Related Ho Chi Minh City Favorites Tips

  • saigon tourist owned hotel
    saigon tourist owned hotel
    by machomikemd
  • saigon tourist guide
    saigon tourist guide
    by machomikemd
  • Local Life
    by machomikemd

Most Viewed Favorites in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Fever of unknown etiology

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 20, 2013

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: --

    My second visit to Saigon was because of illness. Since the medics at Phước Vĩnh couldn't figure out what was wrong with me, they sent me to the U.S. Navy hospital in Saigon, where the doctors diagnosed my illness as a "fever of unknown etiology" -- meaning they didn't know, either.

    This was where I learned the word etiology, meaning cause or origin.

    In a letter dated September 19, 1964, I wrote:

    Since Tuesday I have been moldering here in the U.S. Navy hospital in Saigon with some exotic tropical disease that seems not (at least in my case) to be any more terrifying than a 48-hour head- and stomach-ache. Whatever it was, it's no longer with me, so I should be getting out of here tomorrow.

    After leaving the hospital I spent one night at the Hôtel des Nations, which I remember nothing about, and then flew back to Phước Vĩnh on September 22, 1964.

    Next: The Paris of the Orient?

    Saigon 1964, corner of Tu-Do and Le-Thanh-Ton
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Explosion on Christmas Eve

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 20, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: --

    On December 24, 1964, we did a very unusual thing and traveled by car from Tân Ba to Saigon, a distance of about thirty kilometers.

    The driver of the car was an American civilian who sometimes lived with us in the house at Tân Ba. He was an employee of USOM, the United States Operations Mission, which as far as I know was some sort of aid and development organization.

    He drove like a madman because like the rest of us he was terrified about driving those thirty kilometers on an unsecured Vietnamese road. In retrospect I think it was probably one of the safest roads in the country, but that was not our opinion at the time.

    We stayed at the Tân Lôc Hotel, which I later described as "the second sorriest hotel in Saigon," though I don't remember exactly what was wrong with it. In any case it was so shoddy and run-down that I was confident it would never be a target for any kind of terrorist attack.

    After checking in at the Tân Lôc I went over to the PX (the Post Exchange, in the city center), where I did some shopping and had a chat with an American major whom I had briefly worked for in Hon Quan a few months earlier. This major evidently stayed around in front of the PX a few minutes longer than I did, because he was slightly injured by flying glass when the Brinks Hotel blew up.

    The Brinks Hotel was being used as an American officers' billet. At 5:55 p.m. on December 24, 1964, a truckload of explosives blew up in the garage area underneath the hotel. Two Americans were killed and at least fifty Americans were injured, including the major I had just been talking to. Also a number of Vietnamese and Australians were injured, and some small buildings at the rear of the Brinks Hotel were completely destroyed by the force of the blast.


    Note from 48 years later: The site of the former Brinks Hotel is now the location of the five-star Park Hyatt Saigon Hotel, which is reputed to be the best and most expensive hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. On the front lawn of the Park Hyatt there is now a plaque commemorating the car bombing of Christmas Eve 1964 at what was then the Brinks Hotel.

    www.vietnamwar.net/BrinksHotel


    Next: Jitters on Christmas Day

    Hotel T��n L��c, 1964 (not the Brinks!)
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Jitters on Christmas Day

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 20, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: --

    In a letter dated December 25, 1964, I wrote:

    I just took a walk past the Brinks Hotel. It is still standing, the frame that is, but it looks like almost the whole inside of the building was blown out. All the windows are gone, and even rooms at the far corners of the top floors have holes in the walls. Most of the windows were also blown out of the Ambassador Hotel, across the street.

    When the bomb exploded, last night about six, I was sitting in the USO, two blocks away, reading the latest two-month-old New Yorker. The blast shook the entire USO, just like the artillery fire that shakes our house in Tan Ba almost every night. Everyone in the USO, with the exception of me and half a dozen others, jumped up and started running in and out and around in circles. It's easy to tell who is from Saigon and who is from the field -- just watch what they do when something explodes.

