10 best things to do in ho chi minh city

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I’ll be honest. For me, one of the best things lớn vày in Ho Chi Minh City is to lớn eat. There is so much good food in Saigon. In my opinion, Hanoi is the more liveable city but Ho Chi Minch City has the best street food in Vietnam.

But as much fun as it is lớn eat street food, it isn’t the only thing to lớn bởi in Saigon. Ho Chi Minc City is a bustling metropolis of about nine million people in south Vietphái mạnh. There are plenty of things in this massive city khổng lồ keep you busy.

If it’s your first time visiting, then I’ve put together this các mục of twenty of the most fun things khổng lồ do in Saigon lớn help you plan your trip.

It’s made up of a good phối of attractions, activities, day tours, và delicious food experiences to make your trip lớn Ho Chi Minc City as well-rounded as possible.


SAIGON ATTRACTIONS QUICK LINKS

To help you plan your trip khổng lồ Ho Chi Minh City, I’ve sầu compiled links khổng lồ hotels, tours, & other services here.

HOTELS

Top-rated hotels in Dictrict 1, the most convenient area khổng lồ stay for people on their first trip khổng lồ Ho Chi Minch City.

TOURS

OTHER SERVICES

SAIGON TRAVEL GUIDE

Before you visit Ho Chi Minh City, be sure lớn kiểm tra out our detailed Saigon travel guide. It’ll have all the information you need – like when to lớn go, how lớn get around, where to lớn eat, etc. – lớn help you plan your trip.


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THINGS TO DO IN HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM

1. Eat Pho

You can’t visit Vietphái mạnh without eating pho. It’s a Vietnamese national dish and one of the most recognizable foods in Vietnamese cuisine.

Variations exist between regions but at its core, pho is a noodle soup made with four basic ingredients – a clear stochồng, rice noodles, meat (typically beef or chicken), and herbs. The Vietnamese lượt thích lớn have sầu it for breakfast but you can enjoy it at any time of the day.

I’ve sầu had pho in many cities throughout Vietphái mạnh but the pho in Ho Chi Minh City is my favorite. I suggest trying it at Pho Le (Nguyen Trai branch | Vo Van Tan branch) or Pho Mien Ga Ky Dong.


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Where to Eat Pho: Pho Le, Pho Mien Ga Ky DongExpect to Spend: About VND 50,000-80,000 per bowl


2. Go on a City Tour

If it’s your first time in the đô thị & want to vì chưng some sightseeing, then going on a city tour is one of the first things you should vì in Saigon. I don’t find Ho Chi Minh City to lớn be as walkable as Hanoi so it’s a little harder khổng lồ tour the city on your own.

Grab Bike is a great và inexpensive way khổng lồ visit one tourist attraction to the next lượt thích the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace (Independence Palace), and Notre Dame Cathedral. Pictured below is the stunning Saigon Central Post Office.

If you’d rather not vày it on your own, then an easier way would be to book a guided tour. You won’t have sầu khổng lồ worry about getting from one place to the next và you’ll have sầu the benefit of a guide explaining everything lớn you. You can book a Saigon city tour through Klook (Option 1 | Option 2) or Get Your Guide.


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Tour Cost: Starts at USD 11Length of Tour: At least half a day


3. Explore Ben Thanh hao Market

Ben Thanh Market in District 1 is one of the top tourist attractions in Saigon. It’s the most famous market in Ho Chi Minch City và a great place lớn experience local Vietnamese culture. It’s one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon và a key symbol of the thành phố.

Being as popular as it is, Ben Tkhô cứng Market can get pretty crowded but it’s definitely worth a visit, especially if it’s your first time in Ho Chi Minh City. It has over 1,500 stalls selling everything from lacquerware, textiles, crafts, bags, spices, & shoes.

If you get hungry while exploring the market, then you may want to kiểm tra out the Ben Thanh khô Street Food Market as well. It’s trendy food hall about a blochồng away from Ben Tkhô giòn Market.


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Photo lớn by studiolaska via Shutterstock

Estimated Time to lớn Spend: About 1 hr


4. Feast on Snails at Vinh Kkhô cứng Street

This is one of my favorite things lớn vày in Ho Chi Minh City. Oc or snails are a popular delicacy in Vietphái mạnh và Vinc Khanh Street may be the best place lớn have them.

Nicknamed “Seafood Street”, Vinc Khanh khô Street is a strip in District 4 with street food stalls on either side selling all kinds of fresh seafood. It’s a lively environment with loads of people enjoying seafood and beer by the side of a busy road. For me, a meal at Vinch Kkhô giòn Street is one of the best Asian food experiences you can have in Saigon.

There are many restaurants to choose from but we highly recommover Oc Oanh. It’s one of the best và most popular restaurants along Vinc Kkhô giòn Street.


