Thong Nhat Conference Hall:
Location: Thong Nhat Conference Hall is located on No.106 Nguyen Du Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Characteristic: Thong Nhat Conference Hall, also called Reunification Hall or Presidential Palace, was built in 1865 on the grounds of Norodom Palace as a residence for the French Governor General of Cochinchina.
After 1954, Ngo Dinh Diem and his family lived in the Norodom Palace. In February 1963, a dissident launched an air bombardment and heavily damaged it. Diem rebuilt the palace, which was later replaced by another one, called the Independence Palace. It was designed by Western-trained architect Ngo Viet Thu. The construction was undertaken by Saigon engineers and was completed in 1966.
The five-story building consists of 100 rooms and chambers decorated with the finest modern Vietnamese arts and crafts. The ground floor room has a boat-shaped table that was often used for conferences. Upstairs, a room called Phu Dau Rong was where Nguyen Van Thieu received foreign delegations. The residential quarters are in the back of the building. On the third floor, there is a card-playing room. This floor also possesses a terrace with a heliport where a helicopter is parked. The fourth floor was used for dancing, and even had a casino. The most interesting part of the building is probably the basement containing a network of tunnels, a telecommunication centre, and a war room.
At 11h30 on 30 April 1975, the palace was overrun by Liberation Army tanks. Duong Van Minh, who was president at that time, together with his 45-member cabinet, surrendered unconditionally. After the liberation of Saigon, the Independence Palace was turned into the Headquarters of the Municipal Military Administrative Committee. In December 1975, the palace welcomed a conference for national reunification. To mark the historical significance of the event, the building was renamed Thong Nhat Conference Hall (Reunification Conference Hall).
Saigon Centre Post Office:
Right next to Notre Dame Catheral is Saigon's French-styled Central post office. The structure was built between 1886 and 1891, the ochre-coloured building has a glass canopy, ceiling fans, and enormous wall maps. At the far end of the arched building is a large portrait of Ho Chi Minh. It is still the biggest post office in Vietnam.
City Hall (Hôtel de Cille):
One of the most prominent landmarks. The People's Committee building is the city hall of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly called the Hotel de Ville. In French style, the building is modeled on Paris' own Hotel de Ville and was completed in 1908. Facing toward Saigon River, the building is notable for its ornate facade and elegant interior lit with crystal chandeliers. The small park in front has a memorial statue of Ho Chi Minh. Nowadays the building is used for the city administration in daily working and meeting occasions.
Sai Gon Opera House:
Sai Gon Opera House is in Rue Catinat (Dong Khoi Street) at the centre of the heart of the city. It was built in 1899 and later renovated in the 1940s. It was built in French architectural style of which the materials were mainly transported from France. A group of French artists was in charge of interior decoration with patterns similar to those in France’s late 19th century opera houses. The theatre finished with spacious ventilation and state-of-the-art sound and light systems. In front of the theatre is a park where young people like to sit around. The theatre often offers different programs such as concert, drama, and ballet.
Giac lam Pagoda:
Location: Giac Lam Pagoda is located at 118 Lac Long Quan Street, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City.
Characteristic: It is one of the city’s oldest pagodas with many Buddha statues made of brass and precious timber.
Giac Lam Pagoda (also known as the Cam Son or Cam Dien Pagoda) was built in 1744, under the reign of Lord Nguyen Phuc Khoat. Unlike many other local religious structures, it has not been renovated since 1900; the architecture, layout, and ornamentation remain almost unaltered. The scenery around the pagoda is picturesque and many people come here to write or recite poetry.
Standing in the front garden is a shining white statue of the Goddess of Mercy, perched upon a lotus blossom, a symbol of purity. Inside, on either side of the main altar, are statues of Ameda Buddha and Sakyamuni Buddha, along with more representations of the Goddess of Mercy. Giac Lam Pagoda is open from 6 am to 9 pm.
Thien Hau Temple:
In the early 19th century, Cantonese fishermen built the temple to dedicate to Thien Hau, the Chinese Goddess of the Sea, who protects fishermen, sailors, merchants and other seafarers. Though there are guardians to either side of the entrance, it is said that the real protectors of the pagoda are the two land turtles living here. The temple’s interior courtyard with intricate ceramic friezes is worth seeing with beautiful ceramic figurines and antiques, commemorating the arrival of the first Chinese immigrants from Canton. On the 23rd day of the 3rd lunar month, the biggest ceremony is held in Thien Hau temple to her honour. People pray to her for happiness, prosperity, and solidarity.
Jade Pagoda (Ngoc Hoang Pagoda):
Built in 1892 the Jade Pagoda is dedicated to phantasmal divinities and heroes representing different characters from Buddhist and Taoist philosophies.. This pagoda was an important meeting place for Chinese secret societies. It is one of the most colourful pagodas in HCMC, filled with incense, candles and statues of various divinities and heroes. A robed Taoist Jade Emperor surveys the main sanctuary, under a roof covered in elaborately patterned tiles.
China Town (Cholon District):
In Vietnam, there are more than one million ethnic Chinese, many of whom live in Ho Chi Minh city, but Cholon district is the biggest area where home to 500, 000 Chinese people and has five smaller districts within it. The Chinese play an important role in Vietnam's emerging private economy, evidenced by the bustling streets and markets of Cholon. The streets of Cholon are a maze of narrow side streets, old temples, local Chinese restaurants, and calligraphy shops.
Ben Thanh Market:
Built in 1914 and known to the French as the Halles Centrales, the market, last renovated in 1986, is located right in the heart of the city where everything can be found, from vegetables and fish to spices and electronic gadgets.
Binh Tay Market:
A highlight in the Cholon is Binh Tay Market. Built in 1928, Binh Tay Market is considered the biggest wholesale market in southern Vietnam dealing in a wide variety of goods made by the Chinese community in Chinatown and products from the Mekong Delta. Visitors are encouraged to stroll around the market, to socialize themselves with locals.
Several lacquer workshops in HCMC such as Lam Son, Tay Son, Phuong Nam, etc. offer visitors a chance to watch skillful craftsmen at work and to purchase on the spot a wide range of products including lacquerware, wooden carvings, and rattan articles.
In 1929 this museum was built within the boundaries of Zoological and Botanical Garden to serve as “Musee blandchard de la Bross” and later became the “National Museum of Vietnam” with a collection of ancient art from several Asian countries. In 1975 the Museum was renamed “History Museum in Ho Chi Minh City”. The museum now displays an excellent collection of artifacts representing the evolution of Vietnamese people and featuring the characteristics of its culture. The artifacts are divided into 2 groups: the Vietnam’s history from the first human vestiges (some 300, 000 years ago) until the establishment of Vietnamese Communist Party (in 1930); and the second group is represented the cultures of the southern provices such as the Oc Eo culture, the Cham art, the culture of Ben Nghe-Saigon area, the ethnic groups in Vietnam, the collection of Buddha statues in Asia and an ancient ceramics from Asian countries.