Ho Chi Minh City, often called Saigon, is located in southeastern Vietnam. The largest city of the country is a destination famous for its cultural and historical attractions, tasty Vietnamese dishes and local nightlife. To help you plan an exciting and enjoyable stay in the city, here we have following suggestions on things to do in Saigon.
VISITING CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL ATTRACTIONS
One of the interesting things in the trip to explore Vietnam is getting to know about the history. When you are in Saigon, a visit to cultural and historical attractions is a striking and rewarding experience contributing to your great Saigon day trip.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Cu Chi tunnels are located about 70 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. Originally, the tunnels had a length of 200 kilometers. But, today you can only visit a 90 meters long tunnel because most of them have decayed over time. The best way to explore the tunnel is taking a guided tour. It allows you to experience interesting activities, and there is an informative movie followed by the tour. We also offer you Cu Chi Tunnels Tour By Car helping you explore this must-visit attraction in Saigon and learn about the structure, geography, and how the Vietnamese survived during the war.
Address: Phu Hiep Hamlet, Phu My Hung Commune, Cu Chi District, HCMC
Open Hours: Daily/ 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Entrance Fee: VND 90,000 (USD 4)
The Reunification Palace, also known as Independence Palace, is preserved as it was home of the President of South Vietnam during the American War. The site is where the first communist North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates on the morning of April 30, 1975, resulting in Saigon’s official surrender. Today the palace is not only a museum, but there are meetings and events held by the government. The palace is one of the most visited attractions in Ho Chi Minh City. You can take a look inside at many rooms with the original furniture. Free guided tours are also available and depart every 15 minutes.
Address: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 1, HCMC
Open Hours: Daily/ 7:30 AM –11:00 AM, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Entrance Fee: VND 30,000 (USD 1.5)
War Remnants Museum
War Remnants Museum is considered as one place having important historical meanings. It remains one of the most visited museums in the country. Today, the museum exhibits several historical objects and photographs during the 30 year long war between America and Vietnam, also tanks and jets in front of the building. Visiting the museum is one of top thing to do in Saigon to have a greater understanding and different perspective on the Vietnam War.
Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, HCMC
Open Hours: Daily/ 8:00 AM – 11:45 AM, 01:30 PM – 4:45 PM
Entrance Fee: VND 15,000 (USD 0.7)
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral
Built between 1863 and 1880 by the French, the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is an architectural wonder located in the center of Ho Chi Minh City. In 1962 the cathedral was officially declared a Basilica by the Pope and since then it has been named Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. Today it is not only a church, but also an unmissable attraction in Saigon. There is no entrance fee and it is open daily from 8.00 to 11.00 A.M. and from 3.00 to 6.00 P.M. On Sundays there are also regular church services you also can attend to.
Address: 01 Cong xa Paris, District 1, HCMC
Entrance Fee: Free
ENJOYING SAIGON LOCAL FOOD
During your stay in the city you will see lots of restaurants and food stalls on every streets and corners. And one of the top things to do here is enjoying Vietnamese food cooked by local people. There’s everything from rice dishes to sandwiches or pancakes and another suggestions below to help you have memorable food trips.
Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)
A Vietnamese style French baguette is available nearly everywhere in Saigon, so it is a Vietnamese dish that you should never miss out. Banh mi is made with a mixture of wheat and rice flour, and packed with cuts of roast pork, rich pate, pickle vegetables, fresh chili and coriander. You can also choose another meat fillings for your sandwich, including roasted pork belly, boiled sausages, meatballs, boiled chicken and fried egg.
Recommendation: Banh Mi Huynh Hoa – 26 Le Thi Rieng Street, District 1, HCMC.
Banh Xeo (Savory Pancake)
Just like Banh mi, this tasty dish is a bit of a French inspired Vietnamese culture creation. The savory pancake is made of rice flour, water and turmeric, and stuffed pork slices, prawns, bean sprouts and button mushrooms. The chefs cook Banh Xeo right in front of the customers, so you can see your pancake being prepared. It’s served with lettuce leaves, herbs, rice paper and fermented peanut butter sauce. A special thing is that Banh xeo in the south of Vietnam are usually larger in size, while in other regions of Vietnam they are usually smaller.
Recommendation: Banh Xeo 46A – 46 Dinh Cong Trang Street, District 1, HCMC
Goi Cuon (Fresh Spring Roll)
Spring roll is a popular traditional Vietnamese dish having many versions. Your food trips will not fulfilled if you skip a fresh and delicious local version of that in Saigon – fresh spring roll. Fresh spring roll is made a mixture of rice vermicelli noodles, pieces of pork, shrimp and herbs and then wrapped in soft rice paper. The Vietnamese summer rolls are often served with a warm peanut dipping sauce.
