Continental Saigon Hotel
Built in 1880, Hotel Continental Saigon expresses French colonial architecture and offers graceful and stylish accommodation. Offering elegant and spacious rooms and overlooking a variety of spectacular views, it is a perfect reflection of French architecture amidst Vietnam. A popular and ancient hotel with a rich historical background, it is indeed a traveler’s favorite accommodation, giving comfort and an educational experience at the same time. Centrally located and close to tourist attractions and events of Ho Chi Minh City, there is also a group of dedicated staff who is committed to giving a relaxing and memorable experience to their in-house guests at Hotel Continental Saigon. A lovely hotel that has an incredible history, perfect location, and warm Vietnamese hospitality, you are promised a unique experience.
The Hotel Continental Saigon is conveniently located in the central area of Ho Chi Minh City, near a variety of conveniences for traveler and businessman alike, within walking distance of most major attractions, festivals and events.
After 2h pm.
Before 12h noon
Cancellation / Prepayment
Accepted credit cards
Facilities & Services
- Air Conditioning
- Airport Shuttle Service
- Car hire
- Catering services
- Complimentary breakfast
- Exhibition/convention floor
- Ironing board
- Ironing Facilities
- Laundry/Valet service
- Pay-per-view Channels
- Room service - full menu
- Safety Deposit Box
- Seating Area
- Valet cleaning
Ho Chi Minh City - Pearl of the Far East
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the whole country forward with its pulsating energy. A chaotic whirl, the city breathes life and vitality into all who settle here – visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride.
From the finest of hotels to the cheapest of guesthouses, the classiest of restaurants to the tastiest of street stalls, the choicest of boutiques to the scrum of the markets, HCMC is a city of contrasts. Wander through timeless alleys to incense-infused temples before catching up with the present in designer malls beneath sleek skyscrapers. The ghosts of the past live on in buildings that one generation ago witnessed a city in turmoil, but the real beauty of (erstwhile) Saigon’s urban collage is the the seamless blending of these two worlds into one thrilling, seething mass, while a host of new and exhilarating tours get you way off-the-beaten track.
When the best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City
The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is in the dry season. The region has a tropical climate of the two distinctive seasons. Firstly, dry and then it experiences the wet. It is suggested that visitors should visit the place during the dry seasons so that they can enjoy the fullest. The climate starts from December and it continues to be the same till April. This is known to be the hottest of the year with the average temperature of 28°C (82°F). It may even reach up to 39°C (102°F) in the noon and it is usually found in the late April. But, in the December the temperature may fall to 16°C (61°F) in the morning.
Getting There & Away
Ho Chi Minh City is served by Tan Son Nhat International Airport. The following airlines all fly domestically from HCMC:
– Vietnam Airlines
– Air Mekong
– Jetstar Pacific Airline
Please contact us to book flight ticket.
Car & Motorbike
Travel agencies, hotels and tourist cafes all rent cars (with drivers) and motorbikes. Many expats swear that motorbike rental is the fastest and easiest way to get around the city – or to the hospital, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Note that your travel insurance may not offer cover, so check beforehand as things could get expensive and troublesome in the event of an accident. Even if you’re an experienced biker, make sure you’ve spent some time observing traffic patterns before venturing forth. A 100cc motorbike can be rented for US$7 to US$10 per day, including some sort of helmet, and your passport may be kept as collateral. Before renting one, make sure it’s in good working order.
Saigon Scooter Centre is a reliable source for restored classic Vespa scooters, new scooters and trail bikes. Daily rates start from US$10, with a minimum rental period of four days. For an extra fee it is possible to arrange a one-way service, with a pick-up of the bikes anywhere between HCMC and Hanoi.
Intercity buses operate from three large stations on the city outskirts, all well served by local bus services from Ben Thanh Market. HCMC is one place where the open-tour buses really come into their own, as they depart and arrive in the very convenient Pham Ngu Lao area, saving the extra local bus journey or taxi fare.
