Vietnam is one of my favorite places to travel. It is easy to fly to from Singapore, the people are warm and friendly, the food is outstanding, and the beauty and architecture in the country always astounds me. Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, is no exception. While it is larger and more bustling than Hanoi, there are still places where you can enjoy the peace and quiet.
We stayed at the Rex Hotel, which I we liked. It was well-located and fine for sleeping, and the breakfast had a lot of variety. The rooftop bar lovely and breezy, albeit pricey. The kids did enjoy the pool to cool down after hot days quite a bit. When in Vietnam, we like to join tours, as the cities are harder to navigate and tour guides are pretty cheap. We booked a tour through Buffalo Tours, and we were not disappointed. We also used Buffalo Tours on our last trip to Hanoi, and again, they were exceptionally good then too.
Our first tour was through the Mekong Delta. We visited a candy factory and rowed along the access canals.
Our tour guide was great, our lunch was really good, and we had a blissful and relaxing day discovering the Mekong Delta.
We also did a tour of the city and of the Cu Chi Tunnels. It was really eye opening to visit historical war sites as an American. We visited the American War Museum. It was sad and left you feeling terribly guilty (even though I wasn’t even born during most of the war.) The kids couldn’t tolerate it for long, it had many gruesome photos and they didn’t find it very stimulating. Afterwards we went to the Reunification Palace and saw a few more city highlights. We really enjoyed their tours and we couldn’t have seen everything on our own as well.
The night market, however, did not meet our expectations and we were quite disappointed. We walked through it, but it was crowded and mostly they were selling things we weren’t interested in buying. Unless you really enjoy this sort of thing, I would advise you to skip it, especially with children.
Most of all, we enjoyed walking about the city and shopping in the little boutiques around the downtown area. We felt quite safe, except when crossing the street – watch out for scooters! Every place we ate was amazing.