A lot of tourists visiting Vietnam keep Saigon or Hanoi as their starting point and more so Saigon. While the Cu Chi tunnels and the Mekong river delta make for the most sought after day trips from Ho Chi Minh City, it is the District 1 that is the most popular in the city.
District 1, along with District 3 are 2 districts along the Saigon river and it is these two who make up the yester year Saigon of today’s Ho Chi Minh city. In simple words, District 1 is the heart of today’s touristy Ho Chi Minh city with most of the five star hotels and key sights located in this belt.
District 1 is the financial and commercial hub of today’s Ho Chi Minh city and it was designed by French architects during their rule as can be seen by the wide tree lined boulevards. Most of the travelers spend majority of their time here as this district is home to the major sights of Saigon and has an expanding number of bars and restaurants.
Some of the famous sights here are the Saigon city hall, Saigon Opera House, Rex Hotel, Central Post Office, Pham Ngu Lao Street, Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace, National History Museum, Jade Emperor Pagoda and Bitexco Tower to name a few. And since all of these sights along with excellent restaurants and hotels are located in District 1, most of the tourists spend all their time here.
During the day, it can be quite warm and hence the best time to explore this belt is after sunset. If you can handle the humidity and the heat, then the afternoon hours can also lead to some excellent sights and low crowds.
If you have come to Saigon for shopping, then the place you need to head to is the Ben Thanh market in District 1. This is one of my favorite places as bargain shopping here is so good. Whether you are looking for shoes, bags, local handicrafts, clothes and more, this is the place you have to visit. Plus, this place during the day and evening hours offer so much color and variety that it is a photographer’s delight.
Around this market is also the night market that allows the tourists to enjoy this place even during the night time. A quick snack, a bite and a drink keeps you energized for long walks along the French boulevards of District 1 and explore more shops, hotels and restaurants.
If you are looking for a traditional experience in District 1, I would recommend going to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater to see and hear Vietnam’s traditions and cultures through exquisite water puppetry. This is a 45 minute session that will blow your mind away and also ideal for family vacationers in Vietnam.
In addition to all these sights, one can take a delightful boat cruise from District 1 offering riverside views of this busy city. If you want to plan your holiday to District 1 or other areas in Vietnam, do look up Travelbag’s Vietnam Holidays for excellent deals.
Note: This post has been sponsored by Travelbag.