Top attractions in Ho Chi Minh City
Top 10 things to do in Ho Chi Minh City
Named after Communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh, the city formerly known as Saigon has emerged from its darkest days to become one of Asia's most exciting cities. It boasts vibrant street life, handsome buildings, and warm weather all year round. But what are the best things to do in this interesting city?
1. Cu Chi Tunnels
How did the Americans lose the Vietnam War? Your guide will lead you through hidden trap-doors to explore the Cu Chi tunnels that helped thwart the US army at every turn.
2. Saigon Opera House (Municipal Theatre)
Modelled on the Petit Palais in Paris, this striking example of French Colonial architecture is easy to reach and regularly hosts some of the city's best concerts.
3. Saigon Central Post Office
Saigon Central Post Office still operates, though it also serves as one of the city's top attractions, having been designed by the famous Gustave Eiffel.
4. Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral
Pilgrims flocked to this beautiful basilica in 2005 when its Virgin Mary statue was reported to have shed tears. We're sceptical, but there are better reasons to visit the Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral, such as its superior architecture!
5. Independence Palace (Reunification Palace)
Originally built to demonstrate Vietnam's strength in the wake of Independence, it was torn down, replaced, and eventually renamed Reunification Palace after the fall of Saigon.
6. Pham Ngu Lao Street
Though known as the backpacker district, the bustling Pham Ngu Lao Street attracts people from all walks of life with its bounty of clothing, war memorabilia, and other merchandise.
7. War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum paints a vivid – and often disturbing – picture of the country's 20th-century struggles. It's a must for anyone hoping to understand Vietnam's complex history.
8. Dam Sen Park
With lakes, gardens, and so much more beyond the rides, Dam Sen is the perfect amusement park for people who don't like amusement parks, as well as those that do!
9. Jade Emperor Pagoda
With its ornate carvings and constant aura of incense smoke, this is the pagoda to see if you've only time for one. Be sure to look over its gorgeous courtyard from the roof!
10. Ho Chi Minh City Museum
Located in the old Gia Long Palace, photographs and artefacts offer an exemplary account of Vietnam's bloody past. It's uncompromising without being gratuitous.
Planning Your Visit
How to get to Ho Chi Minh City from the airport?
The cheapest way to get to the city is by taking bus 152 near the arrivals exit. It costs extra if your luggage weighs over 10kg, but will take you all the way downtown to the bus station near Cho (market) Ben Tanh. Taxis are located to the left of the terminal. Make sure you take a metered taxi and do not pay in any currency other than Vietnamese dong or you risk being ripped off.
Where to eat?
One of the most charming things about Ho Chi Minh City is how the low-cost street food can so often outperform its best restaurants. You'll find many good ones on Dong Khoi, the lively stretch of shops and bars between the river and cathedral.
Where to shop?
Ho Chi Minh City has several markets worth visiting as well as the aforementioned Pham Ngu Lao Street. The two largest are Cho Ben Tanh and Cho Lon. Cho Lon – the Chinese market – has a dazzling array of goods on offer and is the least touristy of the two. Ben Tanh is also fun to visit, and better regulated, with less knock-off merchandise and fewer pickpockets. That said, you should always be wary of both those things.
Good to know
- Vietnamese Dong (VND)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+07:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
Other Sightseeing Options in Ho Chi Minh City
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What people are saying about Ho Chi Minh City
The tour was nothing short of fabulous. Our guide, Mary, spoke perfect English, was very professional, personable, sensitive to our needs/interests and excellent in every way. She took us to a wide variety of places, each offering multiple dishes. The amount of food for us was obscenely excessive ... but we're old and don't eat that much. It was way more walking than we anticipated. We not only ate at locals' places but experienced local life and, of course, local food. I would recommend this tour to anyone.
I traveled alone to HCMC and read online about this tour, and decided to take it. I was really surprise of the great time I had and the delicious food included in the tour. Rachel was my tour guide and she was really awesome, she felt more like a friend than a tour guide and we had a really good time. I would recommend this experience and Rachel as a tour guide. The tour includes visiting other areas not as popular in the city and it is amazing to get to know the culture. Great time!!
I arrived in Ho Chi Mihn City with a bad case of food poisoning. I spent two of my three days in the city recovering, so on the last day I decided to book this tour to make the most of my final day in the city. Mario was a great tour guide and I really got a great bang for my buck and time on this tour. There are some parts that feel a little touristy and cheesy, but overall it's a fun experience and I learned a lot.
We were lucky because we booked the "cheap" version and got the "luxus" version instead. All in all it was quite nice and interesting to see. however, the boating tour through the Mekong delta was not what I expected. It could have been longer and less crowded. I also expected a longer boat ride and nicer surroundings.
Excellent tour! Our tour guide Mr Phu was awesome. So informative and he made the tour flow so well. The bus is luxury- Really nice to travel in. Feel like we got a real feel for the places we went. But... Don’t think it needs the horse ride part. It was too hot for the horses and they were very skinny.