Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most dynamic cities in Vietnam. Discover the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh, from the touristy attractions to hidden gems off the beaten track. From iconic landmarks to bustling markets, street food stalls, cultural festivals and more – there’s something for everyone in this unique city!
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1. Best time to visit Ho Chi Minh city
Saigon’s weather is different from Northern as it has only two seasons: the rainy and dry seasons. The dry season lasts from December to March. This is the best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh City. December and January are the peak seasons. The rainy season lasts from May to October and June to August, which tends to have the highest rainfall.
Even if the rainy season isn’t the best time to go sightseeing, there are still some advantages to traveling. Since it’s the off-season, there will be few people around. Rain seldom lasts all day; it usually falls in brief spurts.
2. How to get around Ho Chi Minh city?
Ho Chi Minh Metropolis is a large city, so even when you can easily stroll around the city center, consider additional possibilities. Saigon has a vast bus network that makes traveling
around town more affordable. It is a good option for getting about the city because it has several routes and rates as cheap as 3.000 VND/ way.
Taxis and motorcycle taxis are your only alternatives if there is no other public transportation. Taxis are affordable in Vietnam because of their low cost, but they only utilize reputable firms like Vinasun and Mai Linh. Motorbike taxis are even faster and less expensive options although you’ll need to set a price in advance. Besides, an application similar to motorbike taxi, which is widely used in Vietnam, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, is the Grab mobile app, Southeast Asia’s version of Uber. You can get this app in the Appstore or Google Play.
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3. TOP 10 destinations & things to do in Ho Chi Minh city
A lot of domestic and foreign tourists come to Saigon to visit and discover. Lots of unique destinations with a variety of activities.
3.1 Visit War Remnants Museum
A remarkable exhibit that offers a fresh and eye-opening perspective on the Vietnam War is the War Remnants Museum. Visitors to Ho Chi Minh City must visit this museum. The exhibits provide in-depth information about the conflict and Vietnam’s present situation.
The War Remnants Museum displays the following items:
- Displays highlighting the contribution of women during the war.
- Images and memorabilia from the Vietnam War.
- Information on the effects of Agent Orange on soldiers and civilians.
Location: 28 Vo Van Tan, Vo Thi Sau ward, District 3.
3.2 Crawl through Cu Chi Tunnels – Ho Chi Minh things to do
Anyone visiting Ho Chi Minh City must see the Cu Chi Tunnels. During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong exploited these tunnels as a covert means of traversing the city. The tunnels are now a museum that offers an intriguing glimpse into life during the conflict.
You can see at Cu Chi Tunnels:
- The actual tunnels, which the Viet Cong utilized during the Vietnam War
- exhibits on the usage of the tunnels and their impact on the war
- a shooting range where you may test out various vintage guns
Location: 60 miles from Ho Chi Minh City; tourists can be accessed by taxi, bus, or private car.
3.3 Botanical Gardens
Have a fun day with your family in the Ho Chi Minh City Zoo and Botanical Gardens. There are many different animals at the zoo, including lions, tigers, and elephants. The botanical gardens have beautiful plants, and flowers from all over the world may be found. At Ho Chi Minh City Zoo and Botanical Gardens, you can see:
- 1,830 trees and plants of 260 species and 590 animals of 125 kinds, some of which are more than a century old.
- A range of international flora and flowers
Location: 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem street, Ben Nghe ward, District 1
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3.4 Admire Notre Dame Cathedral
Built in the late 1800s, Notre Dame Cathedral is a stunning cathedral. You should visit this church once visiting Ho Chi Minh City as it is one of the city’s most well-known attractions. At the Notre Dame Cathedral, you can see:
- The actual, which was constructed in the late 1800s
- The cathedral’s interior is embellished with lovely stained-glass windows
- The bell tower provides a stunning view of Ho Chi Minh City.
Location: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia street, District One, Ho Chi Minh City
3.5 Bitexco Financial Tower – best things to do in Ho Chi Minh
The Bitexco Financial Tower is the second-tallest structure in Ho Chi Minh City, with a height of 269 meters and has an observation deck and helipad on the 49th floor that provides stunning views of the city. The Bitexco skyscraper, with its 68 floors and an assortment of restaurants and bars, is the ideal location for an evening in Ho Chi Minh City.
Activities available in the Bitexco Financial Tower:
- View breathtaking panoramas of Ho Chi Minh City by going to the observation deck.
- Dine on mouthwatering Vietnamese cuisine at one of the building’s restaurants or bars.
- Visit the on-site ICON 68 mall to do some shopping.
- Observe the setting sun on the 48th floor.
Location: 68 Nguyen Hue street, Ben Nghe ward, District 1
3.6 Shopping in Ben Thanh market
The most well-known market in Ho Chi Minh City is Ben Thanh, which sells a wide range of goods. This place is ideal for purchasing gifts or souvenirs for loved ones. When buying in the Ben Thanh market, prices are adjustable so you have to be cautious to get a better deal. Some items you can buy in this market:
- Souvenirs such as caps, postcards, and t-shirts.
- Gifts, such as jewelry, artwork, and handmade items.
