25 things you would love travelling Saigon (Part 1)

Wherever you go, the following special things would make you miss Saigon where the elegant and the simple blends. In my opinion, when you visit a city and want to understand it, you not only see the most popular tourist attractions but also see the other more simple and ordinary that make you feel like locals and have your heart beating with the city. Traveling to Saigon, you will be surprised by the busy life and feel lonely among the luxury and lordliness of this Pearl of the Far East. Don’t let it trick you, because like Audrey Hepburn, Saigon is seductive by its splendid beauty, but things make people love Saigon more and more by day is the warm and dear beat for anyone who wants to be close to it. The followings are 55 special things of Saigon that any locals would miss when they go far from the city.

1. Reunification Palace (Independence Palace)

Like Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi, Reunification Palace (formerly known as Independence Palace) is the famous historical witness which passed through the two fierce wars against the French and American colonists. It has stayed in the mind of many generations of not only Vietnamese but also foreigners. Reunification Palace, designed by architect Ngo Viet Thu, is a blend of traditional ritual and modern architecture, typical of the 60s’.

Independence Palace Tracy

Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour

As Vietnam was split into North Vietnam and South Vietnam, the building served as a presidential home and workplace. Wandering around its rooms, visitors may be reminded of various important moments in the past of Vietnam, especially the war command room with its huge maps and old communication equipment, as well as the basement labyrinth.
However, the design of the complex is not as appealing to tourists as all the historical events related to this building. Today in most old locals’ minds, the palace is remembered vividly as a marked end to the war, just like the fall of Berlin Wall, as the North Vietnamese tank crashed its gates on April 30th, 1975. The building now functions as a museum, where visitors can learn more about the Vietnam war.

2. Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral (also known as the Big Church, Basilica, and Cathedral) in Ho Chi Minh City is magnificent, beautiful, and stable in the center of the city and has always attracted many people. Whether you are religious or not, a visit to one of Vietnam’s most famous landmarks is an important part of any trip to Ho Chi Minh. Located in a quiet corner of bustling city Saigon, Notre Dame Cathedral is the one remaining stronghold of Catholicism in the largely Buddhist Vietnam. Architectural Masterpiece Notre Dame Cathedral – Saigon.
Work began in 1880 and took quite a few years to complete.

Notre Dame Cathedral Tracy 2

Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour

In 1962, the Vatican officially anointed the cathedral as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Today, however, it is simply known as Notre Dame Cathedral and is still used as a place of Catholic worship with services every weekend.
Made from red bricks, tiles, and windows imported from France, the neo-Romanesque structure is 60 meters tall and has two towers containing six bronze bells. In front of the Cathedral stands a statue of the Virgin Mary, made in Rome from Italian marble, which was said to have miraculously shed tears.

3. Saigon Central Post Office

Saigon Central Post Office is the post office building at the center of Ho Chi Minh City, District 1. It’s no doubt the biggest post office in Vietnam and is an important commercial center of Ho Chi Minh City.

Saigon Central Post Office

Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour

Saigon Central Post Office is not just a post office; it is the epitome of French colonial architecture and one of the most recognizable landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City. The Saigon Central Post Office is a beautifully preserved remnant of French colonial times and perhaps the grandest post office in all of Southeast Asia.
The building was designed by Gustave Eiffel – the renowned engineer who also designed the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower – and features arched windows and wooden shutters, just as it would have in its heyday in the late 19th Century.

4. Siting-plump Coffee

Saigon siting-plump coffee has accidentally become a lifestyle for recent years. Saigonese nowadays gathering and sitting plum on the street to have a coffee. This style of enjoying coffee attracts lots of locals, including travelers to Saigon at all ages.

Sitting Plump Coffee In Saigon Tracy

Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour

And the most popular area is around 30/4 Park and Notre Dame Cathedral where everyone with many different occupations sharing space and tasting coffee. There, they could see vehicles traveling on streets, Saigon citizens and modern and old structures, namely Diamond Plaza, Madonna Church, and Independence Palace. You may catch many life’s natural scenes such as a girl feeding pigeons or an old man playing violin and mandolin. Artistic students like sitting here a whole day to capture some life’s angles. Sometimes you may see couples taking wedding pictures around Notre Dame Cathedral. Saigon “sitting-plump” coffee is part of the living space in Saigon and part of memories of the big economic hub of Vietnam’s citizens. So, let’s sit plump! Have a coffee!

5. Rice Paper Salad

Banh trang tron is a hodge-podge salad-type creation and can be found almost on every pavement in metal cart rolling along the street. The base of the dish is local ingredients, including dried beef jerky strips, julienned green mango, fresh mint and basil, rice paper strips, chili powder as well as sweet, sour and spicy fish sauce. The combines of the ingredients were mixed buy the seller’s hands and serve up a portion in a plastic bag with two skewers serving as makeshift chopsticks. It seems painfully dry dish but somehow all of that manages to meld all of the ingredients into a unique flavor.

Mixed Rice Paper Salad

Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour

Upon the first tasting of rice paper salad, you will understand why adults and children in Saigon would be against this type of snack. Pick a bag of rice paper salad if you have chance to travel to Saigon!

25 things you would love travelling Saigon (Part 3)

25 things you would love travelling Saigon (Part 2)

25 things you would love travelling Saigon (Part 4)

Check out Saigon Motorbike Tours, Mekong Delta Tour, Cu Chi Tunnels Tour, and other Ho Chi Minh City Day Trips.

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