Ho Chi Minh City
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Top attractions in Ho Chi Minh City

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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?

Cu Chi Tunnels
Photo: David McKelvey@Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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.

Saigon Opera House (Municipal Theatre)
Photo: Tun Tun Win@Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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.

Saigon Central Post Office
Photo: seafaringwoman @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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.

Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral
Photo: yeowatzup @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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!

Independence Palace (Reunification Palace)

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.

Pham Ngu Lao Street

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.

War Remnants Museum
Photo: amrufm @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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.

Dam Sen Park

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!

Jade Emperor Pagoda
Photo: ePi.Longo @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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!

Ho Chi Minh City Museum

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 Ho Chi Minh City 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

  • Language
    Vietnamese
  • Currency
    Vietnamese Dong (VND)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+07:00)
  • Country Code
    +84
  • Best time to visit
    Spring

Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

Top Attractions in Ho Chi Minh City

Cities in Vietnam

Other Sightseeing Options in Ho Chi Minh City

Want to discover all there is to do in Ho Chi Minh City? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Ho Chi Minh City

Must do if you are not staying long in Saigon!

This tour was really nice and enjoyable and this especially thanks to our tour guide Mei, who carefully explained us all the things we need to know about specificities of life in Mekong Delta. I could not expect better from what she presented and explained to us from the daily life of local people to its local economy spread between harvesting fruits and fishing. Discovering the different islands around the Delta was really nice as well as the encounter with the bees and Python (which you can hold if you want, both of them). Of course the food was really good but this is common to Vietnam as a whole! Still, I have to say that the local fruits tasting felt like paradise on earth, as well as the honey products they are locally producing! You'll also have a chance to buy local products to bring them back home to keep little part of Mekong Delta back with you. All in all I would say perfect, but if you want to be sure of it, do not forget to ask for Mei to be your tour guide too!!

Great guide and experience but too many stops to buy things

Dao, our guide, was fantastic!! Full of energy and information. But too many stops on the tour to buy things ... would be better to pay more and less stops and more time exploring the Mekong Delta.

Great way to see HCMC and learn about its history

Our guides Vin and Kate were fantastic guides. Knowledgeable, friendly, spoke good English and provided a lot of very relevant and helpful context on Vietnamese culture and history. Truly went above and beyond to make the tour as enjoyable for us as possible. The tour takes you to see a number of key landmarks, some local markets, HCMCs oldest coffee shop and you finish up with a delicious bowl of pho... Vin and Kate were super safe drivers and going on the back of the Vespas allowed you to enjoy the chaos of HCMC. If you only have a short time in HCMC, this is a great, authentic way to get a flavour for the city. Vin and Kate also helped us figure out what else we should do on our remaining time in the city. Highly recommend - thank you again Vin & kate!

Discover Saigon's Local Sites and Culture by Motorbike Reviewed by Anna lina, 05/12/2019

best trip we've had in Vietnam - thanks to the guide

On this trip we've met Lockie, the guide, who made the short trip to be full of surprises. I think he loves his job - he does it very naturally. The tunnels must be seen if you're in Saigon. The trip to the Mekong delta was very short & on the run, but we liked it this way.

An Unique experience into the local customs and food in Ho Chi Minh

This doesn’t feel like a guided trip, more like a hang out with friends. we got to see the beauty in how the local people live and taste the street food they eat. In this tour you also get to experience another side of Ho Chi Minh City than you normally would do. We were so lucky to experience the local food and culture with Tina, Mat, Nhu and Evie. They were really friendly and easygoing. It was easy getting to know them and thanks to them. Not only are you guided by lovely guides, but you get to see the different back alleys in the city and eat street food you would never try on your own. As well as experiencing the local customs and food in Ho Chi Minh City, you get to experience the city from the locals perspective and see how they live from a first hand perspective. After the tour you will be left with a full belly, lots of memories and impressions and maybe some new friends!