Vietnam Ho Chi Minh

22nd September 2023

15 Best Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh: Discover the Unseen (2023)

Looking to uncover the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

In this blog post, we’ll take you on a thrilling journey through the vibrant streets and hidden gems of this captivating city. From historical landmarks to culinary delights, cultural treasures to breathtaking views, we’ve curated an exciting list of experiences that will make your visit to Ho Chi Minh City truly unforgettable.

From our experience of leading group trips here, we’ve discovered the most incredible spots and insider secrets that will add a local touch to your adventure. Join us as we share our firsthand knowledge and provide you with a comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh.

Get ready to explore, indulge, and create memories that will last a lifetime in this vibrant city. Let’s dive in!

5 Facts about Ho Chi Minh

  • The War Remnants Museum offers a poignant glimpse into Vietnam’s history, showcasing artifacts and exhibitions related to the Vietnam War.
  • The Cu Chi Tunnels, a vast underground network, served as a crucial stronghold during the war and provide a fascinating insight into the country’s wartime history.
  • Ben Thanh Market is a bustling hub where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, shop for local goods, and indulge in delicious street food.
  • Notre Dame Cathedral, with its stunning architecture and rich history, is a must-visit landmark that showcases the city’s French colonial influence.
  • The Reunification Palace, formerly known as the Independence Palace, holds significant historical value and offers guided tours to explore its lavish interior and important rooms.

Best Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh

1. Marvel At The Majestic Notre Dame Cathedral

Embark on a voyage through time at the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, a splendid masterpiece nestled in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. Its resplendent facade, adorned with striking red bricks and elegant twin bell towers, evokes the grandeur of European cathedrals.

As you step inside, a serene ambiance engulfs you, complemented by intricate stained glass windows that depict poignant tales of faith and history. This architectural gem holds deep religious significance for the locals and stands as an enduring symbol of spiritual devotion and architectural prowess.

  • Location: Nguyen Du Street, District 1
  • Best Time to Visit: Morning or late afternoon
  • Famous For: Gothic architecture, religious significance

2. Embark On A Journey Through History At The Reunification Palace

Immerse yourself in the pages of Vietnam’s history as you explore the captivating Reunification Palace, an emblematic landmark that witnessed pivotal moments in the nation’s past.

This architectural gem served as the official residence of the South Vietnamese President during a tumultuous era. Marvel at its distinctive design, blending modernist elements with traditional Vietnamese motifs while traversing the opulent halls and chambers.

The Reunification Palace offers a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s rich heritage and stands as a testament to the country’s journey toward unity and independence.

  • Location: Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1
  • Best Time to Visit: Morning or early afternoon
  • Famous For: Historical significance, unique architecture

3. Delve Into The Turbulent Past At The War Remnants Museum

Prepare for an emotional and thought-provoking experience at the War Remnants Museum, a poignant testament to the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people.

This museum unveils the harsh realities of the Vietnam War through a series of powerful exhibits, showcasing photographs, documents, and relics from the war era.

As you navigate the halls, you’ll gain insights into the untold stories, the personal sacrifices, and the lasting impact of this significant chapter in Vietnam’s history. It serves as a solemn reminder of the resilience and strength of the Vietnamese people in the face of adversity.

  • Location: Vo Van Tan Street, District 3
  • Best Time to Visit: Morning to avoid crowds
  • Famous For: Exhibitions on the Vietnam War, historical artifacts

4. Discover Treasures Of The Past At The Museum Of Vietnamese History

Step into a world of cultural heritage and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Vietnam’s past at the Museum of Vietnamese History. This treasure trove of artifacts takes you on a captivating journey through various epochs, from the prehistoric age to the Cham and Khmer kingdoms, and the colonial period.

Marvel at the meticulously preserved statues, ceramics, and traditional artwork that reflects the artistic brilliance and historical significance of the region.

The museum’s extensive collection offers invaluable insights into the traditions, customs, and diverse influences that have shaped Vietnam’s vibrant cultural landscape.

