Looking for good reasons to visit Ho Chi Minh City? Discover the most populous city in Vietnam from the locals’ perspectives to see why people love this city so much regardless of where they come from! Let’s begin our countdown!
Architecture in Its Best Form in Ho Chi Minh City
The cityscape is undeniably amazing in Ho Chi Minh City. Due to extensive investment in infrastructure during the period of French colonialism in the past, as well as its booming development at present, the city, otherwise previously known as Saigon, is superior to its neighboring towns as far as architecture is concerned.
From the endearing quaint look of Notre Dame Cathedral to the warm sparkling of the Central Post Office, from the glamor of Reunification Palace to the grandness of Nguyen Hue Walking Street (or Nguyen Hue Pedestrians’ Boulevard), people from all other cities of Vietnam invariably recall being moved by the sheer beauty of this city. Not just the single cases mentioned, but you can also enjoy multiple, successive, fancy yet friendly-looking buildings of shopping malls and hotels along the famous streets in District 1, like Le Duan, Dong Khoi, Hai Ba Trung, Nguyen Hue, or Ton Duc Thang.
Or if you are seeking non-western, non-modern looks, serene pagodas are the way to go! One well-known, majestic pagoda in the downtown street of Ba Thang Hai in District 10 is Vietnam Quoc Tu, where you can admire impressive Buddhist architecture and statues. In Ho Chi Minh City you can also behold exotic Chinese-style temples in District 5. Many beautiful pagodas and temples often nestle in a winding alley (although still within the vicinity of the city center, so getting to these places is not a problem), guaranteeing true placidity and respite for pagoda goers.
For more details, check out our list of must-visit pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City!
Entertainment to The Max – all in one place and catering to all budget sizes!
One of the most popular reasons why we love Ho Chi Minh City is that it never sleeps! And its abundance of cinemas, theaters or even the Opera House is so pleasing. All the best film premieres are here; all the most loved celebrities and entertainers are also here! There’s just no place else the young would rather be.
Moreover, Ho Chi Minh City is where countless monumental sports events or exciting cultural festivals are held, often in public landmarks like walking streets (Nguyen Hue and Bui Vien) and downtown parks (Tao Dan, 23 Thang 9, and Le Van Tam). These favorite features starkly contrast with the lackluster status quo in the hometowns of many Ho Chi Minh City residents, who moved here to work or study and were enthralled by its charms.
And if you’re into bars and clubs, Ho Chi Minh City’s Districts 1 and 3 have everything for you. But here’s a fact about Vietnamese: They are not party animals. That’s why if you ask a random young person in Ho Chi Minh City where to hang out at night, very likely they’ll show you the way to milk tea boba stores (milk tea is a Taiwan-originated drink which is all the rave among young Vietnamese these days), or, another popular choice, Nguyen Hue Walking Street.
Related Articles: Interesting Outdoor Activities in Ho Chi Minh City
While you may see clubs and bars in Ho Chi Minh City crowded with Vietnamese chic-looking youths, nothing quite beats the family-friendly and undergrads-friendly karaoke bars, the best of which in Su Van Hanh Street in District 10, or near the Foreign Trade University in Binh Thanh District.
Cuisine at Its Utmost Diversity and Affordability
Given its living standards and diverse population, which comes from different parts of Vietnam and other parts of the world, it is no wonder the list of dishes you can sample in Ho Chi Minh City can go on forever. Not just the common banh mi, com tam, and pho but also tasty delicacies from all over the country. Also, thanks to international restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, many locals have become fans of Korean BBQ, Japanese sushi, or Mexican tacos!
And oh, the affordability, especially of local dishes! Imagine a mouthwatering breakfast with banh mi at US$ 1, then a delectable lunch with com tam at US$ 2.5, and a savory dinner with banh xeo at US$ 3. (FYI, banh mi: the world-famous Vietnamese sandwiches, com tam: grilled marinated pork ribs with cooked broken rice, banh xeo: Vietnamese pancakes with shrimps, pork and bean sprouts fillings, served with sweet-sour fish sauce). Oh, and how about the US$ 0.3 sugarcane drink (students’ favorite) or a cool local beer to quench your thirst! Check out Vietnamese Cheap Eats in Ho Chi Minh here.
Traveling in Utmost Convenience
Locals may say they hate the traffic jams of Ho Chi Minh City at times (at other times they put up with it quite well), but all have to admit they love the ease of traveling within and from this transportation hotspot!
It’s got one of the most important airports in the whole country, Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN), and it’s got the biggest bus stations in South Vietnam where locals can easily catch a sleeping bus to reach their beloved hometown or any desired city in Vietnam.
At the same time, ride-hailing services like Grab or Mai Linh provides people with more choices besides traditional xe om (motorbike taxis) and taxis. For international travelers, the Ho Chi Minh City tours on the back of a motorbike is a popular and safe choice for the adventure. The river bus is another interesting (new) choice for people to get out and about!
The City of Bridges
It’s just so fascinating riding a bike and crossing bridges in Ho Chi Minh to get to other districts, like the feeling when crossing Khanh Hoi Bridge from District 4 to Ton Duc Thang Street in District 1.
Thanks to the beautiful winding Saigon River, which flows and branches across the city, bridges have become a common sight and a much-loved feature of Ho Chi Minh City. The touch of nature in a modern city is truly soothing and therapeutic to locals. Along the banks of the Saigon River, people may have a little ‘night’ picnic, simply chit-chatting, drinking beer, and whiling the time away, or enjoy the special treats from street food vendors.
Beauty Spas and Hair Salons are Everywhere
We bet nowhere in Vietnam is it easier to find a beauty spa or hair salon like in Ho Chi Minh City. There are luxury choices and budget-friendly spas! Treating yourself to a rejuvenating body massage or getting a makeover in Vietnam would make unforgettable memories. And it would be best if you have a local friend to show you the way around because many affordable spas may not have English-speaking staff.
Most Fascinating Museums in Vietnam
In other Southern cities of Vietnam, it is much harder to find a museum, not to mention a good one. But Ho Chi Minh City’s museums are just awesome and super easy to get to. Get to know the Vietnam War with a trip to War Remnants Museum in District 3, the life of Vietnam’s greatest leader at the Ho Chi Minh Museum, or intriguing tours to Fito Museum – the traditional Vietnamese medicine museum and many art museums that promise new insights. Ho Chi Minh City is a perfect combination of modernity and rich history. That’s why we love Ho Chi Minh City so much.
Learn more about the Top Museums in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Amiable People
No matter where they come from, after long enough residency in Ho Chi Minh City, all seem to acquire a characteristic trait of Saigon (the other endearing name of the city, as we mentioned earlier). That is the unquestioning helpfulness or the laid-back nature infected by optimistic street vendors. So many people can go on about how they love this city because of its down-to-earth locals, and even city residents can tell moving stories of how an average motorbike taxi rider goes to great lengths to help them when they get lost in their city.
Conclusions of Why We Love Ho Chi Minh City
While there can be appealing travel destinations in Vietnam like Nha Trang, or Da Nang, which offers more nature and seaside, Ho Chi Minh City remains one of the best places to be in Vietnam. Locals love it for countless reasons: its diversity, its relentless growth, and its welcoming openness. We are sure there are also varied reasons for visitors to love it!