Hi everyone! The photogenic Ho Chi Minh City is waiting for you…Whether you are a professional photographer or love to share great photos on Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites, the following list of Top 10+ Photogenic (Instagrammable) Places in Ho Chi Minh City includes not only famous places with beautiful architecture but also hidden places where you have chances to take the nicest photos of Saigon’s landmarks and the real local life.
We should not miss long-standing Saigon Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, Saigon Opera House, Ben Thanh Market which are must-visit French architectural works. The two well-known Notre Dame Cathedral and the pink Tan Dinh Church, which have not changed so much for nearly 200 years, are surprisingly bright. Thien Hau Temple with ancient Chinese architecture and Van Phat Pagoda with countless golden Buddha statues are also great places to take pictures. Some beautiful museums and bridges are favorite places to take wedding photos of Vietnamese people. In this article, I also introduce to you many brilliant hidden spots where you hunt for spectacular photos: vibrant old apartment buildings, alleys, local markets and special coffee shops.
French architectural works
Saigon Central Post Office
Location: 125 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening hours: 8:00 – 19:00 (weekdays); 8:00 – 17:00 (weekends). If you come to the post office within operating hours, you can go inside. In the contrary, you can take photos from outside.
Built between 1886 and 1891, Saigon Central Post Office was designed by architect Villedieu and hist assistant Foulhoux. The building with a few floors above ground and a part underground has been an iconic symbol of Saigon for 150 years.
The highlight of the design is the large arches on the ceiling and wooden countertops along the sides, making it look like a train station in Europa. This architectural feature is popular in churches in Western Europa. The ceiling of the front hall is supported by four metal pillars in green color. The long arch (back arch) is supported by two lines of smaller green metal pillars. The top of the pillars is decorated beautifully and painted golden.
The highlights of Saigon Central Post Office include the long facade. It has been painted different colors including pink, light and dark yellow. Currently, the facade of the post office is in light yellow color. Two lines of arched windows with green wooden louver shutters remind visitors about the Colosseum – a symbol of Rome (Italy). The windows above the clock are rectangular and decorated with symmetrical ornaments.
The system of 20 square pillars and ornaments depicting Greek Gods and Goddesses, reliefs on rectangular cases read with names of inventors of telegram and electric professions. Besides features of Western architecture, there are also ornaments in Asian style. The top of the building is decorated in the same way as Khmer temples.
Read more about Saigon Central Post Office.
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Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee (City Hall)
Location: 86 Le Thanh Ton Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. The building is located at the crossroads of Nguyen Hue Walking Street and Le Thanh Ton Street. Taking photos of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee and the beautiful garden, the lotus fountain at the end of Nguyen Hue is recommended.
The building is not opened to visitors because it functions as the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee building. Taking photos from outside this magnificent building is one of the top things to do in Saigon.
Designed by architect Femand Gardes and built from 1898 to 1909, Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee features well-preserved French colonial architecture. It is a mix of Renaissance architectural and Baroque and rococo exterior design styles.
Covering a total area of 15 hectares, the building is 80 meters wide. Inspired by bell tower in the North of France, the building has three towers which are impressively decorated with a large number of ornaments and reliefs. Sculpted Marianne and two children overpowering fierce animals on the middle tower, sculpted Marianne of freedom on the left tower and Marianne of equality on the left tower. The light yellow facade, red tiled roofs and dozens of wrought iron arched doors and wooden louver windows make the building elegant.
Read more about Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.
Independence Palace (Reunification Palace)
Location: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1, Ben Thanh Ward, Ho Chi Minh City (106 Nguyen Du Street, District 1).
Opening hours: 7:30 – 12:00; 13:30 – 17:00.
Designed by the famous Vietnamese architect Ngo Viet Thu, built from 1962 to 1963, Independence Palace functioned as the presidential home and workplace. The building is located in a spacious garden, with a total area of 12 hectares, a width of 300 meters and a length of 400 meters. The huge round grass field and the fountain in front of the building is one of the highlights of this place.
