12 THINGS TO DO IN HO CHI MINH TO ENJOY THIS BUSTLING CITY

  -  
Ho đưa ra Minh thành phố Vietnam; the former city of Saigon, has played a significant role in the modern history of the world. From a historical perspective, there are loads of Ho chi Minh thành phố attractions to keep you busy.

Bạn đang xem: 12 things to do in ho chi minh to enjoy this bustling city

Discover important sites from the Vietnam war, Ho chi Minh’s monuments, museums, & of course, the fascinating Cu bỏ ra Tunnels are a must.


*
Travelling through Vietnam by scooter is great but beware of the crazy traffic.
Aside from the historical story of the city, You’ll never be left looking for things to vày in Saigon. There is a modern side khổng lồ the đô thị worth exploring, and of course, local street food in Vietnam doesn’t get much better than in Ho đưa ra Minh.

Let’s look at some of the best things in Ho bỏ ra Minh City.


Don’t Forget lớn Get Your Vietnam Visa Before You GoYou must have a visa lớn enter Vietnam. Previously you had to apply for an “approval letter” và then queue on arrival and pay an additional USD$25 for a “visa on arrival”.

The process has been simplified and citizens from over 40 countries can now apply for their visa online. You can apply for your Vietnam Visa here but make sure you allow at least three business days before your departure date for processing.


*
Most small apartments in Ho bỏ ra Minh only have a kitchenette as even for locals, street food is the best way lớn dine.

Where to lớn Stay in Ho bỏ ra Minh

District 1 is the best area for visitors khổng lồ Ho đưa ra Minh city to stay in. District 1 is where you will find most of Ho bỏ ra Minh City’s attractions & tours. Also, more often than not, tour companies will require you khổng lồ meet in District 1.

Here are our top recommended places to lớn stay in Ho bỏ ra Minh District 1 lớn suit all budgets.

Address: p Q. 1, 34 Nguyễn An Ninh, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Check rates & availabilityhere for Thanh Thu Hotel.

Address: street, 55 Thủ Khoa Huân, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam

Check rates and availabilityhere forRosa khách sạn & Spa.

Address: 132-134 Dong Khoi St., District 1, Ho chi Minh City, Vietnam

Check rates & availability here forHotel Continental Saigon.Room rates are much more reasonable than you would expect.


*
The best street food in Ho bỏ ra Minh city is made fresh with local ingredients delivered by bicycle straight from the farm lớn the stall.

Best Things To vị In Ho bỏ ra Minh City

Tour the War Remnants Museum

The War Remnants Museum is the most visited place in Ho bỏ ra Minh city và a must on any trip to lớn Vietnam. More than half a million people a year come to learn how a history of war has shaped Vietnam.

The museum was conceived by the Vietnamese Government in 1975 as an exhibition house lớn expose the real & exaggerated war crimes of the United States và the Puppet Government.

Following a tradition of similar exhibitions exposing war crimes of the French and Americans operating in Vietnam as early as 1954; the museum’s inception which was politically driven, showcased propaganda highlighting the horror of war.


*
By trungydang, CC BY 3.0, Link

Over the years, thanks to lớn diplomatic trade off’s, the museum has undergone a few name changes. One thing remains, the horrors of war leave many visitors visibly moved.

Aside from the usual displays of military hardware, the museum has graphic images of the casualties of war prominently displayed as well as documentaries covering the long term effects of agent orange.


*
The War Remnants Museum was once known as the Museum of Chinese & American War Crimes.

Some of the exhibits in The War Remnants Museum may not be for the squeamish. However, it is an important and stark look at the wars that have shaped Vietnam & the long term effects on all who fought in them. Allow at least a half-day for this museum.

Open Hours:Daily 7:30 am – 5.00 pm. The ticket window closes between 11.45 am – 12.00 pm. Last entry is at 4.30 pm.

Entry Fee:VND 40,000, (~ US$1.75 )


Tip for Visiting The War Remnants Museum
Morning is the best time to lớn visit as many tours to lớn the Cu chi tunnels finish at the museum so it can get busy in the afternoon.

