Postcard laid out with a bag and postal stamps

Send Yourself A Postcard From Saigon Post Office

Whether it’s part of a day tour or you’re dropping by on your own, sending a postcard from the Saigon Central Post Office is one of the fun and inexpensive things to do in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

I’ve been working on my postcard project since 2012. It started out with asking my friends abroad to send postcards to me in the Philppines. And then I came across a viral photo on Facebook where somebody bound all the postcards she sent herself from her travels into a vintage-looking book.

Post office building
Saigon Central Post Office

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Since then I’ve been doing the same. I send myself postcards from all my travel destinations and collect them back at home. When I get enough postcards, I will bind them into a book.

In downtown Ho Chi Minh, it’s a standard itinerary for tourists. Their post office is located in an accessible part of District 1, right across the Notre Dame Cathedral and beside the famous Book Street.

My friend Jam, an expat in Saigon, joined me as I sent a postcard through the Saigon Post Office.

 

Built in 1886–1891, the Saigon Central Post Office is one of the oldest and most iconic buildings in the city. You’ll notice the Renaissance architecture of the building inside and out.

When you enter, you’ll feel like you’ve time-traveled to the late 1800s, thanks to the well-preserved interiors and fixtures, such as the high curved Romanesque ceiling, a large clock above the main entrance, hand-painted maps on the walls, and a mix of European and Asian decors.

Red tables with tourists writing on postcards
Kate was here. The Saigon Post Office has a writing area for your letters and postcards.

Things To Do In Ho Chi Minh

 

Because there’s a horde of tourists sending postcards daily, navigating the Saigon Central Post Office system is relatively easy. You first browse through the shops selling a variety of postcard designs. After purchasing your postcard of choice, you sit on the writing area in the center of the hall and fill up your postcard.

When you’re done, you head to the counters where you tell the postal office workers which country you’re sending the postcard to. They’ll tell you how much stamps to purchase. After affixing the stamps, you hand the postcard back to them and they’ll take care of the rest. I wish there was an option for us to drop the postcard ourselves in the mailbox.

Souvenir stall filled with merchandize
Shop for postcards and other Vietnamese souvenirs inside the Saigon Post Office.
Postcard laid out with a bag and postal stamps
My postcard (personal info blurred) before I affixed the stamps

As a solo traveler, I usually write my own postcards, ’90s diary-style sans the deep-dark secrets, to send to myself. But for my Saigon trip, I met up with a my good friend Jam, who is an expat there. I asked him to write me a note on the postcard instead.

I spent a total of VND76,000 (21k for the stamps and 55k for one postcard).

When your postcard mission is done, you have plenty of souvenir shops to explore in the building. As a stamp collector since the ’80s-’90s, I enjoyed looking at the stamp sets for sale. However, I’m not that kind of stamp collector. I prefer collecting stamps that were used on actual letters and postcards and sent through the postal service, not new unused stamps.

BTTD

It’s been over five weeks since I was at the Saigon Central Post Office. As expected with the unreliable and notoriously corrupt postal system in the Philippines, I have yet to receive my Saigon postcard.

When was the last time you mailed an old-fashioned letter or postcard?

Saigon Central Post Office is located at 02 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam.