If you yearn to look back at the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh City is your ideal travel destination. Formerly Saigon, this dynamic city offers a myriad of monuments that tells the story of one of history’s most significant events.
You’re sure to find perfectly maintained American war planes and other remnants of the war scattered all around. Besides its military past, this city also boasts of numerous attractions showcasing Vietnam’s vibrant tradition. Everyone is welcome to visit!
Here are five memorable activities that you can do while in Ho Chi Minh City:
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This museum details the effects of the 30-year long war between the Soviet-supported North and the US-backed South.
Well-maintained and preserved war machines, tanks, planes, and armories are exhibited around the museum. You can also view photographs and documentaries narrating the events of the turbulent era.
The Củ Chi Tunnels offer the experience of living like the soldiers of the Vietnam War. This network of tunnels stretches at about 120 kilometers below the city.
It is equipped with trapdoors and replete with amenities, including living areas, kitchens, storage facilities, hospitals, command centers, and an armory.
For shooting enthusiasts, gun shooting activities are also hosted for a small fee. Don’t worry though, it’s safe to enter the tunnels: there are emergency exits every 10 meters and a ventilation facility.
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Built in the 19th century by wealthy entrepreneurs from India, Mariamman Hindu Temple is devoted to the goddess of the rain “Mariamman”.
You can pray and ask for miracles, for visiting this temple is believed to provide luck and wealth to its visitors.
Being the architectural marvel that it is, its outer walls also exhibit a collection of colorful sculptures of Mariamman, Vishnu, Brahma, and Ganesha.
Although most of the Vietnamese are Buddhists, other religions are also practiced by Ho Chi Minh’s residents. While staying here, don’t miss the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, a Roman Catholic edifice built by French colonists in the late 1800s.
In 1962, the Vatican conferred it the basilica status and named it Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.
Architecture-wise, it embodies the Romanesque style, displaying a red brick façade, stained glass windows, bell towers, and a garden conducive to prayer and meditation.
A statue of the Virgin Mary which locals claimed to have miraculously shed tears in 2005 is also standing amidst its facade. Visit on Sunday mornings to attend the mass.
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Also known as the “Tortoise Pagoda”, the Emperor Jade Pagoda is considered one of the city’s foremost Taoist shrines.
The statues of the Emperor Jade Chua Ngoc Hoang, known as the “God of the Heavens”, and the goddess of fertility Kim Hua, who is said to bless childless couples are found in this shrine.
You can come here to pray, offer flowers, and light some candles.
True to its name, tortoises can also be seen to overcrowd the pond at the temple gardens, and as practiced by some of the temple’s regulars, you can feed them to gain merit from their gods and goddesses.
Tagaytay’s cool weather makes this warm bath more relaxing than usual.