On a recent much-awaited trip to Ho Chi Minh, we happened to stay at The Reverie Saigon. In addition to the lavish experience we cherished at the luxury hotel, we enjoyed its central location in District 1 of the city. To most of us, Ho Chi Minh (better known as Saigon), may be a city filled with past tales of war and bloodshed but to the Vietnamese, it’s a haven of culture and history.
The southern Vietnamese city is known to the global community for its Notre-Dame Cathedral and the 19th-century Central Post Office. In addition to its rich tradition, we also had the opportunity to experience a plethora of culinary delicacies the city has to offer, especially around bustling Bến Thành Market.
Undoubtedly so, it’s the ideal time to visit the city of Ho Chi Minh with its warm and dynamic character. Thankfully for our readers, the concierge of The Reverie Saigon has compiled an insider’s guide into the city. Ranging from the most gorgeous view and delicious meal to the most scenic day trip and best-kept cultural secret, we’ve got it all.
Top Day Trip
If you’re an avid scenic admirer, a ride along the Mekong Delta is just what the tourist guide ordered. Les Rives, a luxury speedboat tour company has compiled day-trips along the picturesque Saigon River and up the Mekong Delta to explore its maze of canals. Unquestionably so, its the ideal way to discover the river-based economies and small-village life, given how its inaccessible by other modes of transport. And yes, if you have an evening to spare, their sunset river cruises as well as the tours that take you by river to the famed Cu Chi Tunnels are some of the most popular.
Phở, phở, phở! If you are a food connoisseur, your trip will be incomplete without savouring the local rice noodle soup (made with either beef or chicken, usually, along with herbs, bean sprouts, a slice of lemon and a sprinkle of chilli) Don’t worry, it’s actually available throughout the city in almost every other street-side eatery you walk by. If you are a beef-fan, you can experience a more ‘luxe’ version of the soup that’s made with premium Wagyu beef.
Best Restaurant for a Special Occasion
If you happen to be in the city during your birthday or anniversary, the historic Vietnam House on chic Dhong Khoi Street is your go-to with their private dining rooms! It is possibly on every other list as the hottest dining destination in town, primarily due to the Australian-born Vietnamese celebrity chef Luke Nguyen on board. Imagine an interesting fusion between traditional Vietnamese cuisine inculcated with modern culinary techniques and concepts. Their versions of incorporating lobster into Vietnamese fried spring rolls, and salmon into soft rice paper rolls are much recommended.
Best Excursion in Town
Dying to tour the city in style? Vespa Adventure’s 4.5 hours introduction to Saigon is perhaps un-missable. From the city’s most popular districts to its food-centric spots, the tour takes you through the city on a chauffeured vintage Vespa. Make stops along the way at a local café, a couple of street-side eateries that serve up fresh seafood and the ever-popular bahn xeo, as well as a live-music venue.
If you’re a compassionate admirer of that gorgeous sunset, without blinking an eyelid stay at The Reverie Saigon. It’s an absolute no-brainer considering it is the highest hotel in the city – so it is the best way to view both the winding Saigon River and the sprawling city skyline. Oh and chauffeured driven limousine doesn’t excite you enough? Then arrive by helicopter straight on to the hotel’s own helipad.
Best-Kept Cultural Secret
An art-centric tour is offered by Sophie’s Art Tour for the artsy lot. Get inspired by fascinatingly rich, cultural insights from an art perspective that people otherwise probably wouldn’t imagine they could get in Ho Chi Minh City.
Best Local Shopping
Saigon boasts an abundance of locally produced products! The intriguing and innovative concept store is undoubtedly L’Usine, which is based in two locations in District 1. Truth to be told, it is actually a cosmopolitan-café-cum-concept-store in-one. The menu doesn’t disappoint and its retail area entails fascinating take-home items such as a version of Monopoly mapped out based on historic Saigon, interesting coffee table books on Vietnam, and products by premium local brands Marou (chocolate) and Indochine (candles, essential oils, hand locations, etc.).
Another our of our favourites is Sadec District, a sleek new store featuring beautifully handcrafted housewares and textiles made along the Mekong Delta. This one’s a must-visit, even if only to browse its colourful, eye-catching wares.
Where: The Reverie Saigon (A member of the Leading Hotels of the World)
22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Ben Nghe Ward,
District 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 28 3823 6688