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Vietnam

One Perfect Day in Saigon: 6 Essential Things to Do

Saigon, also called Ho Chi Minh City(HCMC), is the most thriving and influential city among Vietnam. Hundreds and thousands of Vietnamese and foreign expatriates throng to Ho Chi Minh City to make their living. Thus, people from various cultural background build up an inclusive and unique lifestyle of Saigon that amazes many new visitors.

We would say one day is really not enough to go through all Saigon’s tourist attractions. However, if you only have one day to stay in Saigon, then well planning your itineraries and focusing on those must-try things are primary keys to complete your perfect day in Saigon.

Therefore, as you follow 6 Essential Things that we recommend as below. you can still manage to see the Saigon’s major tourist attractions and experience genuine Vietnamese culture rooted in Saigon.

1. Enjoy Vietnamese Coffee for Breakfast

(Credit: pixabay)

Vietnamese is accustomed to having a cup of coffee in the morning due to the historical  background of French colonization. And don’t forget that Vietnam is one of the most productive areas of coffee. Coffee industry has brought a great fortune to Vietnamese since coffee was introduced to Vietnam.

As you may notice, a great number of cafés serve their best coffee here in Saigon. Coffee-goers can delightfully select their favorite ones when walking through every corner of street.

However, the Vietnamese coffee may be quite different from what you are used to drink. Usually, Vietnamese utilizes metal filter to make a cup of coffee. Once adding hot water, the drop filter releases drop coffee into the cup. Also, because of boiling hot weather in Saigon, locals tend to put lots of ice and condensed milk in the coffee.  

Vietnamese calls this drink “cà phê sữa đá” or “cà phê sữa” in short. The mixture of bitter coffee and sweet condensed milk creates a new taste for coffee lovers. Although some people can’t bear the cloying taste of coffee, there’s no accounting for taste. Maybe you’ll love it upon siping Vietnamese coffee.

2. Ancient Architectures are Must-see

If you can only spend one day, even less than 24 hours in Ho Chi Minh City, your selection on Saigon’s tourist attractions becomes important. And visiting District 1, in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City(HCMC), is absolutely the first priority for time-conscious travelers.


Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
(Credit: pixabay)

Many beautiful architectures recommended in travel guide books can be found here. For example, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, Saigon Central Post Office, Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, and Saigon Opera House etc., were all must-see that built in French colonial era and have become architectural icons that reflects delicate and historic design of French style in Saigon.

Also, to your surprise, these breathtaking tourist attractions are really close to one another. That means you don’t need to spend much time on tourist attractions far from District 1, and you still can appreciate the beauty of must-see architectural masterpieces in Saigon. Besides taking pictures of amazing French style architectures mentioned above, remember to pick up a postcard along the streets and send your memorable travel stories home at the Saigon Central Post Office.

3. Museum Tour-Journey of Knowledge

In addition to eating and taking photos on the streets, learning knowledge from museums is an option for studious travelers. In Saigon, many meaningful art galleries and museums characterizing a wide variety of topics. That means no matter which kinds of people you are and which sorts of curation you’re fond of, Saigon can satisfy visitors from diverse cultural backgrounds.

For example, you may be interested in Saigon’s history and culture, then visit Museum of Ho Chi Minh City.

(Credit: Aaron on wikipedia)

If you would like to realize the importance of peace, War Remnants Museum is the best place with plenty of war-related documents and pictures to learn from. Want to take a glimpse of arts collection?

Fine Arts Museum in Ho Chi Minh City definitely provides their best works from historic stone carvings to modern paintings, from Vietnamese style to Western style. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up your preferred one and go for it.

4. Try Vietnamese Massage

It’s always a wonderful experience to lie your exhausted body on bed and have a massage master to serve you. In fact, several Asian countries are proud of their massage tradition and technique. Nonetheless, the ways of massage differ in different countries, though they might seem pretty similar. It’s your own job to feel which massage style is exactly your favorite.

Vietnamese massage includes sessions of 4-handed massage, hot stones, shiatsu, and other way of refreshing your skin and tension. Before getting a massage, you’ll be requested to take your clothes off and put on more casual and comfortable massage wear.

Sometimes, you should also take a quick shower to totally clean up your body. During the massage main sessions, please keep in the state of tranquility and relax your whole body. Follow the massage master’s instructions and enjoy the sessions. If there’s some sores and pains during the massage, please let the master know the fact. They’ll be willing to solve your problems.

5. Eat as Saigonists eat

Dining in a foreign city might be a shocking yet unparalleled experience you’ve ever had. To many travellers, no matter how delicious or… well… specific the local food is, it serves as the essential reminder of travel memory.

If you want to cherish this kind of memory for a long time, try Vietnamese cuisines and coffee in a Saigon local market, like Chợ Bến Thành and Chợ Bình Tây. They’re some of most biggest and most famous markets in Ho Chi MInh City, and provide visitors with a variety of products as well as Saigon local cuisines to select.

Cho Ben Thanh market
(Credit: Riza Nugraha on flickr)

Speaking of local food in Saigon, we suggest you savor bánh mì, namely Vietnamese baguette, to experience culture shock; Vietnamese stuff French baguette with plenty of culinary ingredients including tomato, cucumber, marinated or grilled pork. It mixes so many different flavors altogether in mouth. And you can understand it’s a tasty icon indicating the blend of Vietnamese and French culture. Don’t worry about the place to buy bánh mì. It’s so common and popular that you can even find it on many streets and markets.

Banh mi Vietnamese baguette
(Credit: Vietnamese recipe)

However, speaking of food culture, Vietnam is undoubtedly abundant in mouth-watering delicacies. Besides having bánh mì and coffee, you can also try phở(Vietnamese noodle with soup), bánh xèo(Vietnamese crepes), cá kho tộ(Vietnamese caramelized and braised catfish), and gỏi cuốn(Vietnamese cold spring roll), etc..Please be brave to try new things, and maybe you’ll find it quite appetizing to taste.

6. Drink at Skybar with Splendid High View

(Credit: 
Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker on flickr)

After you finish a tiring trip with full sense of accomplishment, why not just invite your loved friends and pick up one bar at a high landmark building in Saigon. And in Saigon, the highest building is Bitexco Financial Tower, with 262 meters high. It features the magnificent night view containing panoramic Ho Chi Minh City. The sight always wows couples from both local and foreign in the romantic atmosphere.

Ho Chih Minh city at night
(Credit: pixabay)

At this moment, holding a glass of cocktail in hand and chatting to the partner in front of you can be a retreat from the hustle and bustle of your life. Also, the shimmering Mekong River still shines so well during night time. Then, why not talk about something fantastic in the journey. It would be an unforgettable night, wouldn’t it?

Wow, so many things to do in Saigon, right? Although you only have one day in Saigon, don’t be too anxious about the lack of time to make use of. Just follow our 6 things on the bucket list, you’ll be surprised how smooth it is to have a one-day trip in Saigon.

Author

Hello, Yu is my middle name. Currently an full-time media editor, also lifelong traveler. Easily attracted by exotic culture. Once exploring a new place, I feel like travel spirit get refreshed thousand times. So far, have lived in Vietnam, Korea and Spain for quite a while, and been to Portugal, Japan, etc.. Journey never ends...Feel free to share with me your travel stories:shonelouis@gmail.com