  • Location: Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, District 1
  • Best Time to Visit: Morning to avoid crowds
  • Famous For: Artifacts from different periods of Vietnamese history

5. Immerse Yourself In The Bustling Ambiance Of Ben Thanh Market

Indulge in a sensory feast as you wander through the bustling alleys of the Ben Thanh Market, an iconic landmark that encapsulates the vibrancy of Ho Chi Minh City.

This sprawling marketplace entices visitors with a kaleidoscope of colors, fragrances, and flavors. From vibrant textiles and intricate handicrafts to aromatic spices and exotic fruits, the market offers a treasure trove of souvenirs and local delights.

Don’t miss the opportunity to savor delectable street food, from steaming bowls of pho to flavorful banh mi sandwiches. Ben Thanh Market is an immersion into the energetic pulse of the city and an ideal place to experience its dynamic cultural heritage.

  • Location: Le Loi Street, District 1
  • Best Time to Visit: Morning or evening for a vibrant atmosphere
  • Famous For: Shopping, local handicrafts, street food

6. Unveil The Intricacies Of Vietnamese Cuisine

Prepare your taste buds for a sensational culinary voyage through the vibrant streets of Ho Chi Minh City. The city is renowned for its exquisite Vietnamese cuisine, which tantalizes with a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Start your day with a hearty bowl of pho, a fragrant beef or chicken noodle soup that embodies the essence of Vietnamese comfort food. Sink your teeth into a banh mi, a delectable sandwich filled with a symphony of flavors from pate, grilled meats, and fresh herbs.

For a refreshing delight, sample the delicate balance of flavors in fresh spring rolls, bursting with succulent shrimp, herbs, and vermicelli noodles. And no culinary adventure in Ho Chi Minh City would be complete without savoring a cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee, renowned for its bold and robust taste.

From street food stalls to upscale restaurants, the city offers an array of dining options to satisfy every palate, making it a paradise for food enthusiasts.

  • Location: Throughout Ho Chi Minh City
  • Best Time to Visit: Anytime is perfect for a gastronomic adventure
  • Famous For: Pho, banh mi, fresh spring rolls, Vietnamese coffee

7. Embark On A Motorbike Tour For An Authentic Adventure

Buckle up and get ready for an exhilarating journey as you hop on a motorbike and venture through the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City. A motorbike tour offers a unique and immersive way to discover the city’s hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Feel the wind in your hair as you zoom past colonial architecture, local markets, and vibrant neighborhoods. Experience the lively energy of Chinatown, delve into the captivating tales of the residents, and witness the fusion of ancient traditions and modern influences.

With an experienced guide leading the way, you’ll navigate the chaotic traffic with ease, allowing you to soak in the vibrant atmosphere and immerse yourself in the city’s authentic charm.

Whether you’re exploring the bustling city center or venturing into the outskirts to discover the scenic countryside and local villages, a motorbike tour promises an adrenaline-fueled adventure that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

  • Location: Throughout Ho Chi Minh City and its outskirts
  • Best Time to Go: Early morning or late afternoon to avoid heavy traffic
  • Famous For: Exploring the city’s hidden gems, adrenaline-pumping experience

8. Step Into History At The Cu Chi Tunnels

Journey back in time and witness the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people at the remarkable Cu Chi Tunnels. This extensive underground network served as a vital stronghold during the Vietnam War, providing shelter, communication routes, and supply lines for Vietnamese soldiers.

Explore the labyrinthine tunnels, marveling at their intricate construction and ingenious design. Gain insight into the resourcefulness and resilience of the Vietnamese fighters as you learn about their survival strategies and daily life within the tunnels.

Experience firsthand the conditions endured by soldiers and see the hidden booby traps that protected the tunnels. A visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels offers a profound understanding of the hardships faced during the war and pays homage to the courage and determination of the Vietnamese people.

  • Location: Cu Chi District, approximately 40 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City
  • Best Time to Visit: Morning for cooler temperatures and fewer crowds
  • Famous For: Intricate tunnel network, Vietnam War history

9. Immerse In Nostalgia At The Saigon Central Post Office

Transport yourself to a bygone era as you step into the enchanting Saigon Central Post Office, an architectural gem that harks back to the city’s colonial past. Designed by renowned architect Gustave Eiffel, this grand structure exudes elegance and charm.

