Top 13 Things To Do In Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Credit Nathan Ergang on Unsplash

Ho Chi Minh City is hectic city that is a mix of modern living, traditional Vietnamese life and French colonialism. There is so much to do here that a few days is unlikely to be enough time to really experience this stunning city.

Ho Chi Minh City is also the starting point for the Reunification Express which runs through Vietnam, experiencing incredible scenery, all the way to Hanoi in the north of the country. Read our guide to the Reunification Express here.

Ben Thanh Market

Located in the heart of District 1 is probably the most famous market in Saigon if not the whole of Vietnam

It’s busy, it can be incredibly busy at times, far too hot during the day but it’s an essential part of life in the city and somewhere you should aim to visit early in your stay, you may want or need to visit more than once.

A food lovers paradise with street food and a multitude of restaurants nearby.

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Credit Ngo Minh Tuan from Pixabay
Binh Tay Market, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Credit Neajjean on flickr.

Binh Tay Market

In the heart of Chinatown in District 5 is Binh Tay market.

Less of a tourist attraction and more of a living and breathing part of Saigon.

Don’t miss out.

Saigon Central Post Office

A French colonial masterpiece as stunning inside as it is out.

Not just a popular tourist attraction, it is still a functioning post office.

Just across from the Notre Dame cathedral.

Saigon Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Credit Nathan Ergang on Unsplash

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

More French inspired architecture to admire, although just from the outside this time.

According to some locals in October 2005, the statue of the Virgin Mary outside of the Cathedral began to cry, staining the granite for more than a week. The devout still visit the statue in the hope it will shed another tear.

The War Remnants Museum

Take some time to experience this incredible museum that commemmerates and chronicles the events of the Vietnam War.

There are tanks and planes used in the war plus many pictures and documents that demonstrates the horrors of this war.

War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City. Credit Gary Todd on flickr
Jade Emperor Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City. Credit Gary Todd on flickr

Jade Emperor Pagoda

A beautiful temple, inside and out, and still one of the most important shrines in the city.

Featuring a mix of Taoist and Buddhist symbols and icons.

Cu Chi Tunnels

During the Vietnam War the North Vietnamese Army utilised hundreds of miles of underground tunnels to evade and attack the Americans.

Probably the most famous attraction in town and one not to be missed.

The big draw here is to sample what it may have been like to live in the tunnels in a section that has been widened and reinforced.

Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam. Credit Sue Todd from Pixabay

Reunification Palace

Independence or Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Credit Nathan Ergang on Unsplash

The correct name is the Independence Palace but most people still refer to it as the Reunification Palace.

Made famous at the end of the Vietnam War when, as home to the South Vietnamese President and Army, a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the gates signalling the end of the war.

There are many things to see here not least a number of vehicles and helicopter used during the war.

Remember to wear suitable clothes to visit, skirts and shorts are not appropriate.

Bitexco Tower

A spectacular 262 metre tall office tower offering excellent views of the city from the 360 degree Saigon SkyDeck on the 49th floor.

The tower also has a shopping mall, food and drink outlets, cinema and the Eon Heli Bar, cafe and restaurant offering views over Ho Chi Minh while you eat or drink.

Bitexco Tower, Ho Chi Minh City at night.
Credit Huyen Nguy on Unsplash
Vietnam Street Foof. Credit Rene DeAnda on Unsplash

Vietnamese Food

The range and quality of food in Saigon is exceptional from street food to high end restaurants, the choice is outstanding.

For me there is nothing like wandering around the markets and street vendors picking out the food to try. There are many tours that will help you if you are not the independent, exploring type.

Landmark 81

The tallest building in the city, standing at over 461 metres and situated on the banks of the Saigon River.

Featuring restaurants and bars and a hotel alongside business activities and luxury apartments. For the tourist though a trip to the Skydeck observatory on floors 79 to 81 is the big draw.

Landmark 81 Ho Chi Minh City at night.
Credit Constant Loubier on Unspalsh
Celebrations in Ho Chi Minh City. Credit Markus Winkler on Unsplash.

Nguyen Hue Boulevard

A great place to people watch, relax, listen to and watch street artists.

Vietnamese Coffee

There is not just one type of Vietnamese coffee as it tends to vary depending on the region you are and the beans used, and ingredients added.

Known and admired worldwide for the quality and taste be sure to try a coffee wherever you visit in Vietnam.

Vietnamese Coffee. Credit Frank McKenna on Unsplash

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