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Where khổng lồ Eat Snails: Oc OanhExpect to Spend: About VND 150,000-200,000 per person for a seafood feast


5. Have Vietnamese Coffee at a Cafe Apartment

Cafe culture is strong in Vietphái nam. You can have sầu great coffee all throughout the country, but only in Ho Chi Minch City will you find these quirky & super cool apartment bloông xã cafes.

Popularized by the Cafe Léman Luxury on 42 Nguyen Hue Street, apartment blochồng cafes are old and perhaps partially abandoned buildings that have been repurposed to house the most interesting cafes & boutiques.

I went lớn a few of these buildings and some of them don’t have any signs from the street clueing you in khổng lồ what’s inside. It added to their appeal because it felt lượt thích you were privy lớn something secret in Saigon, almost like a speakeasy.

You can check out our Saigon coffee guide to learn where khổng lồ find these apartment blochồng cafes in Ho Chi Minh City. If you have sầu a taste for coffee and adventure, then exploring these old buildings is one of the coolest things you can do in Saigon.


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Where to lớn Go: The Cafe Léman Luxury, 14 Ton That Dam Building


6. Crawl Through the Cu Chi Tunnels

A visit lớn Cu Chi District is perhaps the most popular day trip you can make from Ho Chi Minch City. You’ll find it on virtually every article listing the best things khổng lồ vày in Saigon. You’ll be taken on a tour of the Cu Chi jungle & be shown what life was like for the Viet Cong during the Vietphái mạnh War.

Having studied in the west, I always heard the American side of the story so it was nice to lớn learn about it from a different perspective sầu. It was fascinating to see the elaborate tunnel system the Viet Cong had built during the war. Crawling through the very tight Cu Chi Tunnels was definitely a highlight.

You can book a Cu Chi Tunnels tour through Klook or Get Your Guide.


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Tour Cost: Start at USD 12Length of Tour: At least half a day


7. Have sầu a Banh Mi at “Lesbian Banh Mi”

Like pho, banh mi is a national dish & one of the most beloved foods in Vietnamese cuisine. You can find it pretty much anywhere in the country but the best banh mis I’ve sầu had were in Hoi An & Ho Chi Minc City.

Strictly speaking, “banh mi” refers to bread but people use it khổng lồ describe the sandwich made with a personal-sized baguette filled with a variety of ingredients like liver pate, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, và cilantro. I love it. For me, it’s one of the best sandwiches in the world.

Many shops serve great banh mày in Saigon but one of the best & most popular is Banh Mi Huynh Hoa. It’s owned by a lesbian couple và often referred khổng lồ as Banh Mi O Moi, meaning “lesbian banh mi”.

They serve sầu the fatdemo banh mis I’ve had anywhere in Vietphái mạnh. They put so many ingredients in there it almost feels like you’re eating a fully loaded hoagie.


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Address: 26 Lê Thị Riêng, Phường, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minch 700000, VietnamOperating Hours: 2:30-11PM, dailyExpect khổng lồ Spend: About VND 35,000 per banh mi


8. Go on a Motorxe đạp Tour

Motorbikes are a way of life in Vietphái nam. The Vietnamese learn to lớn ride motorbikes at a young age so it’s second nature lớn them. They’re by far the best way of getting around Ho Chi Minc City.

Grab Bike is our preferred means of transport in Saigon but motorbikes are also great for tours. I went on this motorbike tour và was amazed by how deftly my driver và tour guide would give sầu me his monologue while weaving through Ho Chi Minch City’s crazy traffic. It was insane!

Motorbikes are such an important part of Vietnamese life that I think going on a motorbike tour is one of the best và most fun things to vị in Ho Chi Minh City. Klook and Get Your Guide offer a good range of motorbike tours khổng lồ choose from.


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Tour Cost: Around USD 25-30Length of Tour: About 4 hrs


9. Take a Day Trip to the Mekong Delta

Aside from the Cu Chi Tunnels, a Mekong Delta tour is one of the most popular day trips you can make from Ho Chi Minh City. Known as Vietnam’s “rice bowl”, it’s a fertile agricultural area that produces over a third of the country’s annual food crop.

I spent a few days exploring the various towns along the Mekong River but you can easily visit the area on a day tour. Most if not all will take you khổng lồ Ben Tre which is one of the closest Mekong Delta cities from Saigon.

Klook and Get Your Guide offer a few Mekong Delta tours from Ho Chi Minh City. Highlights include a sampan boat ride through the river’s murky channels.


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Tour Cost: Starts at USD 16Length of Tour: Full day


10. Take a Cooking Class

Food tours are a great way of experiencing the local food but if you really want khổng lồ learn about Vietnamese cuisine, then there’s no better way khổng lồ do that than by taking a cooking class. It’s lượt thích looking under the cuisine’s hood.

