19 Things To Do In Ho Chi Minh City

We have a special relationship with Ho Chi Minh City. We took a three week trip in 2017 to Vietnam which is when we fell in love with travel. It was from that trip that we decided we wanted to travel long term. Ho Chi Minh is an exciting and bustling city, full of amazing things to do. Here is our list of the top 20 things to do while visiting this amazing city.

Ho Chi Minh City Hall

Located in District 1 at the end of Nguyen Hue walking promenade, Ho Chi Minh City Hall is also known as The People’s Committee Building.

Recognisable rom its French colonial architecture as well as the statue of Ho Chi Ming in front of the building. We recommend checking out Ho Chi Minh City Hall at the evening as the building is beautifully illuminated with LED lights.

Bitexco Financial Tower

This 68 story skyscraper designed by Carlos Zapata dominates the Ho Chi Minh City skyline. On the 28th for you will find the Saigon Skydeck. It costs 200,000VND (8.50USD) to get the elevator up.

If you are traveling on a budget it may be best to give it a miss. If you do decide to pay the Saigon Skydeck a visit we recommend coming at sunset to take in the stunning views over the city. Relax on the rooftop bar with a drink as you take in the scenery.


Nguyen Hue Street

After a day exploring outside the city why not take a stroll down Nguyen Hue Street. This promenade links two of our previously mentioned spots, the Financial Tower and the City Hall.

At night it is alive with performers, street food vendors and exhibits. It is a great place to take in the night life of the city without venturing to the bars and clubs. Soak up the atmosphere while enjoying some delicious street food!

Independence Palace

Also known as the Reunification Palace, this large building was the former home of the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Steeped in history, the building is the location where the North Vietnamese invaded Ho Chi Minh in 1975. It costs 40,000VND (less than 2USD) to enter and you can easily spend a two hours exploring the exhibitions in each room. Once you enter you can take a free guided tour which will fit you in on the cultural and historical significance of this building.


War Remnants Museum 

No trip to Ho Chi Minh City would be complete without a visit to the War Remnants Museum, this is our absolute must see when in the city. This museum is dedicated to educating people about the awful atrocities of the Vietnamese War.

Exhibits range from old military vehicles like Huey Helicopters, bombs and bullets and disturbing photographs of the victims. Although a somber and disturbing museum we recommend paying a visit. However, if you are traveling with children we strongly recommend not taking them to this museum.

A top class bowl of Pho

You cannot come to Ho Chi Minh City and not try a Pho. There are literally thousands of options when it comes to Pho in Ho Chi Minh. This delicious bowl of broth, noodle and meat is our favourite thing to eat in the city. If we had to choose our favourite bowl then Pho Hoa in District 1 would be right up there. This family run shop is a Saigon institution, run by the same family through the generations.

There are also many street vendors selling this popular dish. No matter where you choose to go you are always guaranteed a top notch bowl of pho in Ho Chi Minh.


Notre Dame Cathedral

Another relic of Vietnam’s colonial past is the Notre Dame Cathedral. The duel bell towers and stained glass make this site stand out from every other building in Ho Chi Minh. Measuring 60 metres in height it pales in comparison to its namesake in Paris but is beautiful in it’s own right. Staff are on sight during the week to explain all the history of the cathedral to visitors.

Another relic of Vietnam’s colonial past is the Notre Dame Cathedral. The duel bell towers and stained glass make this site stand out from every other building in Ho Chi Minh. Measuring 60 metres in height it pales in comparison to its namesake in Paris but is beautiful in it’s own right. Staff are on sight during the week to explain all the history of the cathedral to visitors.

Jade Emperor’s Pagoda

This is one of the most important shrines in Ho Chi Minh. The Tortoise Pagoda is a must see. This pagoda was built by Cantonese migrants in the 20th century. The main building hosts the “God of Heavens” while the left had side hosts the “God of Hell”. The front of the Pagoda hosts a tortoise pond, hence the name. It is a working shrine so be respectful on your visit.


