23 things to do in saigon (ho chi minh city): top attractions!

If you visit the amazing Vietnam giới, you'll most likely stop at the fantastic Ho Chi Minch. To feel inspired, check out our top things lớn vị in Ho Chi Minc.

Ho Chi Minch, (formerly known as Saigon) is one of the most well known cities of the AMAZING Vietphái mạnh. If you’ve sầu been on our blog for a little bit, you’ll know we are massive sầu fans of Vietnam, và consider it one of the greathử nghiệm countries in the world.

So, lớn complete our guides khổng lồ the different areas we’ve sầu been to lớn in Vietnam on our 3 week Vietnam giới itinerary, it’s time khổng lồ look at the best things to vì chưng in Ho Chi Minc city for backpackers.

Ho Chi Minch was the first place we stopped at in Vietnam giới. It probably doesn’t give sầu the best first impression of Vietnam, và the fact that when we arrived we were dropped at a bus station miles away from the actual đô thị with no money và no way of getting khổng lồ our hostel.

We actually had like 2% battery left (I lost our battery pachồng in Cambodia- whoops) và were able to see that we had some money in our Revolut cards. Managed to lớn find an ATM and negotiate hard with a taxi driver lớn take us to our hotel….

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BUT, the address from booking.com was not the hotel address. We spent about 2 hours looking for this khách sạn (our taxi driver gave sầu up & we went on foot). Was a nightmare, so I remember thinking, god, what is Vietphái mạnh going to be lượt thích.

But no worries. That chaos does not represent Vietnam giới in the slighdemo, & actually I think Ho Chi Minc is one of the least chaotic cities in all of Southeast Asia.

Anyway, even if you don’t LOVE the idea of going to a big đô thị, Ho Chi Minch is a perfect place khổng lồ start your Vietnam trip because you can get yourself organised, plan your itinerary và purchase your very convenient long-haul bus ticket.

So, let’s look at some of the practicalities of Ho Chi Minh first.


When is the best time to lớn visit Ho Chi Minh?

The best time to lớn visit Ho Chi Minh City is during the drier months of December to lớn March, when temperatures range between 21°C and 34°C. Although Bradley và I visited during September & it was perfect!

How long vì chưng I need to lớn spkết thúc in Ho Chi Minh?

Personally I think 2 or 3 nights is enough for Ho Chi Minch. It should allow you to lớn get organised, và see the sights that Ho Chi Minc has on offer. BUT, if you want khổng lồ buổi tiệc nhỏ hard, you could easily extend this to lớn 3 or 4 nights.

It really depends on what you’re looking for.

How khổng lồ get lớn Ho Chi Minh

The most common way lớn get to lớn Ho Chi Minc is probably via air travel. You can get a variety of flights lớn the thành phố via many airlines.

Your second option is to lớn cross via land border from Cambodia. We travelled via Kampot, but buses leave frequently from the capital Phnom Phen.

There is a place in the đô thị called lucky -- that can sort out your Vietnamese visa hassle free!

I highly recommover getting them lớn do it for an extra $5 dollars than organising it yourself.

Plus the Vietnamese fee tends to fluctuate depending on your nationality, skin colour, và the mood of the office, so if a local is sorting it for you, well you can get a fairer price.

Top things khổng lồ vị in Ho Chi Minh City

Okay, now for the fun stuff, the top things to vì in Ho Chi Minch, for backpackers! This các mục of 12 fabulous things is based on a combination of things Bradley and I did, và things we wanted to lớn vì, but ran out of time.

1. Cu Chi Tunnels

This was one of the things lớn vì chưng in Ho Chi Minc thành phố that I debated back and forth about doing or not. Some recommover it, some didn’t, & I’m not really sure what I recommend to you (that’s helpful right!).

If you’re interested in the history of the Vietphái nam war (which I very much was), then it might be worth it. But I’ve sầu heard some reports of it’s a little propagandary.

Anyway, the Cu Chi tunnels are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Ho Chi Minh district of Cu Chi. They are part of a larger network of underground tunnels which were used in the war.

A trip to these tunnels is a day trip, and you can get some great đơn hàng with Get your Guide here, or alternatively there will be 1001 tour companies offering package deals to the tunnels.

You can get there via bus, boat, taxi, uber, & motorbike.

Ben Dinch and Ben Duoc sections are the ones open to the public currently. You can even shoot a gun at the shooting range, or pop inkhổng lồ a tunnel to see for yourself what it’s like! (This is a common picture spot).

