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Stop At: Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City 700000 Vietnam
The Cu Chi Tunnels are part of a massive war museum in Ho Chi Minh. They offer visitors a sneak-peek at the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers back in 1948. The site has over 120km of underground tunnels, with trapdoors, living areas, kitchens, storage facilities, armoury, hospitals, and command centres. After the war against the French, Vietnamese soldiers expanded the tunnels and included effective air filtration systems, which helped them survive the Cu Chi carpet-bombings.
It is now one of Ho Chi Minh’s most iconic attractions. You can enjoy plenty of activities during your visit. A popular option is following the narrow routes of the underground tunnel. Before entering the underground tunnels, visitors watch a short film of Chu Chi Tunnels so that they understand how the tunnel system works. Parts of Chu Chi Tunnels are also cemented and widened, so that the crawl is less harrowing than it would have been in the past.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Stop At: Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, 01 Cong xa Paris Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 700000 Vietnam
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the late 1880s by French colonists, is one of the few remaining strongholds of Catholicism in the largely Buddhist Vietnam. Located in Paris Square, the name Notre Dame was given after the installation of the statue ‘Peaceful Notre Dame’ in 1959. In 1962, the Vatican conferred the Cathedral status as a basilica and gave it the official name of Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica. Measuring almost 60 metres in height, the cathedral’s distinctive neo-Romanesque features include the all-red brick façade (which were imported from Marseille), stained glass windows, two bell towers containing six bronze bells that still ring to this day, and a peaceful garden setting in the middle of downtown Ho Chi Minh City District 1.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Central Post Office, At the top of Dong Khoi St opposite Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh is a beautifully preserved remnant of French colonial times and perhaps the grandest post office in all of Southeast Asia. Located next door to Notre Dame Cathedral, the two cultural sites can be visited together and offers visitors a chance to imagine life in Vietnam during the times of the Indochinese Empire. The building was designed by Alfred Foulhoux and features arched windows and wooden shutters, just as it would have in its heyday in the late 19th Century.
Duration: 15 minutes
Stop At: The Independence Palace, 106 Nguyen Du District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 700000 Vietnam
The Independence Palace was the base of Vietnamese General Ngo Dinh Diem until his death in 1963. It made its name in global history in 1975. A tank belonging to the North Vietnamese Army crashed through its main gate, ending the Vietnam War. Today, it's a must-visit for tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. The palace is like a time capsule frozen in 1975. You can see two of the original tanks used in the capture of the palace parked in the grounds. The Independence Palace was the home and workplace of the French Governor of Cochin-China. It has lush gardens, secret rooms, antique furniture, and a command bunker. It's still in use to host important occasions in Ho Chi Minh, including APEC summits.
Duration: 45 minutes
Stop At: People's Committee Building, 86 Le Thanh Ton Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
The People’s Committee Building Saigon in central Ho Chi Minh City features well-preserved French colonial architecture in a spacious garden landscape. Originally constructed as a hotel in 1898 by French architect Gardes, it now serves as a city hall and one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Occupying the end of Nguyen Hue walking promenade, it has three buildings with embossed statues of animals and people, intricate bas-reliefs on the walls, as well as a statue of Ho Chi Minh in front of the main building. The best time to visit is in the evening, as these features are beautifully illuminated with LED lights.
Duration: 15 minutes
Stop At: Saigon Opera House (Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theater), 07 Lam Son Square Street District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 700000 Vietnam
The Saigon Opera House in Ho Chi Minh is an elegant colonial building at the intersection of Le Loi and Dong Khoi Street in District 1, very close to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral and the classic Central Post Office. The restored three-storey 800-seat Opera House was built in 1897 and is used for staging not only opera but also a wide range of performing arts including ballet, musical concerts, Vietnamese traditional dance and plays. Performances are advertised around the building and information can be found in the state-operated tourist information centre close by.
Duration: 15 minutes