Mien Tay bus station serves all areas south of HCMC, essentially the Mekong Delta. This huge station is about 10km west of HCMC in An Lac, a part of Binh Chanh district (Huyen Binh Chanh).
Buses to locations north of HCMC leave from the huge and busy Mien Dong bus station in Binh Thanh district, about 5km from central HCMC on Hwy 13
Buses to Tay Ninh, Cu Chi and points northwest of HCMC depart from An Suong bus station in District 12.
Plenty of international bus services connect HCMC and Cambodia, most with departures from the Pham Ngu Lao area.
All of these tickets can be booked at the station or at our office.
Trains from Saigon train station head north to various destinations:
Nha Trang (6½ to nine hours, six daily)
Danang (15½ to 20¾ hours, five daily)
Hue (18 to 24½ hours, five daily)
Hanoi (30 to 41 hours, four daily)
In Pham Ngu Lao, purchase tickets from Hoa Xa Agency or from most travel agents for a small fee.
All of these tickets can be booked at the station or at our office.
Metered taxis cruise the streets, but it is worth calling ahead if you are off the beaten path. The flag fall is around 15,000d for the first kilometer; expect to pay around 20,000d (US$1) from Dong Khoi to Pham Ngu Lao. Be wary of dodgy taxi meters, rigged to jump quickly.
Mai Linh Taxi and Vinasun Taxi are HCMC’s most highly regarded taxi companies.
A bicycle can be a useful (if sometimes scary) way to get around the city. Bikes can be rented from several outlets, including hotels, cafes and travel agencies.
Sights & Activities
Surrounded by Royal Palm trees, the dissonant 1960s architecture of this government building and the eerie mood that accompanies a walk through its deserted halls make it one of the most intriguing spectacles in HCMC. The building is deeply associated with the fall of Saigon in 1975, yet it’s the overblown kitsch detailing and period motifs that steal the show.
Jade Emperor Pagoda
Built in 1909 in honour of the supreme Taoist god (the Jade Emperor or King of Heaven, Ngoc Hoang), this is one of the most spectacularly atmospheric temples in HCMC, stuffed with statues of phantasmal divinities and grotesque heroes. The pungent smoke of incense (huong) fills the air, obscuring the exquisite woodcarvings.
Its roof encrusted with elaborate tile work, the temple’s statues, depicting characters from both Buddhist and Taoist lore, are made from reinforced papier mâché. Inside the main building are two especially fierce and menacing Taoist figures. On the right (as you face the altar) is a 4m-high statue of the general who defeated the Green Dragon (depicted underfoot). On the left is the general who defeated the White Tiger, which is also being stepped on.
War Remnants Museum
Once known as the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes, the War Remnants Museum is consistently popular with Western tourists. Few museums anywhere drive home so effectively the brutality of war and its many civilian victims. Many of the atrocities documented here were well publicised but rarely do Westerners get to hear the victims of US military action tell their own stories.
Fine Arts Museum
As well as contemporary art, much of it (unsurprisingly) inspired by war, the museum displays historical pieces dating back to the 4th century. These include elegant Funan-era sculptures of Vishnu, the Buddha and other revered figures (carved in both wood and stone), and Cham art dating from the 7th to the 14th century.
More statuary is scattered around the grounds and in the central courtyard (accessed from the rear of the building). There’s a selection of lovely prints for sale at the shop, costing from around 80,000d. Building No 2 alongside hosts lesser known works and stages exhibitions.
Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda
Delightfully fronted by greenery and opening to an interior blaze of red, gold, green and yellow, this is one of the most beautifully ornamented temples in town, dating from 1902. Of special interest are the elaborate brass ritual ornaments and weapons and the fine woodcarvings on the altars, walls, columns, hanging lanterns and incense coils.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Built between 1877 and 1883, Notre Dame Cathedral rises up romantically from the heart of HCMC’s government quarter, facing Ð Dong Khoi. A brick, neo-Romanesque church with two 40m-high square towers tipped with iron spires, the Catholic cathedral is named after the Virgin Mary. The walls of the interior are inlaid with devotional tablets and some stained glass survives. English-speaking staffs dispense tourist information from 9am to 11am Monday to Saturday. If the front gates are locked, try the door on the side of the building that faces Reunification Palace.
Binh Tay Market
Cholon’s main market has a great clock tower and a central courtyard with gardens. Much of the business here is wholesale but it’s popular with tour groups. The market was originally built by the French in the 1880s; Guangdong-born philanthropist Quach Dam paid for its rebuilding and was commemorated by a statue that is now in the Fine Arts Museum.
Built in 1929 by the Society des Etudes Indochinese, this notable Sino-French museum houses a rewarding collection of artifacts illustrating the evolution of the cultures of Vietnam, from the Bronze Age Dong Son civilization (which emerged in 2000 BC) and the Funan civilization (1st to 6th centuries AD), to the Cham, Khmer and Vietnamese.
Central Post Office
Right across the way from Notre Dame Cathedral, HCMC’s striking French post office is a period classic, designed by Gustave Eiffel and built between 1886 and 1891. Painted on the walls of its grand concourse are fascinating historic maps of South Vietnam, Saigon and Cholon, while a mosaic of Ho Chi Minh takes pride of place at the end of its barrel-vaulted hall.
Giac Lam Pagoda
Believed to be the oldest temple in HCMC (1744), Giac Lam is a fantastically atmospheric place set in peaceful, garden-like grounds.
Like many Vietnamese Buddhist temples, aspects of both Taoism and Confucianism can be found. For the sick and elderly, the pagoda is a minor pilgrimage sight, as it contains a bronze bell that, when rung, is believed to answer the prayers posted by petitioners.
Although Hanoi might think of itself as more cultured, HCMC is the culinary heavy-weight of Vietnam. Restaurants here range from dirt-cheap sidewalk stalls to atmospheric villas, each adding a unique twist to traditional Vietnamese flavors.
– Baba’s Kitchen: 164 Bui Vien Street; Worth going out of your way to secure a table, two-storey Baba’s has set Bui Vien alight with its fine flavors, aromas and spices of India.
– Cuc Gach Quan: 10 Dang Tat Street
– Ocean Palace : 2 Le Duan Street
– Pat a Chou: 74 Hai Ba Trung; French-style bakery treats.
– May: 3/5 Hoang Sa; Tucked away down a small alley in an old French villa and overseen by endlessly obliging staff, sublime May is a sensory and culinary sensation, with diners testifying to some of the best Vietnamese food in town, if not the entire country. MSG-free.
– Eon51: 51st floors, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Ɖ Hai Trieu; Elevate yourself away from the hectic whirl at street level high up on the 51st floor of HCMC’s tallest tower for a sure-fire combination of supreme food, tantalizing views, impeccable service and stylish ambience.