Shopping & Street Food at Ben Thanh Market

One of the oldest surviving structures in Saigon, the Ben Thanh Market is the shopping và street food mecca of District 1.

The market is one of Ho đưa ra Minh’s liveliest areas. Bursting at the seams with traders hawking fresh produce và day to lớn day items khổng lồ locals as well as an equal abundance of souvenirs.


*
You will find some of the best street food in Ho chi Minh đô thị at the Ben Thanh markets.

You will find everything from local handicrafts to lớn great value knock off items such as sneakers, T-shirts, luggage, & activewear.

Be prepared to bargain regardless of any fixed price signs you see. Vendors are up for it và set prices high lớn accommodate. Just remember, you will always agree on the best price when the bartering stays friendly.


*
The Ben Thanh market comes alive at night and you will find plenty of interesting souvenirs và great Vietnamese street food.

Head khổng lồ the market in the afternoon when the market restaurants start to mở cửa inside. It is an excellent spot for a late lunch & a cold drink while watching the daily market trading.

Ben Thanh Night Market

Once the market closes, the perimeter of Ben Thanh becomes a vibrant scene of street food stalls và restaurants. Find a tiny plastic chair và enjoy a cold beer và some authentic Vietnamese street food. The outside market is xuất hiện until around midnight.

Be very mindful of your personal belongings in the market. It is hectic, & distractions are everywhere – The perfect combination for pickpockets.

Stay Safe in Vietnam: We’ve covered you with great Travel Safety Tips & the Best Anti-theft Travel Gear so you can relax while travelling.


*

Vietnamese Street Food Tour Recommendation
Enjoy Saigon’s famous street food on an evening street food & market tour. Sample a myriad of local dishes và delicacies at some of Ho đưa ra Minh’s best local eateries. Tour lasts 3.5 hrs và includes all food, beer, coffee, and local guide. Prices start at VND 758,000 pp (~$USD 32). Get full Saigon street food tour details here.

Visit Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica

Constructed between 1863-1880 during the French colonial occupation of Vietnam, the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Vietnam.

Modelled on the thiết kế of the original Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, all the materials were shipped from France for the cathedral construction. The original church of Saigon was constructed from timber in 1863 which was quickly devastated by termites.

The current red brick structure was the result of a thiết kế competition won by French religious architect Jules Bourard. The winning idea was simply to lớn build a smaller version of the Notre Dame in Paris.


*
The romanesque styled Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

The religious centre for more than 6 million of Vietnam’s Catholics & pilgrims, the Saigon cathedral also attracts a daily trade of tourists as well as savvy locals with makeshift shops around the cathedral’s perimeter.

The Saigon Cathedral is currently undergoing a massive restoration that began in 2017 and is expected khổng lồ remain closed to lớn tourists until at least the middle of 2020. So, much like the original Notre Dame in Paris, the cathedral may currently only be viewed from the exterior grounds.

The church does, however, still hold mass every Sunday at 9.30 in both Vietnamese và English.


Ho đưa ra Minh city Book Street

Stretching 100 meters from Notre Dame Cathedral to Hai bố Trung street is Ho chi Minh’s Book Street.

Nguyen Van Binh Book Street is not just a place for book lovers; it is a place for book publishers from all over Vietnam lớn gather. Many come to share và promote their new works.


*
Looking for unusual things to bởi vì in Ho chi Minh city, then pay a visit to lớn book street.

There is a dedicated book coffe as well as specific shops for newspapers, magazines, stationery, a second-hand book exchange, & book exhibition area.

There are more than 20 unique book stores in the street, bringing together authors & book lovers. The street aims khổng lồ offer a space where you can take a stroll away from the traffic of Saigon and enjoy a coffee & a good book in a sidewalk cafe.

Book street is in Nguyen Van Binh, District 1, Ho chi Minh City.

Discover the Charm of Historic Hoi An: One of the most charming towns in Vietnam, Hoi An should not be missed.


