Kick start a perfect day out with a steaming hot bowl of Pho Bo or Pho Ga (Vietnamese beef noodle or chicken noodle, respectively), then complement it with a strong dose of Café Sua Da (Vietnamese iced milk coffee) at Market 39, located on the lobby level of the hotel. For the more adventurous types who would like to sample other breakfast options, head out and take a morning stroll to Dong Khoi Street. There you will find lots of street side Vietnamese baguette stalls, cafes and noodle stands on every corner. At the beginning of Dong Khoi Street, you can easily spot the historic 141 years old Notre Dame Cathedral with the beautiful statue of Virgin Mary in front of the church. Now head right of the cathedral and you will come upon Saigon Post Office taking us back to the early 20th century when Vietnam was still part of French Indochina. Today it remains a fully functioning post office with public telephone booths to make international phone calls, writing benches and tables and souvenir shops. Continuing on Dong Khoi Street, Saigon Opera House or Nha Hat Thanh Pho in Vietnamese will be on your left. Saigon Opera House frequently showcases Vietnamese opera performances. Interested in seeing a show? No problem, our Concierge can help book tickets for you. Keep pace along the street and you will encounter numerous shops with special offers of massage and food deals. It is also worth wandering into some of the various tailoring shops along here to purchase one-of-a-kind pieces that can be customised to fit your body perfectly for a fraction of the price back home. Vietnamese tailors offer high quality workmanship at a great value, and with an impressive turnaround time to boot.
After lunch, head to Ho Chi Minh City Museum (on the corner of Ly Tu Trong and Nam Ky Khoi Nghia in District 1) for an evocative look into the history of the country, a timeline when the Vietnamese founded their first nation in the North of Vietnam until the present day. The space occasionally hosts exhibitions featuring antiques collectors with relics and antiques looking back as far as thousands of years. From here, take a 10 minutes walk to the crowded Ben Thanh Market, erected in 1912, this is one of the city’s oldest historical landmarks. The market, a commercial symbol of Ho Chi Minh City, is where tourists can easily find lots of local items. On your way back to the hotel, don’t forget to stop by Reunification Palace, a must see for anyone visiting Saigon. Formerly known as Independence Palace, Reunification Palace used to be both home and workplace of the Presidents of South Vietnam during the American War. From the palace to the hotel is a 10 minutes walk. Now, it is time to relax after a day of walking and sightseeing at Spa InterContinental, located on the 3rd floor of the hotel, where your body and soul can relax and rejuvenate. Our spa brings local expertise to life with unique treatments that rely on traditional Vietnamese herbs and plants.
Start off your evening at our stylish Purple Jade bar and enjoy its signature cocktails while deciding on the plethora of delicious dining choices this cosmopolitan city provides. Right next door, M Plaza Saigon food galleria offers a variety of international cuisines, from Japanese and Chinese to Korean and Western, that’s sure to satiate any discerning palate. However, the gorgeously decorated Mandarin Restaurant is the perfect combination of authentic central Vietnamese food and ambiance, and with just a short taxi driving away, it definitely should not be missed.
Don'ts when travelling within Vietnam
Don’t carry more money than you need when walking around the streets. Don’t wear large amounts of jewelry. There are two reasons for not doing this: (1) It is considered impolite to flaunt wealth in public; (2) It is more likely that you may become a victim of a pickpocket or drive-by bag snatcher. Don’t take a ride by motorbike taxi (xe om) if you're not familiar with the city. Don't wear singlet, shorts, dresses or skirts, or tops with low-neck lines and bare shoulders to temples and pagodas. To do this is considered unrespected and offensive. Never sleep or sit with the soles of your feet pointing towards the family altar when in someone’s house. Do not try to take photographs of military installations or anything to do with the military. This can be seen as a breach of national security. Never take video cameras into the ethnic minority villages. They are considered to be too intrusive by the local people. Physical displays of affection between lovers in public are frowned upon.
Do's when travelling within Vietnam
Store your passport, cash, credit cards, airline tickets and other valuables in a safe place (in-room safes or hotels deposit facility). Take care of all your valuables. Bring as much as change for taxi fare and other public transportation. Bargain 50% when shopping at local markets. Ask for permission when taking a photograph of someone. Use waterproof sun cream if you plan to spend a good amount of time in the water when you travel to Vietnam. Travel with recommend tour agencies. Dress discreetly while entering temples and other religious places. Always remove your shoes at the front door when entering local’s houses.