Recommendation: Goi cuon Hanh – 420A Hoa Hao, District 10, HCMC
Com tam (Broken Rice)
Com tam is actually ‘broken rice’ in Vietnamese, usually served with fried egg, diced green onions, and a variety of meats such as barbecued pork chop, and steamed pork and egg patty. Locals in Saigon often eat Com tam in the late morning. This is one of the more filling street food dishes out there. But you can enjoy Com tam as diners or any time of the day as it is fairly inexpensive and available at street markets and food stalls.
Recommendation: Com tam Phung – on the corner of Cong Truong Tu Do, Binh Thanh District, HCMC
One of drinks you can miss out when traveling in the country is Vietnamese coffee. Vietnamese coffee is also famous for its variations such as black iced coffee, condensed milk coffee, egg coffee and coconut coffee. In Saigon, coffee is always available on every street. As a result, it’s easy for you to pick up a cup of brew for prices as low as less than one dollar.
Beside the suggestions above, you can also try the local street food in Ho Chi Minh City on an evening street food tour. Taking a food tour offers you a chance to talk with locals and let yourself be guided through the various dishes. You can check us out for an enjoyable food tour in Saigon.
EXPERIENCING SAIGON LOCAL LIFE
Experience real local life is one of the coolest things to when traveling in Vietnam. Taking a visit to markets and jumping on a scooter are worth giving a go in order to experience thoroughly Saigon local life.
Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is one of the famous landmark in Saigon. Every day thousands of visitors come to the market to walking around and shopping. You can buy clothes, jewelry, souvenirs or Vietnamese delicacies and coffee over here. There are more than 3000 stalls at the market, but prices can often be inflated for tourists so don’t forget to make a bargain with shopkeeper. The market closes about 6 pm. Still, various stalls are set up outside for night market which is worthwhile for you to pay a visit. Ben Thanh Market will throw you into Vietnamese local culture and the real Saigon local life.
Address: Le Loi Street, District 1, HCMC
Chinatown (Binh Tay Market Area)
Binh Tay Market Area (Cho Lon) is the Vietnam’s largest Chinatown also known as a place of great historical and cultural importance. Today, the area is a popular site for tourist, especially it attracts many Taiwanese and Chinese visitors. The crowded Binh Tay Market, the major attraction in Chinatown, is place that you can enjoy the authentic Chinese atmosphere existing here for hundreds of years. Also, Thien Hau Temple and Quan Am Temple are includes in this area. The combination of exploring culture, history and shopping in the town definitely will be enjoyable and memorable.
Address: District 5, HCMC
Taking a Motorbike Ride
Traffic in Saigon is busy and, to many tourists, a bit crazy with more than 8.5 million motorbikes. Taking a motorbike ride may be scary but it’s still a fun thing to do during your stay in the city. Sitting on a scooter and enjoy the bustling pace of life is one of special and unique ways to experience the local life here. A private motorbike tour around the city is the best option for traveler who want to a real and amusing experience with local buddies. You can check us out for the best motorbike tours in Saigon, we offer a variety of tour with friendly and skillful lady bikers.
EXPLORING SAIGON BY NIGHT
The charm of Ho Chi Minh City looks amazing both at day and at night. Saigon night travel still offers lots of places and things you can do with your friends, families or even yourself. Walking together in pedestrian areas, having a dinner on Saigon River or taking a view of Saigon from above seem like attractive things to do.
Bui Vien Walking Street
This walking street, also known as backpacker area in Saigon, is a popular nightlife entertainment spot for tourists as well as Saigonese. The walking street opens and welcomes people from 7pm to 2pm at weekends. Many pubs and restaurants around here serve cheap drinks and tasty dishes. Most of food stalls offer some beer, which you can enjoy by the roadside. Therefore let’s take a seat, have a drink and absorb the welcoming atmosphere. Besides, you can meet many friendly expats who are happy to share a few tips about travelling in Vietnam.
Address: Bui Vien Street, District 1, HCMC
The streets of Saigon are busy, but it may be very amazing to see from above. Hence, enjoying the incredible view of the city and Saigon River from Saigon Skydeck is one of the top must by night. Saigon Skydeck, located on the 49th floor of Bitexco Financial Tower, has free binoculars so you can see the city from near. Besides, you can buy some souvenirs here to have a nice memory of your Saigon trip. The price for a ticket is VND 200,000 ($8.7) and you can buy tickets online to skip the queue.
Address: Bitexco Financial Tower, 36 Ho Tung Mau, District 1, HCMC
Open Hours: 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Dinner on Saigon River
If you are looking for a relaxed night with your beloved ones, you shouldn’t miss a dinner cruise on Saigon River. Absorbing the view of the city sparkling in light while enjoying adequate food will make up your perfect evening.
I love Asia Tours also offer you a joyful Saigon dinner cruise in combination with experiencing the view of Saigon from a famous landmark of the city and more.
Through the list of top things to do in Saigon, we hope you find it helpful for your Saigon travel plan. Also, do not hesitate to check us out I love Asia Tour. The best tours and useful travel guides around Asia is waiting for you.