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Guide to Ho Chi Minh

Guide to Ho Chi Minh

As you arrive at Tan Son Nhat Airport, you are embracing the very first moments in Vietnam, whether it is the blistering air or breezy chill that welcome you. Ho Chi Minh City, also called Saigon, is the business and financial hub of Vietnam. It is a city that is rich in culture and history. Here in the most cosmopolitan city in Vietnam, you can immerse in the city’s elegant architecture and broad boulevards. Saigon offers a diversity of culture and colonial buildings with classic French architecture such as Notre Dame Church and glamorous skyscrapers like Landmark 81 or Bitexco Tower. You will also find ornate temples and ancient pagodas, which blend in well with the budding economical situation in this vibrant city.

Ho Chi Minh at a Glance

There are several neighbourhoods, which are called Districts (Quan) in Ho Chi Minh city. District 1 is the city centre with a plethora of popular landmarks. If you want to stay in District 1, you can find affordable accommodation, restaurants and bars on Pham Ngu Lao street. It is said that the best hotels are located around Dong Khoi in the city centre, and there are some smart mini-hotels on nearby Mac Thi Buoi as well. Expat community usually gather in District 2 with lots of high-end apartments, villas and houses.

What you may find fascinating in Saigon

  • A blend of modern and historical landmarks
  • Good range of restaurants suitable for all budgets

What you may find less fascinating

  • Traffic Jam
  • More expensive than most cities in Vietnam
  • Things You Can Do in Ho Chi Minh

Notre Dame Cathedral

Located in Paris Square, Notre Dame Cathedral was built in the late 1880s by French colonists. It is among some remaining French Catholic Church, as Buddhism is more popular in Viet nam. In 1959, a statue called “Peaceful Notre Dame” was installed, which gave the Church the name “Notre Dame”. In 1962, the Vatican conferred the Cathedral status as a basilica and gave it the official name of Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica.

Be prepared to endorse a peaceful setting in the middle of downtown District 1. 60 metres in height, Notre Dame Church features neo-Romanesque design with all red-brick facade with a few stained-glass windows. A statue of the Virgin Mary provides the centrepiece to the small park in front of the cathedral where you may catch sight of cyclo drivers. Some people even claim that they saw her shedding tears. The experience of listening to whispered prayers merging with the murmur of the traffic outside is worth your visit.

Reunification Palace

Pay this place a visit - Make your internship in Vietnam more enriching

Reunification Palace was once the Norodom Palace, a colonial mansion built in 1871 to housse the governor - general of Indochina. It used to be under Ngo Dinh Diem’s presidential palace under French colonization in 1954. However, in February 1962, the Palace was damaged extensively by two Southern pilots. In 1966, the building was named the Independence Palace, which then renamed into the Reunification Hall when 2 parts of the country united in 1975. The place which is a whitewashed concrete edifice, looks like a municipal library. You will learn more of the American and French war in Vietnam and listen to the story of glorious victory in uniting two regions of Vietnam as you visit it during your internship break.

Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market in 1921

If you are a foodie, Ben Thanh market is a must where a cluster of food stalls offer a bewildering variety of dishes, many specializing in seafood. It is a place where you can find almost anything: food such as com, pho, baguette, souvenirs from conical hats to basketware, shoes and lacquerware. Ladies searching for eels, live frogs and hens for a home-cooked meal also come here to enjoy the lively and diverse food it offers. It is the busiest market in the city for almost a century and its previous name was the Halles Centrales under French colonization. Don't forget to check this out cause that's what a must-do to become Saigonese. 

Bars and pubs in Ho Chi Minh City

The number of tourists and expats renting apartments nearby the area of Dong Khoi is the reasons for the rise of bars and pubs on Le Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung, Thi Sach streets. Here you can find all types of bars and pubs, from hole-in-the-wall dives to elegant cocktail lounge.

More affordable cafes can be found around De Tham, where many bars will feature live music. For example, 17 Saloon features Filipino bands performing covers of current hits and old favourites. If you want to mix and mingle with local artists, Thi Café and Yoko should be on your list as it is the place you can find local singers making their name here.


I would say that it is best for people who are trying to learn outside of their own country. I had a wonderful time spending time by learning their culture, exploring places that you have been before. Getting to know well how to be responsible once in a while. Learning the language was a little tough but was able to understand with the help of the local buddies. The working environment in Vietnam is actually pretty good. The food was quite interesting to me as most of the people like seafood instead of poultry. Overall, I would say people need to visit these places to understand more about the world where their own country is not only a place to gain opportunities. In your life, this might be a chance to give it a shot if you get this opportunity.

Sunil Bharat

Aeroplan Engineering Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore

Great experience and not so complex documentations for a smooth process. It will be better if they can expand their business due to lack of manpower to showcase their capabilities. We came during the period where the world had a Corona virus outbreak and ABROADER managed the situation well where they informed us of the numbers and giving us masks to ensure that we are safe and healthy. Whenever we need help, we know we can approach them and be open to our opinions because we know they will listen and try to help whenever they can.