Admire the neoclassical façade, adorned with ornate wrought-iron details, and step inside to discover a time capsule of nostalgia. Marvel at the intricate mosaic floors, the vintage telephone booths, and the grand arched ceiling.

While you can still send mail from here, the post office also serves as a cultural hub, hosting exhibitions and housing souvenir shops where you can find unique mementos of your visit. The Saigon Central Post Office is a testament to the city’s rich heritage and a place where history and modernity seamlessly blend.

  • Location: Cong Xa Paris Street, District 1
  • Best Time to Visit: Morning or afternoon
  • Famous For: Stunning architecture, historical significance

10. Cruise Along The Saigon River For A Scenic Escape

Escape the bustling streets and embark on a tranquil river cruise along the picturesque Saigon River. Witness the city’s enchanting transformation as the shimmering lights illuminate the skyline.

Feel the gentle breeze caress your skin as you glide along the water, admiring the panoramic views of Ho Chi Minh City’s landmarks from a different perspective.

Take in the stunning sunset as it paints the sky with vibrant hues, creating a magical backdrop for your voyage. Whether you opt for a luxurious dinner cruise or a laid-back sightseeing tour, a river cruise promises a serene and memorable experience, allowing you to unwind and appreciate the beauty of this captivating city.

  • Location: Saigon River, departing from various points in the city
  • Best Time to Go: Evening for stunning sunset views
  • Famous For: River views, city skyline, relaxing ambiance

11. Immerse In Tradition At The Jade Emperor Pagoda

Unveil the spiritual allure of Ho Chi Minh City with a visit to the revered Jade Emperor Pagoda. This majestic temple, dedicated to the Jade Emperor, is a sanctuary of tranquility and devotion. Step inside and be captivated by the intricate woodcarvings, vibrant murals, and the ethereal atmosphere that permeates the temple halls.

Witness worshippers lighting incense and offering prayers, and soak in the spiritual ambiance that emanates from every corner. The Jade Emperor Pagoda is not only a place of religious significance but also a captivating architectural masterpiece that showcases the fusion of Taoist and Buddhist elements.

A visit here provides a glimpse into Vietnam’s rich spiritual heritage and offers a moment of serenity amidst the city’s vibrant energy.

  • Location: Mai Thi Luu Street, District 1
  • Best Time to Visit: Morning or early afternoon
  • Famous For: Spiritual significance, intricate architecture

12. Embark On A Day Trip To The Enchanting Mekong Delta

Escape the urban bustle and venture into the enchanting realm of the Mekong Delta on a captivating day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. Witness the timeless beauty of this sprawling region, characterized by lush green rice paddies, winding waterways, and charming villages.

Cruise along the Mekong River, passing by floating markets where locals trade their produce and goods. Immerse yourself in the rustic charm of the delta’s traditional villages, where you can witness age-old crafts such as rice paper making and coconut candy production.

Indulge in the flavors of the delta with a visit to a local fruit orchard and savor the sweetness of tropical fruits. A day trip to the Mekong Delta offers a serene escape from the city and provides a glimpse into the rural landscapes and traditional way of life that define this captivating region.

  • Location: Southern Vietnam, accessible from Ho Chi Minh City
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round, but avoid the rainy season (May to October)
  • Famous For: Scenic landscapes, floating markets, traditional villages

13. Soak In Panoramic Views From The Bitexco Financial Tower

Rise above the cityscape and witness the breathtaking panorama of Ho Chi Minh City from the iconic Bitexco Financial Tower. As the tallest skyscraper in the city, this architectural marvel offers an unrivaled vantage point to admire the sprawling urban landscape.

Ride the high-speed elevator to the observation deck on the 49th floor and be mesmerized by the sweeping views that stretch as far as the eye can see. Gaze at the winding Saigon River, the bustling streets below, and the city’s iconic landmarks that dot the horizon.

Capture the perfect Instagram-worthy shot or simply bask in the awe-inspiring beauty of the city from above. A visit to the Bitexco Financial Tower is a must-do for any avid traveler seeking a bird’s-eye view of Ho Chi Minh City’s captivating charm.

