Saigon walking tour starts at the Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market

In a previous post I said that Saigon’s Ben Thanh Market is the best place to start a tour of the city.    

I forgot to mention that the market is the best place to start a walking tour of Saigon.    

The kind of walking tour described in this post focuses on the French colonial buildings in the city.    

French architecture in Vietnamese city    

Saigon City Hall, the park and the Ho Chi Minh statue

If you’re facing the Ben Thanh Market, turn right so that you’re walking east along the tree-lined Le Loi Street.    

At the point where that street meets Nguyen Hue Street, you will see the Saigon City Hall and a park, which has a statue of Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh.    

Saigon City Hall at night

On your left is Rex Hotel, if you’re at the park and facing the Saigon City Hall.    

Rex Hotel

At the end of Le Loi Street is the Saigon Opera House or Municipal Theater.    

I find the color of its roof interesting:    

Saigon Opera House in April 2008 (left) and in November 2008 (right)

If you’re facing the Saigon Opera House, turn left onto Dong Khoi Street.  

Follow the street until you reach the Notre Dame Cathedral, which shows that religion is tolerated in Communist Vietnam.    

Once you’re in front of the church, it’s hard to miss the Saigon Central Post Office.    

Saigon Central Post Office
Notre Dame Cathedral (left) and Diamond Plaza (right)

You’ll also see the towering Diamond Plaza. Just cross Le Duan Street and you’ll get there.    

You can end the walking tour there and do some shopping or enjoy a bowl of the Vietnamese noodle soup Pho.    

Or you can visit other places in the capital city of the former South Vietnam.   

It all depends on your schedule and the weather.   

Vietnam War    

Independence Palace

If you’re facing Diamond Plaza, turn left so that you’re walking west along Le Duan Street.  

At the end of that street you’ll see the Independence Palace or Reunification Palace, where the Vietnam War ended on April 30, 1975.    

A trip to the palace can be combined with a visit to the nearby War Remnants Museum, formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes.    

War Remnants Museum

For me, the Independence Palace and the War Remnants Museum are the two best places in Saigon where you can learn so much about the Vietnam War.    

More about the palace and the museum in a future post or two.


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