- Electronics, such as smartphones, cameras and tablets.
- Dresses, shirts, and pants among other garments.
Location: Le Loi, Ben Thanh ward, Ho Chi Minh City
3.7 Travel to the Mekong Delta – things to do in Ho Chi Minh city
About two hours from Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta provides a glimpse into rural Vietnam. This region is well-known for its floating markets, canals, and rice paddies, and it can be visited in a single day from Ho Chi Minh City.
Activities available in the Mekong Delta:
- Take a canal boat excursion.
- Learn about the cultivation of rice by visiting a rice paddock.
- Try some of the local specialties, such as meals with fresh fruit and shellfish.
- Purchase goods in floating marketplaces.
Location: It takes roughly two hours to get from Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta. From Ho Chi Minh City, various travel companies provide day trips to the Mekong Delta.
3.8 Cholon (Chinatown) – Ho Chi Minh city things to do
Explore Cholon (District 5) to uncover a hidden treasury of ancient temples and Chinese flavors. Cholon’s historic shop fronts are swiftly disappearing under advertising hoardings or succumbing to developers’ bulldozers. Still, some traditional architecture survives and an atmospheric strip of traditional herb shops provides both a visual and an olfactory reminder of the old Chinese city. In Chinatown, you will see many shopping areas such as:
- Clothing and footwear area: includes ready-to-wear items imported from many countries.
- Spice and confectionery area: Full of items from other countries and brands.
- Housewares area: There are all items made from stainless steel, plastic, glass, crockery, porcelain and gilded items.
- Jewelry area, departmental tools, fresh and dried fruit.
- Food and drink area.
Location: Located in Ward 11, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.
3.9 Tour the Reunification Palace
The Reunification Palace (also known as the Independence Palace) is a must-see for everyone visiting Ho Chi Minh City. Throughout the Vietnam War, this palace served as the South Vietnamese president’s residence. In 1975, a North Vietnamese army tanker crashed through the main gate, ending the Vietnam War. It is currently a museum offering an intriguing glimpse into life in South Vietnam during the war.
Activities featured in the Reunification Palace:
- Visit the palace to see how Southerners survived the conflict.
- View displays about Saigon’s fall
- View a short documentary about Vietnam’s reunification.
- Seek out documented evidence of the heinous measures the American Army employed to try to defeat the North Vietnamese Army.
Location: Located at 141 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Ho Chi Minh City
3.10 Visit Saigon Central Post Office
In the late 1800s, the Central Post Office was constructed. One of the most well-known sites in Ho Chi Minh City, this exquisitely maintained example of French colonial architecture is a must-see for anybody with a passion for Vietnamese culture.
At Central Post Office, you can do:
- From Ho Chi Minh City, send letters and packages.
- Purchase postage and trinkets.
- Take pictures in front of the stunning structure.
Location: It is located at 2 Cong Xa Paris, next to Notre Dame Cathedral.
3.11 Party on Bui Vien Street – Ho Chi Minh top things to do
Bui Vien backpacker street is the most well-known nightlife neighborhood in Ho Chi Minh City. A lot of pubs, clubs, and restaurants are open here. Bui Vien, which depicts a more modern Vietnam, is conveniently positioned just minutes away from the iconic Pham Ngu Lao Street. Both districts are well-known for their great restaurants and street cuisine.
- A fantastic culinary experience with Vietnamese cuisine and beverages at a variety of pubs, clubs, and restaurants.
- There are a lot of folks that want to have a good time.
- Prices for beverages and food are often higher than in other regions of the city.
Location: Pham Ngu Lao ward, District One.
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4. What to eat in Ho Chi Minh city?
Ho Chi Minh City is a place where the colorful culinary cultures of many regions combine different flavors.
4.1 Try a bowl of pho – Ho Chi Minh top things to do
Pho is without a doubt one of the most well-known Vietnamese meals, not just in Vietnam but also internationally. In Sai Gon, Pho combines traditional and contemporary elements, traditional Northern taste and Southern taste. It is prepared with additional herbs and has a deeper flavor than regular pho.
Some places selling Pho:
Pho Hoa Pasteur
- Address: 260C Pasteur street, Ward 8, District 3
- Open hours: 05:00 – 23:30
- Price: 55,000-95,000 VND ($2.43-4.20)
- Address: 89 Ton That Dam, Ben Nghe Ward, District One
- Open hours: 17:00 – 00:00
- Price: 50,000-250,000 VND ($2.21-$11)
4.2 Hu Tieu – Southern rice noodle soup
One Vietnamese delicacy, Hu Tieu, was modified to suit Vietnamese tastes after deriving from Chinese and Cambodian cuisine. Rice noodles, a flavorful broth made from pork bones, and radish are all included in a bowl of Hu Tieu. It frequently comes with quail eggs, bean sprouts, minced pork, shrimp, pork ribs, and slices of pork.
