Ho Chi Minh Metropolis might not be the capital of Vietnam (that’s Hanoi within the north), however it’s the nation’s largest and most visited metropolis. There are such a lot of superior issues to do in Ho Chi Minh that it’s no surprise this is among the prime locations to go to in Vietnam.
The town previously often called Saigon was almost destroyed within the not-too-distant previous, however it has rebuilt and is now the monetary middle of Vietnam. It is a place the place you’re continuously reminded of the historical past, but additionally at all times getting glimpses into the long run.
On this information, we’ll check out what to do in Ho Chi Minh that will help you plan your journey on this bustling metropolis!
1. Take a Free Strolling Tour
In the event you’re undecided what to do in Ho Chi Minh, one of the best place to start is with a free strolling tour. These free excursions are an awesome introduction into town in addition to an opportunity to make some new buddies.
Saigon Free Strolling Excursions has been operating free strolling excursions for a number of years and are available extremely really useful. Their traditional Saigon Metropolis Tour takes in most of the highlights of HCMC in a jam-packed tour. These depart each morning at 8AM and final till midday.
The excursions are run by native college college students who’re finding out hospitality and tourism. They’re very captivated with their metropolis and are desirous to get to know guests, making for a really enjoyable setting all through the tour.
Whilst you’re with an area information who speaks English, make sure to get some suggestions on locations to go to, store, and eat. The precious recommendation you’ll get is simply another excuse why these free strolling excursions prime our record of issues to do in Ho Chi Minh!
2. Go to Independence Palace
There are a lot of vital historic sights in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, together with the Independence Palace. On April 30th, 1975, a tank crashed by means of the entrance gate right here, formally placing an finish to the disastrous warfare.
This constructing has a historical past going again for much longer, although. It was initially referred to as the Norodom Palace and was house to the French Governor of Cochin-China. Japan took over for a short time throughout World Struggle II, however the palace was returned to France after their eventual give up.
Throughout the Vietnam Struggle, it was house to the president of South Vietnam. It was truly bombed and rebuilt in the course of the warfare, which formally got here to an finish in 1975 with the autumn of Saigon to the north.
Lately, it serves as a museum and appears very similar to it did on that fateful day in 1975. There’s quite a bit to see right here, together with grand assembly rooms, the president’s dwelling quarters, and a bunker full of apparatus from the warfare.
Tickets for the museum coast 40,000 dong (about $1.75) for adults and half that for kids. It’s open each day from 7:30-11AM after which once more from 1-4PM. You’ll find Independence Palace on the map and get instructions right here.
Three. Ben Thanh Market (top-of-the-line issues to do in Ho Chi Minh for foodies!)
If it’s worthwhile to decide up a random merchandise you forgot to pack, rating some contemporary produce, do some memento procuring, or simply sit right down to an affordable meal, Ben Thanh Market is the place to go.
It’s a completely huge market and may be very simple to get misplaced in. It’s additionally a little bit of an assault in your senses, with so many alternative sounds, smells, and tastes coming at you from all instructions.
Ben Thanh Market is situated in District 1 within the coronary heart of town (examine the map right here). It’s open all day, and is at its busiest within the early morning. Many outlets start to shut down late within the afternoon.
A go to to the market is for positive one of many prime issues to do in Ho Chi Minh. Likelihood is you’ll find yourself right here on a number of events throughout your keep within the metropolis. I do know we did!
four. Day Journey to Cu Chi Tunnels
Once you’re deciding what to do in Ho Chi Minh, make sure to add a day journey out to see the Cu Chi Tunnels to your itinerary. This huge community of tunnels was utilized by the Viet Cong in the course of the warfare and had been of nice significance to their success.
Not solely had been the tunnels used as hiding locations, however additionally they served as provide routes, storage areas, and even dwelling quarters. In periods of heavy bombing, individuals had been pressured to remain underground within the tunnels for a number of days at a time.
Lately, the Cu Chi tunnels are a vacationer attraction and one of the vital widespread issues to do in Saigon. On a visit right here, you may study all concerning the tunnels, see the varied booby traps that had been set, and even go in to discover the tunnels a bit. There’s even a capturing vary right here in the event you really feel like firing an M-16.
Nearly each single tour operator in HCMC can set you as much as go to the Cu Chi tunnels. Excursions vary from $10-50 relying on what’s included, the extent of consolation, and dimension of the group. In the event you’ve acquired a bike, you may drive your self on the market (examine the map right here).
5. Go to The Notre Dame Cathedral
You in all probability know concerning the well-known Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, however do you know that there’s one proper right here in Ho Chi Minh as properly? It was constructed within the 1880s by French colonists from crimson brick imported all the way in which from Marseille and stays one of the vital stunning buildings within the metropolis, and one of many prime Ho Chi Minh Metropolis sights.
