Plan Your Trip to Ho Chi Minh CityLast Updated: January 08,2020
Why visit Ho Chi Minh City
A tour to Saigon will give you a wholesome experience for delicious food, glimpses of history from Vietnam War, and architecture of French colonial time. We have listed here some of the reasons as to why you should list Ho Chi Minh as your first destination:
It is the largest city in Vietnam
The war Remnant museum consists of a great collection of things from the actual Vietnam war
You can see the underground tunnels made by soldiers at the time of war
There are several hotels in different ranges that are suitable for people of all kind
Plenty of bars are present throughout the city, which are also open at the night.
Markets and street food vendors are present throughout the city if you are unsure about what to order? Just take some street food.
Is it safe traveling to Ho Chi Minh City?
Ho Chi Minh City is a relatively safer place for all. It's not crime free city but the crime rate is almost the same as that of other cities in the world. Generally, pick-pocketing, theft from the hotel room and purse/wallet snatching is seen. Severe and life-threatening crimes are very rare. All in all, it is a safe destination for both male and female tourists.
Best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh City
December to March is a great time to travel to this city, it's drier and the temperature is favorable averaging about 21°C to 34°C, however, a lot of people travel during late January or early February to celebrate Vietnamese New Year i.e. Tet Festival. This festival is celebrated beautifully with colorful decorations and so much more fun things. Although due to more tourism this month, the prices here are generally high plus roaming around can be difficult due to huge crowds.
Rainfalls usually happen during the months from May to September. Most of the time it's not heavy rather just showers of rainfall, making average rainfall level 200 to 300 ml per month. Bring your umbrella and you are good to go.
Typhoons are usually witnessed during the months of July to November.
Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City
The most fascinating things to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) revolve around the events of 20th-century war and conquest. It may sound boring and dull but except for few of its parts, remaining historical activities are fascinating and captivating for all age groups. You can witness here actual American planes used in war and the architecture of French colonial time. Looking at all the things gives a sense of reliving the past particularly the time of war. It's beautiful to see the mixture of these historic exhibits and present time buildings and a skyscraper to simultaneously co-exist in one place and time. This combination of old and new certainly adds beauty to this place.
Here we have mentioned are top 10 recommended place you should visit to ensure you don't miss out any of the fascinating things inside this city.
Cu Chi Tunnels
One of the greatest things here is Cu Chi tunnels. They give you an experience about wartime when soldiers made tunnels and used it to move around and hide from their enemies. You can actually go inside these tunnels! But before that, everyone is shown an informative document/ movie then there is a tour in which life in Viet Cong jungle is recreated. They have also added props like burned out tanks to make it look more realistic and to enhance the place's touch to history. After that everyone gets to crawl through the tunnels which are not exactly like past times because they have been modified to become stronger with the support of concrete.
War Remnants Museum
The visit to War Remnants Museum is an unforgettable and eye-opening experience. The museum portrays the most real experience of the war. Outside you can see tanks, planes, and other war machinery saved in good condition. It is to provide an idea about which technical things were used in wars. However, the real tragic things are present inside, here you can see photographs, exhibitions as well as handwritten documentation by people living during that horrific time showing how much American army lowered themselves to defeat Vietnam army.
Central Post Office
The Central Post Office portrays a great example of French colonial architecture. It is greatly preserved with all the details and styles that were present here at the time of opening in 1981. The building is still operational, and a lot of people choose to send postcards back home from here to have a taste of history. The great thing about this building is its designer, Gustave Eiffel is famously known for designing Eiffel tower in Paris. The building is beautiful from every angle.
Other you may like
Benthanh Street Food Market
Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater
Bitexco Financial Tower - Saigon Skydeck
Bui Vien Street
Jade Emperor Pagoda
Mariamman Hindu Temple
Saigon Opera House (Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theater)
Cao Dai Temple
Binh Tay Market
Notre Dame Cathedral
Transportation in Ho Chi Minh City
Transportation is always a big concern no matter which country or city. Here's we have mentioned a comprehensive guide to transportation options in Ho Chi Minh City. For further clearance, you can always check out the maps and get insider tips for sightseeing!
How to get to Ho Chi Minh City
Tan Son Nhat Airport (IATA: SGN | ICAO: VVTS) is Vietnam's busiest international airport. Most, if not all the tourist arrives in Ho Chi Minh by air. You can easily take a cab from here to the city, which is just 8 km away. Taking a taxi from the airport is not only highly convenient; it is also the safest option if you reach here at night.
Get around the city
Initially, going to places in Ho Chi Minh City may appear frightening due to a high number of motorbikes present here. It is estimated that there are 3 million bikes for 6.6 million residents.
The public transport is extensively based on the bus as they are cheap and safe. However, a lot of people who can afford prefer to travel through motorbikes or taxis as it is the most efficient and quicker way to travel than the bus.
Meanwhile, the formation of metro way is under construction, once that is done it would be easier to travel.
Best Ho Chi Minh food
The food at the Ho Chi Minh City is delicious, healthy and generally saltier. The dishes can be enjoyed throughout the day. The top 10 recommended dishes are not just delicious and mouthwatering, but they are also cost-effective. Most of them cost less than VND 40,000 per dish. Here is the list of top items:
Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)
Banh Xeo (Crispy Pancake)
Hu Tieu (Rice Noodles)
Oc (Vietnamese Shellfish)
Com Tam (Broken Rice)
Bun Thit Nuong (Vermicelli Noodles with Grilled Pork)
Banh Cuon (Rolled Cake)
Ca Kho To (Caramelised Fish in Clay Pot)
Read also: Top 10 Best Vietnamese Food
Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City's shopping areas are not just limited to boutiques and famous outlets. Shopping in Ho Chi Minh city also includes local markets for traditional clothes. These shops are spread throughout the city. Aside for clothes, street vendors also sell freshly produce supplies of coffee beans and street food. House supplies are also sold in local markets. Cholon, An Dong Market, and Ben Thanh Market are must-visit marketplaces.
How to choose hotels in Ho Chi Minh City?
Being the biggest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City comprises around 10 million people. Most of the people still call the central part of the city Saigon and it is made up of 19 districts. District 1 is where all the tourist attraction is present.
District 1 is the commercial hub and is mostly occupied by the elites. Here you can see elegant French colonial architecture along with plenty of places for dining and shopping. Most attractive places of tourist here are Saigon Central Post Office, Saigon Zoo, Jade Emperor Pagoda, Bitexco Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Botanical Gardens Mariamman Hindu Temple and Reunification Palace.
District 2 is located just about 20-minute drive from the city center and there reside city's affluent and local refugees. It is less crowded than district 1 and comprises of great cafes, restaurant, high-quality apartments, and villa
District 5 – Chinatown
District 5 is the city's Chinatown. Here you can find a Chinese restaurant, Buddhist temples, and Binh Tay Market, the largest market in Vietnam.
How much a Ho Chi Minh City trip costs
Overall, Ho Chi Minh is a cheap place. Everything including food and accommodation is very budget friendly. The street food cost around VND 20,000 (PHP 44/ USD 2/ SGD 1.21) to VND 70,000 (PHP 155/ USD 3/SGD 4) per meal. Hotels are cost-effective too, depending upon its location and quality. Also, the tourist attraction places are also mostly Museums and historic places which don't cost a lot mostly.
More useful travel guides to Vietnam
How to plan your first time travel to Vietnam