Ho Thi Ky Flower Market and Vo Thanh Trang Market are perfect places for those wanting to get a broader picture of night life in HCMC.
Ho Thi Ky, the city’s largest wholesale (bỏ sỉ, bán sỉ) flower market, is home to more than 100 households selling hundreds of kinds of flowers in vivid (rựa rỡ, tươi, chói) colors. It operates (hoạt động) round the clock and its busiest time is from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. with dozens of trucks carrying tons of fresh flowers to the market for delivery to sellers there.
Vo Thanh Trang Market on Truong Chinh Street in Tan Binh District is known as the only traditional wet market in the city that is open day and night for nearly half a century. Like Ho Thi Ky, goods are delivered during the small hours. From 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., trading activities turn very active (sôi động).
Discovering Chinese-Vietnamese community
The facade (Mặt trước) of the Lady Thien Hau Temple in District 5, HCMC
The Chinese Vietnamese community has been in existence (tồn tại) for more than a century in HCMC since the first Chinese immigrants (người nhập cư) arrived there in the late 19th century. However, they have kept cultural and religious (tôn giáo) values almost unchanged (không thay đổi). Touring District 5, visitors can see major landmarks characterized by Chinese culture.
Binh Tay Market, the Lady Thien Hau Temple, Hao Si Phuong Alley, Soai Kinh Lam fabric market, Minh Huong Pagoda, and Ha Chuong Communal Club should be among the venues recommended for tourists interested in discovering how the Chinese people have preserved (giữ gìn, bảo tồn) their cultural and spiritual traits (nét, đặc điểm).
Traveling back in time at Ho Chi Minh City Museum
Situated next to the Reunification Palace, the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, formerly Gia Long Palace, was constructed (xây dựng) in the late 19th century on 1,700 meters. With impressive (ấn tượng) architecture, the museum tells a story about the 300-year-old city through archaeological artefacts (hiện vật khảo cổ), ceramics (đồ gốm sứ), old city maps and displays of marriage traditions of various ethnic (thuộc dân tộc) groups.
The admission fee (Phí vào cổng) is VND 15,000 per person. Opening hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the week. This would be an ideal place for those wishing to learn about HCMC and Vietnam.
The museum is located at 65 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1.
Sipping coffee in the morning (Nhấm nhấp ngụm cà phê vào buổi sáng)
Having a cup of coffee in the morning has become a way of life of many city dwellers (cư dân thành phố). For early risers, sipping coffee and chatting with friends on plastic stools (ghế nhựa) on the sidewalk (vỉa hè) in the morning are a great experience.
Prices range from VND10,000 to VND15,000 (US$0.5 to US$0.7) per cup.
Vy Café on Le Thanh Ton Street in District 1 where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited last year or Cheo Leo coffee shop on Nguyen Thien Thuat Street in District 3 are worth giving a try.
Tasting street food (Thưởng thức các món ăn đường phố)
When in the city, eating street food at affordable prices (giá cả phải chăng) is another great experience.
Fans of sweet soups (chè) can come to Nguyen Tri Phuong Street in District 10, which is famous for Thai-style sweet soups, or drop by (ghé qua) Cambodian-style sweet soup shop in Alley 374, Le Hong Phong Street in District 10, run by Cambodian Vietnamese owner known as “Mrs. Co”.
Located next to the busy Tan Dinh Market in District 1, Nguyen Huu Cau Street could be an ideal place for those who like Hue-style dishes. Dim-sum lovers can get to Ha Ton Quyen Street in District 11.
Hong Ha in Tan Binh District is famous for specialties of northern Vietnam such as bun dau mam tom (fried tofu and fresh rice vermicelli with fermented shrimp paste), bun oc (noodles with snails), bun cha (vermicelli served with grilled pork dipped in fish sauce), and banh da cua (pancake soup served with crab).
Nguyen Canh Chan in District 1 is home to a stack of eateries selling different fruits served on plates. Customers can order a combination of (sự kết hợp của) fresh fruits such as dragon fruit (thanh long), papaya (đu đủ), mango, and watermelon plus yogurt, fresh milk, and shaved ice. It is a great treat for those who want to cool themselves in a hot day.
For those looking for better dining spaces, Ben Thanh street food market and Sense Market food court at Zone B of September 23 Park are highly recommended.