Take a Dinner Cruise on the Saigon River

Take a Bonsai River Cruise for a different view of Ho đưa ra Minh thành phố as you float past some of Saigon’s most historic monuments. Onboard the traditional 19th century dragon boat you can enjoy dinner and a relaxing evening away from the hectic pace of the thành phố on Ho chi Minh’s premier river cruise.

You can pre-book dinner & cruise tickets here.


*
Get away from the hustle and bustle of Ho bỏ ra Minh city & enjoy some Vietnamese cuisine on a Saigon River cruise.

Tour Reunification Palace

During the Vietnam War, the Reunification Palace was the residence of the president of South Vietnam & the site of a dramatic finish lớn the Vietnam war. One of the most famous monuments of the Vietnam War, a không lấy phí guided tour of the palace is a great way to glean an understanding of the culture and history of Ho đưa ra Minh City và South Vietnam.

Opening Hours: 7:30 am–11.00 am |1.00 pm –4.00 pm

Entry Fee: VND 40,000 (approx. US$ 2). Không tính phí tour guides can be arranged as you arrive.


*
The Reunification Palace is also known as the Independence Palace.

Visit the Central Post Office

The Saigon Central Post Office is another iconic attraction in Ho đưa ra Minh city. Constructed from 1886-1891 in the classic Gothic, Renaissance và French colonial thiết kế many mistakenly credit Gustave Eiffel for the building.

Designed by French architect Alfred Foulhoux, the bright yellow building trimmed in trắng with elegant green shutters transports visitors to Europe.


*
An unusual thing to bởi in Ho đưa ra Minh đô thị is to lớn visit the Saigon Central Post Office and check out the hand-painted maps of Saigon in 1892.

The magnificent colonial interior has domed ceilings supported by ornate metal arches, (possibly the mistaken links to Eiffel), oil paintings, polished timber phone booths & original wooden countertops.

Two painted maps dating back to lớn 1892 depict the postal route between southern Vietnam & Cambodia and the other, Saigon city và surroundings.

A large portrait of the father of modern Vietnam, Ho đưa ra Minh at the kết thúc of the great hall is the only reminder that you are in Vietnam.


*
Inside the Saigon Central Post Office, you will find working phone booths & the former telegraph lines of Cochin China. Souvenirs stalls sell a selection of fictional “Tintin in Vietnam” covers.

Pham ngớ ngẩn Lao Street Nightlife (Backpacker Street)

The hub of Vietnam’s nightlife in Ho bỏ ra Minh đô thị for most travellers is Pham ngây ngô Lao Street.

Xem thêm: Phố Cổ Hà Nội Phố Cổ Hà Nội Nằm Ở Đường Nào, Khu Phố Cổ Hà Nội

Located on the western side of District 1, Pham gàn Lao Street is a hot spot for backpackers. It is not surprising this is where you will find a myriad of hostels, affordable hotels, cafes, pubs, rooftop bars & western-style restaurants.

Although, thanks khổng lồ its proximity to lớn some of Ho chi Minh’s most popular attractions, Pham dại Lao Street attracts an eclectic set of people beyond just the budget traveller.


*
A fun thing to do in Ho đưa ra Minh city at night is khổng lồ drink ‘bia hoi’ on Backpacker Street, surrounded by both locals & ex-pats.

Around Pham lẩn thẩn Lao Street is also where you will find loads of tour company offices and kiosks and no end of souvenir và artisan shops attracting travellers of all kinds.

Even if you don’t fancy the nightlife of Pham ngây ngô Lao Street; spend an evening sampling the street food Ho bỏ ra Minh is famous for, enjoy an icy cold beer roadside while people-watching, or, shop for some chất lượng Vietnamese souvenirs.


*
The best souvenirs to buy in Ho đưa ra Minh thành phố are Marou chocolate, Ao dẻo traditional dress, Propaganda art và of course a Non La (conical hat).

Phuoc An Hoi quan Pagoda

Dating back lớn 1902 Phuoc An Hoi quan lại Pagoda is one of the most beautifully ornate temples in Ho đưa ra Minh City. Adorned with elaborate wood carvings, brass ritual ornaments, bright lanterns và spiral incense coils hanging from the ceiling; the temple is worth a visit if you are in the Cholon or Chinatown area.

Inside the temple is a lifesize figure of the sacred horse quan liêu Cong. Devotees make offerings lớn the horse, stroke its mane & ring the bell around its neck before departing on a journey.


*
The colourful and ornate Phuoc An Hoi quan Pagoda.

Coffee at the Tao Dan Park Bird Cafe

Vietnam is world-famous for its coffee, so not surprisingly, it also has a thriving coffe culture. Tao Dan Park has a unique cafe culture that is well worth experiencing.

The 10-hectare park is Ho chi Minh City’s most attractive green space và a gorgeous reprieve from the constant honking & hustle of the motorbike congested city.

Not surprisingly, the tranquil và shady park attracts thousands of locals daily. Come early morning to lớn see groups gather for tai chi or even a spot of badminton.


*
Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The biggest attraction at Tao Dan Park is the daily gathering of older Vietnamese men who bring ornate cages with songbirds to lớn what is now known as the bird cafe.

Join the men for some freshly brewed Vietnamese coffee while they socialise over coffee, and more importantly, socialise their birds.

The point of the daily meeting is not just khổng lồ meet with friends & show off their prized birds, but also for the birds khổng lồ learn new songs from one another.


*
Grab your cage và favourite bird và show it off at this quality Ho đưa ra Minh đô thị attraction, the Tao Dan Park Bird Cafe.

Eat Pho

Want to eat like a local in Ho chi Minh, then head lớn the nearest street stall for a bowl of Pho (pronounced “fuh”), a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup.

Noodles are added to a clear stock soup with finely shredded meat according to lớn preference. Finish with fresh chilli, basil, lime, và bean shoots khổng lồ your own taste và this sweet, spicy, salty, comforting soup usually becomes a favourite of all visitors lớn Vietnam.


*
Pho is wonderfully addictive & will keep you going throughout the day.

Eat the Original Vietnamese Banh mi Sandwich

The humble Banh mày is steeped in French Colonial history & Vietnamese ingenuity. The Banh mày sandwich as we know it today originated in the streets of Saigon in the late 1950s when Vietnam split into two countries.

The Vietnamese had always eaten the French baguette as the French had dictated – with butter as an accompaniment to assorted cold cuts and cheese. Mr & Mrs Le, a clever couple who fled the north were the first khổng lồ put the ingredients inside the bread to make a “to go” style sandwich to suit the busy Saigon lifestyle.

The simple airy baguette with shredded vegetables, cilantro, chilli, cucumber, và your choice of meat or pate has become a street food staple of Vietnam celebrated around the world.

The family of Mr và Mrs Le still run a Banh Mi siêu thị called Banh ngươi Hoa Ma in District 3. Read more about the history of the Banh ngươi sandwich.


*
The ultimate in Vietnamese fast food và a local & tourist favourite. Vietnam has some of the best street food in the world.

Vietnamese cooking classes

The food in Vietnam is one of the most exciting aspects of the country và what draws many khổng lồ visit.

If you have time and want to vì chưng something different; a Vietnamese cooking class is a great way lớn experience another side of Ho bỏ ra Minh.

Most Ho bỏ ra Minh cooking classes include a local market tour. You will be guided through the market, selecting local fresh ingredients. A fantastic way khổng lồ get a better understanding of both the dish you will learn lớn cook & local life in Saigon.


*
Want khổng lồ impress your friends with some great Vietnamese street food after your holiday, then book an authentic Vietnamese cooking class in Ho bỏ ra Minh city.
Farm to lớn Table Vietnamese Cooking Class Recommendation
Spend a morning or afternoon on a farm to table cooking class. Vietnamese cuisine has long been considered one of the healthiest in the world. Learn about và harvest herbs, spices và vegetables from the medicine garden under the guidance of a pharmacist và chef. Discover different varieties of mushrooms và learn about rice cultivation. Once you have gathered your ingredients, a local chef will guide you through the preparation of healthy and delicious Vietnamese dishes. Prices start at VND 1,421,200 (~USD$60) pp. Includes Lunch, cooking class, guide, drink, transport. Get full tour details here.

