A lot of people are quick to write-off Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown.
Why would I go to Chinatown in Vietnam?
Those same people are probably staying in the backpacker district. In Vietnamese, this area is called Khu Tây Balô, which basically means Westerner Backpack District. It’s the equivalent to Chinatown but for backpacking westerners.
In Vietnamese, the Chinatown area is called Cho Lon, which means great market. This is because it’s the home to the largest market in Saigon, Binh Tay. Cho Lon sort of straddles district 5 and 6. It was once its own city, settled by the Hoa people in 1778. Eventually, Saigon expanded and the two cities merged.
I seriously love Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown, so I hope you take the time to visit it, and I hope this walking tour helps you appreciate this unique area of Saigon.
Tourist Day in Saigon
This self-guided walking tour covers the main tourist attractions in Saigon. The actual walking time is only about 90 minutes, but it should take you the better part of a day with the all the stops. There are 4 meals on the tour, as well as plenty of opportunities for coffee breaks.
Saigon is hot and the sidewalks are broken, cluttered, or non-existent. Be careful and take breaks regularly, especially if you are doing this in the hotter times of the year (March-June).
These are my favorite dishes from Vietnam, and the ones I crave most after living there for 2 years. If you’re headed to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, I’ve also included the best places to try these unique and wonderful meals.
Sometimes, an expat has to go back to his roots. Back to the things he left behind in his first world country. I always try to embrace the Vietnamese culture, but I needed a little taste of home. Plus, it was my birthday, so why not celebrate it with a few of my favourite things? Beer, coffee, and food. It’s time to find the best of these in Saigon.
Considering Trip Advisor rates the Củ Chi tunnels the number 2 thing to do when visiting Ho Chi Minh City, it’s ridiculous that we waited this long to see them. The 121 km tunnel system was preserved after the Vietnam War. They are one of the best ways to experience the Vietnamese side of the war, and to understand how they were able to beat one of the most powerful countries in the world.
Our Budget Guide to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Story – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Our First Visit
Having spent the last few weeks in the safety and comfort of Vietnamese beach resorts, we were a little nervous about venturing to Ho Chi Minh City. We pictured it as a huge, vast metropolis with billions of people milling about on their motorcycles in conical hats. We thought it would be dirty, and we thought the overpopulation of Vietnam would be felt here the most.