Ho Chi Minh City is a popular destination that shouldn’t be missing in every Vietnam journey. But what exactly can you do in this vivid city?
Here you can find a little overview.
What to find out in this post
Quick Info about Ho Chi Minh City
- City in the South East of Vietnam
- 2095 km²
- Economical Center and biggest city in Vietnam
- Former name Saigon
- Until 1975 Capital of Vietnam
- Named after the former president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
What is there to do in Ho Chi Minh City?
Cho Ben Thanh Market
The most popular market in Ho Chi Minh Stadt, the Cho Ben Thanh Markt, is located in District 1, right next to the Bus Stop. You can find all kind of things, such as coffee, souvenirs, clothes and especially one thing: Food. So, make sure not to overpack and leave some space on your Vietnam packing list for some great bargains you can find here.
If you body is craving for fresh food and veggies this is the right place for you. Moreover you can find a big variety of yummy street food with traditional Vietnamese cusine which makes your mouth water just by walking by.
But be careful. They might offer you wet towels to clean your hands with. They cost extra. Basically everything they serve you, that you didn’t ask for costs extra. One of the stables even had two different menu cards in case you want to recheck the price afterwards as they add some extra to the price when it comes to paying and pretend this was the price all along. Anyway, in the end it is just about some Cents so don’t get too upset about this.
Museum of War
If you look for something fun to do in Ho Chi Minh City this might not be the right place. The presented pictures and information might be a actually a little disturbing. But if you want to know more about the history of this country it is an absolute must go.
When entering you can still enjoy the American Airplanes in a good mood. But your mood might change really fast when entering the replica of a prision from times of the Vietnam War. You can exactly understand how prisioners have been kept captive here and the way they’ve been treated and tortured. In the main building you will find even more pictures and details about the whole war which is definitely not really pleasant.
Related: Make sure to check those 5 Vietnam War Sites when you are in Vietnam.
For Eduardo it already has been the second visit in the Museum of War in Ho Chi Minh City. Anyway, you could tell he still was touched by the exhibtion. It really is impressing of how many details about the war crimes are shown.
The Independence Palace used to be home of the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Today the palace is used as a museum.
To be honest, I just took a look at the palace from the outside. Eduardo has been inside before during his first visit in Ho Chi Minh City four years ago. And he wasn’t really impressed. Thus, he recommended me not to go. Anyway, from the outside the palace seemed impressive. If you think I missed something by not entering, please let me know in the comments 😉
Also make sure to check how to plan a trip to Vietnam.
Bitexco Financial Tower
When you walk through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City you will definitely not oversee this building. This is the Bitexco Financial Tower.
The best part of this building is that you can go up and have view over Ho Chi Minh City from above.
If you don’t feel like going up you can as well enjoy one of the cafes inside or go shopping in one of the little shops around.
If you never heard of Pho before you should definitely look for it while you are in Vietnam. This savoury dish is a noodle soup that usually gets served with chicken.
Simply delicious and even healthy. Depending on which restaurant you go to Pho usually is quite cheap. (Besides you rather feel like eating in one of the pricey tourist restaurants)
Besides Pho Vietnam offers a huge variety of mouth-watering dishes that you should try. I am totally into the Vietnamese Spring Rolls for example. Which dish is your favorite?
Let me add something:
In the picture you can see that the Pho often gets served with chili to add yourself.
- The chili is extremely spicey, so you might wanna add a few quantity first
- After touching the chili, do not, I repeat do not, touch your face or rub your eyes. Even hours later, after washing my hands several times, when I took out my contacts, I bursted out in tears.
Bui Vien Street
Even if you are not really into partying during your travels (We feel you. Eduardo already has some grey hair, you know haha) you should definitely have a quick peek on the nightlife of Ho Chi Minh City.
In the Bui Vien Street for example you will find one bar next to the other. (Well, don’t be surprised as some of those bars are actually more meant for men looking for young vietnamese girls. So if you suddenly find many cute vietnamese girls flirting with you, you might either be really hot or in one of those bars;) )
Many of the bars have special offers such as 3 for the price of 2. The drinks we tried were small but delicious. But I am sure you will find something you like.
Anyway, you can also find lots of restaurants and travel agencies around.
Considering your food budget it might be smart to have a look around the corner. The restaurants that are not directly on the tourist streets are often half the price and mostly even better when it comes to quality.
If you booked a backpacker hostel for your stay in Ho Chi Minh City it will most probably be located around this area.
Know when to cross a street within the busy traffic of Ho Chi Minh City
The first thing you might realize when arriving in Ho Chi Minh City is the chaotic traffic.
Everyone seems to drive just the way they feel like without following any rule. Traffic lights seems to only serve as decoration and you might have no idea when it is safe to cross the road.
If you have never been before in a place with this kind of traffic it might be a little intimidating at first. It takes a while until you get used to it. But trust me, you will at some point.
During my first days in Vietnam I either just followed Eduardo or waited for locals to cross the street and followed them when I was alone.
After some days you will probably be able to see through the chaos and know when you can cross the street without being ran over by one of the dozens of motorcycles.
More Ho Chi Minh City
Also want to visit some non-Touristy places in Ho Chi Minh City? Then check out those Non-Touristy Things in Ho Chi Minh..
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