Hanoi: And Why You Should Go to Ho Chi Minh City Instead

Vietnam, with its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, has become a sought-after destination for travellers from around the globe. While many tourists flock to the capital city of Hanoi to experience its charm and traditional ambience, another bustling metropolis in Vietnam deserves your attention…Ho Chi Minh City. Let’s talk about why you should consider redirecting your travel plans towards the vibrant and captivating streets of Ho Chi Minh City. From its dynamic atmosphere to its historical significance and modern development, Ho Chi Minh City has much to offer those seeking an authentic Vietnamese experience.

"People Riding Motorcycles - Ho Chi Minh City"
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So, why Ho Chi Minh City? 🇻🇳 🌆 ✨

While Hanoi exudes an old-world charm with its ancient temples, narrow streets, and colonial architecture, Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, stands out as a modern metropolis. Skyscrapers, high-end shopping malls, and a buzzing nightlife define its urban landscape. The city's energetic vibe is infectious, offering a unique blend of tradition and progress that will captivate any traveller. Ho Chi Minh is the bigger of the two and is actually the largest city in the country. With this comes its bigger and busier population making for a great melting pot of cultures and traditions.
"A City Street Filled"

Where to visit in Ho Chi Minh City… 🗺 🧭 👀

Bến Thành Market - This city is a treasure trove of vibrant markets that enchant locals and tourists alike. One such market that steals the hearts of visitors is the renowned Bến Thành Market. With over 3,000 stalls, it not only showcases an extensive array of goods but also is one of the city's oldest surviving buildings. This historical significance adds to the market's magic, drawing in crowds worldwide.
Ho Chi Minh City’s markets are immersive cultural experiences. As you wander through the bustling aisles of stalls and vendors, you'll be mesmerised by the kaleidoscopic colours, scents, and sounds that permeate your surroundings. These markets are not only a hub for local crafts and dishes but also a reflection of vibrant Vietnamese culture.
"Bến Thành Market"
🛶The Mekong Delta - Nestled, just a few hours away from the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, lies a serene and captivating destination that unveils an entirely different side of Vietnam. The Mekong Delta, with its winding rivers snaking through lush countryside, offers a tranquil escape from the urban chaos of Saigon or Hanoi, providing a fresh perspective on the country's natural beauty.
Surrounded by vast rice paddies, tranquil swampland, and vibrant green foliage, the Mekong Delta allows visitors to immerse themselves in its serene vibes. The Mekong Delta holds a special place in the hearts of locals and travellers alike. Its picturesque beauty, untouched by the fast-paced urban development of the city and the skyscrapers that dominate it, captures the essence of rural Vietnam. The idyllic countryside, dotted with charming villages and floating markets, transports you to the serenity and simplicity of this beautiful nation.

🛕Giac Lam Pagoda - Located within peaceful and garden-like grounds, Giac Lam Pagoda, stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of Ho Chi Minh City. Believed to be the oldest temple in the city, with origins dating back to 1744, this atmospheric sanctuary offers a truly immersive experience for visitors seeking a spiritual adventure and for those who adore architecture.
Translated as 'Feel the Woods Temple' in Chinese characters (覚林寺), Giac Lam Pagoda exudes a sense of tranquillity and serenity. Its enchanting surroundings provide a break from the bustling cityscape. The front garden of Giac Lam Pagoda is graced by a majestic Bodhi tree, a native fig tree considered sacred by Buddhists. This towering tree, a gift from a Sri Lankan monk in 1953, symbolises spiritual enlightenment and profound wisdom. At Giac Lam Pagoda, the fusion of different belief systems can be observed. Alongside Buddhist traditions, elements of Taoism and Confucianism harmoniously coexist within its sacred walls.
🍸Shri Rooftop Bar - After a day of enjoying and exploring the city’s rich heritage and culture, enjoy a vibrant nightlife scene with rooftop bars that provide a unique perspective of the city's energy. A notable spot is Shri Restaurant & Lounge.
For those seeking artistic cocktails with a view, Located 23 floors above ground level, this rooftop establishment offers innovative drinks inspired by Ho Chi Minh City's neighbourhood's. Indulge in the Ben Thanh cocktail, blending the flavours of lychee and ginger found in the famous Ben Thanh Market. Another tipple to try is the Thao Cam Vien, a refreshing blend of cucumber and elderflower inspired by the city's botanical gardens. Sipping these cocktails while admiring the breathtaking views creates a sensory experience and end to a day of travel like no other!

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Imogen Kemp
August 30, 2023
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