  • Location: Bitexco Financial Tower, District 1
  • Best Time to Visit: Evening for stunning city lights
  • Famous For: Skyline views, observation deck

14. Relax And Rejuvenate In The Tranquil Tao Dan Park

Amidst the urban buzz of Ho Chi Minh City, find solace and tranquility at the serene Tao Dan Park. Nestled in the heart of the city, this green oasis offers a welcome respite from the bustling streets.

Take a leisurely stroll along the winding pathways, enveloped by lush greenery and vibrant flowers. Find a shaded spot under a tree and indulge in a moment of relaxation.

Watch as locals engage in tai chi, yoga, or traditional games, or simply observe the colorful array of bird enthusiasts who gather here in the mornings. Tao Dan Park is a haven of calmness, allowing you to rejuvenate your senses and connect with nature in the midst of the city’s energetic ambiance.

  • Location: Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District 1
  • Best Time to Visit: Morning or late afternoon for pleasant weather
  • Famous For: Serene atmosphere, lush greenery

15. Experience Vibrant Nightlife At Bui Vien Street

As the sun sets and the city’s energy shifts, immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife scene at Bui Vien Street. This lively thoroughfare comes alive after dark, beckoning revelers with its pulsating atmosphere.

Indulge in a culinary adventure as you sample a variety of international cuisines, from Vietnamese street food to Western delights. Quench your thirst at the numerous bars and pubs that line the street, offering a diverse selection of local beers and creative cocktails.

Immerse yourself in the sounds of live music, with talented bands and street performers adding to the energetic ambiance. Bui Vien Street is the perfect place to unwind, socialize, and embrace the lively spirit of Ho Chi Minh City’s nightlife.

  • Location: Bui Vien Street, District 1
  • Best Time to Visit: Evening and late night
  • Famous For: Bars, restaurants, live music

Best Time to Visit Ho Chi Minh

The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is during the dry season, which typically runs from December to April. During this time, the weather is generally warm and dry, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the city.

However, it’s important to note that Ho Chi Minh City has a tropical climate, so expect high humidity year-round. The wet season, from May to November, brings frequent showers and occasional typhoons, which can disrupt travel plans.

If you don’t mind the occasional rain and want to avoid crowds, visiting during the shoulder seasons of May-June and November-December can also be a good option.

How to Get to Ho Chi Minh

  • By Air: Tan Son Nhat International Airport, located in Ho Chi Minh City, is the largest and busiest airport in Vietnam. It receives flights from major cities around the world, making air travel a convenient option. Once you arrive at the airport, you can easily reach the city center by taxi or airport shuttle services.
  • By Train: If you prefer a scenic journey, you can travel to Ho Chi Minh City by train. The city is connected to various destinations within Vietnam, including Hanoi and Da Nang. The Reunification Express is the most popular train route that runs along the length of the country, offering a unique and immersive travel experience.

Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh

  • Caravelle Saigon Hotel – Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, the Caravelle Saigon Hotel offers a luxurious and elegant stay. With its stunning rooftop bar providing panoramic views of the city skyline and the Saigon River, guests can indulge in a truly captivating experience.
  • Hotel Majestic Saigon – As an iconic heritage hotel, Hotel Majestic Saigon exudes charm and grandeur. Situated along the Saigon River, it offers breathtaking views and a prime location close to popular attractions. The hotel combines classic French colonial architecture with modern amenities, providing guests with a unique blend of elegance and convenience.
  • Park Hyatt Saigon – Nestled in the heart of District 1, Park Hyatt Saigon offers a luxurious retreat in a contemporary setting. The hotel showcases a blend of French colonial and Vietnamese architectural styles, with well-appointed rooms and suites offering comfort and sophistication. Guests can indulge in exquisite dining experiences, relax at the spa, or take a dip in the outdoor pool.

