Ho Chi Minh Shopping & Sightseeing Experience

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is Vietnam in high gear. To travel to Ho Chi Minh City is to be introduced to a dramatic meeting of old and new culture, a dynamic metropolis of skyscrapers and traffic juxtaposed with a wealth of ancient temples and traditional markets.

Whether you're traveling to Ho Chi Minh City for a quick stop en route to other parts of Vietnam or are planning a visit to the city exclusively, you will be won over the city's frenetic energy and the many local gems just waiting to be discovered.

1.Things Not to Miss in Ho Chi Minh City

From buzzy new hotels and restaurants to ancient temples and markets steeped in culture and history, our Ho Chi Minh City travel guide will point you to the city's must-see sights, including:

The underground tunnels of Cu Chi

• The Jade Emperor Pagoda

• Nha Hang Ngon, one of the city's most popular restaurants

The War Remnants Museum

The Cao Dai Temple in the nearby town of Tay Ninh

2.When to Visit Ho Chi Minh City

The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is between December and April, when the temperatures are warm and the air is dry. If you visit Ho Chi Minh City from May to November, during the rainy season, the city can be very wet—it receives more than 70 inches of rain each year.

3. Clothing

For more immediate sartorial gratification, Valenciani is the Saigon fashion set’s destination of choice. Racks of candy-colored Indo-chic dresses (from $120) fill the sleek pink-and-black space. Traditional Asian silhouettes are modernized and delivered in unusual fabrics such as houndstooth or nubby wool. Westerners take note: clothes in Vietnam are often displayed only in small sizes, but can be made to your specifications in just a few days. The same holds true at Thuy Nga Design, a minimalist shop tucked under the Beaux-Arts Municipal Theater. Graphic primary-color classics are reminiscent of Michael Kors; a crimson satin party dress with an exposed zipper is a steal for less than $100. If your taste sways more toward breezy linens and silks, head to Sông. Paris-born designer Valerie McKenzie’s eminently packable clothes in saturated hues are a cross between Donna Karan and Calypso.

4.Leather Goods

Locating Villa Anupa, hidden down a slender lane off Le Thanh Ton Street, is a challenge; even harder is deciding which of Anupa Horvil’s butter-soft leather bags should come home with you. Will it be the white hobo with tourmaline beading ($250)? Or the metallic-gray clutch ($160)? Resort caftans in saturated orange, sapphire, and ikat patterns are ideal for the beach-bound.

5.Lifestyle Stores

The white-on-white Modernist building that houses Gaya makes a dramatic first impression (yes, those are giant fountain-pen nibs on the façade). Inside, you’ll find the best haute souvenirs in all of Saigon. Highlights include Michele de Albert’s lacquer bowls (from $18) and trays (from $36) in psychedelic colors; with 12 coats of varnish, they practically glow from within. Stepping into L’Usine is a whole other sensory experience: the light-filled industrial space (polished concrete floors; exposed beams) holds a café, a gallery, and a bevy of casual-cool clothing labels—even a selection of vintage bikes.

5.Linens

Saigon is a bastion of reinvention, and Catherine Denoual, a former Parisian fashion editor, has found her second calling as the doyenne of the perfectly kitted boudoir. Her latest boutique, Catherine Denoual Maison, in the towering Saigon Centre mall, features delicately embroidered sateen bed linens in rich chocolates, golds, and caramels, as well as perhaps the world’s most decadent silk charmeuse robe ($185), for your inner Marlene Dietrich. For more-affordable table linens, head to tiny MG Decoration, on Le Thanh Ton Street, where the selection includes hemstitched cotton and linen pillow covers, table runners, and napkins (from $3), as well as painstakingly crafted needlepoint and cutwork linen place mats.

6.Children’s Clothes

Parents of little girls thank heaven for Than Thuy, an unassuming shop packed to the rafters with adorable gingham dresses with Peter Pan collars, plaid jumpers, and eyelet nightgowns—all meticulously embroidered, stitched, and smocked by hand. An ideal gift for any new baby: crisp white Mao-collared cotton pj’s with frog closures ($9).

7.Interiors and Furnishings

Around the corner from Nhu Lan Bakery, one of Saigon’s best banh mi joints, you’ll find Verlim Interiors, whose two rooms abound with perfectly curated antiques and Art Deco reproductions such as a sexy, low-slung mahogany club chair for just $400. If you fall for any of the tasteful settees, or can’t live without an oversize glazed-ceramic lamp, the shop arranges shipping. That striking 19th-century Chinese glass painting in the front room? $2,300. For a more accessible (and luggage-friendly) alternative, Verlim’s lacquer tea caddies come in oxblood or robin’s-egg blue (from $35).

8.Information to contact.

Catherine Denoual Maison Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi Blvd., District 1; 84-8/3914-0269.

Gaya 1 Nguyen Van Trang St., District 1; 84-8/3925-1495.

Kin Boutique 198 Le Thanh Ton St., District 1; 84-8/3502-3090.

L’Usine 151/1 Dong Khoi St., first fl., District 1; 84-8/6674-3565.

Massimo Ferrari 42A-1 Tran Quoc St., District 3; 84-8/3930-6213.

MG Decoration 92C5 Le Thanh Ton St., District 1; 84-8/3822-6003.

Sông 76D Le Thanh Ton St., District 1; 84-8/3824-6986.

Than Thuy 93 Le Thanh Ton St., District 1; 84-8/3822-4893.

Thuy Nga Design 7 Lam Son Square, District 1; 84-8/3823-3478.

Valenciani Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi Blvd., District 1; 84-8/3821-2788.

Verlim Interiors 41 Ho Tung Mau St., District 1; 84-8/3821-1655.

Villa Anupa 17/27 Le Thanh Ton St., District 1; 84-8/3825-7307.

Economy, 4 seats

Nissan Grand Livina/Toyota

59$(USD)/ 8 hours basic
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SUVs,PMVs Toyota,Kia Sorento 7 seats

Toyota Innova or Similar

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Limousine Mer Sprinter/Ford Transits

Mercedes Sprinter

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