This building is a perfect mix of the East and the West. The building with modern symmetrical design, materials and construction technologies contains Eastern philosophy. Its structure renders an ancient ideogram 吉 (good fortune, cát), The front elevation’s opening means 口 in Chinese, miệng or khẩu in Vietnamese, mouth in English and represents truthful speech. The flagstaff 中 symbolizes unswerving fidelity. The horizontal strokes illustrated by the roofing, canopy and facade form the Chinese character 三 that symbolizes the mystical triad humanity, firmness of purpose and wisdom. Large-sized decoration items are in shapes of bamboo internodes are very impressive parts of the building. Inside the palace, it is designed and furnished splendidly and luxuriously. Whether you take photos of the spacious green garden, the facade or rooms in the place, all the photos will be surprisingly great.
Read more about Independence Palace.
Saigon Opera House (Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City)
Location: 7 Cong Truong Lam Son Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Built in 1897 by French architect Eugene Ferret, Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City is a small counterpart of the Hanoi Opera House and shaped like the famous Opera Garnier in Paris. The architectural style is inspired by the French Third Republic’s flamboyant style.
The white and light brown facade of Saigon Opera House was decorated with reliefs and inscriptions depicting Laurel wreaths, deities of love, angels, Gods, Goddesses, harps. The most prominent decorations include sculpted deities of love on the top of the arch, two sculpted Goddesses supporting the entrance canopy, reliefs depicting Gods and two-winged angels playing harps.
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Ben Thanh Market
Location: Le Loi Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening hours: 4:00 – 19:00 (day market), 18:00 – midnight (night market).
The old Ben Thanh Market had been established before 1859. The new market was built from brick, steel, concrete and tiles by the French in 1870. It was also designed by architect Ngo Viet Thu. Surrounded by 4 streets, it has 4 main gates and 12 side gates facing 4 directions. The South facing main gate impresses visitors with the tetragonal clock tower. The cream-colored facade, red roofs, blue clock and arched main entrance make Ben Thanh the nicest market and iconic sight in Ho Chi Minh City.
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Notre Dame Cathedral
Location: 1 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening hours: 8:00 – 11:00, 14:00 – 16:00. Until the beginning of 2020, the church was not open to the public but Catholics due to the restoration project.
Designed by architect J. Bourard, the church was inaugurated on 11th April 1880. The highlight of the building is 60.5-m-high two bell towers, built in 1895. Red tiles and bricks, arched and round windows can be seen from outside. The interior design of the church is luxurious and splendid, with 31 round rose windows, 25 cow-eye windows.
The beautiful garden with four confluent roads forming a cross and the peaceful mother statue, made by G. Ciocchetti in Italy in 1959. The statue was reported to have shed tears flowing down her right cheek, attracting thousands of people to come and see.
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Tan Dinh Church
Location: 289 Hai Ba Trung Street, Ward 8, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
They do not accept visitors to go inside the church. However, the exterior is the most famous instagrammable spot in Ho Chi Minh City thanks to its romantic pink color. The huge round clock on the facade, spires, arched windows with beautiful patterns, onion dome structure with steeples and angle statues are all painted white and pink, blend wonderfully.
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Pagoda and Temple
Ten Thousand Buddha Pagoda
Location: 66/14 Nghia Thuc Street, Ward 5, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. View on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 4:30 – 19:00. The main hall which should not be missed on the fourth floor opens from 6:00 to 17:00.
Hidden in a small alley, the 4-story building looks simple but the main hall on the top floor is amazingly splendid, with countless small and big Buddha statues. The biggest statue of Vairocana sitting on a Buddha lotus seat is the most beautiful. Tiny Buddha statues in petals of the lotus seat impress most of the visitors. There are ten thousand altars and Buddha statues on the walls in the main hall.
Read more about Saigon Ten Thousand Buddha Pagoda
Thien Hau Temple (Thien Hau Lady Pagoda)
Location: 710 Nguyen Trai Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening hours: 8:00 – 16:30.
