14 Things To Do In
Ho Chi Minh City

About Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Saigon, officially known as Ho Chi Minh City since 1976, is a vibrant metropolis that pulsates with the energy and history of Vietnam. Once the capital of South Vietnam, the city is a dynamic blend of the old and the new, where French colonial architecture stands alongside sleek skyscrapers, and bustling markets coexist with trendy cafes and bars. The city's streets are a hive of activity, with motorbikes zipping through and the aromas of street food wafting in the air. Saigon is not just an economic hub; it's also rich in cultural heritage, with landmarks like the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum offering glimpses into its complex past. This city, with its resilient spirit and welcoming locals, continues to be a symbol of Vietnam's growth and transformation.
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14 Things To Do In Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Our vision is to create most comprehensive list of things to do in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, making it easier than ever for you to quickly decide what to do on your trip.
We help you enjoy every moment of your adventure and fill it with unforgettable experiences tailored to your interests.

Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels

Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels

4.5

Exploring the Cu Chi Tunnels is an unforgettable experience that offers a deep dive into the ingenuity, resilience, and determination of the Vietnamese people during the Vietnam War. Located about 70 kilometers northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, this vast network of underground tunnels served as a strategic base for the Viet Cong, facilitating operations, including supply routes, communication lines, hospitals, and living quarters, amidst the conflict.

The tunnels, originally started in the 1940s during the fight against the French, were expanded during the Vietnam War to cover an estimated 250 kilometers. They enabled the Viet Cong to control a large rural area near Saigon and played a significant role in their warfare strategies.

Visitors to the Cu Chi Tunnels can explore sections that have been widened and reinforced to accommodate tourists, allowing you to experience the claustrophobic conditions in which soldiers lived and fought. The site features informative exhibits, including booby traps, hidden entrances, and a glimpse into the daily life of the soldiers and villagers who called these tunnels home. There’s also an opportunity to crawl through safer, modified sections of the tunnel system, providing a visceral sense of the underground life.

In addition to the physical exploration, the site often includes presentations on the history of the tunnels and the ingenious methods the Viet Cong employed to remain undetected and sustain their efforts. Some tours may offer the chance to sample typical guerrilla food, further immersing visitors in the wartime experience.

The visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels is not only a physical adventure but also an educational journey, offering profound insights into the complexities of war and the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people. It’s a poignant reminder of the harsh realities of conflict and a testament to human endurance and adaptability.

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Stroll around Ben Thanh Market

Stroll around Ben Thanh Market

4

Strolling around Ben Thanh Market in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City is like stepping into a vibrant microcosm of Vietnamese culture, offering an authentic and sensory-rich experience. As one of the oldest and most iconic landmarks in the city, the market is not just a place for commerce; it’s a bustling hub of daily life, local flavors, and cultural exchanges.

The market’s iconic clock tower welcomes visitors into a labyrinth of stalls, each bursting with colors, aromas, and sounds. Inside, you’ll find a vast array of goods ranging from fresh produce and seafood to handicrafts, textiles, clothing, and souvenirs. It’s a perfect place to pick up traditional Vietnamese items like silk fabrics, hand-embroidered textiles, lacquerware, and aromatic spices.

Food is an essential part of the Ben Thanh Market experience. The market is a haven for foodies, offering a plethora of street food stalls and eateries where you can indulge in authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Sample local specialties such as pho (noodle soup), banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), fresh spring rolls, and an assortment of sweet treats. It’s an excellent opportunity to taste a variety of dishes in one place, each offering a glimpse into the regional flavors of Vietnam.

Navigating the market is also a chance to engage with the friendly vendors, many of whom are happy to share stories about their products or offer a lesson in the art of bargaining—a common practice in Vietnamese markets. The bustling atmosphere, filled with the chatter of locals and tourists alike, adds to the market’s charm and vibrancy.

Visiting Ben Thanh Market is more than just a shopping trip; it’s an immersive cultural journey that offers insights into the local lifestyle, traditional crafts, and the culinary delights of Vietnam. Whether you’re there to shop, eat, or simply soak in the atmosphere, Ben Thanh Market promises a memorable and quintessentially Saigonese experience.