TOUR: Cheông chồng out this high unique tunnels tour that also gives you an experience down the Mekong Delta! 

2. War Remnants Museum

This is basically the war that is dedicated lớn everything Vietphái nam War. It’s actually quite a sorrow experience and there is a lot of detail inside.

What I will say is that it’s very one-sided, extremely “biased”. Not that I am saying that the USA are innocent, of course not, but a balanced view on war is needed, and they don’t achieve that.

That being said, I still think it’s a super important place, with a lot of important information and you should definitely visit.

Outside the museum there are some really cool war items lượt thích airplanes, army tanks etc, which are fun khổng lồ photograph và hear more about.

It’s a very modern museum và well maintained.

Combine this with a trip to lớn the tunnels và you’ll have sầu gotten your dose of history for the day!

3. Party like crazy at Bui Vien

You will hear Bui Vien before you see it. Although it’s filled with many bright lights, so it could be a toss up between the two.

Anyway, if you want khổng lồ get drunk, dance, và see was weird things, then you will find yourself here. I say this is one of the best things to vị in Ho chi Minh city for backpackers simply because it’s a great place lớn meet fellow travellers, is the heart of the hostel scene, và it’s actually a really fun vibe.

If you vì have a hotel here, don’t expect any sleep. It’s loud. Our khách sạn was down one of the little “backstreets” và it was still too loud. But alas, it was fine!

We walked up & down this street about 7 times with backpacks at night when searching for our khách sạn on our first night, and it was buzzing and filled with drunk backpackers.

It’s also an area with cheap food, so fill up on carbs before you drink (especially if you’ve sầu got type 1 diabetes, like me!)


4. Shop till you drop at the Ben Tkhô nóng Market

If you’ve sầu travelled Vietnam from North to lớn South (so opposite of what we did), then you might find Ho Chi Minc as your departure thành phố. If this is the case, then the Ben Tkhô giòn market is the perfect place to lớn buy gifts for yourself và your friends & family back trang chính.

It’s located in District 1 & super easy lớn get there. I’d say xe taxi is most convenient.

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It’s popular amongst tourists for local handicrafts, textiles, áo dài và souvenirs, as well as local cuisine. Oh yes, don’t visit on a full stomach, you’re going to lớn want khổng lồ eat lots of amazing food.


5. Visit the iconic Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

Want a little bit of France whilst in Ho Chi Minh? Well, surprisingly, it’s actually possible. The Saigon Notre-Dame is not only beautiful, but it’s iconic too.

Romanesque architecture is probably my favourite architectural style after gothic, so I think this is a very impressive cathedral.

The church hosts a range of new tourists each day who visit to marvel at the grandeur and the contrast of such a beautiful building in a manic đô thị like Ho Chi Minh.

Locals will be ready with their makeshift stations to lớn ensure you’ve got food, drink & souvenirs lớn buy!

6. Catch some thrills at Suối Tiên Amusement Park

The reason I’ve sầu included an amusement park on this các mục of top things lớn vì chưng in Ho Chi Minc city for backpackers is for two main reasons: 1. I LOVE amusement parks & 2. Backpacking is all about having fun, & THIS is fun!

The Suối Tiên Amusement Park is located in the 9th district & is described as a buddhist theme park. It’s bright, it’s weird, it’s wonderful!

There is even a dark house of horrors place in the theme of Harry Potter, which couldn’t be more unlicensed if it tried, but hey it’s fun & you will certainly rethành viên it!

Maybe don’t go here if you’re feeling hungover from partying the night before...I wouldn’t want you to lớn be sick!

7. Take a MeKong river cruise down from Ho Chi Minh

This isn’t something we did, but I have lots of friends and family who have sầu visited Ho Chi Minch và done the Mekong River cruise.

Known khổng lồ the locals as the “River of the Nine Dragons, the delta is trang chính lớn several verdant forests, riverside villages, rice plantations and much more. You can opt for a traditional wooden boat cruise or something a little fancier if you wish.

You can vì a 14 day cruise from Cambodia, Vietphái nam & really put yourself in a cultural dream, but if you don’t have that sort of time frame, or budget, then you can vì chưng a day tour.

There are SO many options for this on Get Your Guide and Viator (the only two sights I use for booking activities), so I thought I’d recommover a few lớn make life easier.

Don’t forget your camera as you’ll see a lot of interesting things.


8. Head to the Hard Roông xã Cafe for live sầu music & great food

I know what you’re thinking, did she really just recommover a “Hard Roông chồng Cafe” as a thing lớn vị in Ho Chi Minh? Will, yes sass quái thú, I did.

