Ho Chi Minh city is a must – visit place if you travel to Vietnam. However, it is undeniable that it is an expensive city together with fast-paced lifestyles. So, how can we enjoy our excursion conveniently and reasonably? Our list of the top 10 free but awesome things to do in Ho Chi Minh City will help you to enjoy this city on the lowest budget.
Sai Gon Notre Dame Cathedral (01 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1) – A little Paris among Saigon
Established in 19th century by the French, Sai Gon Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most famous tourist attractions thanks to its special architecture and interesting stories. It is rumoured that all materials and decorations were imported from France. If you want, you can attend the regular mass which is held every Sunday morning. When you visit the Cathedral, don’t forget to admire the enthralling architecture, inspiring murals and you will understand why the Sai Gon community are always proud that their Cathedral is a replica of Paris Notre Dame.
Free concert in front of Ho Chi Minh Opera House (07 Cong Truong Lam Son Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1)
Are you a big fan of classical music but you couldn’t afford to buy tickets? Don’t worry, every Sunday morning, remember to come the Ho Chi Minh Opera House early and you can admire the concert for free. If your budget allows, try to watch A Opera show once in your life and you will have unforgettable experiences about Vietnam Art. This is definitely one of the best free but awesome things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.
Looking at Independence Palace through the fence (135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1)
Independence Palace is a well – known place which you are recommended when you travel to Sai Gon, but if your money and time doesn’t allow, let’s look at this place through the fence and don’t forget to bring your professional camera to capture the most fabulous photos. If you are really into history, visit Dan Sinh Market or book a Historical Tour with our lovely local lady bikers who will teach you all about the different historic destinations around HCMC.
Dan Sinh Market and Le Cong Kieu Antique shop – A journey to the past (Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1)
Dan Sinh Market, located at center of the District 1, is a special market where you can buy anything is related to military, from T – shirt, military hat to binoculars, ancient clocks and lighters. If you have time, you should visit the near street – Le Cong Kieu where you seem to get lost in the past. In this quiet street, you can see and touch priceless treasures such as ancient Buddha statues, 100 – year – old coins, and Asian or French colonial style furniture. If you are going to buy something for your father or granddad, or you are a nostalgic person, this market is a great place to spend some time in.
China Town (District 5) – A little China among Sai Gon
Sai Gon is a fertile land for everyone coming and embarking on their careers. People came, brought their culture and became an unmissable in Sai Gon culture. China Town, located in District 5, is a typical example. When visiting here, you can witness Chinese architecture, through the red or yellow walls, holy temples and experience a different culture. The perfect visit to this street is during Tet holiday and Mid-Autumn festival because you can admire colorful lanterns and watch lion and dragon dances. Discover China Town with our lady bikers through our Ho Chi Minh City Day Tour.
Ben Thanh Market (Ben Thanh Ward, District 1) – shopaholic’s haven
It would be a pity if you travel all the way to Ho Chi Minh City and forget to visit markets where you can buy everything and watch the loclas daily routines. Ben Thanh market is a typical example. This market is located in the heart of District 1, so you can get there easily by bus. Whilst visiting here, you will be overwhelmed by this lively world. People are welcoming, bargaining and asking each other questions. The market is full of colourful clothes, fresh food courts and unique local products that you can’t take your eyes off. You can stay at this market until the night and immerse yourself in night life with lively bars and clubs. What is especially special about this market is that it will be available during Tet holiday; however, just a few stores open. The market will be decorated gorgeously, traditional foods will be sold, it will be less turbulent and people are friendlier. It is a perfect time to visit if you aren’t keen on crowds but want to experience a Vietnamese market. If you feel nervous navigating your way through this massive market, book a Saigon Sight-Seeing Tour with our friendly local lady bikers.
Bui Vien and Nguyen Hue Street (District 1) – Joyful promenade
“Ho Chi Minh should be the best city to find pleasure for backpackers”, a tourist shared after enjoying Bui Vien and Nguyen Hue walking street. Although prices in these areas are quite affordable, you needn’t eat or buy something, just stroll these streets in order to enjoy them for free. Remember to visit at night in order to let your hair down. In Nguyen Hue Street, you can admire fountain shows at night. If you are looking for a little romance, the Saigon river together with breeze is waiting for you. However, you should keep your cellphone and money safe and don’t stay out too late. If these lively places aren’t your cup of tea, you may be interested in immersing nature and listening to the natural sound. Let’s visit Tao Dan Park!
Tao Dan Park (Ben Thanh Ward, District 1) – a little forest
This park, located in Cach Mang Thang Tam and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai intersection, impresses tourists with pathways are covered green trees and sculptures. If you visit during the Tet holiday, you can admire the Floral and Fauna Exhibit which displays marvelous plants planted by professional farmers. Every morning, you can join in doing Martial Art with the local people. If you are shy, just sit down here, enjoy the fresh air and listen to the birds singing. No doubt, this park is a perfect place for escaping from noisy life. Tao Dan Park is one of the best free but awesome things to do in Ho Chi Minh City that allows you to escape the city life.
If you have had enough noise, and want to escape from hustle and bustle, let visit these temples to find peace in yourself.
Visiting and praying in temples – where any wishes will come true
Firstly, you should visit Ngoc Hoang Pagoda (another name is Phuoc Hai Pagoda) which is famous for being the holiest and most ancient in this city. Every month, hundreds of travelers visit here, especially couples who are yearning for children or someone who is searching for real love. Besides, people also believe that when you visit here, and pray with all your heart, your wishes will come true and you will get more blessings in your career. Even more interesting is that the former U.S President, Barack Obama used to visit here and praised this unique pagoda. The second pagoda you shouldn’t miss is Mariamman – an Indian Pagoda located in the District 1. Like other pagodas, every year, Mariamman welcomes dozen of people who flock here and pray for their families, health and career. Whilst visiting here, you can admire one of the kind Indian architecture, listen to the serene bell and give yourself time to relax.
Admiring the sunset from Thu Thiem Bridge (Binh An Ward, District 2) – A perfect final.
Thu Thiem is a large bridge that connects Binh Thanh and District 2, which is a perfect location to admire the sunset and the sky changing its colour. After the sunset, stay on this bridge a little longer and you will enjoy Sai Gon lighting up. If you can get up early, watching the sunrise on this bridge would be an ideal beginning. No matter how you are busy, let’s enjoy the sunrise and sunset from this Bridge and forget all your sorrows.
People often mistake big cities as places that drain their travel savings. Yet, there are so many exciting things to do in Ho Chi Minh City for free – make sure you don’t miss out on these 10 free but awesome things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.