The city of Saigon, or also commonly known as Ho Chi Minh City, is a place bustling with all sorts of wonderful things on every street and corner. It's well worth being dropped off in the middle of the city and just walk and explore what awaits you!
We arrived late into Saigon and wanted to spend the night somewhere close and convenient and just a short drive from the airport was the TTC Deluxe Airport Hotel. This accommodation is perfect for a one night stay offering a cosy room and cold air conditioning which is perfect this time of year because it is very hot and humid. A buffet breakfast is included and I found it to be a good selection of food and the room offers an amazing view of the busy street outside.
We were only in Saigon for the day and as our flight wasn't until later on that night, we put our luggage into storage and went out into the streets to see how we could pass the time. We heard that the Saigon Post Office was a great place to visit and asked our driver to take us there, instead he took us to a completely different building. We decided to hop out anyway as there were many buses of tourists outside and thought it might be worth while. We soon found out that this place was called the Independence Palace.
The Independence Palace was declared a national site in 1976, then a special national site in 2009 and was first opened to the public in 1990 where today thousands of people visit this enormous place. What makes this place so special is that it has been the scene of many of the most important and dramatic events in Vietnam's history.
Now this place is absolutely massive and walking around in the thick humidity was a challenge but it was very fascinating seeing what it would have been like to live here.
Address: 135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh
Price: VND 40,000 per person.
Open hours: Daily from 7:30am - 4pm however the ticket window closes between 11am - 1pm. The palace may also close for special events.
We were relieved to know that the Saigon Post Office was only a short walk from the Independence Palace so we made our way over. Just before reaching the Post Office you will come across the Notre Dame Cathedral, due to construction entry wasn't allowed but you can still get a good photo at the entrance.
Saigon Post Office is not only a tourist attraction but also still operates as a business. The interior is absolutely beautiful and there are a couple of shops inside where you can buy souvenir type of items.
Saigon Post Office
Address: 2 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Price: Entry is free
Open hours: Daily from 7am - 7pm
For me, the highlight of the day was a visit to Tan Dinh Church, a massive, pretty pink cathedral that is definitely worth a visit, by the time we got there though the entry was closed but you can still get a photo out the front.
Tan Dinh Church
Address: 289 Hai Ba Trung, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: Entry into the church grounds from 5am - 5:30pm, from what I have read, entry inside the church itself must be given permission.
It was getting late so we caught a taxi back to the airport and waited for our flight to Da Lat to arrive. Our flight was suppose to take off around 7:15pm but due to unsuitable weather conditions our flight was delayed twice and we eventually took off just after 11pm, the flight to Da Lat takes just less than an hour so it wasn't too bad. The domestic airport has a business lounge which was an absolute life saver! For about $45 AUD for two people you have access to an all you can eat buffet with drinks included, fast wifi, a massage chair, lounges to sleep on and a calming and relaxing environment. Well worth it when you are stuck at the airport for hours.