Maybe it was because the food was the cheapest hard roông chồng prices I’ve ever had, the portions were so big that I couldn’t finish my food (btw, that doesn’t happen with me), and there was an amazing Queen tribute bvà on.

So yeah, if you want a brilliant night out, for pre drinks or to lớn just make memories with friends, then it’s a good choice.

You can book online too.

It was really a highlight of our time in Ho Chi Minch and it rounded a day of sightseeing off nicely!

I love sầu a cheap cocktail! :P 

9. Take a cooking class

There are lots of opportunities across Vietnam giới in general lớn take a cooking class, but Ho Chi Minh has got LOTS of choice và a lot of great markets to lớn pick up your ingredients.

If you want a real local experience you could search on Airbnb experiences which are basically tours and activities run by local real people, which I think is pretty cool.

But if you prefer something that looks more “professional” on paper, then again, Get Your Guide and Viator are filled with fabulous cooking lessons.

These can often be combined with other activities, such as the river cruise above sầu.

Also, when you walk around Ho Chi Minch, you will often see flyers offering cooking classes, or no doubts, your hotel or hostel will also be organising one, or willing khổng lồ help you find one.

TOUR: Check out this amazing Ho Chi Minc cooking experience.

10. Eat your heart out

Ho Chi Minh is bursting with food places, both traditional, & unique. One of the most interesting dining concepts to lớn be is the dining in the dark style. (If you seen the movie “About Time”, you’ll know the type!)

Well, in Ho Chi Minh you can dine in the dark!

If you don’t fancy that then you’ve actually got some really xinh đẹp Italian & Spanish restaurants dotted about. I’m not one for recommendations of restaurants as I literally use trip advisor và you probably should too!...plus I can’t rethành viên the names!

But dining in Ho Chi Minc will give sầu you your first chance at tasting Vietnamese wine. It’s very cheap, and it’s perfectly drinkable.

I drink wine, quite frequently, so I know what I like, (Chilean sovereign blanc any time please) and I quite enjoyed the Vietnamese wine (not as much as I am OBSESSED WITH VIETNAMESE COFFEE. Sorry Colombia, I love your coffee, but Vietnam's got the chocolaty toned upper h&...and now I am ranting about coffee).

Baông xã lớn wine, yes, it’s cheap và available everywhere, so try it with your meal! Red and Trắng are available.

There are also some really good ice cream spots in Ho Chi Minc, so leave sầu room for dessert.

Ho Chi Minch feels quite safe for a big thành phố, và brad & I walked around at night but there are many people around, so you don’t feel like you’re vulnerable.

Although, I did get a lot of attention, so I am not sure how comfortable I would have felt had I been a solo female traveller (it’s an annoying world we live sầu in sometimes).

BONUS: If you love sầu taking pictures for the gram, then why not kiểm tra out this awesome Ho Chi Minh Instagram Tour with ForeverVacation! 

Where lớn stay in Ho Chi Minh?

When it comes lớn accommodation in Ho Chi Minch you are truly spoilt for choice.

If you’re the sort of backpacker who loves it dirt cheap and lots of people to meet, then you are really going to be spoilt for choice. Ho Chi Minh is quite a backpacker friendly city.

If you’re like Brad and I, couple backpackers, who don’t really vày that buổi tiệc nhỏ “scene” anymore. (I sound old), then you’ve sầu got lots of “mid-range” hotels for a great price.

We stayed in a pretty crappy place, so I am not going lớn recommkết thúc it. Actually, they cancelled our booking because apparently we “didn’t show up”, i.e it was past 12 by the time we found the place, and we called and said we were lost và that didn’t matter. Blah blah, so I won’t recommend it.

But you have sầu tìm kiếm for hotels in Ho Chi Minc here via booking.com whom I always recommkết thúc for the biggest choice, cheapest prices (they price match anyway), và genius perks (I lượt thích late check out!).

So there you have sầu it, my guide on the best things khổng lồ vị in Ho Chi Minc city for backpackers this year. I hope you’ve sầu enjoyed this guide, & are feeling a little more inspired.

If you are travelling north from Ho Chi Minch, then you’re going lớn have sầu an amazing time because the country is just beyond amazing.

Cheông chồng out our guide lớn Mui Ne next, as it’s the best next spot to lớn visit after Ho Chi Minh. Get ready for beautiful beaches, dirt cheap food và seriously cheap fancy hotels.

Chuyên mục: Du lịch