Going ashore in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is located on the Saigon River, in the south of Vietnam and it is the country’s busiest port. Going out from the port of Ho Chi Minh can be quite a challenge especially for a seafarer with a fixed and tight schedule, but nevertheless it’s a rewarding struggle.

The city itself brings a beautiful awakening of all senses, an amazing display of colors, art, shopping and happy smiling faces. You can find all these only 20km away from the port and the best time for a visit could be late morning up to early evening.

The best place to start your visit is the waterfront.

Ho Chi Minh City

Then you can continue your walk towards the City Square where the City Hall is located and where hundreds of people – both locals and tourists – gather every evening in a general display of good vibes and loud laughs.

Ho Chi Minh City

Close to the City Square you will find one of the best open markets in South East Asia – Ben Thanh Market – with a wonderful display of products, local made or imported, belonging to all areas of interest – clothes and shoes (all famous brands, manufactured locally), bags, souvenirs, home décor, electronics, fruits and lot more.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

Useful Information:

  • During rush hours, the traffic can get very crowded on the street going out/in of the port where the line of trucks can reach a few kilometers in length, making the cars move at a snail’s pace.
  • The best option of transportation is a motorbike taxi. You can find lots of motorbikes – with a driver – outside the port gate and, for only a few dollars, you can reach the city centre in less than 30 minutes.

Ho Chi Minh City

  • If you are not kin on riding a motorbike in a busy and highly polluted traffic, you can opt for a real taxi. The ride to the centre can take around 20 minutes and cost ~10$. Be careful especially on the way back because during rush hour the same ride can take up to two hours. If the line of trucks entering the port is a few km long, the taxi driver will drop you anywhere – at his convenience – and you will have to walk your way back, passing through dirty and ‘scary’ neighborhoods along the road.
  • There is a shuttle bus service inside the port which can be called upon;

Ho Chi Minh City

  • At the gate, the immigration formalities take only a few minutes. You have to leave your passport at the gate and you will receive instead a permit which will allow you to go out of the port and come back, no later than midnight. If you are late, you will be fined (at least, this is what we were told, but I cannot confirm it);
  • Do not hesitate to bargain everywhere around the town – especially in the open market, but in the shops as well; Do buy small products – like postcards, magnets, fans, scarves or sun glasses – from the street vendors who are struggling really bad to survive from one day to another by selling their stuff to tourists.

** We recommend La Luna Restaurant – close to the Ben Thanh Market – for local food – pork, seafood, fish, vegetables and rice.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

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