Saigon, often known as Ho Chi Minh City, is one of the most dynamic cities in Vietnam. This city is often described as chaotic, hot, noisy; yet its charms of a complicated history, interesting culture, and friendly people attract millions of visitors each year.
Saigon is often a transitional point for tourists to visit Mekong River Delta or travel to South Central Coast of Vietnam or even to the North. A 1-to-2 Saigon day trip is a popular choice for anyone who wants to explore the city but has a time limitation. This post will give you 3 best ideas of how to explore Saigon within a day.
Saigon City Tour
Let’s suppose you only have a budget of 24 hours to spend in Saigon, what will you do? A city walking tour will be an absolute way to have a glimpse of what the city is like. City walking tour is available in every hostels or tourism agencies; however, with just of bit of reading beforehand and a map, you can discover the city at your own pace without any time limitation.
Ben Thanh Market
The city center should be the top priority of your Saigon day tour. It has all the highlights to offer, from Ben Thanh Market, The Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post Office to the War Remnants Museum.
Starting off your day in Ben Thanh Market is a good idea since there are plenty of tasty dishes for breakfast (and if you don’t know, then yes, Vietnamese eats noodles for breakfast!) such as Pho, Hu Tieu, and Bun. The Opera House is just a few steps away from the market, and from there, you can walk straight to the Notre Dame Cathedral. The Saigon Post Office, the oldest and largest post offices in the city, is also within reach. And if you are still fit, a 10 minutes walk will lead you to the Reunification Palace on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai – Nam Ky Khoi Nghia junction.
Don’t freak out with the list you have to accomplish within a day because you can always skip one or two places (even though you’d better not) or stop somewhere for a Ca Phe Sua Da (milk coffee with ice) in between.
Cu Chi Tunnel
If you visit Saigon and decide not to visit Cu Chi Tunnel, it will be your greatest miss on your whole trip to Vietnam. Cu Chi Tunnel is a must not only because of its history but also because of the most amazing man-made work you’ve probably never seen before anywhere in the world.
A map of Cu Chi Tunnel
Cu Chi Tunnel, a set of multiplex underground channels, was by Viet Cong to fight against American and South Vietnamese forces. These channels include a massive network of thousands of miles of tunnels where troops, local supporters, and other war supplies stayed.
Going down the tunnel benching your knees, you will understand the structure of the tunnels and how people were spending their life underground during the wartime. You can also try Khoai Mi, or cassava in English, a kind of food that saved a life in Cu Chi in those toughest years.
A package tour to Cu Chi costs up to 12$ for one person with transportation, a tour guide and entrance fee included.
Tre Viet Village
Located 15 km from Saigon, Tre Viet Village is a newly constructed eco-village – a great way to spend a day away from the hustle of Saigon.
The reason why Tre Viet Village is so appealing is that of its traditional and friendly design. Tre Viet offers an open space where visitors can relive and experience the old village lifestyle of Vietnam. Bamboos and coconuts are well utilized to bring this place back to South Vietnam hundreds of years ago.
Tre Viet Village from afar
Tre Viet has more than the traditional atmosphere to offer. Various types of activities such as swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and other unique water sports are waiting for you to explore.
The greatest thing is you can enjoy lunch by the lake right in the middle of the village. The food here is highly appreciated since it is fresh, diverse and affordable.