As a budget traveler, I don’t pay for a tour. I usually do it on my own or join a free one. Some of you might be wary of doing your own tour but you’d be surprised how easy it is to do especially if you have guides like this post. I believe every city is walkable. In fact, you could find a lot of free walking tours in most cities around the world online. You may join them if you want to but if you prefer freedom and complete control of your time, then this post is for you. Here is the self-guided walking tour showcasing the best of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam!
Ho Chi Minh Self-Guided Walking Tour Map
Stop 1: Stroll through the lush green Tao Dan Park.
Tao Dan Park is situated in the heart of Ho Chi Minh. This is a place where you could escape the bustling city and chaotic sound of motorbikes. Aside from the beautiful landscapes, you’ll also find tennis courts, swimming pool, water fountain and children’s playground. This is perfect to take some time out, relax and watch the locals.
Stop 2: Learn the lessons of war in the War Remnants Museum.
The War Remnants Museum was opened in September 1975 as “The House for Displaying War Crimes of American Imperialism and the Puppet Government”, focusing on exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War. By visiting this museum, you will see how the war shaped the modern Vietnam today. The museum is open from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM everyday with an entrance fee of 40,000 VND.
Stop 3: See the place where the Vietnam War ended.
The Independence Palace or the Reunification Palace was the site of a dramatic finish to the Vietnam War when a North Vietnamese army tank crashed through its gates on April 30, 1975. The Palace is open daily from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM with an entrance fee of 40,000 VND.
Stop 4: Get a dose of French architecture in Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon.
The cathedral, also known as the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, officially Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception, is located in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Established by French colonists between 1863 and 1880, the cathedral has interesting French architecture to marvel at.
Stop 5: Send postcards from the Saigon Central Post Office.
Just across the road from the Notre Dame Cathedral is the Saigon Central Post Office. This was built in 1886 by the famous French civil engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel. The massive portrait of the great leader, Ho Chi Minh, will welcome you as you enter the post office. Inside this yellow building, you will also find several booths for sending postcards and stalls selling souvenirs and handicrafts.
Stop 6: Check out the books in the Book Street.
I discovered this street by accident. I was a bit lost but continued walking when I found myself in this beautiful street full of books. The books are written in Vietnamese and in English. I’m sure the bookworms will love this little avenue.
Stop 7: Understand why Saigon was renamed to Ho Chi Minh at the People’s Committee Building.
Visit the statue of Ho Chi Minh right in front of the city hall to understand why Saigon was renamed to Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh was a communist revolutionary leader who was a former prime minister and president of Vietnam. He was a key figure in the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, as well as the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Việt Cộng during the Vietnam War. Behind it is the city hall or the People’s Committee Building. The famous structure started its construction in 1902 with a French colonial architecture.
Stop 8: Catch some classical shows and French architecture at the Municipal Theater.
The Municipal Theater or the Saigon Opera House was built in 1898 by the French architect, Eugene Ferret, following the flamboyant style and architecture of the French Third Republic. Don’t forget to catch a one of a kind cultural show here.
Stop 9: Explore Nguyen Hue Street at night.
Just in front of the People’s Committee Building is the Nguyen Hue Street. It is very modern and ideal for walking and sightseeing, especially at night. It’s a great place to stroll in the evening as the street comes alive with parades, cultural exhibitions, street performances, and a fountain show.
Stop 10: Shop at the Ben Thanh Market.
End your day with cheap finds at the Ben Thanh Market. There you’ll find local handicrafts, foods, Vietnamese art and other souvenirs. And oh, test your bargaining skills here and I believe you’ll find great deals!
What do you think? Did you enjoy this free self-guided walking tour of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam? Let us know your comments below!
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