Sports and nature1. Ben Thanh Market The Cho Benh Thanh market is just beside our hotel, the Liberty Central. So every day if we have free time, we would kill our time in here. We found this market interesting, as well as other markets in every country we visited. This market is huge, hot, humid, with so many vendors and stores you can imagine, selling everything from clothing, foods, drinks, souvenirs, coffee, tea, handicrafts, bags, snacks, daily necessities etc. It reminds us of Chatujak weekend market in Thailand, but in an indoor building, not in an open area. Compared to other markets we have been visited; found that prices in Cho Benh Thanh market were quite high. Go round the market during your first hours of your visit; gather as much information about prices of stuffs you want to buy, so you will know roughly how much for a reasonable price. Start your bargain about 50-60 percent of the offered price, if they won’t sell you the stuff you can walk away nicely, and bargain further up a bit at other shops. Things tend to repeat itself here, so there should not any problem for you to find the same stuff at other shops. Almost all vendors and sellers here, understands simple English, or they will show you a calculator for you to input the price you wanted. Opening hours is from 5.00 am to 6.00 pm. On 5.00-6.00 am you can visit the wet market within the main market, so you can see the livestock, like fishes, eels, pork, shrimps, and frogs and so on. If your time is short and cannot visit the market during morning, daytime or afternoon, you can always visit the Ben Thanh Night Market. This market flanks the 2 sides of the Benh Thanh Building; vendors will sell their stuffs here after the main building closed. Nice atmosphere, worth a visit! 2. War Remnants Museum Visited the War Remnants Museum after went to the Reunification Palace, as a part of Ho Chi Minh City tour. The War Remnants Museum (Vietnamese: Bảo tàng chứng tích chiến tranh) is located at 28 Vo Van Tan, in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The exhibits inside and outside are primarily from the American -Vietnam stage of war. Entry fee 15.000 Dong, Opening hours 7.30am-noon & 1.30-5pm. Time sure flies when we're at this museum, glad that we came early, but it’s still not enough time to see it all, until we were told to get out on 12.00 noon, when the siren rings. This Museum, once known as the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes, the War Remnants Museum is consistently popular with Western tourists. Few museums anywhere drive home so effectively the brutality of war and its many civilian victims. Many of the atrocities documented here were well publicized but rarely do Westerners get to hear the victims of US military action tell their own stories. While the displays are one-sided, many of the most disturbing photographs illustrating US atrocities are from US sources, including those of the infamous My Lai Massacre. US armored vehicles, artillery pieces, bombs and infantry weapons are on display outside. One corner of the grounds is devoted to the notorious French and South Vietnamese prisons on Phu Quoc and Con Son Islands. Artifacts include that most iconic of French appliances, the guillotine, and the notoriously inhumane ‘tiger cages’ used to house Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communists; VC) prisoners. The ground floor of the museum is devoted to a collection of posters and photographs showing support for the antiwar movement internationally. This somewhat upbeat display provides a counterbalance to the horrors upstairs. Even those who supported the war are likely to be horrified by the photos of children affected by US bombing and napalming. You’ll also have the rare chance to see some of the experimental weapons used in the war, which were at one time military secrets, such as the flechette, an artillery shell filled with thousands of tiny darts. Upstairs, look out for the Requiem Exhibition. Compiled by legendary war photographer Tim Page, this striking collection documents the work of photographers killed during the course of the conflict, on both sides, and includes works by Larry Burrows and Robert Capa. The War Remnants Museum is in the former US Information Service building. Captions are in Vietnamese and English. This Museum told us the true story behind the war, a difference between ideologies, at least in the Vietnamese point of view, this war or any war in this planet, should not happen again. 