Taxis in HCMC are probably the preferable way to travel. Most are cheap and easy-to-use, but some taxis have meters that have been tampered with that often end up costing two or three times more than they should. Find out the name of some reputable cab companies from your hotel before you travel.
Buses are cheap, plentiful and reasonably uncrowded. However, if you're not too great at speaking Vietnamese, it can be a little tricky to track down the bus you're after. If you're determined, head to Bin Thanh bus station and ask a few locals to see if they can help you.
When arriving in HCMC, you can't fail to notice that motorbikes are the preferred method of travel. Everywhere you look, bikes clog up the streets, zipping in between traffic. Motorbike taxis are a quick and cheap way of getting around, though it can be a little dangerous, to say the least. Cyclos (carriages attached to a bike) are a calmer way of seeing the city, but take longer. Keep hold of your belongings on both, as opportunists on bikes will whip your camera away from you, given half a chance.
Walking around HCMC is a great way to get to know the city and experience the sights, smells and sounds that make up this incredible city. However, it has to be said that walking is not the serene experience it could be. Thanks to the huge volume of motorbikes in the city, crossing roads is a very stressful experience. Instead of waiting for gaps in traffic, pedestrians must simply stride slowly and confidently through traffic and let the bikes weave around. Needless to say, it's not for the faint of heart.
A must-visit when in HCMC, the Cu Chi tunnels are only a short bus journey away with any of the city's many tour operators. One of the more fascinating reminders of the Vietnam war, this incredible network of 75 miles of underground tunnels was once used by Viet Cong guerillas as a hideout.
If you've got more than a passing interest in the Vietnam War, the War Remnants Museum is well worth a visit. This museum doesn't pull its punches, so expect a graphic, emotional insight into the realities of war. Military equipment, cages that were used as prisons, horrifying photos and preserved fetuses deformed by dioxin are just some of the disturbing, but eye-opening, items on display.
Bang slap in the centre of town, it's hard to avoid Ben Thanh. Shopaholics will be delighted by the expanses of stalls selling clothes, curiosities, home-wares, make up and everything in between. Prices may be a little more than you'd expect from a market, but still a bargain when compared to back home.
You'll see signs all over the city for water puppet shows. The tradition for lacquered wood puppets dancing on a pool of water is said to date back to 11th century Vietnam, when villagers used it as a way to entertain themselves during monsoon season.
There's no getting away from the fact Ho Chi Minh's primary attractions are war-related. The Cu Chi tunnels are a few kilometres out of the city, but well worth the visit for an insight into the lives of Viet Cong guerillas, which would hide out there. Once you get back to the city, head out for a beer or two in the backpacker district of Pham Ngu Lao.
Take a not-so-relaxing stroll across the hectic roundabout in the Binh Thanh district and hit Ben Thanh Market. Throngs of locals and tourists flock here to haggle over souvenirs, clothes and jewellery while vendors tug at their clothes. After an exhausting day, head to one of Ho Chi Minh's more refined restaurants to soothe your senses.
Negotiate a cyclo for a few hours, and enjoy being pedalled around the city to look at the Chinese Pagodas, including Quan Am, Giac Lam and Thien Hau. Finish off a cultural day with an evening of traditional entertainment in the form of water puppetry at The Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre.
Head to any street and follow your nose until you stumble across some delicious street food. Follow the locals to the busiest stalls, so why not order a few dishes and get stuck in. For more of an insight into Vietnamese heritage, head to Ho Chi Minh's excellent museums, where the country's war history is remembered.
Expedia Holidays > Ho Chi Minh Holidays
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