VietnamActivities & AttractionsArchitectural Attractions of Ho Chi Minh City - A Walking Guide

Architectural Attractions of Ho Chi Minh City – A Walking Guide

Found in this Asian-based city are landmarks that strongly resemble those in Europe, while not so far from them are Eastern temples and churches, and the metropolitan city is home to the most dazzling skyscrapers.

What’s special about our collection below is that the chosen spots stay within short distance from each other, and so we designed a walking guide including them all for you, our dear readers! After reading the description of each place, check out our Architectural Attractions of Ho Chi Minh City – Walking Guide map at the end of this blog.

Your first time in Ho Chi Minh? Don’t worry, check out our Ho Chi Minh guides


Central Post Office

The distinct French architecture of this building serves as a reminder of our colonial days. The Central Post Office is perhaps the grandest post office in Southeast Asia with the high arched ceiling and ornate marble floor.

architectural attractions of ho chi minh city central post office

A vintage landmark at the center of the busiest city in Vietnam

The office still functions normally in this technology age, encouraging you to send a good old postcard back home!

Notre Dame Cathedral

At the time of this blog (November 2018), the cathedral is under maintenance, but it would be a huge omission to leave it out of the list of architectural attractions of Ho Chi Minh City. Right at the heart of the city stands a 60-meter high church with a reddish orange brick exterior and a small lush garden and a statue of Virgin Mary at the front.

architectural attractions of ho chi minh city notre dame

Notre Dame Cathedral

When the renovation is finished, Notre Dame Cathedral promises a fresh look and goes back to normal operation, at which point the best time to visit is on Sunday, at 9:30 AM masses.

Independence Palace

Independence Palace is one of the few architectural attractions of Ho Chi Minh City built in the 20th century designed by a Vietnamese architect. The palace was the home and workplace of Vietnam Republic (or South Vietnam Government) presidents.

architectural attractions of ho chi minh city independence palace

An attraction so important in reflecting our modern history

There are so many things to see and learn in this place such as the Presidential Office or First Lady’s Reception Room.

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Or more commonly known to locals as Nha Rong Wharf, this building is a perfect blend between the East and the West. This harbor has a red facade with two dragons facing a moon on the roof.

achitectural attractions of ho chi minh city ho chi minh museum

The distinct warm colors of the museum

The harbor is now a museum dedicated to the life and legacies of the Great Uncle of the Nation – Ho Chi Minh. (Vietnamese affectionately refer to Ho Chi Minh as “Big Uncle / Great Uncle” – “Bác Hồ” in Vietnamese)

To have fun trips in Ho Chi Minh City, check out our authentic motorbike tours with professional local guides!

family outing in ho chi minh city motorcycle


Saigon Opera House

This building is perhaps the most European-like building in this list of architectural attractions of Ho Chi Minh City. Besides the prominent French architecture, the building’s tree-lined boulevard at the front may trick you into thinking you are in Europe!

architectural attractions of ho chi minh city opera house

An excellent photo spot with the crisp cream background

Saigon Opera House hosts many shows such as those executed by The Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera or the spectacular A O Show (contemporary acrobatic acts done with traditional Vietnamese materials).

City Hall

The People’s Committee Building of Saigon is a 129-year-old French building at the heart of Ho Chi Minh City (you’ll see it when you go to the end of Nguyen Hue Walking Street to reach Le Thanh Ton street). The building’s exterior is a lovely yellow and cream shade that looks breathtaking in the sunlight. Coupled with the spacious lush garden at the front, no wonder Ho Chi Minh City Hall still manages to become a must-see for tourists, despite the fact that it isn’t open to the public.

architectural attractions of ho chi minh city city hall

The intricate carvings at the front of the building

The City Hall at night is lit, and on some special holidays, there might even be some light shows taking place. Also, governors have filed proposals on upgrading and expanding this colonial monument in the near future.

Coffee Apartment 42 Nguyen Hue

Unlike those listed above, Coffee Apartment 42 Nguyen Hue, is newer and more popular with locals than tourists. Located right on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street, this is an old functioning apartment with a liberated creative vibe. Youngsters visit the apartment for the small cozy coffee shops and local clothing brands. Some visit-worthy coffee shops for you to chill or enjoy the view from above are Boo Coffee, Thinker&Dreamer Coffee, She Terrace, etc.

architectural attractions of ho chi minh city 42 nguyen hue

The front of the apartment is covered by coffee shop sign boards

As a matter of fact, business owners have been notified to move their shops in late 2016 since the law does not allow apartment owners to turn their houses into businesses, yet they are still functioning normally as of today. But who knows what happens in the future, so be quick before the unique apartment building’s gone!

Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market is the biggest and busiest marketplace in the city. The appearances of the market are unmistakably Vietnamese: red brick roof with yellowish paint. It may seem hectic at first with all the haggling, or the smells of local spices or tropical fruits, but this market screams the spirit of the city: handmade crafts, traditional clothes, authentic street food,… all sold by English-speaking Vietnamese merchants.

architectural attractions of ho chi minh city ben thanh market

The eating area in Ben Thanh Market

Bitexco Financial Tower

This modern Ho Chi Minh icon is shaped like a young bamboo shoot growing fast and strong. It used to be the tallest building in our city, but Landmark 81 snatched the crown in July 2018. Nonetheless, Bitexco still remains a much-loved architectural attraction of Ho Chi Minh City.

architectural attractions of ho chi minh city bitexco

Our customer capturing the charm of Bitexco along with our cityscape

There is not much to do in this building since 70% of it is reserved for offices. The main attraction is the Sky Deck on the 49th floor that offers an extraordinary view of the bustling city below with binoculars and English guide. In addition, there are also coffee shops and restaurant on the 50th and the 51st floor. Shopping mall is a highlight in Bitexco, so check it out too.

Bonus! Landmark 81

Freshly opened its doors in July 2018, Landmark 81 has already become the new pride of Ho Chi Minh citizens and Vietnamese people. Over 400 meters high, the building is the tallest skyscraper in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Landmark 81 is designed like a bunch of bamboos tied together, growing vigorously.

architectural attractions of ho chi minh city landmark 81

Landmark 81 standing conspicuous other Vinhomes housing infrastructure

Please note that Landmark 81 is quite far from the other attractions on this list, so you may want to take a taxi instead of walking. But you would probably most want to visit Landmark 81 for shopping and entertainment. There are hotels, restaurants, offices, indoor ice rink, cinemas, shops, etc. inside, and a beautiful view of Saigon River at the Vinhomes Central Park nearby. 

Check prices and reviews of top hotels in Ho Chi Minh City:


Walking around Architectural Attractions of Ho Chi Minh City

Spending a day on the streets on foot and admiring the beauty of our architectural attractions is a great way to immerse yourself in the spirits of our amazingly diverse city. Please refer to our walking map below for better navigation. Have a nice trip!

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