Visit the Vietnam History Museum

Just inside the gates of the Saigon Zoo và Botanical Garden is the beautiful 1929 French colonial building that houses the Vietnam History Museum.

The museum explores the pre-war eras of Vietnam. The collection of artefacts covers the evolution of Vietnamese cultures, from the Bronze Age civilisation in 2000 BC, the Funan civilisation in the 1st khổng lồ 6th centuries AD, to lớn the Cham, Khmer & Vietnamese.

*
Nguyễn Thanh quang quẻ – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The museum includes a beautiful collection of Buddha statues, priceless relics from Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, và some stunning Chinese styled mother of pearl inlays. You will even find the perfectly preserved mummy of a woman who died in 1869, her body excavated from Xom Cai in District 5.

The museum is a breath of fresh air for those who have had their fill of colonial and war history và the botanic gardens a nice reprieve from the tourist mill.

Open Hours:Daily 8:00 am – 11:30 am | 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Entry Fee:VND 15,000, (~ US$0.65 ). Cảnh báo -photos are only allowed inside with the purchase of a VND 30,000 camera ticket.


Giac Lam Pagoda

Built in 1744, Giac Lam Pagoda is the oldest temple in Ho chi Minh. A pretty garden with a largeBodhi Treeforms the Giac Lam Pagoda which means ‘Feel the Woods Temple’.

The Bodhi Tree was a gift from a Sri Lankan monk who visited the temple in 1953. Surrounded by walls in the middle of the urban sprawl, the pagoda grounds are a delightful escape from the chaos of Ho bỏ ra Minh City.


*
Dragfyre –CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Recommended Travel Gear for Vietnam


*

Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag


*

Triple Security Lock & Cable


*

Foldable Day/Backpack with Security Zips


Related: A Complete Guide to lớn The Best Crossbody Bags for Travel


Day Trips From Ho chi Minh

Cu đưa ra Tunnels

Cu đưa ra is 60 km from Ho chi Minh city. The scenic landscape of rice fields and water buffalo are a stark contrast to the sheer devastation that took place in what was called a “Free Target Zone” during the Vietnam War.

Few places are more symbolic of Vietnamese determination và tenacity than Cu Chi. A 220 km subterranean network of tunnels, underground storage facilities, hospitals, and command centres honeycomb their way from just outside Ho chi Minh thành phố to the Cambodian border. The tunnel systems enabled the Viet Cong to lớn counter the growing American military effort.


*
Set aside at least half a day for the best day trip out of Ho chi Minh city to see the ingenuity of the Vietnamese & to understand the perils faced by the Vietnam tunnel rats.

It is not surprising the Cu đưa ra tunnels are one of the most popular things to do in Ho chi Minh for visitors và an important site for Vietnamese. It is also a fun thing to if visiting Ho đưa ra Minh đô thị with teenagers.

While some of the tunnel network is multiple stories deep, much of it is very small, narrow and dark so not recommended for the claustrophobic.


Cu đưa ra Tunnels Tours

Half-day Cu chi Tour

Take a morning or afternoon tour of the Cu đưa ra Tunnels with a professional guide. The tour lasts approx 6 hrs, includes transport & even offers the opportunity lớn fire an AK-47. Prices start at VND 331,600 pp (~ USD$14 pp). Get half-day Cu đưa ra tour details here.

VIP Cu chi Tunnels and the Mekong Delta Tour

Combine a Cu bỏ ra Tunnels tour with a cruise down the Mekong Delta and a traditional Vietnamese lunch. The tour lasts approx 11 hrs, includes professional guides, VIP or limousine style transfers, all entry fees, boat cruise, lunch, & snacks. Prices start at VND 1,326,200 pp (~ USD$56 pp). Get Cu đưa ra Tunnels và Mekong Delta tour details here.


Explore the Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta covers over 39,000 square kilometres of waterways & is one of the most densely populated areas in Vietnam. Starting in the Himalayas, the Mekong travels through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia & finally, Vietnam.

