Vietnamese culture in Saigon

If all you know about Vietnamese culture is that they wear conical hats and were involved in one of the bloodiest wars of the 20th century, then you have lots to discover about this fascinating nation during your stay in Saigon. The country’s delicious cuisine, its unusual customs and flamboyant festivals seduce many visitors into falling in love with Vietnam, so much that many come back on return visits and just about everyone wants to take home a typically authentic memento.

The key to understanding the Vietnamese is an understanding of the complex history of the country, which is detailed in the city’s various museums. For a general overview from pre-historic times to the present, the History Museum is the best place, while a focus on the American War can be found at the War Remnants Museum. It’s impossible to miss the reminders of the era of French domination, in the form of buildings like Notre Dame Cathedral and the imposing Municipal Theatre.

Art, music and dance

Check out the city’s art galleries and take in a performance of traditional music that delves into the region’s unique history and utilises ancient techniques and crafts...more

Etiquette

Find out how to deal with Vietnamese people in social situations in order to keep from causing offence and avoid putting your foot in it through unintentional and avoidable faux paux...more

Festivals

Join in one of the many national and local festivals that rocks Saigon every month of the year and get in the party mood whilst meeting new people and making firm friends...more

Museums

Delve into Vietnam’s war-torn history or take stock of its art in some of Saigon’s fabulous array of museums and galleries which feature local and international artists and exhibits...more

Handicrafts

Shop till you drop in some of Saigon’s malls and markets for authentic souvenirs for loved ones back home plus some momentos of your trip that will stun family and friends back home...more

Speak Vietnamese

Handy guide to picking up a few words of Vietnamese whilst in Saigon to help ease your passage through the city in everyday situations and make new and firm friends...more

Brief guide to Vietnamese culture

To learn more about the country’s artistic heritage, the Fine Arts Museum is the place to go, while the number of small galleries scattered around the city centre are testimony to the Vietnamese love of art.

The Vietnamese flair for design is evident in the national dress called the ao dai, a practical and modest suit of tunic and pants that is also very flattering to the Vietnamese female figure. If you are interested in buying a painting or an ao dai, you won’t find a better range of choice anywhere in the country than in Ho Chi Minh City.

To really witness Vietnamese culture at its most colourful, try to time your visit to coincide with one of the many festivals that take place throughout the year. This is when locals dress up in their best and let their hair down as parades take to the streets and everyone is swept up in a party mood.

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