HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM
Whether you’re travelling on a shoestring or living luxuriously, this month we pinpoint the best of both worlds for anybody interested in visiting the Vietnamese capital of Ho Chi Minh City, a versatile city where some of the world’s leading businesses are only a stone’s throw from historical and cultural sites.
On a budget
Stay: Saigon Backpackers Hostel - Dorm: £6, Room: £10
Tucked in an alley behind the backpackers’ mecca of Phan Ngu Lao, Saigon Backpackers Hostel is a promising balance of cheap and cheerful with clean, comfortable rooms and a close proximity to a host of restaurants, bars and travel agencies.
Find me: 373/20 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1
Lunch: Street food - 25p
One of the wonderful things about Vietnam is that no matter where you are, no matter what time of day or night it is, there is always a street food vendor nearby serving up delicious pho, a wonderfully fragrant noodle soup and the food of the nation at an average price of 25p per portion.
Find me: Almost anywhere!
Dinner: Kim’s Cafe - £1.50
Situated in the city’s District 1 (known as ‘Saigon’ to the locals), Kim’s Cafe is a gem sandwiched between two late night bars. Try the chilli and lemongrass beef or the water spinach sauteed in garlic - both are to die for.
Find me: De Tham St., District 1
Clubbing: Allez Boo - £3
If the pumping music doesn’t grab your attention, the crowds of mingling backpackers spilling onto the street will. With 2 for 1 cocktails and DJs spinning everything from Oasis to Rihanna, Allez Boo is a happening, backpackers haven.
Find me: 187 Phan Ngu Lao, District 1
Culture: War Remnants Museum - 30p
Having played such an enormous part in Vietnam’s recent history, the Vietnam War is not to be ignored when visiting Ho Chi Minh. The museum’s content is pretty one-sided (i.e. very anti-America), however despite this the exhibit is truly informative and deeply interesting. Not for the faint-hearted.
Find me: 28 Vo Van Tan St , District 3
Stay: The Spring Hotel - £45 per night
The Spring Hotel is suitable for holiday makers or business travellers alike as it is within walking distance of historical sites, the government office and shopping streets. All rooms offer air-con, cable TV, a mini bar and the usual amenities.
Find me: 44-46 Le Thanh Tonh Street, District 1
Lunchtime: New World Saigon Hotel - £20
The New World Saigon Hotel serves up some of the tastiest and freshest dim sum in town and is renowned in Ho Chi Minh for their famous roasted duck. The Lychee Martini is also perfectly balanced and worth splashing out on. An all-round luxury lunch.
Find me: 76 Le Lai Street, District 1
Dinner: Quan An Ngon - £12
Hidden down a dark street in District 1 is Quan An Ngon, a chain that can also be found in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The menu offers all manner of Vietnamese cuisine and a meal for two costs around £12 with wine and water - an absolute winner.
Find me: Pasteur Street, District 1
Clubbing: Apocalypse Now - £10
This club mainly attracts high society Vietnamese types. DJs spin house tracks and remixes all night long and the club itself oozes glamour with its velvet drapery and gargantuan bottles of Belvedere Vodka. Worth checking out, if only for the novelty. Drinks match UK prices.
Find me: 2C Thi Sach Street, District 1
Culture: Cu Chi Tunnels - £10-£40
The Cu Chi Tunnels of Ho Chi Minh were used by the Viet Cong guerillas as hiding spots and even living quarters during combat, as well as providing a pipe line to deliver supplies. Visitors are invited to crawl through the safer parts of the tunnels and try their hand at firing a number of guns from a M60 to an AK47.
Find me on: Cu Chi Rural District