Crossing Travel
TRAVEL TIPS Ho Chi Minh Monday, 31 October 2016

Where to go in 36 hours in Saigon?

If you have the chance to visit Saigon in 36 hours, where will you want to go? This is the experience of Naomi Lindt journalist with 36 hours in Saigon.

Buzz, buzz, buzz – that is the sound you hear from the engines of motorbike, 24/24 available bars or the sound of people talking in café…All of them have made the spirit of Ho Chi Minh City – the biggest and the most crowded city in Vietnam.

Where to go in 36 hours in Saigon?

There is no surprise that Saigon is so energetic because in over 8 million people, more than a half is under 35. This spirit is drawn through the coffee cup, creative dishes and fashion shops. If you get tired of these new things, a peaceful moment in ancient architectures will do you good.

FRIDAY

Visiting historic sites (15h)

Independence Palace is the headquarters the old government of Vietnam, this place has been the witness of Vietnam history since April 30th, 1975, the tank of Vietnam People’s Army crushed into the main gate of the palace and put an end to 20 years of war. History lovers and fans of modern style highly rate the luxury and the interior furniture of Independence Palace. From the living room decorated with silk cover and lacquer paintings to private rooms with green chairs which the old officials used to sit to debate. There is a maze made of concrete for the war, maps, dial phone and the old newspapers.

The entrance fee: 30.000 VND.

Contemplating the city from above (17h30)

You can climb to the top of a bar in the city where you can contemplate the whole city from above and avoid the noisy traffic. Eon Heli bar on the 52nd floor of the tallest building – Bitexco Finacial Tower is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of wine when seeing sunset. The drink is not too expensive, the drink like Basil Gimlet is only about 145.000 VND. If you want variety and impression, Chill Sky Bar is the one for you. This is the place a bartender named Le Thanh Tung is performing his creativity to make a delicious cup of cocktail. Meanwhile, Shri restaurant on 23rd floor attracts tourists by unique style with tables surrounded by flower ceramic pot and birds. Remember to book in advance and take off your sandals.

Having meals in traditional restaurants (19h)

Where to go in 36 hours in Saigon?

The ancient style of these restaurants is the old bowls, CDs, bookshelves full of ancient novels and wooden tables. Cuc Gach Quan is a place that you can find the fresh air in the noisy city. Tran Binh architect built this restaurant in an old French building. The ingredients to make dishes are very diverse. There are 35 kinds of vegetables for you to choose and some popular simple dishes like fried tofu with lemon and pepper, fried seabass eaten with passion fruit sauce (only 90.000 VND). Cuc Gach Café is also a creative space with the drink is only about 100.000 VND and delicious frappe.

“Heaven” is calling (22h30)

Is a simple café in the morning, La Fenetre Soleil at weekend will become a crowded, noisy party when live band and DJs play music from Ska to Asian pop songs in the 1960s. Teenagers and young artists from 20 to 30 years old come to La Fenetre Soleil to enjoy the romance, where there are big windows with oversized chairs, gold plated mirrors. The new observatory here is like the center of all the culture in the city and that is why the parties are held till morning.

SATURDAY

Joining a traveling tour on Vespa (8h)

Where to go in 36 hours in Saigon?

Another interesting experience in Saigon is that you can join a traveling tour with “Vietnam Vespa Adventures” where colorful ancient vespa motorbikes will take you to the most famous destinations of the city. You will be guided by the best tour guide and you can choose a half day tour with only 65 USD at interesting destinations: the crossroad where Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burned himself in 1963 to against the repression of monks of the old Vietnam government or visiting the ancient pagoda in the Big market zone. Besides, there is a park that bird lovers often gather in the weekend mornings to sip cups of coffee and enjoy the sound of their birds.