Bến Thành Market

Located in the center of Hồ Chí Minh we spent hours wandering around Bến Thành Market . The market building has lasted a long time and is one of the oldest structures in the city. Browsing the food stalls, clothing vendors and the souvenir shops it is a great way to spend some time. Make sure to haggle with the sellers to get a good deal and don’t be afraid to bargain hard.

Take a cooking class

Vietnam is famous for its delicious cuisine and Ho Chi Minh is no exception. This city is a foodie paradise where you can spend your days eating around the city. If you want to know how to make some of these delicious dishes to make when you go home, you can sign up for one of the many available cooking classes.

There are so many cooking classes around the city and most of them include a market tour where you can learn all about the local produce that are commonly used in Vietnamese dishes.


Eat a Banh Mi

After a day of site seeing or a night out on the town there is nothing better than the tucking into the most famous sandwich in Vietnam.

A crunchy but soft bread roll stuffed with veg, meat, pate and sauce it is simple and amazing. One of our favourites was at Banh Mi Hong Hoa. The classic sandwich from this location is a little more meat heavy than in others but really is delicious.

Banh Mi is a popular street food snack so you will see vendors selling these delight on almost every street!

Crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels are located just a short drive from Ho Chi Minh City. These tunnels were used by the Vietcong Guerrillas at the time of Tea Offensive in 1968. The Cu Chi Tunnels are a series of underground chambers. These tunnels span over 30km.

You can visit a section of the tunnels and crawl through the small dark space to experience what it was like for the Vietcong during the Vietnam War.

There are many tours to the Cu Chi Tunnels operating from Ho Chi Minh City. CLICK HERE to check out tour options.


Travel to the Mekong Delta

If after visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels you are still in search of a second say trip from Ho Chi Minh City we highly recommend taking a trip to the Mekong Delta.

The Mekong Delta is made up of 39.000 square km of waterways. This part of Vietnam is one of the most densely populated areas in Vietnam.

The centre of the Mekong Delta is around a four hour drive from Ho Chi Minh. Once you arrive you will discover many floating markets, homes and schools all situated around the water. It is a great insight into the lives of local people in Vietnam. To book a Mekong Delta tour CLICK HERE.

Visit the Giac Lam Pagoda

Giac Lam Pagoda is thought to be the oldest temple in all of Ho Chi Minh City. This beautiful Pagoda is set in a stunning garden. It is a great place to walk around the pagoda grounds taking in the beautiful sights and the impressive architecture.


Take a Bonsai River Cruise

A cruise on the Bonsai River is a great way to take in the city sights. There are many tours available and some include dinner and entertainment. Enjoy a drink and listen to some live music as you cruise through Ho Chi Minh City.

Visit the Central Office

Paying a visit to the cities post office may not sound like the most exciting activity. However the post office in Ho Chi Minh is a popular tourist sight due to its impressive architecture. The building is designed in the Gothic style and is one of the most famous building in the city.

Wander around But Vien Walking Street

Bui Vien Street is the main street in the backpacker area of Ho Chi Minh and is the center of backpacker life in the city. Full of bars, nightclubs, coffee shops and hostels this place is always a hub of activity. Not exactly the most traditional Vietnamese experience. On this street you will bump into travellers young and old as well as expats who call Ho Chi Minh City their home.

Head during the day for a more relaxed atmosphere or head at night to sample some street food and dance the night away. Prices here can be more inflated than less touristy parts of the city so be prepared.

Grab a coffee in Tao Dan Park

Vietnam is famous for coffee and coffee culture. The signature Vietnamese coffee is called “ca phe sua da”. This delicious iced drink is made using dark roasted coffee mixed with some condensed milk and served over ice. It is a must try for all coffee lovers.

Tao Dan Park is a beautiful relaxing park. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a coffee from one of the street stalls.


Tour the History Museum

The History Museum of Ho Chi Minh City is located in the magnificent botanical gardens. The building which is now home to the museum was once a French colonial villa. This history museum is home to artefacts that date back 4,000 years. These artefacts include collections of weapons and art.

For more tours and activities available in Ho Chi Minh CLICK HERE.

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