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Cookly is a booking platkhung that offers hundreds of one-day cooking classes around the world. Follow the link to lớn kiểm tra out their menu of cooking classes in Ho Chi Minc City.


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Photo by IRA_EVVA via Shutterstock

Cooking Class Cost: Around USD 30Length of Class: About 3-5 hrs


11. Ride a Cyclo

If you aren’t comfortable going on a motorxe đạp tour, then perhaps a cyclo tour is a good alternative. Cyclos are three-wheeled bicycle taxis that became popular in Vietphái nam during the French colonial period.

With the rise in popularity of motorbikes, cyclos have sầu all but vanished as a viable means of transportation in Ho Chi Minh City. Today, they’re pretty much used only by tourists as a more relaxed way of seeing the đô thị.

Cheông chồng out Klook and Get Your Guide for a danh mục of cyclo tours in Saigon.


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Photo lớn by Midori Photography via Shutterstock

Tour Cost: Starts at USD 12Length of Tour: About 2-3 hrs


12. Find the Snail Lady

There are snail street food stalls everywhere in Ho Chi Minh City. But if you’re a người of Street Food on Netflix, then you’ll probably want khổng lồ go to lớn this one.

Affectionately called the “Snail Lady”, Mrs. Truoc was the street food vendor featured on the Vietnam episode of Street Food. In fact, she was the episode’s main storyline.

We enjoyed her story so much that we made it a point to find her stall on our most recent trip to Saigon. It wasn’t easy so you can refer lớn this bản đồ for the exact location.

We had a snail feast with about four or five sầu different types of snail. It was delicious. You can check out our YouTube đoạn Clip on Saigon’s Snail Lady for more information.


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Tour Cost: Starts at USD 12Length of Tour: About 2-3 hrs


Address: 169 Cô Bắc, Phường Cô Giang, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minch, Vietphái mạnh (map)Operating Hours: 10AM-2PM, Mon-Fri (closed Sat-Sun)Expect to Spend: VND 25,000 per snail dish

13. Visit a Viet Cong Cafe

This was one of the coolest cafes I visited in Ho Chi Minc City. It was cool not because it was trendy or hip. It was cool because of its role in Vietnamese history.

To the casual obhệ thống, Ca Phe Do Phu just looks lượt thích an old cafe with vintage memorabilia but look closer và you’ll find something extraordinary.

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I visited Ca Phe Do Phu as part of a motorxe đạp tour & my guide explained that it used to be the home page of a Viet Cong supporter. Through the trap door pictured below is a bunker with a cabít of old weapons and uniforms. It’s the first of many secret hiding places in the coffe. Pretty interesting right? But it doesn’t end there.

My guide took me through ladders that opened under sinks and secret passageways that served as escape routes in case the Viet Cong’s meetings were discovered by the Americans. It’s a fascinating space that isn’t as well known to tourists visiting Saigon.

If you have sầu a keen interest in the Vietphái nam War và want lớn vì chưng something unique in Saigon, then I highly recommover enjoying a cup of coffee at Ca Phe Do Phu. They’re known for their com tam suon nuong as well which is a dish of broken rice served with a grilled pork chop.


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Address: 72 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, Phường 5, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minch, VietnamOperating Hours: 7AM-10PM, dailyExpect to lớn Spend: About VND 25,000 for Vietnamese coffee


14. Eat Your Way Through Saigon in a Vintage Citroen 2CV

We’ve sầu been on many food tours in different cities around the world but this was one of the coolest we’ve sầu experienced so far. You’ll be driven from food stop to lớn food stop in Ho Chi Minc City in an open-top vintage Citroen 2CV.

If you’d like a fun and quality way of experiencing Saigon, then we highly recommkết thúc booking this tour. You can check out my article và đoạn phim on this Citroen 2CV food tour for more information.

You can also check out Klook for other food tour options in Ho Chi Minh City.


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Tour Cost: VND 1,400,000 (plus VAT)Length of Tour: About 3 hrs


15. Have sầu Breakfast in an Alley

This is also one of our favorite things lớn vày in Ho Chi Minch City và something we look forward khổng lồ on every return visit. Banh Mi Hoa Ma is a street food stall that serves breakfast in an alley.

Open daily from 6-11AM, Banh Mi Hoa Ma specializes in banh mày op la which is a breakfast dish consisting of a baguette, two fried eggs, liver pate, an assortment of meats, & a side of pickled vegetables. It’s a delicious plate of food that exemplifies the Vietnamese street food experience.

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Here’s a shot of Ren eagerly digging into lớn her banh mi. It’s such a terrific experience eating breakfast in an alley like this at eight in the morning.

Try getting here as early as you can because they’ve been known khổng lồ run out of food. Banh Mi Hoa Ma is popular aao ước locals so you’ll find plastic tables & stools all along either side of the alley.


