As a Saigon-based photographer, I have my list of the best photo spots in town and some tips on taking great pictures there. So if you are looking for Instagrammable places in Ho Chi Minh City - this post may be helpful ☺️
1. Ba Thien Hau Temple
also known as Temple of Lady Thien Hau
This 250-year-old temple is one of the oldest in Saigon. It is a sacred place in the middle of vibrant Chinatown. Once entering inside, you will be impressed by its mysterious and dignified look.
I love coming here for a moment of quiet. While there, I spend most of my time looking at its stunning roofline with bas-reliefs and figurines on it.
☝🏻 When taking pictures there, keep in mind that you are in an actual temple, and most people around you come there to pray.
For the photo spot, head to the main hall with conical incense coils hanging from above. The open space on the roof floods the temple with a mesmerizing light, in which incense smoke constantly rises up. And the two sides of this path are separated to make it easy for visitors to walk.
By the way, visitors can buy these ring incense, write down their names on paper and then hang them from the roof to pray for peace and good luck.
2. Tan Dinh Church
The full name is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus but the most commonly it is known as a Pink Church
The most popular thing to do here is to admire the special architectural style of the church and take photos.
☝🏻 Only foreign and Vietnamese Catholics are accepted to go inside the church and join Holy Mass and other activities. Other visitors can pass the side gate and go around the front yard. The gate is closed from 12:00 to 14:00 daily. So during break time visitors can only take photos from outside.
One of the best spots to take photos here is right across the street - head to the Cong Ca Phe, order their signature Coconut Coffee, and enjoy a beautiful view of the Pink Church from the balcony upstairs.
3. Nguyen Van Binh Book Street
also known as Ho Chi Minh City Book Street
Book Street is a 100m stretch of book shops, kiosks, stalls, and book-themed cafes that are perfect for a literary getaway under the shady trees.
While you are visiting Book Street, don't forget to pick a couple of postcards for your friends back home. Then head to the Saigon Post Office (Book Street stretches to it) to post those postcards without delay.
For the photos, look for the spot facing the Notredam Cathedral or just head to the Book Cafe and chill out there.
4. Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts
Fine Arts Museum is truly a must-see place in Ho Chi Minh city besides other attractions. A former residence of the wealthiest local businessman in Saigon in the 20th century., this is another colonial-era mansion in Ho Chi Minh City (something people love about this city) and is inspired by both French and Asian styles.
Love coming here and firstly getting inspired by its yellow-white walls, marble floors, spacious rooms, French-style balconies, doors with arched style to get wind, and natural light. And of course, this is a home for some masterpieces of famous local artists, describing the culture, life, and beautiful landscapes of Vietnam.
Thanks to its unique architecture, the destination attracts both locals and foreign tourists to visit and, of course, take photos.
☝🏻 The museum opens from 9:00 to 17:00 Tuesday – Sunday (closed on Monday). Please bear in mind that for taking pictures with a professional camera, the fee is 300,000 VND for 1 hour (and then the entrance ticket is free). If you will use your mobile phone then just need to pay a standard entrance fee, which is 30,000 VND.
5. Vinhomes Central Park
Park is located in one of the prime locations in the center of Ho Chi Minh City and connects some of the popular residential areas in town. Seating right behind the Landmark 81 skyscraper and along the Saigon river, this is a lush greenery site of nearly 14 hectares! A spectacular place to escape the hustle-bustle, meet friends, and enjoy some of the best views in Saigon (including an amazing downtown skyline). Residents are keen to visit Central Park when the golden hour approaches, but if you come here daytime despite of hot weather, may find yourself almost alone enjoying the greenery and views.
I suggest hopping on one of two observation houses right near the Saigon river - look for a central lawn facing the Landmark 81 tower. From upstairs you will find one of the best spots and views to take photos. But literally, the Vinhomes Central Park itself is just one big photo spot.
For even better views, you may want to visit Landmark 81 Skyview (ticket desk located on the B1 floor at Vincom Shopping Mall). Another way to enjoy the view from Vietnam's tallest skyscraper - a coffee shop located on the 75 & 76 floors (the entrance is from the Ground floor of the 5-star hotel, behind Starbucks).
6. The Cafe Apartments
The Cafe Apartments is a 9-story old residential building transformed into a tourist spot, right in the middle of the famous Ho Chi Minh City's pedestrian walking street (Nguyen Hue). Owners of the apartments rent their assets to small independent businesses (such as coffee shops and tea houses, co-working spaces, and even fashion boutiques). So now this is a unique attraction for locals and tourists as hosts many cool spots to hang out.
The building of the Cafe Apartments with many balconies and lights looks vivid and eclectic. Explore each floor to find your ideal spots for photos inside or simply take them from Nguyen Hue street.
Suggest visiting it at night as well - you would like to see it with all signs lit up.
7. Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee
City Hall, often referred to as “Gingerbread House” due to the yellow tinge and ornate features of the exterior
This is, without a doubt, a must-place for everyone to take a picture while in Ho Chi Minh City!
☝🏻 The French-style building functions as the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee so it is not open to visitors to go inside.
But right in front of it, there is a small yard with a garden, a lotus fountain, and the statue of “Uncle Ho”. Head a little bit further along the Nguyen Hue walking street to find the panoramic view for the best photo.
Come here after sunset to take part in promenades with friendly locals, try some street food, or just enjoy the night view of Saigon.
8. Saigon Opera House
One of the most impressive sights in Ho Chi Minh City - both day and night. Located right in the heart of downtown, Saigon Opera House connects the future metro station and roundabout in front of Ben Thanh market. It was built by the French architect Eugene Ferret in the vibrant style of the French Third Republic to entertain Saigon's burgeoning middle class in French Colonial times.
This is a venue for many high-profile events and cultural activities in the city. If have time, try to book tickets and visit the "A O Show" - a high-quality performance portraying Vietnamese daily lives, it's regularly performed there.
For the best photo in front of this iconic building, cross Dong Khoi street and head to the park located right in front of the Opera House. Or just take a picture on the entrance stairs - that way you will capture its magnificent ornamentation and balustrades.
After you are done taking photos, make sure to explore Nguyen Hue street - there you will find local restaurants, coffee shops, and street food as well as other Saigon photo spots.
9. Bitexco Tower
Photo Spot near the Tran Hung Dao Statue
Why take a picture with another skyscraper? Bitexco is a landmark building in Saigon with a unique shape (its creators were inspired by the lotus bud - Vietnam's national flower). It was also the first high-rise building with a Skydeck to overlook the day and night scenery of the largest city in Vietnam.
You can see Bitexco everywhere in Saigon so there are plenty of different spots to take picture of it. Yet for the not-so-exposed view, head to the square with the Tran Hung Dao Statue right opposite the Saigon Waterbus Station on the Saigon river. There, you won't miss Ngo Duc Ke street that offers a nice downtown view with Bitexco.
10. Bach Dang Wharf Park
Local media called this park "a rendezvous point in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City". It is hard to disagree with that :)
Bach Dang Wharf Park is located at the heart of District 1 - at the end of Nguyen Hue Walking Street. It is a very popular location for both residents and tourists. Early morning, you may spot here locals doing workout routines, as well as couples taking their pre-wedding photographs. If you visit this park at night, be ready for a local "rendezvous" with lots of activities happening same time.
This is one of the best spots for a stunning view of the Sai Gon River, Landmark 81, and Thu Thiem 2 Bridge - a new skyline of a modern Saigon you want to take a photo at.