As a dynamic city to the South of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is an attractive destination for both locals and foreigners. Not only well-known for its Western atmosphere, but Saigon is also an ideal place for those who want to explore the history of a city which was the center of Southern Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Following are some guides to help you plan a perfect historical Saigon tour.
When to go?
Which is the best time to visit Saigon? – Any time in a year is a good time, I would say. The weather of Saigon is so pleasant that it was considered “The Pearl of the Orient”. However, to get the best experience, travelers should go during the dry season, from December to late April. During this period, the weather is hot, yet it is not unpleasant. Humidity tends to decrease, thus visitors could stay away from the normally sticky weather of Ho Chi Minh City.
Saigon by night
The dry season is preferable, but it does not mean the rest period of the year is not suitable for traveling. The weather then is humid and rainy. There are several National Holidays during this time such as Reunification Day of Vietnam on April 30th, May Day on May 1st, and Vietnam Independence Day (National Day) on Sep. 2nd. Also, tourism in that season is quite gloomy, thus it is much more economical to travel.
Where to go?
Reunification Palace (Independence Palace)
The Reunification Palace – Dinah Doc Lap is absolutely a must-visit stop for any Saigon Travel Tour. It is considered a landmark of Saigon. Similar to the United States’ White House, Dinh Doc Lap was the home and the workplace of Southern Vietnam Governors during the Vietnam War. During the Fall of Saigon, the palace marked the end of the War when the Northern Vietnam Army tanks crashed its main gates on April 30th, 1975.
Reunification Palace – Dinh Doc Lap
The Reunification Palace is not only an extremely important historical site but also a masterpiece of architecture. It is a combination of Eastern and Western style. Nowadays, it has become a meeting place of the Government and also a national historical and cultural site which attracts a huge number of tourists from every part of the world each year.
Notre Dame Cathedral
This is the city’s Catholic Church built in 1880, which has become the worship place of a large Catholic Community in Saigon. Notre Dame Cathedral was constructed with French-imported materials only. The twin towers of the church are a distinctive feature which is approximately 60 meters high. In 2005, there was a miracle in the church that the statue of the Virgin Mary shed tears.
With its distinctive Western design as well as religious value, the Notre Dame Cathedral is regarded as a must-stop place that every traveler should visit.
Museum of Ho Chi Minh City
Museum of Ho Chi Minh City in Gia Long Palace
Also known as The Museum of the Revolution, the museum is placed in a beautiful French palace (Gia Long palace), which used to be the home of French Governors and President Ngo Dinh Diem – the final residence of the South Vietnam Government. That museum displays the development of Saigon as well as the revolutionary movement. Visiting the museum, travelers will get exposure to the history of past Vietnam, to see what happened in the Vietnam War through photos, and see how Saigon has changed time after time. Especially, there is a corridor leading the way from that place to the Reunification Palace.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Gate to the tunnel
Nestled about 40 kilometers from the city center of Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels is the underground tunnel which was used by the Vietnam Army during the Vietnam War. It was a 250 kilometer-long tunnel bug by elementary tools and bare hand and was the place where the Vietnamese stay and live during the War. It was later the Viet Cong base during Tet Offensive event – a major military campaign on January 1968. It was used to store weapons and food, as a hospital and a hiding place and living quarters for Viet Cong armed forces. The tunnel, therefore, played a vital role in the victory of Vietnam during the War.
Inside Cu Chi tunnel
Nowadays some plots are open for tourism. Visitors can come inside the tunnel and experience how Vietnamese people did to survive during the War.
To take a historical Saigon Vietnam tour, there are a lot of relics that travelers can visit. Especially, your Saigon trip might not be complete if you do not take time to visit the four destinations above. These will provide you with a broad view of Saigon’s history and culture.