WALKING TOUR IN SAIGON ON YOUR OWN || Exploring Saigon / Ho Chi Minh was actually pretty convenient, it is just a matter of your personal itinerary, a simcard with internet that shows you the right direction. SCAM may also be rampant around Vietnam so make sure to check and read it also here below.
I only used Waze over my phone to check where should we heading. You may also hire a motorbike to tour you around, but trust me, it is okay to walk around to familiarize and feel the place better like what we did.
*Note : please do note, that just by asking a local you have to careful as well, some of them were persistent in taking you to tour with them and ask payment in US Dollar which is definitely way way expensive than the normal rate!
*Reco : I always keep in mind that it is sometimes better to ask a fellow tourist when you are lost and in search for direction! trust me — it felt like a scam when these people ask too much from you.
SCAM ALERT : Back story of the coconut vendor; while we were walking all the way to our first destinations — crossing the street was somehow hard as mostly the locals are in motorbike and they move really fast. This coconut vendor even actually helped us, started a conversation (*and as traveller — and we wanted to be friendly; we entertain and join in the convo as well 😛 hahah!) not until he just forced us and gave this 2 coconut to me and Kim. I was really hesitant (coz “sirain po ang tyan ko mamsh and we just had coffee for breakfast — so imagine less than 1 hour interval nag buko na kame :D) when we asked how much was it — he says “VND 150.000 (150 Thousand Dong) until we ask later that day it’s original cost at 20.000 VND each.
After the encounter, we realized that we cannot trust any local anymore hahaha! he’s the second person trying to ask too much from us — so no, we were firm to ask the right person next time or better yet, move and really be independent with our trip.
BEN THAM MARKET
Entrance : FREE
Mode of transportation : Walk only from Bui Vien, used Waze or google map to locate
Heading to Notre Dame Cathedral we already came across Ben Tham Market, where they sell all sorts and form from food, delicacies and items as souvenirs. It isn’t cheap though, but you may have a short meryenda here as well.
Bến Thành Market is a large marketplace in central Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam in District 1. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and an important symbol of Hồ Chí Minh City, popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, áo dài and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine.
We just walked around in here and check for its offering before we head to the cathedral.
NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL
Entrance : FREE
The cathedral is one of the most finest structure in the country. It was actually undergoing a big re-development and construction during our visit, so tourists is only allowed just right outside the church.
SAIGON CENTRAL POST OFFICE
Entrance : FREE
Opposite the Notre Dame Cathedral, you will see the Central Post Office. It is also free to enter.
Loving this interior at the Post Office!! This place was totally crowded with tourists around with post cards and souvenirs to check out.
You may also want to send a letter to your friend or loved ones for only 25000 VND and have that total post card sending experience.
WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM
Entrance : 40.000 VND / 90 PHP
Still part of our walking tour in Vietnam, we walked thru the War Remnants Museum as well. It was pretty tiring and the map really helps a lot!!! Hahahaa!! It was initially pretty hard to ask people around as they weren’t really much knowledgeable with the directions as well and english is still not widely used by the Vietnamese — appreciate hand gestures as always hahaha!
There is an entrance fee of 40.000 VND (PHP 90 / 1.71 USD) and pay as you enter.
It was great seeing this place, a short history about the country will always be a must in visiting new places. We stayed for almost more than an hour in the museum before we headed for lunch.
FINAL NOTES :
Basically, that is the initial places you can reach via walking tour only, mostly are free of charge so you could really save a lot touring around. This entire tour technically took us around 4 – 5 hours to finish, but know that it all depends on your timeline and how much time you are spending in one place before heading on the next one.
We decided to take a motorbike after this walking tour, as we’ll be headed for another booked tour after lunch time.
If you want to check my VIETNAM TRAVEL GUIDE, ALSO READ : VIETNAM TRAVEL GUIDE : DETAILED ITINERARY FOR 4D/3N
Let me know what other places can be easily toured around via walking tours only?