3. Bonsai Saigon River cruise and Dinner The captain will welcome you aboard and introduce you to the specialties, both European and Asian, which have made this Ho Chi Minh City dinner cruise a must-do culinary experience while in Vietnam. On board, you would be able to relax on the upper deck and enjoy the panoramic view of the city lights or to admire this lacquered, wooden boat while cruising along the river. Enter the replica of the emperors’ dragon boat “Bonsai” for a magnificent and memorable dining and entertainment spectacle on the Saigon River. European and Asian Buffet plus grill made by executive chefs and show-cooks at their best. Music is made by an in-house orchestra “Hoa Mai” or Filipino band for upper deck — chills out and get surprised. For dinner, you can select from a range of traditional dishes, including rice flower pancakes 'Banh xeo', shrimp paste on sugar can, lotus salad 'Goi ngo sen' or pork pineapple skewers made on the BBG grill. A delicious dessert will end this unforgettable evening on the waterways, before getting back to the dock after saying goodbye to our hospitable hosts. The German Owner will also sing and dance with you while on board. A truly memorable evening. . 4. Reunification Palace The first palace on the site of the Reunification Palace was the Norodom Palace built in 1871. It was the French Governor General’s headquarter and palace, but was destroyed by bombs in 1962. The current Reunification Palace (also known under its old name Independence Palace) was completed in 1966 after 3 years of construction, and is the former Presidential Palace of South Vietnam. It was here on April 30, 1975, tanks from the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gate and ended the war, and a replica of one of the tanks is located on the lawn outside the Palace. The visit to the Reunification Palace was very interesting and it was like a time travel back to the 1970s. Things were left largely untouched from the day before Saigon fell to North Vietnam, and you were free to walk around in the Palace. See the conference room, the recreation room, the receiving room, and more. In the basement you’ll find the war rooms - full of 1970s phones, radios, office equipment, and maps – and a shooting range. From the balcony is a nice view of the surrounding park. Tours are available (in English, French, Chinese and Japanese) and are free - but not necessary... 5. Out of Saigon - Cu Chi Tunnels The war was ended for a long time, but on annual occasion of 30th April, the whole country recalls the tenacious battle and hardships of the Vietnamese Revolution. On occasion of a long holiday: 30th April, 1st May and King Hung death anniversary, it is quite interesting and meaningful to see the true history that is clearly reproduced. The Cu Chi tunnel is located on the Northwest direction, about 70 km from Ho Chi Minh City. It was built in 1940s during the war against French colonial. The system of tunnel includes a lot of rooms, kitchens, clinics, stores, etc. which were used by Vietnamese communists to implement campaigns against foreign enemies. Today, the Cu Chi tunnel is a tourist attraction for both domestic and foreign tourists, for those who are interested in discovering strange and unique places and country history. The length of Cu Chi tunnel is about 200 km, some parts are narrow and dark. Foreign tourists have voted it as one of strangest destinations in Southeast Asia. Means of Transport to Cu Chi Tunnel There are two common ways to Cu Chi tunnel: one by motorbike and the other by bus. If you choose travel by motorbike, there are two roads to go: one along highway 13 and the other along highway 22. If going along highway 22 to Cu Chi overpass bridge, and then turn right to Binh Duong (follow the red arrow in the bellow picture) If going along highway 13 to Thu Dau Mot town of Binh Duong, over Phu Cuong Bridge to Cu Chi (follow the red arrow in the bellow picture) The map guides to travel Cu Chi by motorbike It is much simple to travel by bus. Just go to Ben Thanh market, take bus number 13 to Cu Chi tunnel. In addition, for those who are not familiar to the route here can hire a taxi motorbikes or taxi depending on your budget. When Should Go To Cu Chi Tunnel? It is not far from the city, you can complete the trip to Cu Chi in one day. But on occasion of 30th April and 1st May, there are surely a lot of tourists coming here; hence, you should begin your trip early, about at 6 am to avoid overload status. And of course, in a long holiday, you do not need to visit the tunnel on 30th April, you should select one of six days to make you short-time trip. The Cu Chi tunnel is one of 10 most spectacular constructions in the world. Accommodation Normally, tourists from Saigon to Cu Chi come back in day. But for those who are far from there want to stay more to visit other destinations or Saigon tourists want to enjoy overnight atmosphere in suburban area, they can rent a hotel right on the highway 15, near the tourism area Cu Chi tunnel. The hotel price is quite affordable, from 150,000 VND- 300,000 VND/ night. Places to Visit and Entertainment Go through the Cu Chi tunnel There are two tunnels in Cu Chi: Ben Duoc tunnel in Phu My Hung commune and Ben Dinh tunnel in Nhuan Duc commune, but normally Ben Dinh tunnel is used for foreign tourists and the counterpart is used for Vietnamese people. There are two tunnels in Cu Chi: Ben Duoc tunnel and Ben Dinh tunnel Visiting the Cu Chi tunnel on 30th April is a wonderful idea which helps us recall the hardships of the war against American enemy in the last century. The Cu Chi tunnel is a second-to-none wonder of 200 km long. It runs windingly underground and made by simple tools such as mattock, etc. but it matched basic amenities for a shell such as working tables, beds, stores, kitchens, clinics, etc. After going through the tunnel, you will have a chance to enjoy the dish boiled cassava served with roasted tofu salt- the specialty of Cu Chi. The cassava roots are boiled by Hoang Cau fireplace which is smoke free and avoids the enemy’s notice. Hence, on 30th April, you will have chances to experience historical moments at Cu Chi, very interesting and memorable. Play Paintball Shooting After going through the tunnel and relax your mind from the dark and lack of oxygen underground, tourists can play paintball shooting. To play this sport, it requires enough members and then divided into two teams; hence if the number of tourists is not enough, you cannot play this game. Cycling and swimming Right in the Cu Chi Tunnel, you can hire bikes to go around. You can both ride bike and behold the pure atmosphere here. Or tourists can swim to enjoy the cool water under the intensive sunlight of summer. Visit the Animal Rescue Center After experiencing all forms of visiting and entertainment, if you still have time, you could visit the animal rescue center Cu Chi. Born in 2006, it is considered the biggest wild animal clinic of Southern region. However, if you plan to visit this place, you must make a phone call in advance; if not, you are able not to be welcomed by its staffs. What Food Should Enjoy In Cu Chi? Ending the trip, tourists usually add energy before coming back the city. And the specialty of Cu Chi is young beef meat, in which the store Xuan Dao Cu Chi beef meat becomes prestige and attractive for tourists. Apart from the beef dish, Cu Chi is also famous for rice cake rolled with pork meat and grilled dishes. Just go along the highway to Saigon, you will catch such these stores with reasonable price. You should not miss out the juice of sugarcane and durian at Vuon Cau store, about 3 km from Cu Chi tunnel. This is a delicious drink in Cu Chi. Buy Souvenirs in Cu Chi? Despite a short trip, you want to buy souvenirs; you can drop in on some souvenir shops in Cu Chi tourism area. Here are models of airplanes, oil lamps, lighters, etc. which are professionally created by artisans. Especially, almost these souvenirs cost less than 100,000 VND. Some other notes: After buying the entrance ticket, a video introducing Cu Chi tunnel will be played. If you visit the Cu Chi tunnel on occasion of 30th April, you should pay your attention to listen and understand historical events. The tunnel is quite dark and narrow; you should follow guides of tour guides for safe. Finally, this is a historical site where tour guides will wear military uniform and traditional hats; hence; you should wear politely to show your respect to such this historical monument. Above is all necessary information about Cu Chi tunnel, you can backpack to Cu Chi on holiday 30th April to understand more about the revolutionary history and the national pride. 6. Notre Dame Cathedral Architectural Masterpiece Notre Dame Cathedral – Saigon. Notre Dame Cathedral (also known as the Big Church, Basilica, and Cathedral) in Ho Chi Minh City is magnificent, beautiful, and stable in the center of the city and has always attracted many people. But over 124 years of existence, not many people knows what’s about this church. Seen from outside, the whole church from the roof to the wall is a red brick color. Features of such these bricks and tiles are to preserve its original color from the date of construction to now and against mildew. A number of broken tiles in the church have words Guichard Carvin, Marseille St André France, and another pieces with the words Wang – Tai Saigon. Maybe this is the pieces of tiles are produced later in Saigon used to replace broken tile pieces during the Second World War when as the priest Vuong Si Tuan, there were many glass windows broken. Inside the church is quite large, can accommodate 1,200 people, with