I was traveled (again) for almost 8 months searching for new job, here I am, a fresh graduate from university. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is in southern part of Vietnam, since the Hanoi (capital city) is in northern part of the country. The currency they were using is Vietnamese Dong (VND) which 100,000 VND equal to 4,73 USD (per September 20, 2013). A unique ambience was offered by the city since it was part of American (?) colonialization back then. The main tourism attractions will be focus on historical sites and buldings.
Tan Son Naht International Airport (SGN)
The airport located within central of the city, it tooks about 20-30 mins to reach District 1 of HCMC. It is a good and neat airport, since HCMC is not a capital city. The taxi fare was displayed on the board, and it costs around 140,000 VND from airport to District 1 (and additional 100,000 VND when exitting the airport, I really don’t know what was this fee for, since the driver didn’t speak english at all). Make sure the taxi you were using is metered one, since they still using the double-layered price for tourist and local.
I was staying at District 1. My main transportation was by walk. I was considering the time I got is quite much to explore the city without take cab, which is consider as expensive for backpacker or taking the bicycle taxi or whatever the name is. The great barrier here was the people outside the hotel was not used to English, so it’s kinda difficult to communicate. However, it’s really possible to explore the main tourism attractions by walk.
- Jade Emperor Pagoda (it’s the farthest from District 1 where I stay, took about 1 hour walk)
- Ben Thanh Market (be wise for bargaining up to one-fourth given price)
- Pham Ngu Lao area (area for tourist and backpacker)
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- Saigon Post Office (right across the cathedral)
- Saigon Opera House (central of tourism spots, there was a tourist information center)
- Tao Dan Park (across the Reunification Palace)
- Huyen Sy Church
- Reunification Palace (entrance fee 30,000 VND)
- Saigon River (it’s a hub to Mekong River, which considered as one of the biggest river in Asia)
- Bitexco Financial Building (it’s an office building, claimed as one of iconic building in town, with 5-storeys of mall (Icon 68) and a spot for paid-skyview, there’s a special entrance for this skyview tour)
- Ordinary Buildings and another city’s infrastructure
That’s sort of tourism attractions which captured within my travel in Ho Chi Minh.
- There are a lot of motorcycle rider on the street, be really careful. It’s very original your nearly-hit by any vehicle experience in HCMC.
- People also suggested Chu Chi Tunnel which is very historical, the DMZ, demilitarized zone. But, it took about one hour to reach the area.
- People are still developing themselves to face tourists. They are growing communities.
- The language is difficult to understand.
- Some areas like Pham Ngu Lao already accomodate tourist needs.
- Indonesian Rupiah are accepted in HCMC money changer.
- Mobile SIM Card could be found in airport costs 100,000 VND include one-week mobile data for smartphone.
- Taxi is considerably expensive for backpacker.
- HCMC is really suit for tourist of historical objectives.
- Daily expenses is range from 150,000 VND – 300,000 VND (only for meals and beverages). 3-star hotel is 45 USD, with good quality and service.