    I spent the evening in a small French movie theatre, on the theory that if there was going to be a Christmas Eve terror campaign against the Americans, that's the last place anyone would think to look.

    In that letter I don't think I was trying to make myself sound like some sort of fearless war hero, since in fact I am one of the least fearless people I know. But by that time I was rather accustomed to hearing and feeling large explosions, so I tended not to panic as much as some of the others.

    Actually the small explosions were the ones that scared me most, the ones that sounded like gunfire. To this day I jump when I hear a firecracker or a car backfiring.

    In any case, by evening all the members of our advisory team had calmed down enough to do what we had been planning all along, so we met for dinner at the International Restaurant on Le Loi Boulevard. Our medic even brought his Chinese girlfriend along (second photo).

    The next day, December 26, we went out to Tan Son Nhut airport and managed to get a helicopter to take us back to Tân Ba.

    Photos:
    1. Outside the International Restaurant on Le Loi Boulevard
    2. Tan Ba district advisory team in the International Restaurant
    3. USO flyer from 1964 (USO = United Service Organizations)
    4. Flyer advertising a French film at the Hong Bang Cinema


    Next: Têt in Saigon

    1. Outside the International Restaurant 2. Tan Ba district advisory team in the restaurant 3. USO flyer from 1964 4. Flyer advertising a film at the Hong Bang
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Solar and lunar calendars

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 20, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: --

    While I was in Saigon for Têt I saved this calendar page to show how the Vietnamese keep their solar and lunar calendars straight.

    The big section at the top is the solar date in French, Saturday, January 30, 1965. Below, in Vietnamese and Chinese, is the corresponding date on their lunar calendar: Saturday, December 28.

    In a letter dated February 9, 1965 (by the solar calendar, of course) I wrote:

    We had a good vacation in Saigon Jan. 31 - Feb 4. I stayed in the Hotel Dong Khanh in Cholon, the Chinese twin-city of Saigon. Did a lot of walking, writing, studying, also saw the movie version of Flower Drum Song again, this time in French.

    For the benefit of those who are too young to remember Flower Drum Song I should explain that it was a Broadway musical by Rogers and Hammerstein set in San Francisco's Chinatown. It was later made into a film starring Nancy Kwan.

    www.nancy-kwan.com/

    Next: Les Halles Centrales (Ben Thanh Market)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    On my way back from Hong Kong

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 20, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: --

    My seventh visit to Saigon was also in March 1965, when I spent one night at the Hotel Saigon after returning from my week in Hong Kong.

    In a letter dated March 14, 1965, I wrote:

    Hong Kong was a welcome relief from the idiocy and injustice -- and heat -- of Vietnam. I had a very fine time; did a lot of walking around the hills of Hong Kong island. I also spent three days in Saigon, before and after Hong Kong. So it was a good, long vacation.

    From another letter of March 15, 1965:

    Hong Kong was a good thing: cool, peaceful, clean -- well, not really clean, but the accumulated filth doesn't fester like it does in Vietnam, nor does Hong Kong have the pervasive smell of swamp- and fart-gas that hangs over Saigon. [. . .]

    Best, in fact only redeeming feature of Saigon these days is the Centre Culturel Français, the only public building in Saigon that is not surrounded by barbed wire; there, in air-conditioned comfort, one can see the only decent films in town, for free; also recitals, lectures, etc. There is also a Goethe Institute in Saigon (and in Hong Kong, for that matter) and, of course, on the busiest corner of the largest boulevard in the center of town, the USIS library with the big plate-glass show windows. Look at the workmen, replacing all those plate-glass windows. All I can say is, USIS (commonly known as "Useless") must have a hell of a lot of plate glass windows stockpiled someplace around here.

    (My photo on this tip shows Le Loi Boulevard, which was called Boulevard Bonnard in French colonial times, with the flags of nations which were at least nominally supporting the South Vietnamese government in 1965.)

    Next: Vietnamese movie theaters

    Le Loi Boulevard with flags of supporting nations

    Was this review helpful?

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    The Sinh Café

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 19, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: --

    My fourteenth visit to Saigon was in August 1995.

