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Advantage of the Location of The Common Room Project
The location is simply perfect, no doubt about that. It is not located in the popular district 1, but nearby. This is what makes it perfect. TCRP is surrounded by local shops, cafés and restaurants. You can mingle with the locals and easily find food and drinks for decent prices.
On top of that, you can jump into an UBER and be in the hustle and bustle of the backpacker area in less than 10 minutes. But, we’ve to warn you: The backpacker district around Bui Vien Streetis packed, crowded and absolutely overrated. This is our own, honest opinion.
Around the corner of TCRP you can find a delicious street food vendors, selling noodles and crab soup, vegetarian restaurants and cafés. Just ask the team for whatever you are looking for, they know their area well!
What about Cu Chi Minh Tunnels and the popular War Museum?
You have to take public transport or a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Ask the reception for help about this. They can recommend a super cool tour we joined as well.
We really recommend taking a tour as the guide will share some curious and shocking facts on the American-Vietnam War.
As for the War Museum; hop into an UBER. It costs you around $1 and takes around 15 minutes to get there.
The Common Room Project, The Common Room Project, Nguyễn Trãi, Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
All room types at The Common Room Project
Private Room Types available: 5-Bed Private Suite with Balcony, Double Room
The big common area on the ground floor with its community table, board games, and the roof top terrace equipped with a bar.
Especially the ground floor is the place to hang out to meet and greet. You have to pass by this area to get to your rooms.
So it is inevitable to give-and-get a quick hi.
The community dinner is something you should never skip.
Keep an eye on the black board, because the team organizes the dinner when enough people are interested and around.
The food is tasty and they even serve local specialties like rice wine.
Vegetarian? Let the team know beforehand.
They’ll plan accordingly.
Last but not least, the guests and the team love to hang out and go out. There are special nights-out where the hostel unite the guests to go out for a drink.
5. Give-and-get a quick hi
We already mentioned the staff.
We always love to underline the importance of great people running the place.
It makes and always will make a major difference in the overall experience.
The staff are there to help you, to give you on-hand tips and recommendations in the city.
Whether you want to know where to eat in the area or how to get around; Laura and her team really know the city.
They give you their best insider tips for Saigon.
This is how we ended up in the coolest market in Ho Chi Minh City.
Have a look at Vuon Chuoi Market.
Go there before 10am and try some local food there. An absolute hidden gem!
Saigon vs. Ho Chi Minh City?
For the traveler who has not been here, this might be quite confusing.
What is the name of the city: Ho Chi Minh or Saigon?
You will most likely hear both names during your stay in Vietnam. But no worries, it is very simple:
Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City are the same city!
Since 1976 the official name is Ho Chi Minh City. Yet, it is commonly known as Saigon. Even the airport code is SGN (Saigon).
Additionally, HCMC is the written version of the city. Once you type it 10 times, you will understand. Read more on that matter on Wikipedia.
Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)
We get it, Ho Chi Minh City can be overwhelming.
Especially for those who may temporary suffer jet lag.
With more than 10 million motorbikes and a minimum humidity tax of 60%, you might feel it difficult to go out of your hostel. But, we recommend you to go and explore the city and the surroundings.
We list here things to do in Ho Chi Minh so you can get inspired.
But think about this: Ho Chi Minh City has many hidden places that still need to be discovered by travelers (and locals). A building that looks like a simple working place can hide the best speakeasy in the city.
Keep reading to discover it. This is our list on things to do in Ho Chi Minh City:
1. Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is the most popular market. There you will find everything you want to buy: shoes, clothes, backpacks, Vietnamese Coffee, rice…
Remember to bargain any price, even if you are happy with the price, it is part of the game.
2. Local Market: Cho Vuon Chuoi
A local market that Laura, from The Common Room Project team, recommended us. Here, you can see the real Vietnam.
Food, clothes, and bustle daily life, mixed with, of course, motorbikes. Pay attention, the motorbikes won’t stop and the streets are narrow.
3. Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine
Housed in a traditional building, the Museum of traditional Vietnamese Medicine offers an in-deep look to the Vietnamese Medicine.
Vietnamese Medicine is heavily influenced by Chinese philosophy.
4. Food, Vietnamese food
We must admit, we love Vietnamese food!
In Ho Chi Minh, you can find food everywhere: street food Stalls, restaurants, Banh Mi stalls, markets, vegetarian restaurants (Com Chay), cafés…
If you don’t want to miss any local specialty, we recommend you to join a Saigon street food tour. Have a look at this street food tour with motorbike – PURE FUN!
We are sure you will gain weight during your Vietnam trip. Enjoy your meal!
5. Refresh at a swimming pool
With the humidity in the city, a swimming pool sounds so refreshing!
Good to know: expect a high fee to be able to use the swimming pool.
Located in District 5, China town area in Ho Chi Minh City is quite interesting to see. You will find many markets, shops, temples, and pagodas.
Good to know: If you are in Ho Chi Minh during the Chinese New Year, Chinatown is a must.
Ho Chi Minh City rooftop bar’s are a must while you are in the city. Enjoy the views from one of the Skybars the city has to offer with a drink on your hand.
