Things to see in Saigon
Saigon Opera House
Perhaps the most striking building in the whole of Saigon, Opera house has to be on list of every architecture lover.
Saigon Opera, also known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, was built in 1897 by a French architect Ferret Eugene.
As a visitor you cannot take a tour of the inside (e.g. as a contrast, In stockholm you can go to the building where Nobel Prize are held). And the only way to get inside the building is buying a ticket to watch a performance.
Jade Emperor Pagoda
Also known as Tortoise Pagoda, Jade Emperor Pagoda was built in the year 1909. Inside the pagoda you will find the statue of the Jade Emperor and an idol of Kim Hua, the Taoist goddess of fertility.
While you are there, lookout for the pond in courtyard with tortoise
The fragnance of incenced and the prayer here have a very calming effect on the mind.
Bitexco Financial Tower
What’s better to see the city of Ho Chi Minh than to be on the top of Bitexco Financial Tower. The 68-storyed building at 262-meter or 859-foot of height stands tallest in vietnam. . Though entry to the tourist is not allowed all the way upto the top but you can still go unrestriced to the 49th floor. Head to Sky Deck bar and restaurant for the excellent views of the city and of the Saigon River.
Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is what keep Saigon running, well sort of. Ben Thanh, built in 1870, is a huge centralized market frequented by tourists. and locals alike. There are large number of stalls selling everything from inexpensive souvenirs to local handicrafts, books and household items. Though be ready to haggle tough, in this bustling market.
And if you are hungry check out the cheap street food located right in the central location of the market.
Independence Palace which was once a center of the storm stands calmly welcoming its visitors. Also known as Reunification palace, it is a historic landmark in the heart of the Ho Chi Minh city. The palace was the brainchild of the architect Ngô Viết Thụ.
The palace became a symbol of freedom and victory for the South Vietnam as the palace fell and so did the South to the North. The victory marked the end of the gruesome American War. As Vietnamese call it, it was an American war imposed by the outsider and not a Vietnam War. Perspectives, huh?
As dramatic as it was North Vietnamese tanks crashed the gate of the palace, marking the victory of the North. Today, in the palace ground you can still see two of these tanks.
While you are in this five-story building, check out the highlight of the tour – the tunnel, the bunker basement, which functioned as a communication hub.
War Remnants Museum
Words can’t capture the feeling, the emotions and eventually the anger you’d be flooded with when you come to the war remnants museum. I’d say shocking is a very mild word to what you might experience.
The museum narrates the Northern’s perspective of the American War, and let me tell you it is not very pretty. On display inside the museum are mainly photographs depicting the atrocities of the war. This includes massacres at My Lai and My Khe, and the infamous Agent Orange, to name a few.
The museum was opened in 1975 and on the ground outside the main building you will find several American armored vehicles on exhibition. THere is a cafe inside the compound but it’s bit on the higher side.