Ngoc Tu Hotel
- Mon: 12am-12am
- Tue: 12am-12am
- Wed: 12am-12am
- Thu: 12am-12am
- Fri: 12am-12am
- Sat: 12am-12am
- Sun: 12am-12am
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Start an excursion with the War Remnants Museum, a major Ho Chi Minh City attraction near the city's center. The solemn museum displays weapons and photos from the Vietnam War, providing insight into how that event shaped the country. Another popular historical sight just a short stroll from the museum is the Emperor Jade Pagoda, a temple built in 1909 that evokes the architectural style of an earlier age. The pagoda's large, turtle-filled pool is a must-see, and the incense-scented interior abounds with intricate wood carvings and statues.
After a dip into history, go for a dive into the ocean. Ho Chi Minh City perches on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and boasts sandy beaches just south of the city's center. A bicycle taxi can deliver you to Phan Thiet Beach, a favorite for its clear waters, palm trees and seaside cafes. Also on the coast is Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve, a top Ho Chi Minh City attraction that allows visitors to wander through lush landscapes past rare tree species. This significant wetland area is an important wildlife sanctuary in Vietnam, and tour boats show off favorite areas like Monkey Island and the Crocodile Reserve Park.
Back downtown, there is a dizzying array of options among Ho Chi Minh City restaurants, from innovative, upscale dining to tiny noodle shops with just a few tables. Consider L'Olivier, which represents the city's love for French food—a nod toward its past as a French colony in the 19th century. The restaurant pairs ocean-fresh seafood with flavor-rich chutneys, served in a bright and cheery dining room that feels like a French countryside inn.
For more casual fare, stop into one of the city's renowned open air markets, dotted with food carts that beckon passersby with delicious aromas and local specialties like pho and spring rolls. Ben Thanh Market, located in the downtown area, is the city's largest, housed in one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon. The market is so popular that it is depicted on some of Vietnam's currency. Vendors shout out their bargains, displaying brilliant flowers, silk shoes stacked high, painted wooden dolls and huge barrels of dried noodles. The scent of steamed dumplings mingles with the profusion of color, creating a memorable shopping trip.
From its sedate temple spaces to its scooter-filled roadways, Ho Chi Minh City provides a distinctive blend of calm and frenzy, in just the right measure. Whether sampling a French-inspired dish at one of Ho Chi Minh City's restaurants or feeding monkeys at Can Gio, travelers will find themselves getting caught up in the charms of this major Vietnam travel spot.