Simple pleasures (12h30)

In Saigon, you can spend 100 USD or even 1 USD for a meal and you will find there is no difference between them. The only difference is the location: pavement, restaurant, markets, family business… In Hoa Dong stall, grilled meat vermicelli is only 60.000 VND eaten with lean pork paste and herbs. In Thanh Binh stall, the price of a bowl of crab noodle is 70.000 VND, pincers of crabs with tamarind sauce is 220.000 VND. Besides, you can walk to My 2 sweet soup stall to enjoy a cup of sweet soup with the price of only 16.000 VND.

Going shopping (14h)

The traditional Ao Dai of Vietnam is a special costume that many foreigners choose to buy as a souvenir. The perfect beginning destination for shopping is Ginkgo Concept Store, where exhibits stylish clothes of famous Vietnam designers like Linda Mai Phung. Or Mai Lam, the pioneer of Vietnam traditional style shop with friendly-to-environment material on Dong Khoi St – the biggest shopping street in Saigon. You can also visit Anna Vo shop with elegant clothes designed by a Saigon professor who used to studied fashion in Milan.

Enjoying art culture (16h)

Although Hanoi is the culture center of Vietnam, the crowded atmosphere of Saigon has been the inspiration to artists. Located in an old factory, Galerie Quynh is a modern pictures art gallery where art exhibitions are held. Besides, San Art is a non-profit gallery with the aim of motivating exchanging works and experience for young Vietnam artists. Meanwhile, Craig Thomas Gallery was opened by an American to exhibit Vietnam works in more than 10 years.

Enjoying international taste (19h)

The fast development of the city has brought new taste into Saigon cuisines. Pizza 4P restaurant at the lane corner of Saigon is where 4 friends from Tokyo brought the most special taste of Japan into Saigon. Apart from delicious Marghenritas pizza, there are other attractive pies inspired by Japan like squid pizza and seaweed pizza baked in wooden oven with the price of only 95.000 VND. Another attractive restaurant is Blanchy Street managed by two senior chefs Martin Brito and Yogo Oba. The restaurant was designed with different style, one of a kind floor tiles and unique wooden table. The restaurant is an interesting mixture of Japan and the South America with dishes like octopus carpaccio with jalapeno sauce (180.000 VND), sushi and sake wine.

Seeing beautiful girls (22h30)

Lam Son bar of Park Hyatt hotel is a perfect place to contemplate the beauty with shining jewelry are enjoying ginger martini and cocktail. You can also know more about the life of the young in Saigon at night. Sometimes they walk along the street, ride motorbike or become a DJ at weekend. Xu restaurant has modern style. Coming here, you will have the chance to see pretty girls with short dress and high heels are sipping their favorite drinks.

SUNDAY

Enjoying coffee (10h30)

Where to go in 36 hours in Saigon?

Among the remain of French culture in Saigon, L’Usine café is a perfect mixture of delicious coffee and fantastic architecture which is located at the corner of a small lane of Dong Khoi St. The café was opened by a group of 30 foreign friends and it used to be a hotel in 1890. Nowadays, it still remains the old architecture but with huge windows for more light. The ingredients are coffee made in Vietnam added with some condensed milk. This place is the exact place to learn more about the history and hope for a better future for this city.

Where to go in 36 hours in Saigon?

Recommended addresses:

Independence Palace: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Eon Heli Bar: Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Ho Chi Minh City.

Chill Sky Bar: 76A Le Lai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Shri: 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.

Cuc Gach Quan: 10 Dang Tat, District 1, HCM City.

Cuc Gach Café: 79 Phan Ke Binh, District 1, HCM City.

La Fenetre Soleil: 44 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, HCM City.

Vietnam Vespa Adventures: 169A De Tham, District 1, HCM City.

Ginkgo Concept Store: 254 De Tham, District 1, HCM City.

Mai Lam: 132-134 Dong Khoi, District 1, HCM City.

Anna Vo: 21 Vo Thi Sau, District 1, HCM City.

Pizza 4P: 8/10 Le Thanh Ton, District 1.

Blanchy Street: 74 Hai Ba Trung, District 1.

L’Usine: 151/1 Dong Khoi, District 1, HCM City.

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