Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Attractions – So Much More to Discover

Ho Chi Minh Attractions - Siagon Post office

Emerging from the shadows of times gone by, the chaotic energy of Ho Chi Minh City is symbolic for how Vietnam is surging away from a history of communism and civil war. Renowned for an immense selection of cuisine, there is so much more to Ho Chi Minh than just the food. Here you will find a variety in every sense, from the hordes of tourists mingling with locals on hidden alleys, to the leafy parks right next to a modern high rise and thousands of scooters cluttering up the streets below.

First Impressions

When you first arrive in Ho Chi Minh even something as simple as crossing the road can seem like an impossible task and this is not to be underestimated. Of all of the great Vietnam destinations Ho Chi Minh City is by far the most chaotic. Hundreds of thousands of motorbikes seem to descend on the road at any time of the day. The locals make it look easy, but for the new arrivals, this can be a terrifying encounter. That said, there is also a candid enjoyment that comes with watching these locals passing on bikes and behaving exactly as they do in the Western world but without the privacy of an aluminum shield.

Another striking observation here is the combination of different cultures. Vietnam is still trying to distance itself from colonial and war times, it also acknowledges the diversity of cultures from these eras which are nevertheless part of what it has now become. From Korean theater groups and exotic spices to traditional music and a wide variety of foods available. It may appear to have a slightly confused identity at times but few other destinations around the world can claim such diversity as Ho Chi Minh.

Hidden Ho Chi Minh Attractions

Ho Chi Minh Statue in Siagon Vietnam

HCMC was formerly known as Saigon and the birthplace of Nationalistic leader Ho Chi Minh himself. The best way to explore the city is by foot in the downtown neighborhood. Turning left onto a narrow street and away from the noisy traffic, you can find solitude in the art galleries of Hai Ba Trung and the colorful facades of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai which seem the most unlikely places to find it given how close they are to the city center.

Whether you seek a quiet coffee or just an encounter with a lesser known part of the city, Ho Chi Minh has a few hidding spots. Although it may not seem like it, you can always find a small corner to escape the crowds. Another symbol for how much Ho Chi Minh has changed, that you can now find all manner of art, tradition and general expression in the same place it was banned not too long ago.

Tasting Ho Chi Minh

Hot bowl of Vietnamese Pho in Siagon

We should not forget that the food here is unrivaled in any part of Southeast Asia. Coriander rises through the air and another batch of prawns are placed on the grill, the side streets of the city are home to very unique experiences. It is almost a tradition in Vietnam for every last piece of pavement to be turned into a portable restaurant. Small metal tables and stools offer an intimate setting that never fails to delight visitors. Tasty bun cha, marinated pork, basil, mint, lime and golden pastries filled with vegetables. There is no end to the flavors and fusions which can be found in Ho Chi Minh while the above-mentioned dining experience is well worth the value alone.

Discovering Ho Chi Minh Attractions

Ho Chi Minh Attractions - Siagon Post office

Unfortunately, as fast as life seems to be moving here, it will never take away the years of heartbreak under the surface.  It takes time to uncover this reality or how the locals need no reminders of their awful past. It’s almost ironic that most tourists come to explore the remnants of a World War, when the natives want nothing more than to move on from it. That said, it does not take away from the experience, for few destinations have such a gripping history that needs to be told. A visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels or the War Museum is all you will need to confirm that.

Ho Chi Minh holds a deep sense of intrigue for the visitor. It looks good, it feels good and it tastes even better. However, it’s only as you are leaving when you seem to realize what makes this such a vibrant and mysterious city. It’s in this moment when you realize there must still be so much more left to discover.

Posted on: December 18, 2016, by : Carrie

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