The cathedral is highlighted by its two Romanesque bell towers, that are almost 60 meters tall. There’s additionally a statue of the Virgin Mary in entrance of the church, which many locals consider truly shed tears on one event.
You’re free to go to the cathedral at any time, however simply keep in mind it’s an energetic non secular establishment. They nonetheless maintain mass right here each Sunday morning and worshipers are at all times coming and going. You’ll find the Notre Dame Cathedral on the map right here.
See additionally: A Mini-Information to Hoi An, Vietnam
6. Verify Out The Central Put up Workplace
Proper throughout from the cathedral, you’ll discover the Saigon Central Put up Workplace. It could appear a bit odd to see a submit workplace on this record of the highest issues to do in Ho Chi Minh, however it positively deserves its spot.
To begin with, this isnt’ your common submit workplace. It was designed in Gothic, Renaissance and French colonial types and is a completely attractive constructing. I do know the submit places of work the place I come from look nothing like this!
Whereas it appears to be like nice from the skin, you continue to must go in and take a look round. With its arched home windows, outdated cellphone cubicles, and oil work, you’ll really feel such as you’ve stepped again into 19th-century France. That’s in fact, till you see that huge portrait of Uncle Ho himself smiling down on the place.
That is the proper place to lastly decide up these postcards you’ve been laying aside writing. You’ll discover loads of inspiration in what must be one of the vital scenic submit places of work on this planet. As soon as it’s prepared, you may even use the old style glue pots to stay a stamp on it and mail it house!
7. Wander Nguyen Strolling Road
One of many first stuff you’ll probably discover about Ho Chi Minh Metropolis is that it’s not probably the most walkable place on the market. More often than not, you’re dodging an countless stream of motorbikes in a harmful sport of human Frogger simply making an attempt to cross the road!
Fortunately there’s at the least one place on this bustling metropolis the place you may get pleasure from a leisurely stroll. The Nguyen Strolling Road begins down on the Saigon River and stretches as much as Metropolis Corridor. Alongside the way in which, you may benefit from the colonial structure, a fountain present, and a statue of Ho Chi Minh waving on the plenty.
In the event you really feel like chilling out right here for some time, there are many benches the place you may sit and revel in some high quality individuals watching. There are additionally a number of cafes and eating places alongside this brief pedestrian-friendly promenade. Click on right here to search out the strolling road on Google Maps, that is positively top-of-the-line locations to go to in Ho Chi Minh to keep away from the loopy visitors.
eight. Chill out in Native Parks
I at all times love hanging out in native parks after I journey. They’re an awesome place to soak up the tradition, get some train, and revel in a short escape from the hustle and bustle of metropolis life.
In Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, a superb alternative is September 23rd Park. This place is at all times filled with locals within the afternoon, who come right here to play badminton, do a little bit of group aerobics, or simply chill out and chat. Don’t be shocked if some curious native youngsters strategy you to apply their English. It’s simple to make new buddies on the native parks right here!
An alternative choice is Le Van Tam Park, which has loads of good strolling trails in addition to an honest out of doors health middle. In the event you’re like me and miss having a gymnasium when touring, that is the proper option to get your exercise in whereas taking within the native tradition.
9. Go to The Struggle Remnants Museum
One of many prime issues to do in Ho Chi Minh is visiting the Struggle Remnants Museum. Via quite a lot of reveals on the Vietnam Struggle (often called the American Struggle right here, by the way in which) and the Indochina Struggle with France, the museum seeks to showcase the horrors of warfare and its results on individuals.
The very first thing you’ll see on the museum is the gathering of American tanks, jets, and helicopters out on the entrance garden. Issues take a way more somber tone when you enter the constructing, the place you’ll see a French guillotine in addition to the inhumane “tiger cages” that had been used to deal with prisoners.
Most placing of all, the museum has numerous images exhibiting the horrendous results of Agent Orange together with one other exhibit devoted to all of the journalists who went lacking or had been killed in the course of the warfare.
The museum is open day by day from 7:30-6 however is closed for a brief lunch break from 12-1:30. Tickets price 40,000 dong (about $1.75). You’ll find the museum on the map and get instructions right here.
10. Temple and Pagoda Hopping
Everytime you’re in search of issues to do in Saigon, you may at all times go try a temple or pagoda. That’s as a result of there are such a lot of of them right here in Vietnam’s largest metropolis!
In HCMC, you’ll find Buddhist, Taoist, and Hindu temples and pagodas. Some of the well-known to go to is the JJade Emperor Pagoda (Ngọc Hoàng Pagoda). Even former US President Barack Obama as soon as visited this scenic Taoist pagoda. You’ll want to add a cease right here to your rising record of issues to do in Ho Chi Minh.
