Getting Around Ho Chi Minh City

To visit the main tourist attractions you will need at least two full days. The main Ho Chi Minh City Sights include the Hotel de Ville, the Reunification Palace, the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Jade Emperor Pagoda. If you're quite adventurous it's also worthwhile taking a taxi to the Chinese district of Cholon where you can visit a number of busy pagodas and and street markets. Not many tourists head out this way so you may feel a little out of place but it's worth doing just to observe life on the streets and provided you use your common sense there's no reason to worry about heading off the beaten track.

Most of these main sights are within easy walking distance but if you want Ho Chi Minh City transport taxis are a great option as they're metred and cheap. An alternative is to take a cyclo which is quite an experience in the crazy traffic and well worth doing before the local government bans them all.
Street Seller Outside Majestic Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Jade Emperor Pagoda Ho Chi Minh City

As you walk the streets you might be surprised at the amount of wealth around as top name international hotels and designer shops selling Rolex and Lacoste, etc. rub shoulders with street sellers offering little more than cigarettes and chewing gum.

When shopping in HCMC you can pick up some bargains if you're interested in good quality branded products. In Ben Thanh Market you'll find good quality Ralph Lauren polo shirts and Billabong type t-shirts very cheaply as well as excellent North Face rucksacks for a fraction of the price paid in the west. Many of the factories making these products are on the outskirts of HCMC. Nowhere else in Vietnam sells such quality branded goods as here, in fact I bought a bag in Hanoi which a week later I noticed was branded as "The North" (not "The North Face"). Ben Thanh is one of a number of markets in HCMC which is well worth a visit.



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