Saigon Travel Guide
Saigon, is a cacophony of sights, chaos and sounds that is rewards urban explorers willing to get a little lost in what is called “largest city of Vietnam”. Ho Chi Minh City is filled with non-stop action, grit, character, and some of the best eats in Asia, perhaps in the world. By Vietnamese standards Saigon, or ‘Ho Chi Minh City’ as it is officially known, is a modern city thriving on the fast-paced lifestyle that comes with the commercial gains. Despite this, there are still many historical sites and locations to see and visit in and around Saigon, including the Mekong Delta to the south and the famous Cu Chi Tunnels to the west.
For many, Saigon is an starting point of a trip through Vietnam and of even South East of Asia, there are frequent flights to/from the city to neighboring Cambodia including Siem Reap and Phnom Penh as well as flight to Vientiane to Laos, to Bangkok, Myanmar and other destinations in Asia, so, to plan your trip you just need to be there and you will get a wide array of options to start a long journey through South-East of Asia.
Mekong Delta, is known as the ‘Rice Basket of Vietnam’, the Mekong Delta is an important region economically as it is the world’s largest exporting region of rice. Home to 15 million Vietnamese, this is a world of waterways, backwaters and canals and a not to be missed of any holiday within the country, also, a popular part of almost any tour within Vietnam. When you visit Saigon, you discover what this diverse city has to offer. It may be a busy metropolis and a different one from what you see even in Asia, so, be ready for a surprises that you see at any corner. Also, the city is a great place for shopping and like the rest of Vietnam, there’s a lot of negotiation and bartering: haggling at markets is the norm, getting the best price item is all depend on your negotiating skill. Come here and you’ll find a wide range of activities to amuse yourself, from the historical and religious to shopping, galleries, and spas, and yes, to shaking night-life in a city that never sleep.
No matter when you plan your Ho Chi Minh City trip, it will be hot. Vietnam’s weather pattern is roughly split into three different zones. The north of Vietnam has a distinct summer and winter, with the high humidity monsoon/wet season lasting from May to October. The center of the country experiences a long dry season, lasting from January to the end of September, before having its compact wet season.
Best Time To Visit Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
The southern part of Vietnam including Saigon and Mekong Delta has two distinct seasons; wet and dry, with the high humidity monsoon lasting from May to November. During the wet season in the south, it usually rains daily with a heavy but short lived downpour in the afternoon. However, the best time to visit Vietnam is from November through to March but April, May, September and October are also popular months.
Motorbike is the main means of transportation in Vietnam and of course in Ho Chi Minh City. Traffic is unavoidable if in a car or other vehicle. Public transportation is rapidly improving, and the Buses are running almost everywhere in the city. There is no MRT and or Skytrain yet in Vietnam. Metered taxis are also available anywhere in the city and run on your request, the easiest and I believe the fastest mode of transportation is Xe Om (Motorbike taxi), which are available at any corner, the price for 1 km ride with motorbike taxis shouldn’t be more than 20.000 VND, negotiate the price before you get the ride
Time zone & Language
Vietnam is 3 hours behind Eastern Standard Time in Australia and 7 hours a head of GMT. The official national language is Vietnamese. English is widely spoken by willing to learn younger.
Entry Requirements to Vietnam
Passports must be valid for six months beyond the length of stay. A Vietnam tourist visa is required for Australian, American and Canadian. Holders of UK, Spain, Italy, France, Germany are allowed to get a 15 day free visa at any border, make sure to apply for a proper visa if you are staying for more than 15 days.