If you only have 24 hours in Ho Chi Minh city, this post will probably help you a lot to find the best destinations for this very short time. Ho Chi Minh was previously known as Saigon. It is one of the most popular cities in Vietnam as it used to be the capital of Vietnam (1955-19775). People are often mistaken this busy city as the capital as Ho Chi Minh is still the central of business nowadays. And yes, "Busy City" was one thing on my mind as I arrived in Ho Chi Minh. The airport was so crowded and hectic.

| Weather |
Unlike Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh sun game is so strong. Just like typical of Southeast Asian Countries. I suggest you to always wear sunblock, hat/cap and sun glasses wherever and whenever you go.

| What To Do & Eat |
Ho Chi Minh, which is the largest city of Vietnam, definitely will give you a different experience of ancient city. Unlike George Town in Penang, Ho Chi Minh tends to be busier and crowded, although both cities are similar as the rich of historical background. Here are some places you can visit during your trip in Ho Chi Minh.

1. Củ Chi Tunnels
Have you ever heard about Vietnam War or IndoChina War? I tell you, this place is legend. I learned a lot about this history during my study in college, but this place is more than what I expected before. Củ Chi Tunnels are the connecting tunnels which located in Củ Chi District in Ho Chi Minh. 

The tunnels was built during Vietnam War; a war between the North Vietnamese who were supported by the Soviet Union and South Vietnamese who were supported by Americans. It was used to be the hiding place for Viet Cong (The way they call North Vietnam Military) during the operation of Tết Offensive in 1968. Moreover, the tunnels were not only used to do the combat strategy, but also for their lives. The Viet Cong and their families lived, cooked, ate, peed, studied, and everything people did in their lives. Amazing right? How could people survive living underneath the tens of thousands miles of tunnels?
How the tunnels looks like from the top. The local guide said it was modified already because during the Vietnam war, there were no stairs to get into the tunnels.
Posing in front of the American tanks which was trapped into Viet Cong pitfal. It was suddenly exploding so the wheel were all broken.
The woman demonstrated how to make Vietnamese Spring Roll rice paper. This is one of Vietnamese favorite food during the war.
Another survival foods : Boiled Cassava!
Got a chance to take a picture under the tunnel. Special thanks to my talented friend @madewahyuni.

Củ Chi Tunnels today are still guarded by Vietnam military. The 121 KM-long tunnels are now preserved as a memorial park by Vietnam Government since it keeps a lot of good and bad memories about this country. Numbers of death underneath the land are one of the bad memories that Vietnamese cherish right now. No wonder that I really felt a very mystical aura as I arrived at the Tunnels. I actually took a lot of videos in Củ Chi Tunnels, you can check it on my instagram account here.

It took around 2,5 hours from the Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh Airport) on Saturday. I suggest you to start your journey to the tunnels in the morning, due to the bad traffic of Vietnam in the afternoon. If you feel hungry before or after visiting Củ Chi Tunnels, I suggest you to have your lunch at Ben Nay Restaurant which located not too far from the Tunnels.

2. Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
After done with the Vietnam War history in Củ Chi Tunnels, I immediately went to the city to visit Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon and Saigon Post. They are located in front of each other so I suggest you to visit these places both in the same time.

I have written in my previous 24 HOURS IN DA NANG - VIETNAM post about Vietnam which was colonized by France back then. It turned out not only Da Nang which is influenced by the Parisian style, Ho Chi Minh is also one of the biggest treasure of little Paris. Notre-Dame Cathedral was firstly built in 1863 and completed in 1880. My tour guide told me that all the building materials were imported from France. This church was firstly known as Saigon Church. It is later called Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon in 1959.
Since I got there on Saturday evening, tourist were not allowed to come in because the mass was about to start. Yup, this church is still running Catholic Mass every weekend. Too bad I couldn't join the mass there. Moreover, unfortunately the church was under construction as well. So there were some construction tools hanging on the building as I got there. It didn't bother the photos tho because the church was still beautiful. I really wish to come back there again soon.

3. Saigon Central Post Office
After done with Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon project, French style didn't stop there to influence Vietnamese type of construction. Saigon Central Post Office was the next project.  It was constructed around 5 years, between 1886-1891. The design was a mixture between Gothic and Renaissance style.

Saigon Central Post Office was used as a central post office in Saigon back then during the 19th centuries. Nowadays, this building is now really attractive for tourist to feel the European nostalgia in Vietnam. There are some shops that sell souvenirs as well inside the building now. There is no entry ticket, so it's free for tourists!

One thing you should beware whenever you visit Saigon Central Post Office and Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon : Pocket thieves / con men who impersonating as salesman. Please keep your stuffs safely around your arms to avoid the theft.

4. Tau Bengh Cruise
Do you like to have a level up experience of dinner in Ho Chi Minh? This place is the answer : Tau Bengh Cruise. I was really glad to have mine on my first and last night in Ho Chi Minh. Tau Bengh Cruise is actually a dinner place on the cruise. And yes, the cruise is moving guys! You will embrace the windy and smell of Ho Chi Minh city at night on this cruise, while having your fantastic dinner accompanied with the belly dancers. Amazing foods, amazing view, amazing atmosphere! What a night!

 My every-trip-routine : Drink the local beer! It's Bia Saigon Special time!
If you are a big fan of coffee, I'm pretty sure you know that Vietnamese coffee is one of the most popular coffee in the world. Vietnamese coffee has a very strong taste and smell (at least this is what most people said, since I don't drink coffee). It has a thicker brew and tastes like an over roasted coffee beans, so the smell is a bit stronger that the other coffee. Vietnamese coffee is usually served with condensed milk.

The most popular Vietnamese coffee is Trung Nguyên Legend Coffee. I suggest you to buy the coffee on its official store rather than in the market. Somehow you will find the price in the market is cheaper. However, the experience to visit the store is different. If you are a coffee lover, the smell of this place will definitely bring you directly to the cashier and end up buying a lot of coffee and the coffee stuffs here. Just like what I did lol.

6. Night Food Market
After wondering around the city at night, I got hungry (again). So I look for another midnight snack time. It was around 11 pm by the way. So lucky that there was a Night Food Market near my hotels. Some of the vendors were close already, but thankfully I got a bowl of Vietnamese Pork Rice to satisfy my hunger.

So here are the end of my 24 hours in Ho Chi Minh story. I hope it will be very useful for you, especially if you have a very tight time during your trip in Ho Chi Minh. This city might be daunting at first.. The traffic is a bit unfriendly (especially on weekend), the weather is really really hot that I almost couldn't bear it.. But it turned out to be one of my favorite trips.

Vietnamese today are not really talking about the war. They keep their memory away and live peacefully right now. People are smiling a lot towards me, they really welcome international tourists though they are not fluent in English. It's quite hard for me to talk to some vendors at night market, but luckily some of them are quite fluent in Bahasa Melayu which really close to Bahasa Indonesia.

Last but not least, I suggest you to always spare some more time on your itinerary. If you follow this post, it was actually written in sequence as my itinerary. I really hope to come back soon there by the way, because 24 hours is surely not enough to walk around the city :)

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