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Ho Chi Minh

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IFLY tips

Ben Thanh Market (2 hrs)

A wonderful place to visit in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City is Ben Thanh Market, recognizable with its clock tower on the large traffic circle. This market and its surrounding streets make up one of the city's liveliest areas. It’s the largest old-style market in the central district, with several hundred small stalls stuffed with goods. Food, clothes, souvenirs, crafts and jewellery made of beautiful Vietnamese pearls can be found here.
The vendors will quote a higher price to tourists, so you have to bargain a lot. And it’s funny to chat with a vendor who approaches you with something you don’t want to buy. If you tell them you don’t want it they will answer with: “Why not?”
At night there’s a wonderful Night Market just outside of Ben Thanh Market. Here you can enjoy many kinds of different food and drink, and go round to do your shopping as well. It’s open from 5PM, when the Ben Thanh Market closes.

Backpackers area (1 hr - 1 day)

If you are looking for a very lively area, you should go to Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao. This is a wonderful district with many small bars, hotels, hostels, food stalls, souvenir shops, craft shops and restaurants. Some of these restaurants are very local and might look a bit dirty, but especially the seafood shops are very well recommended.
During the day this area is good for buying your souvenirs and gifts, or you can book your tours here. At night you will find wonderful bars and restaurants. But, and that’s the real communist thing you experience in this city, everything closes at midnight.
So for the real nightlife you shouldn’t go to Ho Chi Minh City, or you should start early and wake up early again to do another wonderful tour.

Ho Chi Minh Museum (2 hrs)

Ho Chi Minh City was named after former North Vietnam President Ho Chi Minh. The Ho Chi Minh Museum used to be an old customs house and it was also where Ho Chi Minh had left Vietnam for France in 1911. It’s located along the waterfront at Nguyen Tat Thanh 1.
The museum is open daily 7.30 am to 12.00 pm and from 1.30 to 5.00 pm. But sometimes they’re closed all afternoon, so best is to visit in the morning. The museum, in a French colonial era building, shows the life story of the modern day father of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh.

Binh Soup Shop (1 hr)

Binh Soup Shop was the secret headquarters of the Viet Cong in former Saigon. Different attacks during the famous Tet Offensive were prepared in this place. It was from here that the Viet Cong planned its attack on the US embassy and other places in Saigon in 1968.
Knowing this, it is really amazing that many American soldiers where client at this shop. One has to wonder how many US soldiers were enjoying their soup here, completely unaware that the staff was all Viet Cong.
It’s still a good place to enjoy your soup and fantasize yourself back to those days. The famous Binh Soup Shop is located at 7 Ly Chinh Thang Street, Ho Chi Minh City.

Cu Chi Tunnels (½ day - 1 day)

A tourist site outside Ho Chi Minh City you should absolutely visit is Cu Chi Tunnels. These tunnels were built in the 1940’s during the French war. They are famous as hideout for surprise attacks against Americans during their Vietnam war. The network of tunnels, which extends over 220 kilometer, is legendary. You can visit a museum make a tour at the site where you will see many boobytraps and of course you can ‘experience’ the tunnels inside.
There are several tour operators who can bring you there. Of course you can book it at your hotel, but mostly they will charge you a lot. If you go to one of the booking offices at Bui Vien street, you pay only 5 us Dollar. You have to pay the entrance fee yourself, but that’s not much.
The tour can be done as a half-day, or a full-day trip and are available every day of the week.

Things NOT to do:

There’s a night market at Ho Chi Minh cities Chinatown as well. But its not worth a visit. The stuff they sell is rubbish and very old fashioned. This is not what you expect of a Chinatown market.

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Language of the world

Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Ho Chi Minh City.