Make sure to add these to your list of things to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City:
War Remnants Museum: Interesting to see, but the exhibits were very one-sided against the US war.
Ben Thanh Market: This is a huge French-built municipal indoor market where you can buy vegetables, meats, sweets, spices, household items, clothing and everything in between. There was a lovely Taoist Pagoda near the market.
Rex Rooftop Garden Bar (formerly The Rex Bar): This is the famous rooftop bar at the Rex Hotel where during the Vietnam War, expats and wartime journalists came to drink and exchange stories. It is listed along with the Ben Thanh Market in the 1000 Places to See Before You Die book!
I visited several galleries including the well-known Apricot Gallery which I had seen also in Hanoi. I really like contemporary Vietnamese art and found two large lacquer paintings by Bui Huu Hung which I purchased and had shipped to Chicago.
I also shopped for lacquerware in Saigon at Tay San, a huge factory/showroom, at 998 Vo Thi Sau Street. They had a wonderful selection at good prices. I think you will find that lacquerware is one of the best thing to buy in Vietnam
I also shopped at 27-7 Handicraft Company, at 153 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, which helps create jobs for handicapped people.
Other recommendations include visiting the The Ho Chi Minh City Post Office, or the Saigon Central Post Office. This is a post office in the downtown Ho Chi Minh City, near Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, the city’s cathedral. the building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century. The Ho Chi Minh City Opera House was built in 1897 by French architect Eugène Ferret as the Opėra de Saigon. The Ho Chi Minh City Hall or Saigon City Hall or Hôtel de Ville de Saïgon was built in 1902–1908 in a French colonial style for the then city of Saigon. It was renamed after 1975 as Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.
Also a must, is visiting the Nguyễn Huệ Walking Street particularly at night when the French Colonial buildings are beautifully lit.