Heng Siew Ling (Agnes)

Business & Marketing Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore

I was very impressed with how organized ABROADER Vietnam was in preparing my internship in Vietnam. The Skype meetings before coming to Vietnam made me feel confident about my safety and expectations during my internship. The Program Coordinator met me at the airport, even though my flight arrived at 1 a.m. The orientation was very thorough and outlined expectations from both myself and the University of Economics HCMC – where I would be working as an intern. During the summer ABROADER checked in with me often to see how I was doing. They even came down to Ho Chi Minh City a few times to visit the other interns and me. Whenever I had a problem, they were always available on Facebook and did their best to resolve it. It is clear that ABROADER Vietnam is a reliable organization that cares about its participants.

Ian Rohr

International Relation Internship ,Tulane University, USA

My nursing internship at the Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Hospital is a treasure experience that I will never forget. Having always wanted to volunteer in Nursing in Asia, I took the opportunity and I am very glad I did. The Nursing Placement I had in Vietnam was exceptionally fulfilling, including the support from my Nurses, Coordinator and Local Buddy. All of whom made me feel very welcomed during the time I was here. The on-site support I received was brilliant, every query I had was answered promptly and professionally and the service was everything I could have asked for.

Sarah Heard

Nursing Internship ,University of Plymouth, England

I enjoyed my time and the program greatly in Vietnam. It seemed as if the program tried its best to guide all interns in the right direction and was helpful when needed. The thing I will remember most about the internship will be the people I met, specifically the other interns and the patients I worked with. The various interns I met throughout the hospital taught me how to think in a different mindset in order to problem solve and treat a patient. As for the patients, they taught me their culture, and to always shave a positive attitude and outlook on things. Each of the patients had suffered an accident that had effected their capability to live their lives, and yet each patient had such a positive attitude.

Rylie Dunn

Medical Internship ,Iowa State University, USA

Having an Internship program away from home is not an easy decision because you have to think of so many aspects like entering a new culture, encountering language differences, living in a new environment and so many other things. At first, I was very nervous because it was my first time in Vietnam, but ABROADER made me feel that I made a right decision to come for an internship here. They will not let you feel away from your home as they will treat you not just like a student intern but as a part of the ABROADER family. I never felt alone as they are always there to guide and support me during my internship despite of the culture differences. The very good news is I am starting to learn and immerse myself into the Vietnamese life with the help of not only my on-site program coordinator but also my lovely Vietnamese co-workers in Ha Long Bay. My program started with an orientation on my internship in Vietnam at ABROADER’s office, during which they also taught me some basic Vietnamese language that is very helpful while I am here. Afterwards, we had a welcome dinner where I tried different Vietnamese dishes which I immediately fell in love with. They were all very “ngon” which means delicious in Vietnamese :) . The next day we had a day of city tour with my local buddy – Ngan where she showed me around tourists spots in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and French Quarter. During the tour, Ngan also brought me to local restaurants to enjoy traditional Vietnamese foods and drinks like Egg coffee which I like best. To make it even better, she took me to a place near Hoan Kiem Lake where I got to discover the most delicious ice cream I have ever tasted in my life.

Marvin M. Napi

Hospitality - Cruise Management Internship ,Mariners' Polytechnic Colleges Foundation, Philippines

Working for the Cham Island MPA was a really good fit for me, I think they picked a good job. I also liked my city tour I had fun, and got to do so many things! Vietnamese people are very nice and the living environment is safe when I hang out with my Vietnamese local buddies. I also get lots of support from local buddies and become real friends in spite of different interests.

Isabella Taylor Sullivan

Environment Internship ,Portland State University, USA

I am satisfied with the internship in Vietnam provided by ABROADER Vietnam. The internship placement was ideal and my local buddy was great. During the internship I worked at Ho Chi Minh Hospital of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation. At the host organization, I was clear about the responsibilities & rules expected to accomplish & follow. I had a lot of supervisors who were all very caring. The doctors there were very gracious and explained a lot of cases to me; all in all I was well equipped to perform the job at my best.

Andrew Nguyen

Surgical Internship ,University of Oregon, USA

It has been awesome trip and experience for me. Thanks for the people that have provided help and support throughout the trip. during my 5 months here, i get to learn this country's culture, people, food and the work life. Comparing Vietnam and Singapore, it is a new experience for me and the other students too. So, if you get the chance to come here and learn/experience, go out and explore. Be adventurous, daring to try out new things/stuff. making friends with the local, explore different part of the city or maybe even traveling out of the city. It is worth to spend your time to the fullest here!! “Don’t travel just to see. Travel to try, listen, feel, taste. That way there won’t be any place you cannot find beauty.”

Xiong Binsong

IT Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore

Great internship in Vietnam! I recommend Westerners to go there at least one time to see things differently. ABROADER is very helpful (even if there is only women here haha) and found me a very decent internship. Time flies very fast, so you know what to do if you like the heat and cheep beers. À bientôt Vietnam!

Hugo Boitel

Environment Internship ,Polytech Montpellier, France