You’ll discover most of the greatest temples and pagodas within the metropolis’s Chinatown, together with Quan Am Pagoda and Hau Thien temple. Talking of Chinatown, that brings us to the subsequent merchandise on our record.
See additionally: Prime 11 Issues to Do in Hanoi: Vietnam’s Capital
11. Verify Out Chinatown
There are a lot of cities all over the world with a Chinatown neighborhood, and HCMC has one of many greatest. The town’s Chinatown is known as Cholon and it dates approach again to 1778.
Along with the temples and pagodas, you may try the Binh Tay market. The identify Cholon truly interprets to “massive market,” and the realm has principally been a giant marketplace for a number of hundred years. Throughout the warfare, American troopers maintained a black market right here bartering for US Military-issued items.
You may as well peruse outlets with crimson lanterns hanging out entrance and dig in to some tasty Chinese language delicacies in one of many many eating places right here. It’s positively price including a cease to Cholon to your record of issues to do in Saigon. Begin off out there (examine the map right here) and simply wander round taking all of it in.
12. Go On A Bike Tour
It appears as if each one in every of Ho Chi Minh Metropolis’s eight million individuals has a bike. Seeing because the bike is so ubiquitous right here, it’s solely becoming that taking a motorbike tour makes our record of the highest issues to do in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis!
There are many locations to hire a bike right here in the event you’re an skilled rider, so you may simply make up your personal tour in the event you want.
Ho Chi Minh Metropolis can also be a preferred place to start an Simple Rider tour the place you get out and discover extra of the nation with an area information main the way in which. After one month in Vietnam our Simple Rider tour was fingers down one of the best expertise of the journey, so I extremely advocate it!
In the event you’re not precisely snug leaping on a motorbike and using off into the chaotic visitors right here, by no means concern. The crew at Vietnam Vespa Adventures run a couple of superior excursions of town the place you simply hop on the again of the bike and benefit from the journey.
They’ve choices starting from a Saigon craft beer tour and an After Darkish Tour (with road meals!), to a Half Day Journey which takes in lots of websites within the metropolis.
13. Sip On Rooftop Cocktails
After a giant day of exploring Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, it’s time for some drinks with a view. The town is house to a number of wonderful rooftop bars the place you may take within the skyline with a tasty grownup beverage in hand.
In a metropolis that’s repeatedly constructing larger and better, there’s no scarcity of rooftop bars to select from. Some of the widespread is the Air 360 Sky Lounge. Right here you may get pleasure from panoramic views of town and a few reside music to go together with their craft cocktails.
One other strong alternative is the Glow Sky Bar, situated on prime of the President Place constructing. This tropical beach-themed membership is the proper place to relax out after operating across the metropolis sightseeing. Get right here for his or her Blissful Hour from 5-8PM to get pleasure from 50% off your drinks!
14. Have Enjoyable On The River
The Saigon River cuts proper by means of Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, and there are many choices for enjoyable on the water. Whether or not it’s a brief dinner cruise at evening or an extended journey right down to the Mekong Delta, you’ll positively wish to add a visit on the river to your record of issues to do in Ho Chi Minh.
You possibly can guide a dinner cruise alongside the Saigon River for round $40-45 per particular person. Take within the surroundings of town because it lights up at evening whilst you get pleasure from a tasty meal and a few reside leisure.
These trying to go to the Mekong Delta on their journey could wish to try one of many full or multi-day cruises headed out of HCMC. These vary in worth from about $70-75 for a full day tour to $170 for a Three-day journey. Trying out the floating markets of the area is among the coolest issues to do in Vietnam.
15. See A Present At The Saigon Opera Home
In the event you get pleasure from an evening out on the theater once you journey, make sure to embrace a visit to the Saigon Opera Home. This stunning French colonial theater has been right here for the reason that flip of the 20th century and has had fairly the attention-grabbing historical past.
Whereas it was initially constructed as a theater, the constructing grew to become Southern Vietnam’s Meeting Home beginning in 1956. It wasn’t till the top of the warfare almost 20 years later that it returned to its authentic use. It was additionally given a severe face raise in 1998 in preparation for the 300th anniversary of town.
They rotate a couple of totally different exhibits on the opera home, together with the A O Present, The Mist, and Teh Dar. There actually isn’t a foul seat in the home right here and the acoustics are fairly superb.
Tickets vary from 700,000 dong ($30) to 1.6 million (about $70) and could be booked on-line right here.
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16. Eat Road Meals
Whether or not you name it Ho Chi Minh or Saigon, there’s no denying this metropolis has some fairly unimaginable road meals. From a piping sizzling bowl of pho to a contemporary banh mi sandwich, there’s one thing tasty being cooked up round each nook right here.