Chill: this was our favorite, as you can still see the traffic from the rooftop bar. We recommend going for sunset and see how the colors in the city change. After 12, it turns to a dancing club.
Glow: offering drinks in in a beach club atmosphere, this Skybar attracts well-dressed expats and locals looking to dance.
EON Heli Bar: Located in the Bixteco Financial Tower, it is the highest Skybar in Ho Chi Minh city.
The View Rooftop bar: located in the backpacker’s street, Bui Vien Street. This rooftop bar is located in the 9th floor of Duc Vuong Hotel. It is known for being one of the cheapest skybar in the city.
8. Ho Chi Minh State Garden
One of the main streets where many venues are held. This brings us to…
9. Nguyen Hue Boulevard
Along this boulevard, there are some colour fountains, as well as many shops, restaurants and cafés. If there is an event in the city, the most probable is that will happen here.
We recommend going to 42, Nguyen Hue Boulevard, pick a restaurant or café in the upper floors with street view, and sit with a drink. Take your time to admire the fountains, the people walking around, and the vendors who play hide and seek with the policemen.
10. Cinema Time
Yes movie lovers, it is possible to watch a movie in English in the city!
And the cinema has air conditioning, a plus to consider in this warm city.
Actually, bring warm clothes because it is going to be cold inside.
11. Saigon Opera House
The Saigon Opera House is located in a French Colonial building in the heart of Saigon.
Many people say, this is where east meets west. You can simply visit it.
12. Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the few remaining strongholds of Catholicism in Vietnam.
Vietnam being a largely Buddhist country, this Cathedral is interesting for many foreigners. It can only be seen from the outside.
13. Saigon Central Post Office
Located in the heart of HCMC, this building fascinates many visitors. You can see a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and French influences.
It is one of the oldest buildings in the city.
14. Vietnamese Coffee
If you are a Coffee lover, Vietnam will be your paradise. Even if you are not, you will love Vietnamese coffee!
Matt loves coffee, so during our travels we do always find design Cafés with tasty coffee. To find these nice Cafés can be tricky, as many places are hidden in buildings which do look like as an office.
Hereby our favorite coffee places:
La Rotonda Café
House Number 7
We are sure the city has many, many more. Feel free to add your favorite on the comments below.
15. Saigon Botanical Gardens
Near the history museum, the Botanical Gardens are the place to stroll with giant tropical trees. there is also a zoo, but it is not in good conditions.
We are sure, there are many speakeasy in Ho Chi Minh City, but we do have a favorite.
Hidden on a residential block, you can find an unique space which offers sophisticated and tasty cocktails, great design, and live music.
Snuffbox aims to offer chilled vibes and high-quality drinks. And it certainly does.
17. Party time!
For those looking for party, HCMC won’t let you down. There are many bars and discos around the city.
Go to a skybar like Chill or party like a Local, meaning… KARAOKE!
18. Jade Emperor Pagoda
Built in the 20th Century by a community of Cantonese, Jade Emperor Pagoda is one of the 5 most important pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City.
19. Live Music
In Ho Chi Minh City, you will find many live music events.
Whatever your taste is, you will find it, we are sure of that. Our recommendation?
Go to Inidka, known as the House of curiosity. It is a place to chill, work, create, eat, and drink. The vibes are simply amazing.
Just a s many other big cities, like Bangkok, many things happen around the Backpacker street.
In Ho Chi Minh, the backpacker street is Bui Vien Street.
If you are curious, go and see. Personally, we found it totally overrated and busy, very busy.
21. Pink Cathedral
Known as Lady Pink for many people, Tan Dinh Church is a church built during the french colonial period.
It is the second largest church in Ho Chi Minh City, after Saigon Notre Dame Basilica.
22. War Remnants Museum
The most visited museum in town and one of the most famous war museums worldwide.
The war remnants museum contains exhibitions from the war period.
Bear in mind, the War Museum do close from 12 to 13:30. If you happen to be in the area, there are restaurants and cafés.
23. Cu Chi tunnels
We already mentioned it: you should visit the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Having a guide, will help you get many details and facts about the tunnels. You can book in advance a Cu Chi Tunnels tour here.
24. A Motorbike ride
We could not finish this list of things to do without a Motorbike ride.
Traffic is crazy, and it can be fun to experience!
Yet can it also be scary.
With more than 8 million bikes, the fastest way to move around the city is with Motorbike-taxis, called Xe-Om.
We would recommend you to take a deep breath and give it a try. Think about it: how many time would you be able to do ride along HCMC? And these guys certainly have the experience to ride in such a crazy city.
But how to get a taxi without getting ripped off? Here our trick, which is also valid for ordering car taxis.
Get the app called Grab on your cell phone and ask for a Motorbike Grab to get a ride.
The app is free.
With Grab, you do not have to discuss starting and finishing point, as you will mark it on the map. Neither the price, they indicate an approximate price, so you will know beforehand how much your ride will cost.
You can avoid district 1 if you feel overwhelmed by the city traffic. But we encourage you, a motor ride is a real experience!
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