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Saigon

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.
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.

EXPERIENCES

EXPERIENCES

Ben Thanh Market

Go shopping in the lively Ben Thanh Market, where you can buy some lovely handmade silk goods and other Vietnamese handicrafts.

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.

Cholon

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.

Cholon Mosque

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.

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.

Colonial Saigon

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."

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.

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.

History Museum

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.

Reunification Palace

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.

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.

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.

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TRAVELOGUES

TRAVELOGUES

An Art Lover’s Guide to Saigon

An Art Lover’s Guide to Saigon

Author : Lucie Sherwood
Saigon's art scene has been on the rise for years, and these spots will sate the sophisticated art lover's need for a deeper look into Ho Chi Minh City.
Read More
Ho Chi Minh City’s 6 Most Unique Foodie Experiences for the Fine Diner

Ho Chi Minh City’s 6 Most Unique Foodie Experiences for the Fine Diner

Author : Lucie Sherwood
Dining in the dark and $100-banh mi? Ho Chi Minh City is brimming with innovative options for the modern gastronome.
Read More
Why Sapa and Lao Cai Will Transform your Vietnam Experience

Why Sapa and Lao Cai Will Transform your Vietnam Experience

Author : Travelogues
Whether it's getting from Hanoi to the north in style or trekking with tribes, Sapa and Lao Cai give travelers unique opportunities to experience an authentic Vietnam.
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Bunkers, Bays, and Baths: Vietnam for the Gentleman and the Rogue

Bunkers, Bays, and Baths: Vietnam for the Gentleman and the Rogue

Author : Jim Sullivan
For the mature gentleman looking to put a macho spin on the Vietnam experience, these hotel charms engage both nostalgia and decadence.
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5 Hotel Breakfasts in Asia Worth the Stay

5 Hotel Breakfasts in Asia Worth the Stay

Author : Jim Sullivan
Brunch, lunch, and dinner get all the attention, but these hotel breakfasts in Asia will wake you up salivating for the most important meal of the day.
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The 5 Most Intriguing Colonial French Buildings in Hue

The 5 Most Intriguing Colonial French Buildings in Hue

Author : Jim Sullivan
From bridges by Gustav Eiffel and modern luxury spas to the school house of Ho Chi Minh, modern Hue is peppered with architectural history along the Perfume River.
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FEATURED JOURNEYS

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Aman Global Private Jet Expedition

Aman Global Private Jet Expedition

Japan - China - Vietnam - Thailand - Bhutan - India - Greece - Montenegro - Italy
April 15 - May 6, 2019
Aman Private Jet Expedition

Aman Private Jet Expedition

China - Bhutan - India - Sri Lanka
October 12-28, 2019
Aman Private Jet Expedition

Aman Private Jet Expedition

China - Bhutan - India - Sri Lanka
October 7-23, 2018
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Japan
July 24 - Aug 9, 2020
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