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Address: 53 Cao Thắng, Phường 3, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOperating Hours: 6-11AM, dailyExpect lớn Spend: About VND 52,000 for banh mày op la


16. Enjoy the View from Saigon Skydeck at Tập Đoàn Bitexco Financial Tower

Saigon Skydeck is literally one of the top attractions in Saigon. It’s an observations deông xã that offers 360° panoramic views of Ho Chi Minh City from the 49th floor of Tập Đoàn Bitexco Financial Tower.

Bitexco Financial Tower is a unique lotus-shaped skyscraper in District 1 that was once recognized as Vietnam’s tallest building. You can purchase tickets lớn the observation deck at the gate or in advance through Klook.


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Photo by saiko3p via Shutterstock

Operating Hours: 9:30AM-9:30PM, dailyAdmission: VND 200,000Estimated Time khổng lồ Spend: About 1 hr


17. Watch a Show at Saigon Opera House

The Municipal Theatre is one of the top cultural attractions in Ho Chi Minc City. Also known as the Saigon Opera House, it’s a lovely 500-seat theater that hosts ballets, concerts, and other artistic performances.

You can visit the Saigon Opera House website for a schedule of upcoming performances. You can also purchase tickets khổng lồ shows at the opera house on Klook.


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Photo lớn by Arif Areeman via Shutterstock


18. Eat Waterfall Chicken

This is one of our favorite dishes khổng lồ eat in Ho Chi Minch City and something we look forward lớn on every return visit. “Waterfall chicken” refers to lớn a crispy fried chicken dish served at Com Ga Xoi Mo Su Su.

The owner of Com Ga Xoi Mo Su Su is some type of mad tinkering genius that built this machine himself. What it does is sover a stream of hot oil (around 180°C) showering down onkhổng lồ poached chicken and inlớn a pool below before being sent up again.

The chicken’s already cooked so it’s left under the waterfall of oil for just a few minutes lớn crisp up the skin.

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The result is this supremely crispy chicken served with red rice and the most delicious secret dark sauce. It’s so damn good.


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Address: 1067 Hoàng Sa, phường 11, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOperating Hours: 10:30AM-9:30PM, dailyExpect to Spend: About VND 42,000 per order of com ga (chicken rice)


19. Go Bird Watching at Tao Dan Park

We learned about Tao Dan Park on the Ho Chi Minch City episode of Somebody Feed Phil. It’s a green space in District 1 with gardens, a Buddhist temple, & a bird coffe.

We learned on the show that bird keeping is a popular hobby amuốn men in Saigon. They lượt thích to bring their pet birds khổng lồ this cafe every morning to lớn chat over Vietnamese coffee.

Even if you don’t have sầu an interest in birds, it’s an interesting place khổng lồ have coffee & mingle with the locals. You can go on your own or visit the bird coffe on a guided tour.


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Photo by Bui Minc Hai via Shutterstock

Park Hours: 7AM-10PM, dailyAdmission: FREEEstimated Time to lớn Spend: About 30 mins – 1 hr


20. Try Elevated Vietnamese Food at Vietphái mạnh House Restaurant

We’re fans of Luke Nguyen. He’s a Vietnamese-Australian chef and restaurateur who had a television series called Street Food Asia. We learned about many of the places we visited in Ho Chi Minch City from hlặng, including Banh Mi Huynh Hoa, Banh Mi Hoa Ma, and Com Ga Xoi Mo Su Su.

Vietnam giới House Restaurant is Luke’s upscale restaurant in District 1 which serves elevated interpretations of classic Vietnamese street food dishes lượt thích banh xeo, goi cuon, và cha gio. If you’re interested in having a special meal in Ho Chi Minch City, then Vietnam giới House Restaurant is a good place to lớn go.

Pictured below is Luke’s version of banh xeo made with crab và Iberico pork.

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Address: 93-95, 97 Đồng Khởi, Street, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minch, VietnamOperating Hours: 11:30AM-3PM, 5:30-11PM, dailyWhat We Paid: VND 1,500,000 for two people


FINAL THOUGHTS ON THINGS TO DO IN SAIGON

Saigon is a big và exciting city with much to lớn see & bởi. Personally, it isn’t my favorite thành phố in Vietphái nam as I find it to lớn be a little too hectic và fast-paced. Motorcycle traffic is insane & I find it harder to lớn get around on foot.

But if you’re drawn to the excitement of big cities, then you’ll probably enjoy Ho Chi Minc City. You won’t run out of things lớn do & from what I’ve sầu heard, the nightlife is pretty good as well. And you already know how I feel about the food.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this article on the best things lớn vị in Saigon. If you have any questions or suggestions, then please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your time in Ho Chi Minh City!

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