My wife and I had a really great trip to Vietnam. We enjoyed all of the hotels you recommended and felt we were very well looked after.
For over a hundred years, Saigon was the capital - first under the French colonizers, and later the regime of South Vietnam. Following the end of the Vietnam War, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, though locals still refer to it by its old name. Today, Saigon is the industrial and commercial heart of the country, attracting green youth and seasoned businessmen alike with its rapid expansion and numerous opportunities. While development is rampant, the city still retains infrastructure from its days as the colonial capital - with quaint, European-style architecture alongside newly-constructed commercial buildings.
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Our General Manager Victoria Hilley lived in Hanoi for a year, where she enjoyed motorbiking through the villages & rice terraces of Vietnam's mountainous north.
Explore the streets of Saigon and see some of the gorgeous old colonial architecture, such as the stunning Opera House, the former Hôtel de Ville town hall (now the People’s Committee Building), Notre Dame Cathedral and the lovely Continental Hotel, made famous by Graham Greene’s novel, "The Quiet American."
Ben Thanh Market
Go shopping in the lively Ben Thanh Market, where you can buy some lovely handmade silk goods and other Vietnamese handicrafts.
Visit the huge Chinese neighborhood called Cholon. Here, you can have lunch at any one of a number of delicious Chinese eateries; we recommend My Huong, a bustling restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating that serves superb, authentic fare, including a noodle soup with duck. Explore the district’s many religious sites, which include places to worship Chinese, Christian, Islamic and Buddhist deities.
Cha Tam Cathedral
Cha Tam is Cholon’s small Catholic cathedral, with high vaulted ceilings surrounded by the stations of the cross. This little cathedral houses an enormous white statue of Jesus, a standing statue of St. Francis of Assisi and a large relief of the Last Supper.
Chua Quan Am Temple
Chua Quan Am Temple is a classic Chinese temple wafting with incense. Nearly 20 resident monks and a cherubic abbot are on hand to welcome foreign visitors. In fact, they’ll even take the time to show you around and allow you to take photos, but the expectation is a small donation in the alms box at the altar. Just outside the entrance, observe the busy cabinet makers at work in a large street-side workshop.
Thien Hau Temple
Originally built in A.D. 940, Thien Hau Temple has been rebuilt many times over the intervening centuries – most recently in 1900. The temple pays homage to Thien Hau, the goddess of the sea, a deity worshipped across Asia – particularly by sailors, who looked to her for good weather and protection from the elements.
The clean lines and lack of ornamentation of the Cholon Mosque provide a stark counterpoint to its gilded Buddhist neighbors. In the courtyard is a pool for ritual ablutions; note the tiled niche in the wall (mihrab) indicating the direction of Mecca. Built by Tamil Muslims in 1932, the mosque has served the Malaysian and Indonesian Muslim communities of Saigon since 1975.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Discover the famed Cu Chi tunnels, an interconnecting network of subterranean passageways under Saigon used during the Vietnam War to evade the American military and stage campaigns such as the infamous Tet Offensive. Crawl through the enlarged tunnels; during the war, Viet Cong guerillas would live in the tunnels for days, emerging only to re-supply or to launch attacks. As a result, the tunnels became a miniature city, complete with barracks, supply larders, weapons stockpiles, medical wards, and the like.
Constructed under the auspices of the French colonial government in 1929, the History Museum features a unique fusion of Asian and French architectural styles. The grounds of the museum are home to a series of pleasant gardens that provide a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life in Saigon. Within the museum are all the manner of architectural relics, from Khmer stone carvings dating to the 10th-13th centuries, remnants of the ancient Oc Eo culture of the 1st-6th centuries, and displays on Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups.
War Remnants Museum
A sobering collection with graphic, often brutal displays of the American War (as it is known in Vietnam), the War Remnants Museum was first opened in 1975, soon after the fall of South Vietnam. While the exhibits are admittedly one-sided, they do provide the Vietnamese perspective on this decade-long conflict, as well as a close, uncomfortable look at the effects of war on soldiers and civilians alike.
Originally commissioned in 1962 by South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, this 100-room residence was designed by a French-trained architect. While Diem himself never lived in the palace, the exorbitant project, which took four years to complete, became a symbol of corruption and waste. Today, the Palace is a museum – and its costly furnishings and finishes have been left intact.
Giac Lam Pagoda
The oldest pagoda in Saigon, Giac Lam was originally built in 1744, and sits in the heart of the Cholon neighborhood. The Pagoda houses tombs of long-deceased monks, stewards of the temple, and a rare Bodhi tree – descended from the very same tree under which Buddha was enlightened. To the right of the entrance is a large out-building filled with aisles of shelves with colorful urns of ashes, Chinese pots with red lights, and candles and offerings.
