By Sreya Sanyal from THREAD SG
Also known as Saigon City Hall, Ho Chi Minh Square is the pinnacle of French colonial architecture in Vietnam. Flanked by a gigantic statue of Ho Chi Minh himself, the City Hall is the bonafide tourist destination for those seeking to soak in beautiful sights and marvel at intricate architecture.
Despite being known primarily for being home to a number of historic buildings, Ho Chi Minh Square is as cosmopolitan at it gets. The spot is a part of the broader Nguyen Hue Boulevard, which leads to the Saigon River and is bedecked with dazzling lights along the way.
Ha Long Bay
This idyllic slice of land was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994, and for good reason. Home to glistening green waters, thousands of imposing limestone structures and mini-islands, the entire bay supports a vibrant aquatic ecosystem of exotic wildlife and flora and fauna.
Thrillseekers on the hunt for adventure get can their fix amidst the dense terrains and lush rainforests of the Bay. Kayaking, rock climbing, and scuba diving are a few of the extreme sports which one can engage in while visiting the place. Alternatively, those wishing to soak in the atmosphere may embark on a hiking trip.
Củ Chi Tunnels
If you enjoyed quest-based high-octane thrillers such as National Treasure and Lara Croft,you’re sure to fall in love with the Cu Chi tunnels. While the opportunities to take selfies or OOTD shots are few and far between, nothing compares to the euphoria of exploring the vast, winding networks of the tunnels-now turned into a war memorial park.
Utilised extensively by Viet Cong soldiers, the tunnels span pretty much the entirety of the country with only a small portion accessible to the public. Tourist experiences offered at the park are immersive, and people are offered a peek into the life of a Viet Cong soldier by browsing the underground conference rooms where wartime campaigns were formed. Cafés selling war-era souvenirs are also immensely popular with visitors.
Hoi An Ancient Town
While you can’t hop into a time machine and travel back in time, Hoi An Ancient Town’s scenic locales and well-preserved structures come a close second. Influences from Chinese, Japanese and European architectural styles are immediately visible in the numerous houses and temples which populate this relic of yore. Wooden motifs and carvings are the most popular imprint on each and every building in the Ancient Town, which was once a flourishing trading port.
Also touted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An Ancient Town offers visitors the chance to see several architectural marvels, such as the Waterfront, a riverbank dotted with quaint cafes and lanterns and numerous museums housing artifacts dating back to the early 15th century.
Ben Thanh Night Market
Vietnam offers excellent fare in terms of shopping and nightlife. Combine the two and you get the Ben Thanh Night Market. Like its name suggests, the market bustles with life at night and is a complex ecosystem of sights, sounds and smells. From a massive range of Vietnamese souvenirs (key chains, trinkets, crockery, boxes) to fashion goodies such as handbags, shoes, and clothes, you’ll be hard-pressed to not find what you’re looking for.
Come armed with small change and a sharp tongue as you’ll have to bargain your way through the entire shopping expedition. A day of verbal duels will leave you hungry and famished, so do head over to the nearby food stalls to sample some delicious Vietnamese snacks.
Which of these places will you be heading to on your trip to Vietnam? Let us know in the comments below!