Other possibilities in Ho Chi Minh City

The Reunification Palace.
From City Hall, another short walk takes you to the Reunification Palace. It occupies the site of the Norodom Palace, an early colonial masterpiece constructed to accommodate the Governor–general of Indochina. When the French left, it was taken over by Ngo Dinh Diem to be his Presidential Palace. It was pulled down after being bombed by two insurgent South Vietnam Air Force pilots in a failed attempt to assassinate the President.

Its present building is hardly up to the architectural standards of its predecessor – at first glance, the upper floors resemble a sixties-style multi-storey car park. Inside, it’s a fascination time warp, little changed since its occupation by the Saigon regime.

Cho Lon
Once a Chinese ghetto, Cho Lon rose to be Saigon’s commercial heartland. After reunification, many Vietnamese of Chinese extraction started to flee the country fearing reprisals after their support of the Saigon Regime. Vietnam’s deteriorating relationship with its huge neighbour culminating in the abortive Chinese invasion of 1979 turned the river of refugees into a raging torrent, but even though hundreds of thousands left, there is still a large Chinese population.

Visitors looking for the highly decorated Chinatowns found in Western cities will be disappointed – it’s much more authentic than the tacky tourist attractions in the UK and US. Apart from its continual commercial activity, tiny shops, massive markets and fascinating street life, it contains some of the best temples and assembly houses in Saigon. To do it justice, a half-day would be inadequate.

Dong Khoi
Named Rue Catinat by the French, Dong Khoi was the quintessence of Saigon Chic during the colonial period. The world’s beautiful people of the day would stroll around its boutiques and sip aperitifs in bijou bars and hotel terraces before dinner in its many restaurants and brasseries. As the colonial fin de siècle drew near, the street lost its glitter and with the arrival of the US Army, descended into a sleaze pit of brothels and bars.

Today it has regained much of its fashionable aura as the centrepiece of District 1. After breakfast or lunch at the Majestic Hotel, a stroll up Dong Khoi past the Grand Hotel to the Saigon Opera House, perhaps with refreshment at Maxim’s on the away, is a delight.

If you're a Graham Greene fan, you'd probably enjoy visiting his haunts and the locations he used for ‘The Quiet American’.

Take a short detour into Dong Du, two-thirds of the way up Dong Khoi, and you'll come across the Jamia Muslim Mosque. There's not much to see, but the Mosque has a basic dining room at the rear that's become a very popular lunch venue.


Haivenu Tours Homepage
Vietnam Tours

Vietnam Travel Information

Vietnam Hotels

Vietnam Tours
Central Coast
  Central Highlands
  Ho Chi Minh City
  Jade Emperor Pagoda
  Cu Chi Tunnels
  Cao Dai Holly See
  Other attractions
Chau Doc
Ha Tien
Vung Tau
Con Dao Archipelago
Phan Thiet
  Phu Quoc Island
  The Mekong Delta
About Vietnam
Responsible Travel with Haivenu
Vietnam Photo Library