You can try this at:
Hu tieu Ca Can
- Address: 110 Hung Vuong street, Ward 9, District 5
- Open hours: 06:00 – 23:55
- Price: 37.000 – 75.000 VND ($1.63 – $3.31)
Hu tieu Thanh Dat
- Address: 34 Co Bac street, Cau Ong Lanh Ward, District 1
- Open hours: 00:00 – 04:30, 05:30 – 23:59
- Price: 54.000 – 80.000 VND ($2.39 – $3.53)
4.3 Eat at Banh Xeo 46A – things to do in Ho Chi Minh
One of the most well-known Vietnamese foods from the Mekong Delta region is banh xeo or Vietnamese pancake. The term “sizzle” in Vietnamese is “xèo,” and it will happen when the chef pours the batter into the pan. Rice flour, coconut milk, and a tiny bit of turmeric powder are the ingredients in the banh xeo batter. It often has sliced pork belly, shrimp, bean sprouts, and jicama as its stuffing.
You can try this at:
Banh xeo 46A
- Address: 46 Dinh Cong Trang, Tan Dinh Ward, District One
- Open hours: 10:00 – 13:00 and 16:00 – 21:00
- Price: 100.000 – 200.000 VND ($4.42 – $8.84)
Banh xeo An La Ghien
- Address: 11A Tu Xuong, Vo Thi Sau Ward, District Three
- Open hours: 09:00 – 23:00
- Price: 70.000 – 108.000 VND ($3.09 – $4.77)
4.4 Banh mi
The most well-liked street cuisine in Vietnam is banh mi, a Vietnamese baguette loaded with meat and vegetables. In Ho Chi Minh City, Banh mi stands can be found on every street. Mayonnaise, pate, Vietnamese ham, jambon, pickles, cucumber, spring onions, cilantro, chili, and soy sauce are typical components of a Banh mi.
The address to sell banh mi Saigon:
Banh mi Huynh Hoa
- Address: 26 Le Thi Rieng, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District One
- Open hours: 13:30 – 23:00
- Price: 58,000 VND ($2.56)
Banh mi Bay Ho
- Address: 19 Huynh Khuong Ninh, Da Kao Ward, District One
- Open hours: 07:00 – 09:00, 13:30 – 19:00
- Price: 20.000 VND ($0.88)
4.5 Banh trang tron – Mixed rice paper
Banh trang tron, often known as “Mixed Rice Paper,” is a delicious street dish favorite in Sai Gon. This meal may be found practically anywhere, including on the streets, in markets, supermarkets, cafés, and even restaurants. The dish just calls for the chopped rice paper to be combined with dried beef, chicken, and squid as well as shrimp salt, chili oil, green mango and Vietnamese coriander.
You can try this at:
Banh trang tron Chu Vien
- Address: 38 Nguyen Thuong Hien street, Ward 5, District 3
- Open hours: 11:30 – 19:00
- Price: 25.000 – 40.000 VND ($1.10 – $1.77)
Banh trang tron Ba Bac
- Address: 40 Street No. 11, Ward 4, District 4
- Open hours: 10:00 – 22:00
- Price: ~23.000 VND ($1.00)
4.6 Mi Quang – Quang style noodles with pork and shrimp
Mi Quang is the most well-known of numerous Central Vietnamese cuisine. Mi Quang is a type of rice-based noodle that is much thicker than regular noodles. There are several variations of Mi Quang, including beef, chicken, shrimp, pig, and shellfish. To sample everything at once, you may also order a mixed bowl. And if you ever get the chance, try Mi Quang with braised frog; it may seem strange, but it has a wonderful, authentic flavor.
Mi Quang Moc Vi Quan
- Address: 732 Su Van Hanh, District 10
- Open hours: 08:30 – 21:30
- Price: 49.000 – 59.000 VND ($2.16 – $2.61)
Com Que Muoi Kho Restaurant
- Address: 27 Tran Quoc Thao, Ward 6, District 3
- Open hours: 08:00 – 22:00
- Price: 60.000 – 150.000 VND ($2.65 – $6.63)
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5. Other travel tips when traveling to Ho Chi Minh city
Traveling to Ho Chi Minh City will be a great experience if you follow some tips below:
- Vietnam uses the Vietnamese Dong as its currency (VND). The exchange rate at the time of writing was 23,500 VND to 1 USD. Therefore, if something is priced at 100,000 VND, it works out to around $4.33 USD.
- Saigon is divided into “Districts,” or communities. District 2 is home to the “ex-pat community,” whereas District 1 is home to the “backpacker district.” Despite being more affordable than District 1, District 4 is conveniently placed. Check out our ex-pat guide to Saigon for additional information on the various districts and their special offerings.
- Don’t forget to get a Vietnamese SIM card. When utilizing Grab and Google Maps to move about town, the internet is extremely affordable and rather useful to have.
- Download Grab, it is Asia’s version of Uber! Instead of having to describe your address to the driver, you can simply put it into the app. You also don’t need to haggle over the price before getting in.
The destinations in Saigon are now quite diverse, visitors should plan things to do in Ho Chi Minh City to have a complete and meaningful trip. Hopefully with the suggestions above you will have a fun trip to Ho Chi Minh City in 2023!
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- Headquarter: 2nd floor – No 02, Alley 232, Yen Hoa street, Cau Giay district, Hanoi, Vietnam
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