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Stroll along Nguyen Hue Walking Street

Stroll along Nguyen Hue Walking Street

4.5

Nguyen Hue Walking Street, located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, is a vibrant and modern public space that embodies the dynamic spirit of the city. Stretching from the Saigon River to the historic City Hall, this broad pedestrian boulevard is a favorite gathering place for both locals and tourists, offering a lively atmosphere and a glimpse into contemporary urban life in Vietnam.

The transformation of Nguyen Hue Street into a pedestrian-only zone has turned it into an urban oasis, where people come to stroll, socialize, and enjoy the outdoors away from the hustle and bustle of motorized traffic. The street is lined with beautifully landscaped gardens, water features, and seating areas, making it a perfect spot for leisurely walks and relaxation.

At night, Nguyen Hue Walking Street comes alive with a spectacular display of lights, adding to the festive ambiance. The surrounding buildings, including the historic City Hall and various colonial-era structures, are illuminated, highlighting their architectural beauty. Street performers, from musicians to dancers and artists, add to the vibrant cultural tapestry of the area, providing entertainment and a taste of local talent.

The walking street is also flanked by a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants, offering everything from high-end retail to casual dining options. Visitors can enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee at one of the outdoor cafes, sample street food from vendors, or dine in one of the many restaurants offering both local and international cuisine.

Nguyen Hue Walking Street is more than just a place to walk; it’s a cultural and social hub that offers a window into the modern lifestyle of Ho Chi Minh City’s residents. It’s a place where the community comes together to celebrate, relax, and enjoy the urban environment, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the vibrant energy and contemporary culture of the city.

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Hop On Hop Off buss tours in Ho Chi Minh City

Hop On Hop Off buss tours in Ho Chi Minh City

3.5

Exploring the vibrant heart of Vietnam, a Saigon tour bus offers an immersive journey through the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. As the bus weaves through the city’s dynamic districts, passengers are treated to a panoramic view of its rich tapestry, where traditional pagodas stand in harmony with sleek skyscrapers. Each stop presents an opportunity to delve into the city’s eclectic blend of history and modernity, from the poignant War Remnants Museum to the bustling Ben Thanh Market, pulsating with the energy of local vendors and fragrant with the aromas of Vietnamese cuisine. As the sun sets, the tour bus glides along the Saigon River, offering a serene contrast to the day’s adventures, and giving passengers a glimpse of the city’s romantic side, with the twinkling city lights reflecting off the water. A Saigon tour bus journey is more than just a ride; it’s a gateway to experiencing the soul of this captivating city, where every turn reveals a new facet of its intriguing story.

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Landmark 81 Sky View

Landmark 81 Sky View

4.6

Landmark 81 Sky View in Saigon is a notable attraction, offering visitors panoramic views of the city from its observation decks on the 79th, 80th, and 81st floors. This tallest building in Vietnam is part of a larger complex that includes hotels, serviced apartments, commercial spaces, and an array of leisure facilities. Visitors can experience unique activities on each floor of the observation deck, from enjoying a coffee in the cloud chairs on the 79th floor to engaging in a thrilling virtual reality game that simulates a parachute jump from the top of the building on the 80th floor. The 81st floor features an open-air terrace, allowing for an unobstructed view of Ho Chi Minh City from above. For a comprehensive experience, Landmark 81 also houses a variety of dining options, shopping centers, and an ice rink, making it a versatile destination that combines luxury, entertainment, and spectacular city views.

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Experience Tet Holiday In Saigon

Experience Tet Holiday In Saigon

Tet, or Tet Nguyen Dan, which translates to “Festival of the First Morning of the First Day,” is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. It marks the arrival of spring based on the Lunar calendar, a system used in many parts of Asia. The date of Tet varies from year to year but usually falls in late January or early February.

The festival is celebrated over several days, with the official holiday lasting for about a week. However, preparations and the festive atmosphere can start weeks before the actual date, and the celebrations can extend a week or two after. It’s a time of family reunions, ancestral worship, community festivities, and a lot of traditional customs aimed at welcoming the new year with good luck and prosperity.

For the specific date of Tet in any given year, it’s best to consult a current Lunar calendar or search for the date, as it shifts annually.

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Warnings / Risks: Could be boring for some people on holiday as everything is closed for a week or so.

Bui Vien Walking Street – District 1

Bui Vien Walking Street – District 1

4.3

Bui Vien Walking Street, located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s vibrant District 1, epitomizes the pulsating nightlife and cultural diversity of modern Vietnam. Known as the backpacker district of Saigon, this pedestrian-only street comes alive at night with a kaleidoscope of lights, music, and the buzzing energy of locals and travelers mingling together. Lined with an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and street food vendors, Bui Vien offers an endless array of dining and entertainment options, catering to all tastes and budgets.

