Day One, Morning
Start at: Ben Thanh Market, Đường Lê Lợi, Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Opening hours: 7:00am - 6:00pm daily
Start your day right with a spicy beefy bowl of bun bo at Ben Thanh market. Hailing from Hue, bun bo is a popular Vietnamese soup made with rice vermicelli (bun) and beef (bo). Unlike its more popularly known Northern counterpart pho, the beef shank, lemongrass, and spicy sate chili sauce that goes into the bun bo broth provide a distinct umami taste and gives the dish a stronger kick.
After you are energised, you can wander around Ben Thanh to survey all manner of Vietnamese goods - touristy souvenirs, clothes, sports shoes, bags, to fresh seafood and locally grown spices and herbs. Just be prepared to put your bargaining skills to the test.
When you’re done, hop over to L’Uisine, a trendy one-stop shop for coffee, art and fashion. Enjoy an authentic Vietnamese coffee while picking up some funky gifts and oh-so-hipster accessories.
From here, it’s a 10-minute walk to the Saigon Notre Dame Basilica. One of Saigon’s top attractions, its colonial red brick walls are popular with tourists as well as locals, who flock here to take wedding photographs.
Opposite the cathedral is the 19th-century Saigon Central Post Office whose intricate art deco interiors are a sight to behold. Be sure to gawk at the historic city maps adorning the walls near the entrance. Go ahead and send out a postcard or two – you know you want to.
On the right of the Post Office lies Book Street, a quaint literature-filled street that has been described as a “paradise for book lovers.” You can relax at a book café here and make your selection unhurriedly. With the range of genres available here – from magazines and comics to fiction, literary publications and poetry – you will definitely be spoilt for choice.
Get directions to Ben Thanh Market