48 Hours in Ho Chi Minh with Tigerair and Accor Hotels
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is Vietnam’s most popular destinations. It’s affordable and has amazingly delicious food. From the finest of hotels to the classiest of restaurants, HCMC is a city of energy and discovery. Wander through the temples and historical buildings before tucking into some of the best street food in the world. If you only have 48 hours, here are some ideas to help you uncover the city.
Get around on a vespa
Take The Insider’s Saigon Tour via Vespa Motorbikes (with drivers) to Ho Thi Ky Flower market, Garment accessories market, a Buddist pagoda, Thich Quang Duc memorial, District 2 River Front, Saigon Opera House, China town of Saigon and the Post Office construction designed by Gustave Eiffel.
It’s scary initially with so many vehicles on the road but once you get the hang of it, it’s very fun! You get to have an overall view of the city in an afternoon and watch the streets and the sights that most visitors never even hear about or see. We even went through the Chinese district of Saigon, stop to see a sweet smelling flower market.
Understand the past by visiting the historial sites
Did you know that Ho Chi Minh is also known as the Little Paris of Asia? Its architecture and food are heavily influenced by the French. Take a city tour to understand the history of Ho Chi Minh. Also known as the Independence Palace, Reunification Palace was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace. The most fascinating of all is the basement with its telecommunications centre, war room and ancient radio transmitters.
Drop by the Saigon Opera House, also known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City. This 800-seat building that was built in 1897 by French architect Eugene Ferret is a fine example of French Colonial Architecture in Vietnam. Not to be missed is the Notre Dame Cathedral. A brick, neo-Romanesque church with 40m-high square towers tipped with iron spires, the Catholic cathedral is named after the Virgin Mary.
Shop at Ben Thanh market
Everything that’s commonly eaten, worn or used such as traditional handicrafts including lacquered ware, clothes, shoes, embroidery, and souvenirs can be found here. Prices usually higher than elsewhere, so bargain as much as you can and ignore any ‘Fixed Price’ signs.
Tour the Authentic Mekong River
Enjoy the scenic journey along the National Highway, bordered by green rice fields. We took a leisurely boat trip around the four beautiful islands known as Dragon, Unicorn, Phoenix and Tortoise islands and a rowing boat ride in the shadows of the water-coconut palms along the tiny canals of Ben Tre Province. Spend some time (if you have) in the village to learn about their lives. We ended with home-cooked lunch at a local’s house.
Savour real local food at Nha Hang Ngon restaurant
Located on Pasteur Street in the tourist centre of District 1, Nha Hang Ngon restaurant is housed in a charming French villa that is painted a canary yellow. Offering a comprehensive menu of classic Vietnamese dishes, the menu is full of all the staples of Vietnamese cooking, popular dishes include fresh spring rolls, minced prawn on bamboo and an array of noodle soups. We had the usual beef pho which is especially tasty and served with a plate of vegetables and herbs. Nha Hang Ngon is a 10 minute walk from the Ho Chi Minh Opera House, along Le Loi and right at the Pasteur Street intersection.
Address: 160 Pasteur, Bến Nghé Quận 1 Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 8 3827 7131
Opening Hours: 7:30am–10:30pm
Search for the best Banh Mi
Because this was a media trip, we don’t have much time to explore on our own but I very much wanted to try the best banh mi in Saigon. After googling and asking around, I was recommended to Banh Mi Huynh Hoa. We took a cab after our dinner and guess what, we bought the last two banh mi before they are closed for the day. Such meaty layers of luncheon meats and grilled pork with cucumber, cilantro and pickles. So so good!
Address: 26 Lê Thị Riêng, Bến Thành, 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 839250885
Opening Hours: 3pm to 10pm
Have a cup of coffee
We know that Vietnam is famous for their coffee. But if you are craving for a cup of latte like me, head to Workshop – Vietnam’s first speciality coffee bar. With wooden tables, vintage stools and industrial fittings, this is every Instagrammer’s dream. The owners are coffee farmers, hence you get excellent coffee here.
Address: 27 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City
Phone: +84 8 3824 6801
Opening Hours: 8am to 9pm
Experience Luxury in Pullman Saigon Centre
Located centrally within Ho Chi Minh City, Pullman Saigon Centre has the highest rooftop bar in Saigon and Cobalt restaurant with panoramic views of the city. Located on the 30th and 31st floor, the Cobalt Restaurant and Bar redefine a new way of eating and drinking concept with cutting edge modular cuisine including nitrogen ice cream, oxygen foam cocktail, spilled homemade lemonades and our very adult ice blocks.
They have a yummy range of appetizers such as chilled king prawns, baby beetroot, duck tasting plate, crab cake, bocconcini, lobstr bisque and wild mushroom soup. From the paddock, choose from grass fed rib eye, tenderloin, striploin, lamb rack or pork cutlet served with potato puree and red wine jus. Skip the desserts and head straight for the nitrogen ice cream with interesting flavours like vietnamese cappuccino, rocky saigon road, king coconuts, rum and raising and much more.
Address: 148 Tran Hung Dao Boulevard, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel: +84 (0)8 38388686
Book cheap flights via Tiger Air
Sometimes, we are too careful when exploring a new city that we lose out on the chance to explore a place in a different light and experience the city for what it truly is. Thank you Tigerair and Accor Hotels for such an amazing trip.
Search for cheap and good flights to HCMC from Tiger Air. There are over 15 flights there daily and return flight ticket is only less than S$100! Craving for a hot meal that is authentically Singaporean? Or a light bite such as a sandwich, salad or snack? At Tigerair, you can now pre-order your favourite Nasi Lemak, Devi’s Curry Chicken or salads when you purchase your ticket online. All meal combos come with a bottle of water and a cup of coffee or tea. To check out the flights http://www.tigerair.com/