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Nha Rong Harbor – Where Keepsakes Saigon’s Memories

I am a Saigon-lover who falls in love with the historical relics of the city. And this time, I’m gonna introduce to you another historical site you should not miss on your days in Saigon. It is Nha Rong Harbor or the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

Things to Know Before Visiting Nha Rong Harbor

1. The Origin of the Name

Nha Rong Harbor, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Image source: Handyhuy on Wikimedia.

The original name of Nha Rong pier came from a couple of turquoise dragon statues put on the rooftop of the building. Some people believed it was Gia Long King – The 1st king of the Nguyễn dynasty called the harbor Dragon when Vietnam’s feudal made friends with the French colonial government.

However, the 2nd speculation sounds kinda strange and untrue. Until these days, Vietnamese people are used to calling this historical site “Nhà Rồng”.

It is not only the very first harbor of Saigon, it is also the famous place where our historic Nguyen Tat Thanh, who is Ho Chi Minh, left the country to find a way of unleashing Vietnam from the colonial system.

2. Where to Find Nha Rong Harbor?

The harbor is along the side of Saigon river where is on the junction of district 4 and district 1. The address is 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh, ward 12, district 1.

As always, the easiest way to go is catching a taxi, “xe ôm”, or using applications such as Grab, Be, Gojek, etc. If you are an adventurer, you can ride a motorbike and find the way yourself. Nonetheless, just a note, the traffic will be chaos.

3. Ticket Price

About the price of the ticket, it is reasonable with the price for Vietnamese people is free and that for the foreign visitors is VND 25.000. Additionally, the parking price for a motorbike is VND 2,000.

4. Opening Time

About opening times, Nha Rong wharf is opened between 7:30 am and 7:00 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Lunch break is from 11h30 am -13h30 pm.

5. Notes to Remember for a Good Visit

Last but not least, to have a full experience trip at Nha Rong Harbor, it is essential to keep in mind these things:

  • Do not step on the grass.
  • Wear suitable clothes.
  • Do not speak loudly when the interpreter is talking. 
  • Taking pictures is allowed so you should take as many as you can.

What’s in Nha Rong Harbor for You to Explore

Know about the History of the Harbor

Nha Rong Harbor and Khanh Hoi Bridge.

In the beginning, Nha Rong Wharf was inherently a trading port built in 1864. The French decided to build this commercial port with the aim to develop international trade. The construction of the trading port was assigned to the carrier Messageries impériales.

The first parts of the trading port were built in almost 1 year. Later, a large building was also built to serve as the headquarters for the Messageries impériales firm, as well as to house the General Manager and to sell ship tickets. At that time, this was a very famous trading port in Indochina and was a symbol of Saigon at that time.

After 1975, the Vietnam Maritime Administration took over Nha Rong Ben. Also, this is where the young man Nguyen Tat Thanh boarded a ship abroad to learn the new revolutionary direction. Therefore, when coming to Nha Rong Harbor, you will understand more about a relic with a long history and associated with the ups and downs in President Ho Chi Minh’s life.

Explore the Architecture

Nha Rong Wharf at night.
Image source: Eternal Dragon on Wikimedia.

Like many tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Rong harbor has a European infrastructure. There are 2 blocks in the area. One is the museum, another is the place for managing the cultural relic.

The facade of the museum stands out with 2 floors, each of them has looping gates – the antique, charming feature of French art. On the other hand, Nha Rong Harbor’s architecture combines some of the characteristics of Vietnamese culture which particularly shows up on the building’s roof – a couple of turquoise dragon statues. Also, the idea of tiling roofs with red clay tiles is one of the outstanding artworks of Vietnamese pagodas and shrines.

Probably, the museum is where visitors always head to at first. Also, it is where keeps artifacts and models of the wharf in the early days. In addition, the museum is a great place to broaden your horizon about the history of President Ho Chi Minh.

Outside blocks, visitors are gonna be amazed by the view from the Saigon river. The mild gentle wind from the river will freshen your mind and taking photos from there is also a good choice.

Learn More about President Ho Chi Minh through the Museum

After 1975, Ben Nha Rong became the Ho Chi Minh Museum of Ho Chi Minh City branch. This is one of many museums commemorating President Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. Inside, the Museum in Ben Nha Rong has 9 galleries, of which 6 rooms contain artifacts and documents about the great leader of Vietnam.

Yes, you can learn many facts about his life, his revolutionary journey through many historical periods. Furthermore, you can also hire a tour guide here to have a better presentation about Nha Rong Harbor in general and Ho Chi Minh’s life in particular.

Enjoy Peaceful Saigon When the Sun Goes Down

The Elisa floating restaurant offers dinner on a yacht.

Nha Rong Harbor has a prime location overlooking the Saigon River. Indeed, this place is both ancient and full of nature. The area of Nha Rong Wharf are spacious and planted with many trees. Moreover, those trees are carefully trimmed and planned that creating a significantly beautiful landscape.

Standing from the wharf, visitors can see a part of the famous Saigon River. Thanks to its proximity to the river and its large area, Nha Rong Ben regularly welcomes the cool breeze blowing in from the river. Amidst the bustling Saigon, such a sight is not easy to find.

Especially, Nha Rong Harbor is also an ideal place to watch the sunset. When you come here on beautiful days, from 15:00 to 17:00, you will see the sun gradually descending on the Saigon River. The rays of sunlight at the end of the day are gradually extinguished, making the river surface sparkle with light. At that moment, the scenery of the Saigon River is memorable when becoming both fanciful and vivid.

Activities to Do after Visiting Nha Rong Harbor

Give a Try on Saigon Waterbus

Having experience in sightseeing the Saigon river on Waterbus is likely to be a brand new activity of Saigon. From the waterbus, you can take a lot of photos of the whole Saigon view and also the Nha Rong harbor. And the way to go to the waterbus station is really near Nha Rong pier so I think this is an ideal activity you should try after visiting the historic site. Definitely, you should have a check on the schedule that waterbuses depart. And the price is going to be VND 15,000 for a person.

Have a Try on Local Streetfood and Snacks

As you’ve known, Saigon is a paradise of mouth-watering taking away foods, and district 4 is one of them! I suggest that you should try Pha Lau – stunning street food of district 4 after having a trip to Nha Rong harbor. I still remember that this food was one of my all-time favorites when I went to high school. In addition, there are also more than 1 extraordinary food you wanna try in Saigon, so why don’t you give a try on looking these amazing at 12 Best Afternoon Snacks in Ho Chi Minh City You Must Try

Enjoy the Chilling Atmosphere from Above

To the best of my knowledge, there is no such thing as more appropriate than swallowing a cup of coffee or tea on the balcony of the cafe on Nguyen Hue. yes, that is having drinks coffee in Nguyen Hue coffee apartment. I promise that this is a great spot to sightsee beautiful Saigon falling in the dark sky.

Going Somewhere around Nha Rong Pier

If your trip ends but your feet are still itching? There are a variety of cool places you could come and see. Here is the list:

Overall, like other historical sites in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Rong harbor is a great place for people who are curious about the city’s history from the past to now. Therefore, don’t forget to put this destination into your itinerary when visiting Saigon!


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