One place you may go to pattern totally different road meals by yourself is the aforementioned Ben Thanh Market. Within the evenings, the road exterior the market is lined with distributors whipping up all kinds of native classics.
Those that would like to have a information education them on what to (and to not) eat can guide a tour as a substitute. Road Meals Man comes extremely really useful and has an superior meals tour, overlaying some severe floor and making an attempt many tasty meals. Click on right here for particulars concerning the tour.
17. Go to The Museum of Vietnamese Historical past
If you wish to dive extra into the fascinating previous of this Southeast Asian nation, put the Museum of Vietnamese Historical past in your record of issues to do in Ho Chi Minh. It’s house to all kinds of artifacts overlaying the lengthy historical past of Vietnam from the prehistoric period to independence.
The captions within the museum are missing a bit, so slightly prior analysis will likely be useful. Whilst you’re right here, you may stick round for a conventional water puppet present. It solely prices a couple of dollars further on prime of the $1 ticket to get into the museum, so that you would possibly as properly.
Once you’re completed within the museum, you may try the botanical gardens subsequent door, however we advise you to skip out on the zoo, as we don’t condone the captivity (and cruelty) of animals.
18. See The Bitexco Monetary Tower
Throughout your exploration of Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, you’re positive to note one significantly attention-grabbing wanting skyscraper. That’s the Bitexco Monetary Tower, one of many tallest buildings within the nation and one of many coolest skyscrapers on this planet.
The tower stands at 262.5 meters (861 ft) and has a really distinctive design. In case you had been questioning, it’s meant to resemble the lotus — Vietnam’s nationwide flower. The a part of the constructing that serves because the bud of the flower is definitely a helipad!
On the 49th ground of the constructing, you’ll discover the Saigon Skydeck. Right here you may get pleasure from 360-degree panoramic views of town for just below $10. You possibly can examine the placement of the tower on the map right here.
19. Go to a Theme Park
Probably the greatest locations to go to in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis is Dam Sen Park. This sprawling park is only a brief drive from town middle and is enjoyable for the entire household.
There’s quite a bit happening at Dam Sen, with over 30 areas in whole. Right here you may go boating on a lake, do some fowl watching within the tropical backyard, and even go for a journey on a monorail. You would simply spend the entire day right here and never get bored.
It could actually get actually sizzling and muggy right here, so top-of-the-line issues to do in Ho Chi Minh is cool off in a water park. Dam Sen truly has a separate water park with loads of water slides, a wave pool, and a few cool water video games. Tickets for the Dam Sen water park price 170,000 dong ($7) for adults and 130,000 for kids ($5.50).
20. Take a Cooking Class
A significant spotlight of your journey to HCMC is bound to be all of the mouth-watering Vietnamese meals you get to get pleasure from. As an alternative of lacking legit Vietnamese delicacies once you go house, why not study to make it your self?
There are many wonderful cooking lessons out there within the metropolis. Most lessons embrace a visit to an area market first the place you store for contemporary components. Subsequent up you’ll get to work cooking up some traditional Vietnamese dishes, which you’ll lastly get to sit down down and revel in on the finish.
For foodies, becoming a member of a cooking class is among the greatest issues to do in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis.
One place that comes extremely really useful is HCM Cooking Class. Their lessons happen in an agricultural village, the place you’ll get to prepare dinner with greens straight from their backyard. They’ve a number of totally different choices for lessons, so make sure to examine their web site for schedules and costs.
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21. Expertise the Nightlife
In the event you’re like me and revel in throwing again low-cost draft beer whereas munching on road meals, you then’ll really feel proper at house on Bui Vien Road. It’s also referred to as the “Backpacker Road” due to the numerous hostels which might be situated within the space.
Pull up a plastic stool, order up some bia hoi (for about $zero.25 every), seize a couple of meat sticks, and strike up a dialog with whoever else is squished round you in these tight quarters. The individuals watching alone is well worth the journey to this notorious occasion road.
Admittedly, Bui Vien is a bit seedy and might get slightly ridiculous, even for this outdated occasion animal. If it’s worthwhile to class it up a bit, there are many institutions in HCMC the place you may drink indoors with out being continuously accosted by distributors and road performers.
Prepared For The Enjoyable Issues To Do in Ho Chi Minh?!
Whilst you could be intimidated by the chaotic visitors and seemingly endless improvement of Vietnam’s largest metropolis, hopefully this information has proven you there are many superior issues to do in Ho Chi Minh.
When you’ve totally explored this fascinating metropolis, there’s much more to see and do in Vietnam. In the event you’re making an attempt to plan the remainder of your journey, make sure to examine this submit on the place to go in Vietnam.
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