When visiting a new city I always advise others to find the tallest landmark and get an aerial overview,it really gives you the lay of the land and given your time and budget means you can easily spatially work out your route round to catch the things that you want to see.
I took my own advice and climbed the Bitexco Tower the most dominant building on the Saigon skyline. Located in District 1, the downtown area of the city. It’s the tallest skyscraper in Saigon. ………. at the moment….. I believe something taller is being planned. For just 200,000 VND which is about £7 or $5 you zoom skywards. When I said climb I actually meant hop in a lift! From the Sky Deck observation area you can clearly see where new HCMC meets old Saigon, you can see how the river bisects the urban sprawl and infact notice that the city goes on forever at any angle of the 360 you care to look.
The tower isn’t all just about looking at the city from an aerial perspective, the ground floor plays host to an upscale retail centre, the wedge shaped platform which looks likes its been stuck onto the side of the building is a helipad and of course you can eat and drink and marvel at the view at the same time. Expect to pay more for your glass of wine and snack in the Helibar than what you might have got used to in Vietnam but you are paying for the view and for me it was worth it.
You can combine a trip here to the Old Market which is a couple of blocks away and easy to locate. It’s a covered area and been in the same spot for many years and sells to locals. You can find food, clothing, textiles and of course the traditional wide conical hats. Very colourful and lively.
(As an aside here what do you call this city? Saigon or HCMC? I would appreciate your answers in the comment box below please.