Responsible for more than half of Vietnam’s rice cultivation và fishery, the river is vital lớn Vietnam’s economy và day to lớn day life.


*
Visiting the floating markets on the Mekong can be a highlight of your tour of Vietnam.

Life in the delta region revolves around the river. Discover the incredible variety of food and livestock grown in the region.

Visit the famous floating markets & villages that dot the banks of the Mekong. It is along the mighty Mekong where you can learn so much about Vietnamese culture.


*

Helpful Packing Additions for Vietnam

We love these handy additions lớn our day pack or handbag for every travel situation. Perfect for day trips, especially in countries like Vietnam.


*

Massive residue-free shower substitute bamboo body wipes


*

Flushable, individually wrapped wipes for travel


Mekong Delta Tour Recommendations

1 Day Mekong Delta Tour

Experience the narrow canals, stilt houses and fishing villages of the Mekong. Visit the Vinh Trang pagoda & see the giant Buddha statue. Cruise along the Tien River và stop for lunch in an Orchid Garden.

Includes transfers, boat trip, lunch, snacks & guide. Prices start at VND 686,900 pp (~ USD$ 29). Get full 1 day Mekong tour details here.

2 Day Mekong Delta và Cai Rang Floating Market Tour

Visit Vinh Trang pagoda, the biggest pagoda in Mekong Delta. Take a boat trip along the Mekong from My Tho khổng lồ see the fishing villages and experience life on the Delta. Spend the night in Can Tho before visiting the biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta – Cai Rang plus much more.

Tour includes transfers, Motorboat trips, small rowboat trip, Guide. All entrance fees, Most meals, and khách sạn stay in 3 or 5-star hotel. Prices start at VND 1,857,000 (~USD$ 80). See full 2 day Mekong tour details here.

3-Day 2-Night Mekong Delta with Phnom Penh Exit, Cambodia

Take a 3 day Mekong Delta tour from Ho đưa ra Minh city finishing in Phnom Penh Cambodia. Visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda, the Cai Rang Floating Market, Tra Su Cajuput Forest & so much more.

Tour includes All transfers, guide, Mekong Delta boat trip, Entrance fees, most meals và snacks, 2 nights accommodation, boat ticket khổng lồ Phnom Penh from Chau Doc. Prices start from VND 2,960,800 (~USD$ 125). See here for full 3 days/ 2 night Mekong tour details.


*

Visit Cao dẻo Temple

One hundred kilometres northwest of Ho chi Minh City, close to the Cambodian border, is the Cao dai Temple.

The incredibly ornate and colourful temple was finished in 1955 following the Japanese occupation of Indochina when the Cao dẻo Army formed.Caodaists believe all religions ultimately seek lớn promote tolerance throughout the world.

The basis of Caodaism is lớn strive for world peace and harmony with beliefs steeped in several world religions. They honour Jesus Christ, Buddha, Muhammad và Confucius.


*

Prayer time is a highlight of visiting the temple. Thanks to lớn the long flowing robes worn, it is a vivid display of colour accompanied by singing and music. Lay followers wear white, priests yellow, xanh or red, và bishops have the Divine Eye embroidered on their headpieces.

Add a Visit lớn Cao dai Temple Onto a Cu đưa ra Tunnels Tour

Visit the Cao dai Temple as part of a Cu bỏ ra Tunnels tour. Attend the midday ceremony and learn about the Cao dẻo sect. After lunch, visit the subterranean world of the Cu đưa ra Tunnels. It is a full-day tour an includes entrance fees, transfers, guides, and lunch. Prices start at VND 592,200 pp (~ USD$ 25 pp). Get full Cao dai Temple & Cu đưa ra Tunnels Tour details here.

Xem thêm: Biển Ninh Chữ: Kinh Nghiệm Du Lịch Ninh Chữ Mới Nhất Từ A, Kinh Nghiệm Du Lịch Ninh Chữ


Plan More of Your Vietnam Itinerary

Want lớn see more of Vietnam? Include some of Vietnam’s most beautiful and scenic destinations in your itinerary.