Ho Chi Minh City: Where Past Architecture and Modern Culture Merge

Ho Chi Minh City has gone through many historical ups and downs. Therefore, there is a disruptive interference between different cultures, along with different architectures. This diversity combined with the bustling and generous nature of Ho Chi Minh City has created an extremely unique cultural and architectural space that is an attraction for many tourists.

The Architectural Heritage of Ho Chi Minh City

Colonial Foundations: French Architectural Influence

The architectural landscape of Ho Chi Minh City prominently reflects French influence, a legacy of its colonial past when Vietnam formed a part of French Indochina from the mid-19th century until 1954. This influence is evident in the enduring structures that grace the city today, including:

Colonial Buildings

The architecture of the French colonial period had an interference between European architecture and materials and weather in Vietnam. This includes large facades, tall windows and wide balconies often decorated with intricate ironwork.

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

This can be considered the most prominent symbol of French architecture in Ho Chi Minh City. Completed in 1880, the church was built entirely with materials imported from France and is an outstanding example of Neo-Romanesque architecture.

Central Post Office

The Central Post Office was designed by Villedieu with his assistant Foulhoux, the person behind the design of the Eiffel Tower. It is no wonder that this is one of the architectural legacies left by France. The combination of arched windows and wooden shutters represents a characteristic feature of the period. The post office has undergone many changes in paint color; now, it is light yellow and is a popular attraction for foreign tourists

Opera House (Municipal Theatre)

Built in 1897, it reflects the architectural style of the French Third Republic. The Ho Chi Minh City Theater is considered an architectural counterpart to the Hanoi Opera House (modeled after the Opéra Garnier in Paris) while itself being influenced by the Petit Palais built in the same year. This theater represents the joyful and colorful side of French architecture.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City

Traditional Vietnamese Architecture

Away from the influence of colonial architecture, Vietnam still retains many indigenous architectural features in Ho Chi Minh City, specifically the combinations of materials and patterns as well as religious beliefs. Religion is inlaid into architecture, providing the ability to preserve profound values even during the period of invasion by colonial countries. We can see that those elements include:

Wooden Structures

Wood is the primary construction material for Vietnamese houses. The solid yet sophisticated treatment of wood has fostered architecture that is imbued with harmony, bridging human nature and religious symbolism.

Roof Designs

The roof is often curved and layered like a dragon or phoenix. These designs are not only aesthetic but also functional as they help deflect rainwater and reduce heat..

Open Spaces and Ventilation

To cope with the tropical climate in Ho Chi Minh City, traditional architecture often emphasizes open space, air circulation and use of natural light. Houses and temples often have large yards, many open doors and windows, typically 3-room houses or 5-room houses combined.

Feng Shui Influence

The layout and orientation of traditional buildings often follow Feng Shui principles, aiming to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment.

Modern Developments and Skyline

Contemporary Saigon architecture can be considered as vertical development where the silhouette of buildings meeting the sky is always present, typically the Bitexco financial tower and Landmark 81.

The architecture of modern times now shows trends combined with the environment such as green architecture to preserve heritage. A typical example of this direction is the Ho Chi Minh City State Treasury expansion project. Create a delicate combination between present and past.

Bitexco Financial Tower is the 2nd tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City

Navigating Ho Chi Minh City

Transportation in Ho Chi Minh City

Getting around in Ho Chi Minh City can be a challenge for newcomers. The mix of taxis, buses, and an influx of motorcycles create a dynamic street scene. Soon, a new metro system is expected to provide a much-needed modern update to the city’s transport infrastructure.

Traveling to Ho Chi Minh City: Booking Your Adventure

For those planning to visit, booking air tickets to Ho Chi Minh is your first step towards an unforgettable adventure. The city is accessible by Tan Son Nhat International Airport, with multiple international and domestic airlines operating daily.

Planning Your Trip: Practical Tips and Tricks

To make sightseeing convenient, tourists should consider visiting Ho Chi Minh City during the dry season from December to April. Additionally, you should explore the options for hotels and boarding houses in advance to find affordable accommodations that suit your needs.

Outside of Ho Chi Minh City, travelers may also consider consulting the plane ticket to Vietnam cost in general to prepare for any other sources of inspiration that may lead them to explore the tourist destinations and other major cities filled with interesting aspects in this Southeast Asian country.


Ho Chi Minh City is not only a tourist destination but also a living testament of Vietnam’s past blending with its dynamic present. For those fascinated by its rich history and diverse architecture, this can be considered a package tour to explore and immerse yourself in the beauty of this city. What are you waiting for? Prepare your luggage and book a plane ticket to Ho Chi Minh City.

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