Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Sai Gon
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Sai Gon is a cathedral located in the downtown of Sai Gon. Established by French colonists who initially named it Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Sai Gon, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. Aside from its status as one of the Sai Gon's most prominent attractions, Dame Cathedral still serves as a religious institution for the local population.
Sai Gon Central Post Office
Ho Chi Minh City Post Office or the Sai Gon Central Post Office is a post office in the downtown Ho Chi Minh City, near Notre-Dame Cathedral. The building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century. It counts with Gothic, Renaissance and French influences. It was constructed between 1886-1891 and is now a tourist attraction.
Although the experience is a fascinating glimpse into history, the fact that this is still a functioning post office makes the experience even sweeter. There are two wings branching out from the main office, selling souvenirs, postcards and lacquerware but the prices are inflated and the same products can probably be found elsewhere for a better price.
Sai Gon City Hall
It was built in 1902 in a French colonial style. Beautiful by day, stunning by night, Sai Gon City Hall is another excellent example of French colonial architecture in Ho Chi Minh City. The building was originally called Hotel de Ville de Saigon. Since 1975, the building has been the headquarters of the Peoples Committee in Ho Chi Minh City and is unfortunately not opened to the general public. Only civil servants and cleaners are allowed.
The building was designed by a French architect. It has a main hall, rectangular wings and manicured trees decorate the facade. The famous bell tower, a feature common to many European town halls, sits on top on a pyramid-like pedestal and imparts style and elegance to the structure.
Sai Gon Opera House
The Municipal Theatre, otherwise known as the Saigon Opera House is also an example of French colonial architecture in Vietnam. The surrounding area could be in one of Europe’s finest cities were it not for the usual crazy traffic on the surrounding streets. The Municipal Theatre was originally built to entertain Saigon’s burgeoning middle class in French Colonial times. A number of French Architects were involved with the creation of the original building that was completed in 1897.
Unless you are attending a performance of some sort you can’t get very far into the building but that shouldn’t be an issue if you really want to get inside. The Municipal Theatre hosts the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera and therefore a variety of traditional and classical performances are staged there. These include plays, concerts, ballets, opera, and Vietnamese traditional dances.
Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is a large marketplace in central. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Sai Gon and also an important symbol of this city popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, áo dài, souvenirs, as well as local cuisine.
Thuong Tho Palace
Built in the 1860s, Thuong Tho Palace is now the headquarters of the Department of Information and Communication and the Department of Industry and Trade. In the 1860s the French put up Thuong Tho Palace, which was at the time only second to what is known as Independence Palace in importance, later utilized as offices by the colonial and former South Vietnam administrations before 1975.
Hotel Continental Sai Gon
It was named after the Hotel Continental in Paris and is located in District 1, the central business district of the city. The hotel is situated on Dong Khoi Street by the Sai Gon Opera House and was built in 1880 during the French colonial period. The hotel has undergone refurbishments over the years, while still maintaining the essence of its original architecture and style.