Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is a bustling, busy, colorful and chaotic city packed with plenty to see and do. Find out the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City with this quick guide.
The city of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam is famous for its food, culture, atmosphere, and history. You can experience all aspects of this fascinating Vietnam highlight by visiting some of its iconic places and must-see spots. Saigon is full of places to explore. Discover the city and get involved in the place through these sights and activities.
1) Visit Ben Thanh Market
If you’re looking for some souvenirs, some food, or just a cheap backpack you should head to the largest market in Ho Chi Minh City – Ben Thanh Market. It is not exactly cheap as the stalls have developed in response to tourists and it is not particularly a local place, but it is fun to look around and discover all the different things on the stalls. You could also visit the other large market in the city, Cho Lon, which is a Chinese market and not so geared towards tourists, with a huge range of goods on offer.
2) Go to the Emperor Jade Pagoda
If you are looking to get just a little off the tourist trail, this temple is one of the highlights of the city. The Emperor Jade Pagoda is a Chinese temple and is a popular place for locals. It is a fascinating, spiritual and very interesting place. Its atmosphere is unique and you’ll experience something inspiring here when you visit.
3) Travel Back in Time
The history of Vietnam is haunting and violent in many ways, but it is essential to learn about this history and to find out a little more about the lives of people in Vietnam in the past. Ho Chi Minh City Museum is filled with memorabilia from the past and it may be a difficult place to visit but it is also necessary. There are many interesting exhibits and the building itself is spectacular. In addition, the War Remnants Museum is even more traumatic and gives valuable reminders of the history of the country which was actually not so long ago.
4) Check Out the Old Post Office
The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City dates back to 1891 and it is an important landmark in the city, and a memorable building. The original fittings and features are still there inside, and the luxurious marble floors give it a grand atmosphere.
5) Find Reunification Palace
The Reunification Palace is an important landmark in the city and was built after Saigon fell in the 70s. The interior of the palace is largely unchanged since it was first built, and the rooms and gardens are full of interesting detail.
6) Enjoy a Coffee
Vietnamese coffee is a delectable delicacy that is cheap and plentiful. Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the many cafes, watch the world go by and plan your next day’s explorations. One of the best ways to experience Vietnamese coffee is black with ice – or ice cold with cream added.
7) Take a Walk Along the Saigon River
The Saigon River is definitely an urban river and doesn’t have sparkling blue waters, but it is a good place to walk or run. There are riverside walks and numerous places you can stop and admire the view.
8) Look Around Mariamman Hindu Temple
The Mariamman Hindu Temple is found in District 1 of the city and it is a colorful, intricately decorated building that was designed in the classical Hindu tradition. It was constructed in the 19th century and is an important landmark in the modern city.
9) Stroll Round Lam Son Square
Go shopping or visit a stylish bar at night at this prime spot in the city. Visit the traditionally designed Hotel Continental which was the favorite spot for the French and still serves classic cocktails on the terrace. also visit the Municipal Theatre which hosts local and visiting theatre and dance productions.
10) Step Down Dong Khoi
And if you want a grittier experience of Ho Chi Minh City, take a stroll down Dong Khoi, which is famous for its lively bars, shops, cafes, and characters.
11) See the Notre Dame Cathedral
Close to the Central Post Office, the Powerful Notre Dame Cathedral towers over its immediate surroundings. This was built by the French and today is a main religious attraction in the city with its impressive architecture and historical value.
12) Go to Ho Chi Minh City Chinatown
Chinatown is in District 5 and it takes a little while to get there in a taxi but it is worth it – the area is a bustling hub for the Chinese community, filled with interesting shops and restaurants. One of the highlights is the Thiên Hâu Temple.
Find more things to do in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam at the blog PhuketOn. Visit PhuketOn for more Asia travel inspiration.