Built in 1760 by a Chinese group from Guangzhou, China, Thien Hau Temple is one of the oldest and most beautiful Chinese pagodas in Saigon. Mazu (Thien Hau Lady) who supports and saves lives of people on the sea is worshipped in the temple.
The highlights of this pagoda include its unique architecture, the complex of halls and a sky well forming the Chinese character 口 (khẩu, mouth). The nice facade, lots of reliefs and ornaments on the top of the roofs of the halls, carved wooden panels. This is one of the must-see tourist attractions and the most photogenic places in Ho Chi Minh City.
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Read more about Thien Hau Temple
Ho Chi Minh City Museum
Designed by the French architect Alfred Foulhoux and completed in 1890, Gia Long Palace (former name of the museum) is one of the most beautiful palaces in the city at that time.
The beautiful white facade with grand and small columns evokes the classical style of constructions in Paris. The notable exterior design is the triangle decorated with a bust, laurel, flowers, leaves, snakes, a cock symbolizing the day and an owl symbolizing the night at the corners. Under the balcony is a circular entrance dome supported by 4 round pillars.
The magnificent curved staircase has been a famous place to take wedding photos in the city. The long corridor with lines of wooden louver windows and cement tiles is also a great Instagram-worthy spot. Some people love to take photos with the vintage car from the Nguyen Dynasty in the yard.
Read more about Ho Chi Minh City Museum
Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine ( FITO Museum)
Address: 41 Hoang Du Khuong, Ward 12, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening hours: 8:30 – 17:00.
The museum was built in 2003 and has been open for publish since 2007. Besides the exhibit of nearly 4,000 precious artifacts related to traditional medicine in Vietnam, FITO Museum is a great place to take amazing photos thanks to wooden materials, carved wooden furniture and decor items. Wooden carved pillars, walls, escalator, staircases, tables, shelves, panels, “bao lam”, altars, paintings and many others. Brick walls and pillars blend wonderfully with wood carvings in the museum.
Artinus 3D Art Museum
Location: 02-04 Street 9, Him Lam Residential Area, Tan Hung Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 – 18:00 (last admission at 17:00); Saturday, Sunday, holiday: 9:00 – 20:00 (last admission at 19:00)
The 3D Art Museum with 9 rooms in which 3D paintings in 9 topics are displayed. The topics include Aqua Zone, Animal Zone, Masterpiece Zone, Vietnam Zone, Strange House Zone, Love Zone, Egypt Adventure Zone, Fantage Zone, Giant Zone.
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Cau Mong Bridge
Location: 02-04 Street 9, Him Lam Residential Area, Tan Hung Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City.
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Location: Starlight Bridge, Tan Phu Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City.
Designed by Gao Ge – a Chinese company, designed in detail by Dao Fund Construction Design Consultant Company and built by Sino-Pacific Company, the pedestrian Starlight Bridge was completed in 2010. The 170-m-long and 8.3-m-wide bridge that crosses Thay Tieu Channel is as curved as the crescent moon. The highlights include lots of round led lights on the bridge, looking like stars on the sky and the fountain, illuminated with color-changing lights. There are two squares at the end of the bridge, one of which represents the sun and the other represents the moon.
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Thich Quang Duc Monument
Location: 298 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (crossroads of Cach Mang Thang Tam and Nguyen Dinh Chieu Streets).
This is a spacious green park with lots of big shade trees, ornamental trees and plants, lotus ponds. The highlights of the monument include the 12-ton-heavy and 4.5-meter-high statue of a monk on fire and the large-sized relief behind the statue, both of them tell a heart-broken story about Thich Quang Duc Bodhisattva who burned himself to death to protest Diem’s policies against Buddhism on 1963.
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Alleys and old apartment buildings
Hao Si Phuong Alley
Location: 206 Tran Hung Dao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.
