Call it Ho Chi Minh City, HCMC, or Saigon; the former capital of Vietnam will surely enchant you with its beautiful boulevards and historic buildings from the French colonial era. It has emerged from the dark days of Vietnam War to become a leading hub of culture and commerce today. You’ll feel its energy on its bustling streets and marketplaces, while the serene temples would calm your senses instantly. While wandering through the city, you’ll also come across elegant malls and modern skyscrapers. Here are a few attractions you’d not want to miss while holidaying in this Vietnamese city:
1. The Saigon Opera House
This opera house is also called ‘The Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City’. It was built by Eugene Ferret, a French architect, in the late-19th century. It was known as ‘Opera de Saigon’ in those times. This opera house functioned as the home of the Lower House assembly for some time in the mid-20th century but was again used as a theatre after the Vietnam War. In the year 1995, the restoration work began. The opera house can accommodate 500 individuals today. You can see the interiors of this theatre during your saigon holidays by purchasing a ticket to any of its shows.
2. Vietnamese Flower Markets
Flowers are the only thing that you’ll see in the flower markets of Saigon. The Vietnamese people buy flowers almost every day to offer them to their ancestors and decorate their homes. You can hop into a taxi with your local guide to get to any of these flower markets. As most of the shop owners don’t speak the English language fluently, the services of a local guide would come in handy to communicate with them and get the best bargains.
3. The Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai literally translates as the ‘Highest Lord’ or the ‘Highest Power’. The monotheistic religion of Caodaism was officially established in the year 1926 in Tay Ninh city located in the southern part of the country. It believes in a supreme deity, who has created the universe and requires its followers to engage themselves in activities and practices such as prayers, veneration of their ancestors, vegetarianism, and non-violence. The Cao Dai temple is located on the outskirts of Saigon and has been built using a combination of Baroque, Neo-Gothic, and Oriental architectural styles. The most interesting part of your visit to this temple would be witnessing the rituals.
4. Phu My Hung
Located in District 7, this is a planned city built by the Phu My Hung Corporation. The construction work began in 1997 with the purpose of turning the wetlands into a modern, multifunctional urban neighbourhood. Many tourists who visit this part of Saigon often express their surprise upon witnessing such a modern area in the country. When this project was first proposed, the municipal government of Saigon did not attach much importance to the city’s southern part. The grand success of Phu My Hung has completely changed the urban landscape of Saigon in recent times.
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