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10 Interesting things to do in Sai Gon

Special thank to FB Fanpage Sài Gòn của tôi

Translated from original article:

1. Visiting Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon: This iconic building has been standing at the heart of the city for nearly three centuries. A prime exemplar of Western architecture, this masterpiece paints a wondrous picture of a metropolis where tradition and innovation intertwine harmoniously, which is unlikely to fade from the memory of anyone who has ever set foot here. The cà phê bệt (makeshift kerbside coffee outlets) are within a stone's throw of the cathedral, contribute to the overall enjoyment, offering a unique experience of the truest Saigonese taste. Best enjoyed during the early morning, the bitter refreshment charms visitors, enticing them into adoring the city even more than they already have.

Credit to Tuan Minh Vu

2. Buying food from "Street Cries": "Street cries", the inviting voices of Vietnamese street vendors, who offer a vast array of local cuisine from xôi cút (Vietnamese sticky rice balls), bánh giò (Vietnamese pyramidal rice dumpling), bánh chưng (square glutinous rice cake) to roasted corn and sweet potatoes. At first, they may simply sound like a cacophonous symphony of merchants in the relentless process of selling, but once accustomed to them, the cries remind us of past times whilst somehow still maintaining its presence in such a bustling city like Saigon.

Credit to Khanh Duy Le

3. Experiencing "kẹt xe" - Traffic jams: Precisely at rush hour time, Nguyễn Tất Thành Street and other similar main roads become gridlocked and thus become impromptu meeting places for countless Saigonese. Therefore, whenever such routes are mentioned everyone automatically describe them with the word 'kẹt xe' - or congestion.

Credit to Bob Whitworth

4. Discovering Saigon alleyways: The life within Saigon’s network of narrow alleyways is always lively. Embark on an adventure with companions through every alley and around every corner. Saigonese backstreets set themselves apart from those of others in that they are much straighter and longer. All these things make Sai Gon dynamic and youthful. There is always the possibility to discover a mouth-watering food stall, a comfy café or simply a fascinating view concealed behind the weathered walls. Each brand-new experience will undoubtedly leave unforgettable memories imprinted on one's mind.

Credit to Stephane Damour

5. Trying "cà phê bệt": Immerse yourself in beautiful melodies at dawn. As regular as clockwork, street performers gather at parks, such as the 30-4 park, and at the cà phê bệt to showcase their amazing talents. An assortment of mesmerising songs can be enjoyed in front of the Saigon Opera House. The tunes are capable of effortlessly touching one's heart, making Saigon distinct and somewhat more endearing than the conventional image of a busy metropolitan city.


6. Discovering Sai Gon nightlife: The instant Saigon's night-lights illuminate you are able to witness Saigon in its liveliest incarnation, adorned with seemingly never-ending vivid streetlighting. Cherish the delightful moments spent with your companion, catching the midnight breeze atop the famed Bitexco Financial Tower decorated with luminous window frames while simultaneously gazing at distant skyscrapers, with their ever changing colors against the night sky.

Credit to Ho Vu

7. Getting yourself an early coffee: Saigon's own way of greeting each new day is savouring a cup of Saigonese coffee, often coupled with the hint of cigarette smoke in the air. It is easy to treat yourself to decent cup of java coffee in a luxurious shop, but it is a different kind of luxury gazing at the hustling traffic whilst savoring the beverage as it offers a truly spiritual experience.

Credit to Kuuan

8. Complimentary iced tea: If just one aspect of Saigon could warm the hearts of thousands, it would certainly be the containers of free iced tea displayed along the sidewalks, where the hard-working janitors, motorcycle taxi drivers, laborers and many others gather to rest after a strenuous day at work. The simple gesture of free refreshment bears testimony to Saigon's already well-known reputation for friendliness and hospitality.


9. Jumping to a local bus: At no other place is the number of buses as impressive as it is in Saigon. You are able to discover more and more of the city when aboard one of these convenient motorcoaches. From the Western Bus Station to its Eastern counterpart, buses cover every corner of the municipality. Experience the sensation of seeing previously undiscovered routes and sights, and find yourself being helplessly drawn in to this adorable metropolis.

Credit to Jamie Mellor

10. Talking to locals: Saigonese are outgoing and friendly people. Numerous stories have been told about people wandering around the city without fear of getting lost, for a surprisingly simple reason. The local inhabitants are known for their superb helpfulness. All it requires is that you are able to initiate a conversation, and a nearby motorcycle taxi driver, or even a passerby, would be more than willing to show you the way you want to go.

Credit to Vietnam Discovery UK