District 1 in Detailed Sections
This is the financial and commercial hub downtown area that is referred to as Saigon, especially by its residents. The wide streets, constantly covered by locals on the go on their motorbikes, are lined with romantic trees and much French architecture mixed with an ever-expanding array of restaurants, bars, boutiques and markets. Street stalls slinging food and supplies like raincoats dot every corner. Skyscraper buildings jut up around the streets, housing great city views, multi-national corporations and more shopping. Many travelers spend the majority of their time in this district, understandably so, since a visit to the District 1 of Saigon can provide most everything one may want. However, don’t feel like you shouldn’t step out of this region to explore day trips in surrounding areas and more temples, activities, restaurants in other districts.
District 1 houses many famous buildings and notable attractions, including: the Opera House, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Reunification Palace, Saigon City Hall, Saigon Central Post Office, National History Museum, Jade Emperor Pagoda, Jamia Al Muslimin Mosque, Mariamman Hindu Temple and the tallest building in Vietnam, Bitexco Tower. It also hosts commerce spots like Ben Thanh market and some of the most popular shopping complexes and shopping streets, such as Dong Khoi. Pham Ngu Lao, the backpacker area has many budget hostels and almost all of Ho Chi Minh City's five star hotels are scattered throughout District 1, making it easy for visitors to walk around to close destinations and be right in the mix.
There are various areas of District 1 that can be outlined and used as a more specific reference for finding locations and attractions. These include: Dong Khoi area, Reunification Palace/War Remnants Museum Area, Da Kao Area, Nguyen Thai Binh Area and Pham Ngu Lao Area.
Dong Khoi Area- The name of the one main shopping strips, Dong Khoi also comprises the area west of Saigon River which is (covered by) designer stores, and many embassies as it is the central business district. Le Loi and Nguyen Hue—French colonial elegance and urban modernity Sights: Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Opera House, Peoples Committee Building, Ho Chi Minh City Museum, Bitexco Financial Tower, Ton Duc Thang Museum, Saigon Central Mosque, 22 Ly Tu Trong, Venerable Thich Quang Duc Memorial.
Reunification Palace/ War Remnants Museum Area- This area straddles District 1 and District 3, grid of busy streets has Tao Dan Park and Reunification Palace…So these are some of the most popular/most visited sights…and some great restaurants Sights: War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace, Mariamman Hindu Temple, Tao Dan Park, Xa Loi Pagoda.
Da Kao Area Old district 1 ward- north of city center- consulates here and buildings from French colonial period…hip new restaurants and bars and traditional eateries Sights: Jade Emperor Pagoda, History Museum, Botanic Gardens, Military Museum.
Nguyen Thai Binh Area- a ward that is a busy working neighborhood set in between central city, Ben Thanh Market and Pham Ngu Lao and Ben Nghe channel…Sights: Fine Arts Museum
Pham Ngu Lao Area Aka the backpacker’s area, this is Saigon's version of Bangkok’s backpacker haunt Khaosan Road. Pham Ngu Lao Street is a convenient place to find cheap accommodation, food and nightlife, and not just tourists, but also locals and expats coming to hang out for a cheap night. Local Insight: There are bia hoi places on Cong Quynh st. and Nguyen Thai Hoc street that make for great people watching. *Also put a tip about best street food *Also put a tip about best tour guide agency.