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A Beginner's Guide to Saigon

| Words by Ellena Johnstone |

Saigon: Traditional Meets Modern

Saigon is a city both deeply traditional and strikingly modern. Yet despite its flourishing restaurant scene, cutting-edge hotel openings and host of chic new rooftop bars, the city’s sophisticated old world charm pervades. Whether you’re seeking French-colonial sophistication or modern luxury during your visit, here is your roundup of where to drink, dine and stay during your time in Saigon:

Caravell hotel with Insider Journeys The beautiful French-colonial Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral blends seamlessly with modern skyscrapers in downtown Saigon, Vietnam

The best of old world Saigon


Overlooking the Opera House and cosmopolitan Dong Khoi Street, Caravelle Saigon, is the hotel for those seeking old world charm in Saigon. Steeped in history, the hotel was a base of operations for foreign journalists during the Vietnam War. So close was the frontline, that in the closing days of the conflict journalists actually reported from Caravelle Saigon's iconic rooftop bar, Saigon Saigon, which remains little-changed to this day. With 335 stylish and comfortable rooms, and unmatched charm and historical significance, Caravelle Saigon is an ideal base to explore this vibrant city.

Caravell hotel with Insider Journeys The iconic colonial façade of Caravelle Saigon is instantly recognisable, just across the street from the Saigon Opera House.


Housed within the courtyard of a former colonial opium factory, right in the heart of Saigon, is Hoa Tuc restaurant. Serving up exceptional Vietnamese cuisine in a traditional setting, this restaurant is well-worth a visit after a day of sightseeing.


There is no better way to end a stay in Saigon than enjoying panoramic views of the city-skyline with a cocktail in hand. Head to the Rooftop Garden Bar at The Rex, famous as a hangout for foreign correspondents, U.S officers and GI’s during the Vietnam War.

The best of modern Saigon


The Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint Hotel is sleek, stylish and offers everything you could possibly want while staying in Saigon – it even has its own in-house cinema!


For delicious, unpretentious food head to L’Usine on stylish Dong Khoi Street. Serving up European café style classics, as well as delicious sandwiches, cakes and coffee, their simple philosophy of ‘good food, well done’ has won them a cult-following among expats and locals alike.


Newly opened, Champagne Corner at Caravelle Saigon looks set to become Saigon’s most luxurious rendezvous point, perfect for a glass of champagne before a visit to the Opera House across the street.

Champagne corner in Caravelle Saigon Champagne Corner at the Caravelle opened its doors in 2015, and looks set to become a favourite among expats and locals seeking a taste of modern Saigon.

See for yourself

Vietnam Airlines now offers direct flights to Saigon and Hanoi from the UK and Australia, and codeshare flights via Europe or Asia from the USA. Browse our complete collection of small group tours to Vietnam, or see our private touring options.