Ho Chi Minh or Saigon as it's known is a bustling, green city. Despite being a chaotic, traffic-ridden place, it's strangely calming and inviting.
Once you get past the fear of crossing the road and just put one foot in front of the other, praying that the traffic stops, you can see the real beauty of the city. Saigon is full of sites to explore and culture to absorb but travelling so much usually means you’re on a budget. If like us, you have decided it’s more important to prolong your trip than it is to stay in a swanky hotel, then you’ll love these eight sites to visit in Ho Chi Minh for free.
1. Phạm Ngũ Lão Street
Phạm Ngũ Lão Street is the backpacker street in Ho Chi Minh, full of hostels, bars, restaurants and lots of travellers. If you’re looking for fellow travellers, take a walk down this street and you’ll make friends in no time.
2. Cau Kinh Bridge
As keen photographers, we try to find the best viewpoints to take some great shots. However, as a traveller we don't have a lot of money nor are we dressed appropriately to be let into rooftop bars. Instead of hitting the bars, we caught an Uber to Cau Kinh Bridge and snapped the sunset for free. We used our free first Uber ride for this journey.
3. Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
Officially the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and located in downtown Ho Chi Minh, the cathedral was built between 1863 and 1880 by French colonists.
4. Independence Palace
The history of Vietnam is still fairly recent and Independence Palace is no exception. Also known as the Reunification Palace, a landmark in Ho Chi Minh. In 1973, A North Vietnamese army tank crashed through its gates during the fall of Saigon at the of the Vietnam War.
5. Saigon Central Post Office
The central post office in downtown Ho Cho Minh and is another example of French Architecture that bleeds into the city from the colonisation of the French. Constructed in the late 19th century when Vietnam was part of the French Indochina.
6. Ben Thanh Market
Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, still check out this popular market. Prepare to be approached by all sellers and at some points, followed. It’s a little unnerving but all part of the experience and who knows, you might be able to pick up a few souvenirs.
7. Ho Chi Minh City Hall
Ho Chi Minh City Hall previously known as Saigon City Hall before being renamed after 1975, is a beautiful building in the city. The best part about it is the huge, bustling square that lays in front of it, full of people. Be sure to visit at night as the building is lit up beautifully and there’s also a light/water show that’s on regularly.