Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels & Cao Dai Temple
Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon is certainly not my favourite city in Vietnam. Although the city is several hundred years old and the largest city in Vietnam with over 9 million citizens, there is little to keep you there.
There are some nice temples, the main post office might be worth a short visit but the main attractions in Ho Chi Minh City are around the city.
Transport in the city is at best chaotic. The continuing noise of motorbikes, buses, trucks and cars plus the never ending honking horns does not increase the pleasure of staying, not to mention the pollution.
The reason why you should not skip Ho Chi Minh City (as it was called in 1976) are two sites worth a visit: the Cu Chi tunnels and the Cao Dai Temple. Both can be visited in a day trip from Saigon.
Both attractions are located north west of Ho Chi Minh City and easy accessible by bus although joining a tour from Saigon is probably easier.
Basic repairs can be done at almost every street corner as many Vietnamese have a bicycle too. There are bicycle shops on Vo Thi Sau street in District 3.
There is also one next to the New World Hotel on Le Thanh Ton Street which is probably the best choice.
However, to be on the safe side, bring your own materials if you don't want to rely on the local materials.
Things to do
Ho Chi Minh City, to me is not as interesting as Hanoi, although the city is much bigger. The main attractions of the city are located outside the city center (the Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels, Cao Dai Temple etc.
Still, you will be able to spend a few days in the city without being bored.
Places to visit are amongst others: the French colonial architecture, the cathedral, Jade Emperor Pagoda. and the scenic Ben Thanh Market.
Still many travelers use Saigon as a hub for either visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai temple in a day trip or going for a couple of days into the Mekong Delta.
Accommodation and Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City has plenty of hotels in midrange and top end classes. Compared to other cities and towns, cheap hotels are sparser to find than in other cities in Vietnam. However, there is a wide range of hotels available. Backpackers usually head for the Pham Ngu Lao district, look for the "Khach San" Hotel sign, hotels for around $10-15 a night (of course you can bargain it down).
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Cycling in Vietnam
Vietnam, heavy populated but bicycle friendly in most areas is an excellent way to spend some weeks experiencing the diversity of the country. Culture, natural beauty, wonderful food, it's all there.
The Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is usually skipped or only quickly done by travelers. There is still much to experience and certainly worth a visit.
Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Temple
A terrific day trip from Ho Chi Minh. You will learn two key elements of modern day Saigon: 1. a glimpse of the recent history and 2 a glimpse of a very Vietnamese religion. This is a day not to be missed: