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Southern Vietnam: Top 10 Must See & Do

December 30, 2023 - 2097 views

Southern Vietnam, renowned for its fat soils, liberal spirit of citizens, is a beautiful tourist spot that you can't miss on the road of exploring Vietnam. There are a variety of things to do and a number of places to visit in this area. This post recommends ten destinations in South Vietnam that will certainly bring enduring memories.

Where is Southern Vietnam 

Apart from the boundary with Cambodia, which stretches northeast from Gulf of Thailand, Southern Vietnam is surrounded by an ocean in all directions. It is split into two sub-regions, Southeast and Mekong Delta, the lowest portion of Vietnam. In addition, Southern Vietnam comprises 2 regional districts, 17 of which are provinces and 2 area municipalities. The wealthiest and most urbanized of three regions, it’s governed by Ho Chi Minh City, a massive metropolis home to more than ten million residents.

South Vietnam Maps

South Vietnam Maps

Must-see places in South Vietnam

1. Cu Chi Tunnel

  • Open daily:  9am - 5pm

Cu Chi tunnels became legendary in the 1960s. Its network, part of which was several storeys tall, contained various trapdoors, designed living spaces, storage warehouses, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centres and kitchens. Nowadays, after war, tunnels have been preserved and turned into a large war memorial complex. This complex consists of two major display sites in Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc. Ben Duoc site includes part of initial tunnel infrastructure, while Ben Dinh site incorporates tunnel reconstructions that give an accurate idea of how tunnels had to be used.

You can visit this place by joining half day Cu Chi Tunnel tour normally starts from 8:00 AM until 12:00 included transfer, entrance fees, English speaking guide.

Cu Chi Tunnel

Try to hide yourself in Cu Chi Tunnel

2. China Town

Looking for a rich-cultural town in the centre of a busy area, Saigon Chinatown has everything you need. Dating back to the 1970s, Saigon Chinatown was a centre of trade created by an influx of Chinese immigrants. Often known as Cholon ("huge market"), Saigon Chinatown spreads to many parts of Ho Chi Minh, such as District 5, District 6, District 10 and part of District 11.  Today, these traditional values are still maintained in architecture reminiscent of Chinese lifestyles. Along the streets, you can see a lot of pagodas, temples, and Chinese-style houses, together with eye-catching restaurants.

China Town Ho Chi Minh

A pagoda in China Town Ho Chi Minh

3. Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market is right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh District. Its root was a wet market produced by street vendors at the beginning of 17th century, Ben Thanh endured many ups and downs over the past, and is now the oldest market and one of statues of Ho Chi Minh City. The market was established by French colonial government after takeover of Thanh Gia Dinh in 1859. More than a place to go shopping, this market is both an architectural landmark, a centre of local Vietnamese life and trade, and a meeting spot all wrapped into one.

What can be found here: Vendors and food stalls in the food market area that sell guests freshly cooked dishes such as banh xeo, banh cuon, banh beo, cha gio, hu tiu…; Variety of eye-catching local handicrafts, souvenirs, clothing items and dry foods.

Travel tips: Price here is often increased up to two or three times the original price. Therefore, one can go to at least three or four stalls to compare the prices, to see how cheap you can bargain the product down. Another tip is to go shopping on the market before 8 am for a "morning price" that is a little cheaper than average for the same good.

Ben Thanh market at night

Ben Thanh market at night

4. Cai Rang Floating Market

Hundreds of boats gathered here from dawn to noon make the region incredibly animated and the water surface vivid with various tropical fruits. Most of the boats here are filled with a lot of farm products and specialities from Cai Rang floating market, Chau Thanh District and the surrounding areas such as tomatoes, coconut, banana, melon, grapefruit, dragon fruit and so on. Each boat has a long upright pole with examples of goods for sale hanging on so that the vendors do not have to cry out for what they are selling, and customers can clearly see from a distance good sold on that boat.

Best time to visit: At dawn, around 5 a.m. to capture the most lively landscape and enjoy the most animated atmosphere

Cai Rang Floating Market

Cai Rang Floating Market

5. Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta is classified as top 10 destinations to visit in Vietnam. The field has a total area of 40,518.5 square kilometres, including 13 provinces in southern Vietnam: Giang, Bac Lieu, Ben Tre, Ca Mau, Can Tho, Dong Thap, Hau Giang, Kien Giang, Long An, Soc Trang, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh and Vinh Long. Inherited by rich sediment from several large rivers (2 main rivers – Tien River and Hau River), Mekong Delta has a complex ecosystem and stunning landscape. 

The most special thing to do in this region is to visit floating markets by boat. Small wooden boats, filled with fresh produce of every hue, gather at break of day to begin trade. The cultures that emerged from banks of these rivers have made their own life special following the ebb and flow of the mighty Mekong.

Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta

You might want to discover more places to visit in South Vietnam 

 

Top things to do in Southern Vietnam

6. Taste Saigon local street food

Vietnam is renowned for its street food and zigzag through its crowded roads shows a line-up of some of the country's most popular culinary dishes – stalls on the corner sell herb-dunked pho, crusty pork and pate-slated banh mi rolls and bun cha patties.

Must-try street food: 

  • Banh Mi - A mixture of roast pork, rich pate, cucumbers, pickles, chili, coriander, then some soy (Price: $0.5 – $1)
  • Banh Cuon - Steamed rice crepes filled with wood ear mushrooms and ground pork, then dip into a sweet fish sauce (Price: $1 – $1.5)
  • Bun Thit Nuong - Mixture of noodles, barbecued pork, crunchy spring roll, fresh lettuce, herbs, pickles, cucumber and fish sauce (Price: $1.5 – $2)
  • Bot Chien - Rice flour cakes are cut into chunky squares and then fried with whipped eggs and green onions in a large flat pan served with sweet rice vinegar and some shredded pickled young papaya (Price: $0.5 – $1),...

To learn more please join our Saigon Street food at night by motorbike which provides you with a real local experience.

Taste Saigon local street food

Taste Saigon local street food

7. Boat ride in Mekong Delta

Along the way, a boat ride takes you deeper into palm forest of Mekong Delta to see more of typical rural life of this fascinating region and also visit nearby farms and homes to understand how people live around the canal. Besides, you're going to have a chance to see Vinh Trang Pagoda. And then, take a motorboat to reach My Tho town across the natural canal of Bao Dinh, take a leisurely cruise up Tien River to see four marvellous islands known as Dragon, Unicorn, Phoenix and Tortoise.

Finding a best Mekong Delta boat ride tours at BestPrice Travel.

Boat ride in Mekong Delta

Boat ride in Mekong Delta

8. Relax yourself in Phu Quoc Beach

In fact, Phu Quoc Island is home to some of the best beaches in Vietnam. The seawater in Phu Quoc is exceptionally clean and fresh, with flawless white sand and swinging coconut trees, making everyone visiting the island unforgettable. Bai Dai (Long Beach) is one of the 10 wildest and most scenic beaches in the world voted by international magazines to relax. In addition, Ganh Dau is a 500-metre-long beach in an arch-shaped with clear water and fine white sand, tiny waves-an ideal holiday destination. Therefore, with its wild natural beauty, Phu Quoc is great for honeymooners, people who want relaxed holidays on the beach, or lovers of nature discovery.

relax at Phu Quoc Beach

Relax at Phu Quoc Beach

9. Have drink at Bitexco tower and overlook through Saigon

Coming to Bitexco Financial Tower, you'll have a chance to immerse yourself in amazing views and fascinating activities. This is because Bitexco is a sparkling gem with distinctive architecture, offering a wide variety of entertainment centres, shopping centres, restaurants and bars. Notably, on the 51st floor, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and see an overview of the city, full of bright lights and a busy atmosphere.

Have drink at Bitexco towner with panoramic view to HCM City

Have drink at Bitexco towner with panoramic view to HCM City

10. Try 100m underground tunnels in Cu Chi

The highlight of Cu Chi is heading into 100m tunnel. It's a wonderful opportunity that everybody can at least try until you have some medical issues. The tunnel grows narrower for the last 10m, and you will need to crawl on your hands and knees, thus, living one day in a place used to be a serious battlefield; one day of soldiers will help you understand more about years of suffering and intense struggles that have not been able to pull down the stone hearts packed with partition of people that have made history.

Try 100m underground tunnels in Cu Chi

Try 100m underground tunnels in Cu Chi

Recommended South Vietnam Itinerary

To explore all highlight of South Vietnam, it takes you mostly 4 - 8 days. I will recommend you the best of South Vietnam 5 days itinerary below: 

Highlights:

  • Discover bustling area of Indochina known as Saigon or Ho Chi Minh 
  • Get inside Cu Chi tunnels and see what remains of Vietnam War and read more about this tragic period of history
  • Explore vast Mekong Delta sailing through complex rivers to explore lively and colourful markets, gorgeous scenery and meet locals

Day 1: Arrival & relax

Your arrival day should relax after long flight, at night you can walk around and see Saigon by yourown.

Day 2: Full-day Ho Chi Minh City Tour

The secondary you should do city tour to have overview understand how it is. You will pass through some tourist points, markets to learn about local traditions and culture.

Day 3: Visit Cu Chi and Cao Dai temple

The next day you should do surround Ho Chi Minh and visit 2 famous point Cu Chi & Cao Dai Temple. Cu Chi will provide you an understanding about Vietnamese war. Cao Dai temple show you a new religion only available in Mekong Delta.

Day 4: Mekong Delta

Coming to south Vietnam, Mekong delta is not missed destination. And a day trip from Ho Chi Minh city to Mekong delta is popular one for whom don't have much time to visit Vietnam but still want to see this location.

Day 5: Departure

After 5 days in Ho Chi Minh you will have a general view of south Vietnam. The last day should be your free day to go shopping and buy some souvenir for your relatives and friends.

Hope the above 10 must-sees & do in South VietNam 2021 are useful for your journey. If you need to know more information about South Vietnam tours, don't hesitate to contact us.

You might also want to learn about North Vietnam.

Minh Tam

Image source: BestPrice & Canvas

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