The street’s atmosphere is a dynamic blend of traditional Vietnamese culture and international influences, reflecting the cosmopolitan character of the city. Visitors can enjoy live music ranging from local Vietnamese pop to international rock bands, taste local delicacies, or simply soak in the lively ambiance with a cold beer in hand. Bui Vien is also a place where one can find a variety of souvenir shops selling everything from handmade crafts to vibrant artworks, making it the perfect place to find a memento of your travels.

Bui Vien Walking Street not only serves as a hub for nightlife but also as a cultural melting pot where stories are shared, friendships are forged, and the essence of Saigon’s spirited character is on full display. Whether you’re looking to party into the early hours, enjoy a leisurely meal, or immerse yourself in the local culture, Bui Vien offers an authentic slice of life in Ho Chi Minh City.

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District Federal Restaurant – Best Mexican Food Saigon

District Federal Restaurant – Best Mexican Food Saigon

4.5

If you’re in Saigon and craving authentic Mexican cuisine, District Federal Restaurant in Thao Dien is the place to be. This vibrant and colorful restaurant, established in 2017, brings the flavors of Mexico City to Ho Chi Minh City. With a commitment to authenticity, they make their tacos, chips, tostadas, salsas, and queso fresco fresh daily.

The restaurant features a lively open-air section where you can watch the chefs in action and an air-conditioned area with a seven-meter bar serving fantastic cocktails, including frozen Patron Margaritas. The atmosphere is energetic and fun, perfect for group photos, and the staff is friendly and efficient. Highlights include their chorizo queso dip, guacamole, chicken nachos, and a variety of delicious tacos.

The overall experience is top-notch, making it the best Mexican food spot in Vietnam. Delivery is also available, making it convenient to enjoy their delightful dishes at home. If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, District Federal is a must-visit.

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Saigon Opera House

Saigon Opera House

4.5

The Saigon Opera House, also known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, is a stunning example of French Colonial architecture in Vietnam. Completed in 1900 and designed by French architects, including Félix Olivier, Ernest Guichard, and Eugène Ferret, the Opera House showcases the flamboyant style of the French Third Republic. Its façade, reminiscent of the Petit Palais in Paris, was restored in 1998 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Saigon. Originally designed to accommodate up to 1,800 people, the Opera House now has a seating capacity of 500 after various renovations.

The Opera House hosts a variety of performances, with one of the most popular being the A O Show, which combines circus, live music, and bamboo to create a mesmerizing experience that explores the themes of Vietnam’s rural life and urbanization. The interior retains many original features, including stone verandas, white stone statues, and colorful granite tiled floors, alongside modern amenities like advanced lighting and sound systems.

Visiting the Saigon Opera House, located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, is a must for those interested in architecture, history, and the performing arts. Even if you’re not planning to watch a show, the building’s illuminated exterior at night is a sight to behold. For more information and to book tickets for a show, you can visit the official website of the show producer, Luneproduction.

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Visit the War Remnants Museum

Visit the War Remnants Museum

4.5

Visiting the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is a powerful and sobering experience that provides profound insights into the Vietnam War’s brutal impact on the Vietnamese people and the lasting legacies of the conflict. Located in the heart of the city, the museum is one of the most visited sites in Vietnam, drawing visitors from around the world to reflect on the atrocities of war.

The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and documentary films. These exhibits are divided into several themed rooms, each focusing on different aspects of the war and its aftermath, including the effects of Agent Orange, the use of napalm and phosphorus bombs, and the international anti-war movements that the conflict sparked. One of the most impactful displays is the Requiem Exhibition, which showcases wartime photographs taken by both foreign and Vietnamese journalists, including some who lost their lives in the conflict.

Outside the museum, visitors can see a collection of U.S. military hardware, such as tanks, jet fighters, and helicopters, serving as stark reminders of the scale and intensity of the military operations carried out during the war.

The War Remnants Museum does not shy away from depicting the war’s horrors and the suffering of the Vietnamese people, but it also carries a message of peace and the hope that such conflicts can be avoided in the future. The graphic content and poignant narratives can be emotional for visitors, but they also foster a deeper understanding of the war’s human cost and the importance of reconciliation.

