The best way to see HCMC is to walk, but the best way to get from one place to another is by cyclo or Honda Om.
Caution.There are cyclo thieves all over HCMC. They ride in pairs. One drives, the other snatches your
jewelry, purse, wallet, daypack, or luggage. Watch your stuff.
Riding a bicycle is possible, but not really practical.
You can rent a car or scooter and self-drive, but I don’t recommend it. If you are determined to do so, try your hotel, and expect to pay $10-$15 per day for a motorbike and $30 or more per day for a car.
Tip: When you start to cross the street, keep moving steadily and slowly, no matter what the traffic does. Don’t freeze, dart or dash.
maddening city. Figure on about $1- $2 per hour for a cyclo ride; point-to-point fares need to be negotiated. Honda Oms cost a bit more per ride. Taxis are pretty common and can be found with metered services.
The omnipresent cyclos (bike-propelled carts) and Honda Oms (left) are the main transports in this crowded,
Buses are not very reliable or prevalent.
What to See & Do in Saigon
There are hundreds of tour and travel specialists in Saigon/ Ho Chi Minh City. The state-run operations are OK, but pricey.
Sights tend to be clustered in a few places, and you’ll need motorized transport to travel between these clusters. Many of the French Colonial era sights and museums are along Dong Khoi and Le Duan. The old French Quarter is in District One, along the river.
The Dong Khoi Area
Dong Khoi starts at Notre Dame Cathedral and runs essentially southeast to the Mekong River. Along this
road you’ll find souvenir shops and designer boutiques, restaurants and hotels, and Colonial French buildings.
Notre Dame Cathedral is a red-brick building with twin spires. The inside is not much to look at. Right next door is Diamond Plaza for upscale shopping.
The Old General Post Office
Now called the Reunification Palace, this is a yellow-stucco building that makes a pleasant picture against a blue sky. The building is southwest of the Cathedral, in Cong Van Hoa Park. Take a look inside to see the nave-styled interior and map-murals.
Lam Son Square
As you continue toward the river on Dong Khoi you will come to Lam Son Square and the Hotel Continental. This is the heart of the former French Quarter and still a desirable area to live in today. The Municipal Theatre is on the east side of the square, looking much as it did 100 years ago. Continuing on to the riverbank you’ll pass souvenir shops and restored villas, and a few good places to eat.
The Nguyen Hué Area
At one time this elegant tree-lined avenue was known as the Champs Elysée of the East. At the northern
end of the street is the impressive Hotel de Ville with its yellow and white striped façade and Greek columns.
The Ho Chi Minh City Museum
This museum is housed in the former Gia Long Palace. It lies a block to the west of the Hotel de Ville at 65 Ly Tu Trong, and is almost 120 years old. It was the residence of the Governor of Cochinchina. The museum is open daily from 8 to 4, and there is a small admission fee. Many of the exhibits focus on the Vietnam-American War and the Vietnamese struggle against the French overlords.