Our morning started off with an Uber ride to the markets Chinatown. The market was very busy, loud, and crowded. You could barely get one person through each isle and couldn’t really stop unless you were going to buy something due to the vendors pressuring you to buy something. We got an Uber to The View Rooftop Bar on Bui Vien walking street. For lunch the place was quiet and relatively inexpensive compared to the other rooftop bars. The food and drinks were also good.
From The View we could see the Bitexco Financial Tower and decided to go there. After about a mile walk we arrived. The building is a maze and it takes asking many people to figure out where you are suppose to be. One tip, the cafe is on the 51st floor and is free to go to (even though the drinks are overpriced). The skydeck is on the 52nd floor and you have to pay a fee to get into (drinks there are overpriced as well). We paid $12 for 2 Vietnamese coffees including the 15% taxes they add. Given the view and how much we didn’t have to spend to go to the skydeck the overpriced coffee was worth it (and actually quite good!). We were there for over an hour drinking coffee and chatting with our new friend we met in the elevator.
Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street and Dong Khoi Street are parallel to each other and near the Bitexco tower. Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street has a giant pedestrian walkway down the middle of it and is lined with beautiful old French buildings. The city hall building and opera house are around that area as well and worth a look. That area has also become known for upscale shopping if that is of interest to you at all. Dong Khoi Street was Catinat street in the former Saigon. A walk up and down will show you some old historical hotels that have an interesting history.
After walking up and down the streets and looking at all of the amazing architecture, we walked towards the Mekong to see the Bach dang pier. We hung out there for a while watching the tourists walk around and deciding where to go next. We thought we might try to see the water puppet show so we headed in that direction. When we got there we discovered tickets are about $20 each so we decided not to do it. On our way to the night market outside the Ban Thanh Market we ran into the Mariamman Hindu Temple. The colors and decorations were amazing and vibrant. It is better to see this during the day when you can really appreciate all of the intricate details.
We arrived at the Ban Thanh Night Market right around when they were setting up for the night market and closing the Ban Thanh Market. The night market is on the streets on either side of the Ban Thanh Market. It was actually quite amazing to see how fast they set everything up. The market itself is not very remarkable. Most vendors are selling very similar things at a high price and there were only 2 food places (1 on either side).
On our way back from the night market about a half a block away we on Thủ Khoa Huân Street is a cluster of street food. We thought it would be similar street food to what we had been seeing, but it was street food from all over the world! From Mexican tacos, American burgers, Italian pasta and pizza, and of course Vietnamese food this place had it all. The best part were that they are open from 10 am to midnight, it is a covered area (so you will stay dry if it is raining), the prices weren’t ridiculous, and everyone speaks English. If you are traveling with a group of adventurous and non adventurous eaters this is the perfect place to go.