A visit to the War Remnants Museum is essential for anyone seeking to comprehend the complexities of the Vietnam War and its enduring impact on Vietnam and its people. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the past and consider the profound effects of war on humanity and the spirit of resilience and recovery.

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Catfe – Cat Cafe

Catfe – Cat Cafe

4.1

“Catfe Saigon” is a cat cafe located in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Cat cafes are establishments where customers can enjoy food and beverages while interacting with resident cats. These cafes typically offer a cozy and relaxing atmosphere, allowing patrons to unwind and spend time with furry companions. Catfe Saigon provides a range of serve your own drinks and snacks for customers to enjoy while they pet, play with, or simply observe the cats in the cafe. This establishment try’s to prioritize the well-being of the cats, to ensuring they are properly cared for and have space to roam and relax. If you’re a cat lover visiting Saigon, Catfe Saigon could be a charming and enjoyable place to visit.

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Thich Quang Duc – Fire Monk Monument Saigon

Thich Quang Duc – Fire Monk Monument Saigon

The Thich Quang Duc Monument in Saigon stands as a poignant tribute to the self-immolation of the Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc in 1963, a moment that resonated around the world as a powerful act of protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government at the time. Located at the busy intersection in District 3 where the act took place, the monument captures the solemnity and the profound impact of Thich Quang Duc’s sacrifice. It features a statue of the monk in a meditative pose, surrounded by reliefs that depict his act of self-immolation and the subsequent international reaction. This site not only commemorates the monk’s ultimate demonstration of peaceful protest but also serves as a reminder of the struggle for religious freedom and human rights. Visitors to the monument are often moved by the stark representation of such a pivotal moment in history, making it a must-visit for those looking to understand the deeper layers of Vietnam’s complex past.

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Explore a Saigon Buddhis Temple – Phap Vien Minh Dang Quang Pagoda

Explore a Saigon Buddhis Temple – Phap Vien Minh Dang Quang Pagoda

4.8

Phap Vien Minh Dang Quang Pagoda, nestled in the bustling city of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), offers a serene oasis amidst the urban sprawl, providing both locals and visitors a space for reflection, spirituality, and peace. This Buddhist temple, distinguished by its striking architecture and tranquil ambiance, is part of the Minh Dang Quang Buddhist Institute, playing a significant role in the spiritual life and education within the Buddhist community in Vietnam.

The pagoda is renowned for its beautifully adorned halls, intricate carvings, and statues that depict various aspects of the Buddha’s life and teachings. The main hall is an architectural marvel, housing an impressive statue of the Buddha, and is a focal point for prayer and meditation. The surrounding gardens, with meticulously maintained bonsai trees and lotus ponds, add to the peaceful atmosphere, encouraging visitors to linger and soak in the tranquility.

Phap Vien Minh Dang Quang Pagoda is not just a place of worship; it’s also a center for cultural and educational activities related to Buddhism. It hosts meditation sessions, religious ceremonies, and festivals, which are open to both practitioners and those interested in learning about Buddhist traditions and practices. Visiting this temple offers a unique glimpse into the spiritual heart of Vietnam, providing a deeper understanding of the country’s cultural heritage and the profound influence of Buddhism in the lives of its people.

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Visiting a Wet Market in Vietnam

Visiting a Wet Market in Vietnam

Visiting a wet market in Vietnam is an enthralling experience that offers a vivid glimpse into the local lifestyle and the vibrant culinary culture of the country. These bustling markets are so named because the floors are often wet, a result of vendors washing their stalls and the fresh produce on offer. As you step into the lively atmosphere, you’re greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors and a symphony of sounds, from the chatter of bargaining to the sizzle of street food being prepared on the spot.

The air is filled with the different scents and aromas of seafood and meats. Stalls are laden with a dazzling array of produce, from exotic fruits and vegetables to an impressive variety of seafood, often still alive and swimming in buckets. It’s a place to immerse yourself in the local culture, to learn about the ingredients that form the backbone of Vietnamese cuisine.

Beyond the sensory overload, a visit to a wet market in Vietnam is a lesson in the importance of fresh, seasonal produce in Vietnamese cooking. It’s a communal hub where food is not just sold but celebrated, providing a unique insight into the daily lives of the locals and the traditional practices that have shaped Vietnamese cuisine.

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