Where To Eat In Ho Chi Minh

  • Nha Hang Ngon – Step into a culinary haven at Nha Hang Ngon, where you can savor a wide array of traditional Vietnamese dishes in a vibrant and lively setting. This renowned restaurant features an open-air courtyard and stalls serving regional specialties, allowing you to immerse yourself in the flavors of Vietnam. From fresh spring rolls to flavorful pho, Nha Hang Ngon offers a delectable journey through the country’s rich culinary heritage.
  • The Refinery – Housed in a beautifully restored French colonial building, The Refinery is a popular dining spot in Ho Chi Minh City. This chic restaurant offers a blend of European and Vietnamese cuisines, with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy a delightful meal in the elegant indoor dining area or relax on the charming outdoor terrace while savoring dishes like grilled meats, seafood, and creative salads.
  • Cục Gạch Quán – Nestled in a traditional Vietnamese house, Cục Gạch Quán is renowned for its authentic Vietnamese flavors and charming ambiance. Set in a rustic garden, this restaurant serves classic dishes prepared with meticulous attention to detail. From the iconic pho to mouthwatering clay pot dishes, Cục Gạch Quán offers a true taste of Vietnamese cuisine in a cozy and inviting setting, making it a must-visit for food enthusiasts.

Travel Tips & Suggestions

  • Dress modestly when visiting religious sites such as temples or pagodas.
  • Bargain and negotiate prices when shopping at markets like Ben Thanh Market.
  • Sample the local street food but ensure it is freshly cooked and hygienic.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking bottled water and carrying a reusable water bottle.
  • Use reliable transportation options like reputable taxi companies or ride-hailing apps.
  • Plan your visit to popular attractions early in the day to avoid crowds.
  • Respect local customs and traditions, such as removing your shoes when entering someone’s home or a place of worship.

Conclusion – Best Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh

As we conclude our journey through Ho Chi Minh City, it’s clear that this dynamic metropolis offers an abundance of unforgettable experiences.

From exploring historical landmarks like the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Palace to indulging in the vibrant street food scene, Ho Chi Minh City has something for everyone.

Whether you’re strolling through the bustling markets, cruising along the Saigon River, or immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage, you’ll find that the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City truly embody the spirit and charm of this captivating destination.

So, pack your bags, embark on an adventure, and let the wonders of Ho Chi Minh City unfold before you.

FAQs – Best Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh

What are the must-visit attractions in Ho Chi Minh City?

Ho Chi Minh City offers a plethora of must-visit attractions, including the War Remnants Museum, Cu Chi Tunnels, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Reunification Palace. These landmarks showcase the city’s history, culture, and architectural beauty.

What is the best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City?

The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is during the dry season from December to April when the weather is warm and dry. However, if you don’t mind occasional rain and fewer crowds, the shoulder seasons of May-June and November-December can be a good option.

Where can I experience the vibrant nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City?

For a lively nightlife experience, head to Bui Vien Street. This bustling street is lined with bars, pubs, and restaurants offering a vibrant atmosphere, live music, and a variety of drinks. It’s a great place to socialize, enjoy local beers, and immerse yourself in the energetic ambiance.

What are the best places to try authentic Vietnamese cuisine in Ho Chi Minh City?

To indulge in authentic Vietnamese cuisine, explore places like Nha Hang Ngon, renowned for its traditional dishes, and Cục Gạch Quán, offering a rustic setting and flavorful Vietnamese specialties. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample street food at markets like Ben Thanh Market for a true taste of local flavors.

How can I get around Ho Chi Minh City?

Ho Chi Minh City has various transportation options. You can use taxis or ride-hailing apps for convenient and reliable travel. Exploring the city on foot or by renting a motorbike is also an option, but be cautious and follow traffic rules.

Are there any day trips from Ho Chi Minh City worth taking?

Yes, a popular day trip is to the Mekong Delta, where you can explore the picturesque riverine landscape, visit floating markets, and experience the rural charm of Vietnam. It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and witness the vibrant life along the river.

What are some shopping recommendations in Ho Chi Minh City?

Ben Thanh Market is a must-visit for shopping, offering a wide range of goods such as clothing, souvenirs, and local handicrafts. Dong Khoi Street is another popular shopping destination with high-end boutiques and designer stores. Bargaining is common in markets, so don’t be afraid to negotiate prices for a good deal.

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