Local Guide

5 Places to Trace Back the Eventful History of Saigon

Saigon is the most modern and developed city in Vietnam. But still, there are historical sites that have been existed for hundreds of years and closely connected to the genesis of Ho Chi Minh City. Today, let’s find out about them in your Saigon history tour.

1.    Independence Palace


Independence Palace (Source: Google)

The Independence Palace is an important historical site of Ho Chi Minh City, which was recognized as one of the National Heritage Sites. It was designed by Ngo Viet Thu, an architect, on a 4,500 square meter area. The Palace used to be the office of the Presidents of the Republic of Vietnam.

Located on a large precinct surrounded by green trees, it always reminds the local people of Saigon in the old times. You will be able to observe the complicated structure of the Palace when visiting it. There are over 100 rooms, each of which is decorated in different ways based on its purpose.

For example, the Conference Hall can contain more than 500 people and was used to organize conferences, ceremonies, and crucial meetings. Or the Minister’s Cabinet Room was where conventions among the ministers of the Republic of Vietnam Government were held.

Several spots that may interest you are the library, the home theater, the war room underneath the Palace, and the President’s bedroom.

Address: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1

2.    Ben Thanh Market


Ben Thanh Market at night (Source: Google)

This market was established in 1914 in the center of the city. It became the evidence of the ups and downs of Saigon ever since. Although many changes have been made, the market remains one of the busiest places in the city.

You will find all types of products here whether they are traditional handicrafts or modern appliances. For those who join in a Saigon history tour but still want to see the buzzing nightlife of this city, Ben Thanh Market will be a perfect destination.

There are a great number of stores and kiosks serving Vietnamese food at night. Specialties such as noodles in crab chowder, bloating fern-shaped cakes, and sweet porridge, are extremely favored by many travelers. And each of them takes only or even less than $1. So you will not have to worry about being out of pocket.

Address: Ben Nghe Ward, District 1

3.    Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica


Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica (Source: Google)

Situated on the main street, this cathedral is one of the symbols of Saigon. It looks prominent due to the harmony of various architectural designs, such as European, Roman, and Gothic styles. Furthermore, the church is famous for having the most gigantic pair of bells in Vietnam.

Therefore, it is a significant cathedral of the Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City and the pride of the local citizens. If you have time, you should not hesitate to get inside to contemplate every detail of this historical site.

There are three most impressive elements of its interior design that are considered masterpieces. They are the stained glass windows, the altar, and the Roman chandeliers. All of them are sophisticatedly made and reveal the elegant taste of the architect.

Especially, the altar describing events in the Bible and carved on a monolithic marble is regarded as the most wonderful sculpture of the church.

Address: 1 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1

4.    Cu Chi Tunnel


The Cu Chi Tunnels map (Source: Google)

A Saigon history tour will never be complete without a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels. It was an underground defending system made by Viet Cong during the First Indochina War and the Vietnam War. You will be surprised at how determined and tenacious the Vietnamese soldiers were and wonder why they could create such complex tunnels.

The system comprises a polyclinic, a large number of bedrooms, kitchens, stores, offices, and subterranean roadways. There is one fact that the tunnel system was built using only primitive tools such as hoes and shovels. But it lasts about 250 kilometers long and comprises countless branches. Some of them even lead to the Saigon River.

The Tunnel is located at the end of Ho Chi Minh Trail, about 70 kilometers from the center of Saigon. Visiting this historical site, you will gain an intimate insight into the soldiers’ life when they had to live and combat underground.

Address: Phu Hiep Hamlet, Phu My Hung Village, Cu Chi District

5.    Ho Chi Minh Museum


Ho Chi Minh Museum (Source: Google)

A destination related to the greatest revolutionary of Vietnam that you should not miss on a Saigon history tour is the Ho Chi Minh Museum. It is most famous for being the place where President Ho Chi Minh started his mission of finding a way to save his beloved country.

At that time, it was a substantial commercial port of Saigon called the Dragon Wharf. Today, although it has been made a museum, the local people find the name the Dragon Wharf more familiar. Its entire structure boasts the typical style of French architecture.

There are also two dragon statues on the roof of the museum, symbolizing the Eastern building design. You will find over 3,000 images and objects as well as personal belongings and documents about President Ho Chi Minh inside the museum. This can be a good chance if you want to discover his life.

Address: 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, Ward 12, District 4

Khanh Huyen

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