Ben Thanh market is one of Saigon's most famous landmark. Ben means pier or port and Thanh means. The market has been in existence since the French occupation. In 1859, when the French invaded Saigon and overtook fort Gia Dinh, Ben Thanh Market was destroyed. It was rebuilt shortly thereafter and remained standing until it was moved to its present location in 1899.
Under the French government, the area around Ben Thanh Market was called Cu Nhac circle (Rond point Cuniac), named after Mr. Cuniac, the person who proposed filling the swamp to create this area. The area was later renamed Cong truong Dien Hong.
Just taking a walk around Saigon will show you a lot about the city, and capital of the south, which is very different to Hanoi.
You'll be able to see, what the real Saigon is like, and how very french the place still feels after the long french occupation.
It will make an interesting walk, as you wont have seen it before in vietnam. Its also a cheap way of seeing the city if money is an issue.
Lam Son Square is a large park in front of the Hotel de Ville. It is full of tourists and locals, even at night. The tourists busily snapping photos while the locals are attempting to sell chewing gum, books, fans, postcards and other trinkets. Typically the sales people are children with their parents lurking behind to keep a watchful eye. This park also has an impressive statue of benevolent Uncle Ho (Ho Chi Minh) cradling a child in his arms.
These gardens, founded in 1864, are Vietnam's largest. Just inside the gates is a monument to Louis Pasteur. Also just inside the main gate is the Temple of King Hung Vuong , who was one of the first rulers of the Vietnamese nation before the Chinese invaded.
The zoo is small and pretty run down. I got lucky to see the monkeys swinging around in the open.
The Saigon zoo is small and unfortunately mostly still cages. However you can see that they are starting to build more modern habitats for the animals. This zoo is worth a visit to see the elephants that dance in unison for peanuts.
If you want to get an adrenaline rush, or just blow off a little steam, head to the race track. You can race your buddies for 50,000 VND ($3.25). That gives you 6 laps around the track. It's a little expensive, but I think it's worth the thrill.
At Saigon Water Park, you can beat the heat by wading in the Wave Pool, or shooting down one of the many water slides the park has to offer. Whether you're looking for some excitement, or just a cool place to relax, you can accomplish both here. The entrance fee is around 60,000 dong ($4 US).
City park next to Reunification palace. If the heat and humdity didn't let you know you were in the tropics this park will convince you