According to an old resident in the alley, the apartment buildings in Hao Si Phuong Alley were built in 1910 by Uncle Hoa – one of the richest Chinese people at that time. The entrance to the alley is in the middle of two modern buildings. Stepping into the alley, visitors feel like being in a Hongkong town 100 years ago. The structures of the apartment have not changed. Owners have restored some of the apartment, walls and wooden doors have been repainted. Modern materials including glazed floor tiles, metal and glass doors, wall bricks and old wooden louver doors and windows shutters blend. Chinese characters, altars and stickers in Chinese styles are abundant in the alleys.
Read more about Hao Si Phuong Alley.
Old apartment buildings
Nguyen Thien Thuat apartment buildings
Location: Ward 1, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. The apartment complex is surrounded by Nguyen Thien Thuat, Phan Dinh Phung, Ly Thai To, Phan Thanh Gian Streets.
Completed in 1969, Nguyen Thien Thuat apartment buildings is one of the oldest Ho Chi Minh City’s apartment residential area. The structure and materials still remain after 50 years. The colorful walls, windows, doors, balconies and moss make Nguyen Thien Thuat a great place to take photos of the real Saigon.
Clothes, blankets, green ornamental vines and plants, colorful flowers can be seen from outside. You can take great photos of the buildings from outside or climb up staircases and walk along corridors. You can also learn about how residents relax in the small park, sell and buy products at shophouses and street food stalls.
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42 Nguyen Hue apartment buildings
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Nguyen Hue Street
Location: Nguyen Hue Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
The 670-m-long and 64-m-wide Nguyen Hue Walking Street is one of the most luxurious street in Ho Chi Minh City. It is lined with 5-star hotels, famous coffee shops, Garden Mall and Lucky Plaza shopping malls, Times Square building and the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee building. The lotus fountain is also a highlight of the walking street. The apartment building at 42 Nguyen Hue is known as the coffee apartment building in Saigon. It is great to walk in the street and take nice photos by day and by night.
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Bui Vien Street
Location: Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Bui Vien Street is a non-sleeping street where locals and foreigners eat, drink and have fun at local restaurants, coffee shops and bars. The street is famous with budget travelers who are seeking budget hotels, laundromats, spas, tattoo shops, hair salons. A wide range of Vietnamese and international foods and beverages are served here.
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Ho Thi Ky Flower Market
Location: Ho Thi Ky Street, Ward 1, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City.
What do you think about a wholesale flower market in Saigon? This hidden market is one of the great places to take surprisingly beautiful pictures in Vietnam. Weaving narrow alleys and Ho Thi Ky Street lines with more than one hundred flower shops, you will be lost in the wonderland of smelling and beautiful flowers, most of which are grown at flower villages in Vietnam.
Life is hard in Vietnam. In contrast to the beautiful flowers, workers and vendors at the market must work hard to earn their livings.
Next to Ho Thi Ky Flower Market is the Cambodian Market where you can see many strange things and the real local life.
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Trang Tu Fruit Market
Location: Trang Tu Street, Ward 14, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.
Located next to Cho Lon Bus Station, the market specializes in fruits, spices and vegetables. You can take nice photos of the products as well as the local life and old houses on Trang Tu Street.
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Cheo Leo Coffee Shop
Location: 109/36 Nguyen Thien Thuat Street, Ward 2, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening hours: 5:00 – 18:45.
This over 80-year-old cafe is a great place to listen to Vietnamese music since the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and enjoy the amazing coffee brewed with cloth filters. The walls, tiles, staircase, kitchen, oven and kitchenware in the small coffee shop still remain. The smoky ceiling and walls have become familiar things to visitors.
Do Phu Coffee Shop – secret weapon bunker
Location: 287/70 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening hours: 8:00 – 22:00.
Have you ever thought that Vietcong made lots of secret weapon bunkers in Saigon? Coming to Do Phu Coffee Shop, you will sit on old wooden sofa and enjoy delicious drinks, see lots of artifacts in the wartime and especially climb down into the bunker where they stored weapons.