Ho Chi Minh City Landmarks and Monuments

(Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, Vietnam)

Ho Chi Minh City has a long history marked by colonisation, war and ethnic diversity. Visitors can get a first-hand sense of important chapters in Vietnam's evolution through landmarks like the much photographed French-colonial City Hall (the People's Committee Building) and the striking Ho Chi Minh City pagodas.

Nearby, you will find famous local landmarks, such as both the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Opera House. Most of these sights are clustered in downtown's Districts 1 and 3, making it easy to visit many in a single day. Also worth noting, many very appealing landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City are based within District 5 (Cholon), where a high concentration of mosques, temples and pagodas await, together with an interesting selection of traditional herb shops.

People's Committee Building / Saigon City Hall (Hotel de Ville)

Address: DL Nguyen Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Situated just a stroll from Lam Son Park and within District 1, the People's Committee Building began its life as a classy French hotel in 1908, but was eventually transformed into Saigon's City Hall. If you like architecture, this magnificent structure is a quintessential example of the ornate French colonial style and boasts chandeliers, elaborate decor and a formally landscaped garden, complete with statues and fountains. Although you can't enter the City Hall, it has a wonderful park running along the front, and this is one of the best spots for people-watching in the city.
Open hours: daily - view from exterior only
Admission: free

Notre Dame Cathedral

Address: D Han Thuyen, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
This towering cathedral looks out of place in Asia, which is perhaps one reason to stop by and check it out. Built between the years of 1877 and 1883, this neo-Romanesque church has two interesting features - vertigo-inducing 3D tile work in shades of gray, white and black, and a massive white statue of the Virgin Mary framed out in shocking blue neon lights. The twin towers are particularly distinctive and measure in at some 40 metres / 131 feet in height. Take a rest inside to escape the heat and noise of downtown Ho Chi Minh City's District 1. Tourists wishing to attend a service here often find the Sunday mass at 09:30 the best.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 18:00
Admission: free

Saigon Opera House

Address: Nha Hat Thanh Pho, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Tel: +84 08 3829 9976
Another of the city's premier French colonial masterpieces, the Saigon Opera House (Nha Hat Thanh Pho) is well worth a visit, even if you don't go for a performance. This colonial landmark has a storied history beginning in the late 1900s, when it was built for the entertainment of French colonists and named the Municipal Theatre. Seriously damaged in 1944 by enemy planes, the Saigon Opera House then served as a refugee shelter after Vietnam was split into two halves in 1954. Since then, the building is been wonderfully restored and offers a welcome bit of atmosphere in the steel and glass heart of the city's District 1. Easy to find, the Opera House stands on the corner of the DL Le Loi and the D Dong Khoi.
Open hours: hours vary according to performance
Admission: charge

Cha Tam Church

Address: 25 D Hoc Lac, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Built in the early part of the 19th century, the Cha Tam Church is white and pale green in colour and has an interesting past. In November 1963, it was in this very church where Ngo Dinh Diem (South Vietnam's president) and his brother chose to hideout, when the Presidential Palace suffered at the hands of a coup attempt. After surrendering, both were killed by soldiers whilst on their way to custody. Saigon rejoiced when hearing the news, since President Ngo Dinh Diem had become very unpopular, being known for torturing many political prisoners.
Open hours: daily masses are available
Admission: free

Cholon Mosque

Address: 641 D Nguyen Trai, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
The Cholon Mosque lies close to the Nghai An Hoi Quan Pagoda, the Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda and the Thien Hau Pagoda, where it contrasts greatly due to its unfussy architecture and simplicity. Dating back to the 1930s, the mosque was constructed by Tamil Muslims and since the 1970s has been used by both local Indonesian and Malaysian communities.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: free