The Saigon Saigon rooftop bar at The Caravelle hotel is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner looking out over the city. Later, the Rooftop Garden bar at the famous downtown Rex Hotel is steeped in the history as a meeting place for journalists during the war. It has been glamorously updated and is the place to gaze over the city while enjoying a cocktail or a meal.
19 Lam Son Square, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
+84-8 3823 4999
Google map: bit.ly/15fQpGX
141 Nguyen Hue Blvd., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone : +84-8 38292185 o
Google map: bit.ly/XXUFVn
In what must be the most densely populated city for mopeds in the world, hiring one here is a no brainer. Even if you haven't ridden one before, a quick figure of eight in the car park and the hire place are suddenly satisfied to let you loose with your own 200CC bike. Just try not to be one of those gap year tourists covered in bandages on day two thanks to an inevitable crash.
All over the city, and for that matter, all over the country and indeed most of South East Asia.
The organisation for our holiday was way beyond our expectations and everything was just great. Our drivers and guides were very good. This is only a very small comment as the trip on the whole was really good.
This is a local tour operator which organised a fantastic 24 hour tour of the Mekong Delta on a sampan which had two double beds.
This beautiful restaurant, with its airy courtyard and elegantly decorated interior, is by no means a secret. However, I urge you all to sample the wonderful array of very reasonably priced Vietnamese traditional meals on offer. There is even a chance to visit the food stalls where your authentic and delicious meals are prepared and cooked.
138 D Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, near the Reunification Palace
The basics are executed very well here, from clean and bright rooms to the excellent location of all three of the Madame Cuc hotels in Pham Ngu Lao. The real bonuses are the use of free internet and wifi, breakfast, refreshing drinks and a simple dinner which are all included in the room rates. Madame Cuc's also appears to house the friendliest staff I have encountered to date, readily fussing over a hint of tiredness or lethargy with a Grandmother's care and attention.
A restaurant that I have to tell people to steer clear of. Service was dreadful with one starter arriving as we were leaving. Food was quite poor which was surprising considering the many places in the city you can find great food.
At the end of the night we were short changed with our money as well!
86 Bis Le Tranh Ton, District 1
On of the city's most popular restuarants as evidenced by the lunchtime and evening queues.
Vietnamese cuisine served in an airy courtyard.
138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
(0)8 829 9449
Google map: tinyurl.com/ybzyy99
Popular outdoor barbeque restaurant with a large menu of meat and seafood.
Good fun as you can barbeque your meat at your table.
Good value, great service and full of locals which is always a good sign.
In the evening the market closes but the action moves outdoors.
Huge foodstalls set up all around the market with stalls selling all manner of things in the adjacent streets.
Great atmosphere but be careful of potential pickpockets!
Cho Ben Thanh
Google map: tinyurl.com/ycufwae
Look out for magazines such as 'The Word - Ho Chi Minh City' and 'AsiaLIFE HCMC' which are available in pubs and restaurants such as Crazy Buffalo, Sheridans etc.
These magazines (as well as having interesting articles about HCMC) carry listings of pubs , restaurants & clubs etc.
We stepped off a bus from Phnom Penh after a seven hour journey and foolishly jumped into a taxi before checking costs etc.
Taxi driver charged us equivalent of c.$20 for a 5 minute ride.
He fiddled the meter and charged us in dong and we were not used to the exchange rate which added to our confusion. Our fault!
Built in the mid-1960s and was the presidential palace of South Vietnam.
The Communist tanks crashed through the gates on 30 April 1975 and other than the repaired gate the palace has been left as it was in 1975 as a monument to the communist victory.
Only about £1 entry fee.
An area that is regarded as Ho Chi Minh's backpacker area. The Vietnamese equivalent to Bangkok's Kao San Road.
Plenty of bars (Go2 bar, Crazy Buffalo), travel agencies etc.
Centred around De Tham street
Google map: tinyurl.com/y86tlb6
Good quality locally owned three-star hotel in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. Very close to Ben Tranh market.
We stayed there in November 09 and paid around £40 per night.
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is a huge place and although the centre can be navigated on foot reasonably easily, venturing further afield can be hot and thirsty work.
For the brave, a motorcycle taxi, or Xe Om, is a great way to see the city; travelling without a roof means you can take in a lot more of the city, provided you haven't clenched your eyes shut in fear. Since December 2007 all Xe Oms carry spare helmets for their passengers so this is now safer than it was. Be prepared to haggle for your fare though!
For the rest of us, taxis are a cheap, cool and comfortable. Escape from the heat and the noise of the city; a journey across the centre can cost as little as $1-2.
Be careful to go with a good brand like Vinataxi, Mai Linh or Vinasun though, as there are a few shady operators who fiddle their meters.
Colonial Hotel in centre of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), which means you can walk to all the shops and sights from the hotel.
It was the hotel that Michael Caine was filmed in during the The Quiet American. Great American coffee (most coffee in Vietnam is Vietnamese, and rather bitter) available in the veranda style lounge room overlooking one of the shopping streets.
Opposite the Opera House in centre of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
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