two main rows of rectangular pillars, each side with 6 pillars (total 12 ones) which represents the 12 apostles. Right behind the two main rows of pillars is a corridor which has several cabins with small altars (about 20 altars). The altars and small statues are made of white stone and are sophisticated. On the walls are decorated with 56 glass windows describing characters or event in the Bible, 31 rose shapes, 25 glass multicolored windows with beautiful images. Unfortunately, there are only two original windows. Standing from the main altar of the church looking high above the main door, we will see a large wooden wall. That is called a “Organ shelve” and that wooden wall is the pipe organ, one of the two oldest the organs today, according to the priest Vuong Si Tuan, the organ was made and hand-tailored by foreign experts, to ensure enough sound for the whole church, not small but not noisy. It is estimated that the organ’s body is above 3m high, 4m wide, 2m long, containing aluminum tubes about an inch in diameter. Though several organs were installed in the cathedral over time, the earliest ones were inadequate for the building. The first more noted organ was finished in the 18th century by the noted builder François-Henri Clicquot. Some of Clicquot’s original pipework in the pedal division continues to sound from the organ today. The organ was almost completely rebuilt and expanded in the 19th century by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. The organ has 7,374 pipes, with 900 classified as historical. It has 110 real stops, five 56-key manuals and a 32-key pedal board. In December 1992, a two-year restoration of the organ was completed that fully computerized the organ under three LANs (Local Area Networks). The restoration also included a number of additions, notably two further horizontal reed stops en chamade in the Cavaille-Coll style. The Notre-Dame organ is therefore unique in France in having five fully independent reed stops en chamade. Inside the organ was similarly designed as the piano but is more complex. The organ also has big bars to hit the bottom of sound tubes which is somewhat similar playing k’long of Central Highlands. According to Mr. Nam Hai, who is in charge of church music, to play this organ, players must learn in private class because no school teaches this organ. Unfortunately, this organ has completely broken down due to lack of storage (due to termites eat manual key controller). Currently the church has a similar guitar but much smaller, valued at approximately $ 70,000, is relatively new. It was sent by a former French consul in Ho Chi Minh. Two sides of the organ is a void, which is bell tower. From this void looking up the roof of bell tower- more than 26m high. It is very high and there is only one a long narrow staircase leading to the bell. Around the middle of the small staircase is 15- meter height, with a small frame of mesh archway. Slip into that door, it is described with a lot of dust and bat droppings, a substantial part of the Notre Dame Cathedral clock appears. Clockwork is as big as a large wardrobe closet. To adjust the clock, behind the machine has a small clock. Just tracking this small clock, you can know the big one works well or not. The three largest bells: the Sol bell weighs 8.745kg, the Si bell weighs 3.150kg and the Re bell weighs 2.194kg. Total weight of the bell is nearly 30 tons; all were casted in France in 1879. Features of the church’s bells have its own distinct timbre. When building the church, the bell towers did not have roofs. In 1885, the architect Grades added the roofs to cover the bell towers with total height from ground of 57m. If travelling Ho Chi Minh City, tourists visit the Notre Dame Cathedral on weekends, holidays to find out more the beauty of religious culture, and experience more for yourselves. How to get there Of course, there should be no worry about how to get there as the route is easy and almost everyone can give tourists guidance. Entrance is free and visitors can attend masses easily at weekend. The cathedral’s address is No. 1 Cong truong Cong xa Paris St., right at the intersection of Pham Ngoc Thach St, Le Duan St and Cong xa Paris St. 7. Cho Binh Tay market in Chinatown The western part of Ho Chi Minh City is dominated by Cholon (Chinatown), a thickly settled district rife with teahouses and pagodas and the famous Binh Tay Market. Cholon spans across, and consists of, Districts 5 & 6 of Ho Chi Minh City. Incorporated in 1879 as a city 11 km from Saigon, it had expanded and became coterminous with Saigon by the 1930s. On April 27, 1931, the two cities were merged to form Saigon-Cholon by the French colonial government. By 1956, the name