A Weekend of Good in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is known locally by its former name Saigon is among Asia’s most interesting cities. It is home to around 9.3 million inhabitants, the thriving city in Vietnam’s south is a vibrant mix of both old and modern with west and east.
The city’s rich colonial and imperial past is evident in its buildings, the ubiquitous street-coffee culture, and hidden restaurants that serve some of the best and affordable international and local food in the region.
However, Saigon is much more than the colorful past. Rapid growth has brought with the city skyscrapers, modernised public transportation — hire an unrestricted bicycle, ride water bus, ride the waterbus or get on the soon-to-be-built Metro line as well as an active arts and entertainment scene.
Begin your journey to Start your journey in District 1 (D1) District 1 (D1) is Saigon’s city’s centre and the default starting destination for many travellers heading to Saigon. If you’re planning to stay in Saigon be sure to look for Caravelle Saigon the city’s symbol. It was built in 1959 and is one of the nation’s most iconic modern buildings, and it’s currently the second of only two earthcheck-certified hotels across the country.
D1 is the home of many of the city’s landmarks from the colonial era which include The Saigon Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral. Both are the walking distance of one another and just a few steps away from shopping centres as well as street-side cafes and markets that sell a variety of goods in a wide range of colors and tastes which create a striking contrast between modern and old which will be a common theme throughout your visit.
If you’re feeling energetic you can do the majority of D1 within an entire day by using the TNGO Public Bicycle System app which lets you effortlessly ride through the city’s many streets – including some that are hidden free of exhaust.
Some of Saigon’s most iconic cafes and restaurants are located in D1, along with famous family-friendly establishments and street vendors. If you’re still not ready to plunge into Vietnamese street food, head to Blanc. Restaurants are open for lunch.
The restaurant serves a blend of different cuisines in a contemporary setting. Think duck breasts paired with butternut squash purée, Vietnamese starfruit, basil bamboo shoots, and the ginger-infused fish sauce. With a selection of set menus The friendly staff is ready to assist you choose.
It is also possible to notice that menus have illustrations of Ho Chi Minh City sign language (one of three Vietnamese sign languages) for each dishthat you are encouraged to use in lieu of using. Blanc. The restaurant employs people with hearing impairments. According to the restaurant’s website, 65 to 70 % of hearing impaired and deaf people in Vietnam are in a jobless state The restaurant created to provide those with hearing difficulties an opportunity to earn money.
Saigon Outcast, situated on the edge of the enclave for expats in Thao Dien, is an ideal hideaway from the modernity of concrete in Thu Duc. A warm and inviting atmosphere awaits those who want a bit of bohemianism and a touch of adventure, with a climbing wall that greets you at the front entrance. In this space for alternative events make sure you check out this Thao Dien Flea Market on Saturdays, with pop-up shops by local artists, artisans and micro-businesses that sell their work and goods. They will have colorful sweets from Little Rose Bakery which is an initiative of The Ho Chi Minh City Child Welfare Association to help protect girls who are disadvantaged who live in the Little Rose Warm Shelter.