Experience the best of Vietnam on this 12-day luxury journey that traces the country’s stunning coastline to its most popular destinations. You’ll take a walking tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, cruise the UNESCO-listed limestone karsts of Halong Bay aboard a private junk, and see the famous Cu Chi tunnels in Saigon.
Delve into the taste sensations of fresh Vietnamese cuisine on this sensually-stimulating 14-day trip. You’ll learn cooking secrets from a top chef, dine on freshly-caught seafood in Mui Ne, sample local favorites from fresh markets, and dine at some of Saigon’s top restaurants, while staying in Vietnam’s best hotels.
Experience Indochina in style and comfort, aboard a luxury private jet. Starting off in Bangkok, you’ll take in some of the city’s most ancient temples, before taking off for the ever-charming Lao city, Luang Prabang. From here, you’ll head to Vietnam, where you’ll take in some of the country’s most...
Make your way from Vietnam’s Saigon to Cambodia’s Phnom Penh on this fascinating 5-day luxury voyage that takes you to historical sites, bustling markets, on languid cruises, and to your final destination by speedboat, while you bed down in some of the area’s most luxurious hotels by night.
Watch as two very different lifestyles are juxtaposed before your eyes, from the bustling city life of Saigon to the relaxed, serene lifestyle of the Mekong Delta on this 6-day luxury trip. You’ll check out Saigon’s must-see spots, then it’s onto a river cruise into the heart of the Delta, with a trip to Can Tho.
Take an exhilarating 15-day luxury bike journey through Vietnam’s beautiful countryside and along its stunning coastline. You’ll travel up the coast from Saigon, stopping along the way for private boat trips, sightseeing, shopping at local markets, and to rest your head in some of the country’s most luxury hotels.
Not many are aware of Vietnam’s beautiful beaches and countryside. Come in on the secret as you make your way from Phu Quoc island, to Can Tho in the Mekong Delta, taking a scenic boat ride in Ben Tre, and making your way on a scenic bicycle ride back to Saigon, while staying at some of Vietnam’s best hotels.
Explore Vietnam’s South and Central region on this thrilling 12-day luxury journey. You’ll sample fresh and delicious Vietnamese cuisine, visit ancient, UNESCO-listed sites, take a cruise on the mighty Mekong Delta, and you’ll even get some time to relax beachside at the luxurious Six Senses Con Dao.
A float on the mighty Mekong River is the best way to take in the scenery of beautiful and historic Cambodia and Vietnam. With seven-night, four-night and three-night cruises to choose from, there’s something for everyone on the Aqua Mekong. Guests will enjoy sumptuous luxury in the spacious but cosy suites and gaze out of the enormous river-facing windows at the passing panoramas. Likewise, the dining room affords unparalleled views of the forests, temples, floating villages and pagodas as guests indulge in international cuisine and local delicacies by Michelin-starred chef David Thompson, surrounded by historic Asian artifacts.The top deck is where all the action is: guests can recline with a drink in the indoor and outdoor lounges, take a dip in the pool or enjoy a private screening of a classic film from the area. On lazy days, those in search of relaxation can peruse the library, browse handcrafted souvenirs in the on-board shop or unwind in the spa with a range of traditional treatments.
Park Hyatt Saigon
Inspired by the colonial traditions of the French, this stylishly chic 259-room hotel built in 2005 is the premier address in Saigon, centrally located near the Opera House. High standards of service, elegant decor and fine amenities are the trademarks of this hotel. The large and well-equipped fitness center covers 397 square feet and features modern Life Fitness cardio equipment with personal LCD television screens and headphones. A 66-foot outdoor swimming pool with a special water feature is located next to a beautifully landscaped tropical garden. Fitness classes are also available. All public areas have wi-fi, and there are wired Internet connections in the guest rooms.
Intercontinental Asiana Saigon
Saigon's newest five-star hotel takes the pride of the place in the Kumho Plaza development, also home to the Hard Rock Cafe and Restaurant Bobby Chinn amongst others. Its 305 rooms and suites come with free WiFi, LCD cable TV, an iPod dock, DVD player, iron, safe and fridge, and there is also a club floor with a welcoming club lounge. The hotel has 3 restaurants offering local/international buffet, Cantonese and Italian, whilst Purple Jade is one of the city's most stylish nightspots. Facilities include a pool and gym.