Cholon was dropped from the city name and the city was known primarily as Saigon. During the Vietnam War, soldiers and deserters from the United States Army maintianed a thriving black market at Cholon, trading in various American and especially army-issue items. Cholon is a sizable district bordered by Hung Vuong to the north, Nguyen Van Cu to the east, the Ben Nghe Chanel to the south, and Nguyen Thi Nho to the west. Cholon is the predominately Chinese district of Saigon and probably the largest Chinatown in the world. Cholon exists in many ways as a city quite apart from Saigon. The Chinese began to settle the area in the early 1900s and never quite assimilated with the rest of Saigon, which causes a bit of resentment among the greater Vietnamese community. You'll sense the different environment immediately, and not only because of the Chinese-language signs. Cholon is where you might have found dark, exotic opium dens and brothels in the French colonial time, the same opium dens and brothels that greeted American troops. Start with a motorbike or taxi ride to the Binh Tay Market, on Phan Van Khoe Street, which is even more crowded than Ben Thanh and has much the same goods, but with a Chinese flavor. From Binh Tay, head up to Nguyen Trai, the district's main artery, to see Thien Hau pagoda then Quan Am, on Lao Tu Street off Luong Nhu Hoc. Finally, as you follow Nguyen Trai Street past Ly Thuong Kiet, you'll see the Cholon Mosque, the one indication of Cholon's small Muslim community.
Culture and historyAt the conclusion of the Vietnam War on 30 April 1975, the city came under the control of the Vietnamese People's Army. Among Vietnamese diaspora communities and particularly the U.S. (which had fought the communists), this event is commonly called the "fall of Saigon", while the communist Socialist Republic of Vietnam refers to it as the "Liberation of Saigon". In 1976, upon the establishment of the unified communist Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the city of Saigon (including Cholon), the province of Gia Ðịnh and two suburban districts of two other nearby provinces were combined to create Ho Chi Minh City in honor of the late Communist leader Hồ Chí Minh. The former name Saigon is still widely used by many Vietnamese, especially in informal contexts. Generally, the term Saigon refers only to the urban districts of Ho Chi Minh City. Administrative divisions: - Districts: District 1, District 2, District 3, District 4, District 5, District 6, District 7, District 8, District 9, District 10, District 11, District 12, Tan Binh, Binh Thanh, Phu Nhuan, Thu Duc, Go Vap, Binh Tan,Tan Phu. - Rural districts: Nha Be, Can Gio, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, Binh Chanh. Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Khmer, Cham... In the core of the Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is second the most important in Vietnam after Hanoi. It is not only a commercial center but also a scientific, technological, industrial and tourist center. The city is bathed by many rivers, arroyos and canals, the biggest river being the Saigon River. The Port of Saigon, established in 1862, is accessible to ships weighing up to 30,000 tons, a rare advantage for an inland river port Fasten your seatbelts as Ho Chi Minh City is a metropolis on the move – and we’re not just talking about the motorbikes that throng the streets. Saigon, as it’s known to all but city officials, is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the whole country forward with its limitless energy. It is a living organism that breathes life and vitality into all who settle here, and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride. Saigon is a name so evocative that it conjures up a thousand jumbled images. Wander through timeless alleys to ancient pagodas or teeming markets, past ramshackle wooden shops selling silk, spices and baskets, before fast-forwarding into the future beneath sleek skyscrapers or at designer malls, gourmet restaurants and minimalist bars. The ghosts of the past live on in the churches, temples, former GI hotels and government buildings that one generation ago witnessed a city in turmoil, but the real beauty of Saigon’s urban collage is that these two worlds blend so seamlessly into one. Whether you want the finest hotels or the cheapest guesthouses, the classiest restaurants or the most humble street stalls, the designer boutiques or the scrum of the markets, Saigon has it all. The Saigon experience is about so many things – memorable conversations, tantalizing tastes and moments of frustration – yet it will not evoke apathy. Stick around this conundrum of a city long enough and you may just unravel its mysteries.