Aerial view of Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon in Ho Chi Min, Vietnam
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Cruise to Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Vietnam

Officially named Ho Chi Minh City in 1976 to celebrate the reunification of Vietnam, many in the country's largest city still call it Saigon, especially when talking about the city center. Cruise to Vietnam to get to know the immense, bustling metropolis that is HCMC, as its commonly abbreviated, by visiting Cholon (Chinatown) in District 5 — wander its narrow streets and picturesque pagodas, and step foot in the incense-filled Thien Hau Temple. Then, fill up on spicy beef noodles at Ben Thanh market. See the massive dragon carpet inside Independence Palace, the former home of South Vietnam's president before reunification, or learn more about what the Vietnamese call the American War at the War Remnants Museum.
National Language Vietnamese
Currency Accepted Vietnamese Dong (VND)

Things To Do in Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My)

Topiary elephant in a botanical garden, Saigon, Vietnam

Escape the Traffic

Topiary elephant in a botanical garden, Saigon, Vietnam

Topiary elephant in a botanical garden, Saigon, Vietnam

Escape the Traffic

Saigon's one million motorbikes don't make for calm explorations, but you can escape the fray at the 130-year-old Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Wander the vast green park with its bonsai trees and orchid collection, and check out elephants and tigers in the zoo.

American military planes on display at Vietnam Remembrance Museum

Get a History Lesson

American military planes on display at Vietnam Remembrance Museum

American military planes on display at Vietnam Remembrance Museum

Get a History Lesson

The War Remnants Museum in District 3 has immaculate tanks and planes outside, as well as sobering exhibits detailing the realities of the war. Note it's closed for an hour and a half starting at noon. Outside town, visit the Cu Chi Tunnels to learn how the Viet Cong moved underground.

Bitexco Financial Tower, the tallest building in Vietnam,  view from below looking up
Bitexco Financial Tower, the tallest building in Vietnam, view from below looking up

Architecture Old and New

See District 1's ultra-modern Bitexco Tower with its sky deck and extending helipad, or the actively used Jade Emperor Pagoda with its fertility goddess statue in District 3. Also in District 1 is the 1975 time capsule of the Reunification Palace where the Vietnam War ended when a North Vietnamese tank drove through its gate.

Traditional vietnamese noodle soups pho in bowls
Traditional vietnamese noodle soups pho in bowls

Local Cuisine

Try pho in the birthplace the now-popular soup, made with a rich, long-simmered broth and flavored with cloves, cardamom and other spices. During your Vietnam cruise, feast on a banh mi sandwich, which integrates Vietnam's French colonial past with pork, pickled vegetables and herbs on a crusty baguette. Or try banh tam bi, thick noodles with pork in a coconut cream sauce.

Souvenir lacquer bowls with cover in Vietnam
Souvenir lacquer bowls with cover in Vietnam

Shopping

Lacquerware, in the form of bowls, trays and vases, is a popular souvenir in Vietnam. You'll see it everywhere, but head for the An Dong Market, Binh Tay Market and Ben Thanh Market. Dong Khoi Street is considered the main shopping street with a mall and the Parkson Department Store.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 Crossing the street in Vietnam is not for the timid. But just keep a steady pace with no sudden moves and traffic will weave effortlessly around you.
2 Always be clear whether you're negotiating for prices in Vietnamese dong or U.S. dollars. Double-check when paying with dong, as some bills of vastly different denominations look similar.

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