Ho Chi Minh City is still retains its old charm with European colonial style buildings: Notre Dame Cathedral, the City Hall, the Municipal Theatre, etc., old pagodas such as Thien Hau, Giac Lam, Vinh Nghiem and the busy markets of Binh Tay and Ben Thanh, etc.

Yet within the teeming metropolis are the timeless traditions and beauty of an ancient culture with shaded boulevards, pavement cafes and French-styled buildings helping it to retain a bygone colonial atmosphere. The city is bathed by many rivers, arroyos and canals, the biggest river being the Saigon River.

Once romantically referred to by the French as the Pearl of the Orient, the city possesses various beautiful buildings, displaying a characteristic combination of Vietnamese, Chinese and European cultures. These include the Nha Rong Station, National Ancestors Temple, Municipal Office, Municipal Theatre, Notre Dame Cathedral, as well as many pagodas and churches (Vinh Nghiem, Giac Vien, Giac Lam, Phung Son pagodas...). After more than 300 years of development, Ho Chi Minh City presents many ancient architectural constructions, famous vestiges and renowned sights. It is remarkable for its harmonious blending of traditional national values with northern and western cultural features.

Reunification Palace

Built in 1868 to serve the French Governor-General of Indochina, the palace comprises of a ground floor, 3 main floors, two mezzanines and a terrace for helicopter landing. It includes many tastefully decorated rooms such as the reception room, the cabinet reference room, the study rooms, the credentials presentation room and the banquet room. It also has a basement with a network of tunnels connecting to the telecom centre and war room and one of the longest tunnels which stretch all the way to the Revolutionary Museum. The grounds outside contain one of the first tanks to burst through the gates of the palace to signify the end of the Vietnam War as well as the fighter plane which dropped further bombs towards the end of the war. Independence Palace was renamed the Unification Palace to denote the spirit and strong will for national independence and reunification

Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh market has long been one of Saigon's most famous landmarks. Since the French occupation, the market has been one of the biggest markets in the city where everything can be found, from domestic products, especially sophisticated handicrafts, to modern industrial goods from other countries.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Known as a miniature of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, she is an important mark reflecting the colonial influences as well as architecture in Vietnam. Without question, the cathedral itself bears a unique beauty and historic significance, especially as this neo-Romanesque architecture was built with bricks and tiles imported from France. In front of the cathedral in a small garden is a delicate statue of the Virgin Mary.

Cholon (Chinatown)

Cholon is in District 5 and is a maze of narrow streets, bustling with people. Most of Vietnam's ethnic Chinese live here and they are the largest single ethnic minority group in the country.

Thien Hau Pagoda

Thien Hau Pagoda is one of Cholon's must-sees. It is dedicated to the goddess Thien Hau, protector of the sea. Photographers are spoilt for choice with the ornate decoration inside the pagoda and the statues of Thien Hau. It is popular with worshippers and there are regular festivals during the lunar calendar.

Binh Tay Market

Binh Tay Market throngs with people from early morning and the gloomy, narrow walkways are crammed with consumer items and exotic foodstuffs. The sound of bargaining, quite often in Chinese rather than Vietnamese, and the calls of the vendors constantly fill the air. This is one of the best places to see the locals going about their daily lives.

Can Gio Biosphere

Notable for its extensive mangrove forest, Can Gio is a low, palm-fringed island sitting at the mouth of the Saigon River, some 25km southeast of HCMC. It was formed from silt washing downstream from the river, so don't expect any white-sand beaches. A few hopeful resorts have sprung up along the murky 10km shoreline and more are planned, although it's hard to imagine them appealing to international visitors.

Of more interest is the forest. This listed UNESCO Biosphere Reserve contains a high degree of biodiversity, with more than 200 species of fauna and 150 species of flora. If you're looking for a relatively traffic-free route to explore by motorbike, it's a great day trip.

There are many short trips (within a day) to the places around HCMC such as: Beach of Vung Tau Province, Mangrove in Can Gio Dist., Tunnel in Cu Chi Dist., central of HCMC, Museum of HCMC, etc. The longer trip is also available for 2-7 days to many places in Vietnam. The tour desk will be placed at the Tan Son Nhat Saigon Hotel for service 24/24.