of the city. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and an important symbol of Hồ Chí Minh City, popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, áo dài and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine. The market developed from informal markets created by early 17th century street vendors gathering together near the Saigon River, and was formally established by the French colonial powers in 1859. In 1912 the market was officially called the New Bến Thành Market.
Opened in 2011, The Saigon Skydeck is located on the 49th floor of Bitexco Financial Tower, the tallest building in the city. The observation deck offers 360 degree panoramic views of Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City
The tunnels of Củ Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Củ Chi District of the city, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Củ Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong's base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968. The 121 km-long complex of tunnels has been preserved by the Vietnamese government, and turned into a war memorial park with two different tunnel display sites, Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc. Visitors are invited to crawl around in the safer parts of the tunnel system.
The Jade Emperor Pagoda is a Taoist pagoda built by the Chinese community in 1909. It is also known from 1984 by the new Chinese name Phước Hải Tự ("Luck Sea Temple"), and as the Tortoise Pagoda. In 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama paid a visit to the pagoda during his state trip to Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh Museum of Fine Arts is the major art museum of the city and second in the country. The museum houses an extensive collection featuring Vietnamese art works in sculpture, oil, silk painting and lacquer painting, also traditional styles including woodcut paintings, as well as Vietnamese ceramics and a collection of ancient Buddhist art. Archaeological exhibits such as some of the country's best Cham kingdom and Óc Eo relics are also displayed.
Ho Chi Minh City
Dam Sen Park is a large amusement park that emcompasses 30 areas, including an electronic games zone, folk tales theater, antique castle, sea life center, ancient Rome-themed square etc. Its gardens feature a wide variety of flora and fauna. The park has a number of features unique in Vietnam, such as its 2 km monorail, affording views from five meters above the ground.
The Ba Thien Hau Temple is a Chinese-style temple of the Chinese sea goddess Mazu. Thiên Hậu is the Vietnamese transcription of the Chinese name Tianhou ("Empress of Heaven"), an epithet of the Chinese sea goddess Mazu. The temple was first erected c. 1760 by the Cantonese community in the city. It underwent major repairs and expansions in the following centuries. The roof is decorated with small delicately fashioned porcelain figurines expressing themes from Chinese religion and legends. Lanterns and wooden models of Chinese theaters hang over the entrance.
Built by the French colonists in the late 20's, Tan Dinh Market still serves as a main market for surrounding neighbourhoods; and therefore, it gives a more authentic Vietnamese flavour than some other markets in the city. The market is lined with stalls selling traditional Vietnamese snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat products, made-in-Vietnam fabrics, and clothing.
Tân Định Church (Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) is a church built during the French colonial period in the 1880s when Vietnam was part of French Indochina. Its exterior features Roman style architecture. The church belongs to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City and is the second largest church is the city.