    Nick and I took an overnight train from Hué (going through Xuan Loc, presumably, though we were asleep and didn't notice). We arrived in Saigon at 11 o'clock in the morning of Tuesday, August 8, 1995 and immediately took a taxi to the Sinh Café to book a three-day Mekong Delta tour.

    We stayed the night at a hotel called the Mini-Hotel Bi Saigon, which was right around the corner from the Sinh Café.

    The next morning we left on our Mekong Delta tour, which I have described in four tips on my Vietnam page.


    Note from fifteen years later:

    When Nick and I were in Vietnam in 1995 there was only one Sinh Café, but since then a number of fake Sinh Cafés have sprung up, using the same name but often charging higher prices.

    As far as I know the real (original) Sinh Café is now called TheSinhTourist and has its headquarters at 246 De Tham Street, district 1, Ho Chi Minh City, which is also where it was in 1995. Their telephone number is (848) 38389597.

    www.thesinhtourist.vn/

    Photos:
    1. Me at the floating hotel in Saigon (we didn't stay there, just had a look)
    2. The former American embassy (photo 1995)


    Next: Goodbye to Saigon, 1995

    1. Me at the floating hotel in Saigon 2. The former American embassy (photo 1995)
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    San Miguel Beer

    by machomikemd Updated Jul 3, 2012

    Favorite thing: Although the Number One Beer in Vietnam is still Saigon Beer and the second most popular beer is Tiger Beer, San Miguel Beer is growing in Popularity in Vietnam and is battling south east asia's regional beer superpower Tiger Beer in Vietnam (and in other parts of south east asia too like in cambodia, thailand, laos, burma). San Miguel beer is currently the third most popular beer for locals ad they have extensive promotions here. You can buy San Miguel beer products like Pale Pilsen and San Miguel Beer Lite at the supermarket and bars and convenience stores around saigon. a bottle of san miguel beer costs 13,000 VND at the supermarket and convenience stores and goes up to 80,000 VND at the Bars.

    Fondest memory: San Miguel beer is available in Saigon

    available at supermarkets ok the beer rack the recently concluded fight san miguel beer billboard at Le Loi Street
    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting
    • Food and Dining
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Tiger Beer! Popular Here in Sai Gon!

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 13, 2012

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Tiger Beer, the another South East Asian Beer and Originated in Singapore (and a Direct Competitor of San Miguel Beer for regional beer supremacy) is presently, the number one Beer here in Saigon. Saigon Beer Comes in a Close Second and San Miguel Beer a nother close third since it is very aggressive at marketing it's brand. A 330 ml Can of Tiger Beer cost 25,000 VND a bottle here at the convenience stores and supermarkets and is available everywhere. It will cost 60,000 to 120,000 VND to buy it from high end bars and lounges like the rex hotel and Apocalypse Now.

    Fondest memory: you can buy tiger beer almost everywhere in saigon since it is presently the number one beer in saigon in terms of sales.

    nice taste Nice Beer More! yes me with my beers hehehe
    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting
    • Food and Dining
    • Luxury Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • jlanza29's Profile Photo

    Visa for Vietnam

    by jlanza29 Updated May 7, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The process for getting a visa for Vietnam is fast and easy ... go to the Embassy website and download the visa application and fill it out, take 2 photos and send it in to the Embassy in DC and a week later you'll have your visa and you'll be on your way. When we arrived in HCMC we noticed a big queue for visa's on arrival with a authorization letter, if you go that route you'll spent more than an hour waiting to get your visa instead having it and being done and get on going. The cost of the visa was $70 plus return FEDEX fees.

    Fast and easy going thru Embassy

    Was this review helpful?

  • Gili_S's Profile Photo

    Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City

    by Gili_S Written Jan 7, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Ho Chi Minh City is the official and the modern name of Saigon. It is the largest city in Vietnam and the business center. This city is rich in culture, architecture, parks, restaurants and almost everything you can find here.

    Fondest memory: Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City

    Modern building

    Was this review helpful?

  • no_second_chance's Profile Photo

    rental Vehicles and private tourguide

    by no_second_chance Written Feb 25, 2010

    Favorite thing: it is expensive for easy tours like Cuchi tunnel, mekong delta and City tour. BuT, it may be what you have to pay for PRIVATE tour. So you should consider whether it is worth. I myself don't think it's worth.
    For your 2nd option, renting a van may be a good idea if you all can afford. there are lots of places in HCMC that allow you to rent a van with a driver. You should take a look at this site http://www.vietnamtravelkey.com/transfer/vietnam_car_rental.htm
    For tour guide, there is a web http://www.hanoitoursvietnam.com/Vietnam-Travel-Services/Tour-Guide-Service/Hire-A-Guide/
    OR http://www.toursbylocals.com/guide686
    it probably gives you an idea how much you will have to spend if you prefer the rental van and guide for hire option, although you can get to see all of those destinations you mentioned at a much cheaper price by using a non-private tour by any travel agent ;).

    Related to:
    • Luxury Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • davecallahan's Profile Photo

    by another name.....

    by davecallahan Written Oct 4, 2008

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Ho Chi Minh City has had several names in its interesting history.

    At one time it was Prey Nokor ("forest empire/city" in the Khmer language) with reference to its jungle surroundings.
    Some experts think that there was a predecessor to this name and it was Prey Kor.
    Refugees from the north settled here and named it Sai Gon (Vietnames for dense forestland).
    The French colonized it and called it Gia Dinh (but later reverted to the people's usage of Saigon).
    After the Vietnamese won the war against the Americans, the name was changed to Ho Chi Minh City in honor of that famous North Vietnam leader.

    HoChi Minh statue
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • travel_holic's Profile Photo

    win some or lose some??

    by travel_holic Written Sep 12, 2008

    Favorite thing: $140 that's probably price for a private trip for 2 of you. Someone mention $90 for private car, so $140 for full package is reasonable.
    If you can afford this, you'll have guide for yourself, that's much better

    Fondest memory: Sheridan Irish Bar

    Was this review helpful?

  • JonnyVN's Profile Photo

    Money

    by JonnyVN Written Jan 5, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Seen a number of tips advising to use US$ and bring lots of small denominations. Really don't advise this for two reasons: You'll get a better price in VND, most times you'll be rounded up. Smaller notes are worth much less than 100 bills so could be a double wammy.
    Bring new notes (nearly all currencies are accepted here) and make sure you bring large denominations and exchange as you go. There are a large number of ATMs all over Vietnam and credit/debit cards are accepted all over the place.
    JonnyVN

    Was this review helpful?

  • xuessium's Profile Photo

    ARCHIVED! Airport Tax collected separately

    by xuessium Updated Oct 28, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: ARCHIVED! THIS TIP IS NO LONGER VALID!! AIRPORT TAX IS NOW INCLUDED INTO THE TICKET.

    The airport tax is collected at the airport itself upon your departure from HCMC. There will be a counter right after you had cleared security and had gotten your passport stamped for departure to collect the US$12 airport tax.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel
    • Business Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Ho Chi Minh City Hotels

Latest Ho Chi Minh City Hotel Reviews

Villa Song Saigon
58 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 8, 2014
Giant Dragon Hotel
77 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 1, 2014
Duc Vuong Hotel
631 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 9, 2014
Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers
789 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 9, 2014
New World Hotel Saigon
448 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 5, 2014
Lien Ha Hotel
47 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 30, 2013
Grand Hotel Saigon
725 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 9, 2014
Hong Han Hotel
230 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 12, 2014
Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City
416 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 10, 2014
InterContinental Asiana Saigon Residences
48 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 8, 2014
Continental Hotel
392 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 10, 2014
Hotel Majestic
1081 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 10, 2014
Hotel 211
3 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Sep 27, 2009
Bich Duyen Hotel
699 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 10, 2014
Huong Sen Hotel
180 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 4, 2014

Instant Answers: Ho Chi Minh City

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

77 travelers online now

Comments

Ho Chi Minh City Favorites

Travel tips and advice posted by real travelers and Ho Chi Minh City locals.
Map of Ho Chi Minh City