Ho Chi Minh Guide
Ho Chi Minh City was previously known as Saigon, but this was formally renamed after the great Ho Chi Minh (former prime minister and then president of Vietnam) unified the country after The War. You can tour many monuments, museums, and locations used during the Vietnam War, such as the Cu Chi Tunnels, but there is also a vibrant contemporary and modern aspect to the city.
Despite its historic and cultural importance, it is also one of the most dynamic and well-developed cities in Vietnam. You can check out the astonishing architecture and thrilling nightlife. If you want to experience some of the local flavors, then the street food of Ho Chi Minh is also one of the finest in Vietnam. You can gladly spend your days trying local delicacies around Ho Chi Minh City, or you can take a food trip offered by various local companies.
You can also sign up for cooking classes to learn the process of preparing delicious Vietnamese food. Classes are offered all over the city that includes a tour of the local market to buy fresh ingredients for Vietnamese food.
In order to enjoy the city from a different perspective, take a Cruise trip to Bonsai River Cruise. You will have the opportunity to participate in a journey that includes drinks, delicious cuisines, and an unforgettable experience of formal cruise dining. The boat is inspired by a traditional dragon boat from the nineteenth century. Buffet dinner and live music is played on the cruise.
When to visit? The best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh.
Ho Chi Minh is close to the north of the equator, the weather is mostly humid and hot. While the northern portion of the country has a temperate environment and the biggest metropolis of Vietnam has two distinct seasons: dry and wet.
December has the dry season that lasts until April. frequent visitors believe that this is the ideal season to visit the amazing City, particularly because the winds from the northeast bring cooler temperatures. Meanwhile, the rainy season lasts from May to November. However, you can still go exploring during the off-season because the weather does not last long.
December to March is the best time to visit because the temperature remains between 20°C to 32°C. It is a dry period with a cool day and a chilly night.
What can you see in Ho Chi Minh?
There are many places to see in the huge metropolitan city. Vietnam has a rich history and culture to enjoy. It has many places that remind visitors about the war.
The War Remnants Museum is a fascinating place that offers a distinct and eye-opening perspective on the Vietnam War. It is a must-visit place in Ho Chi Minh city. The museum display contains details from the conflict and war to modern Vietnam.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – War Remnants Museum)
Notre Dame Cathedral is a magnificent basilica, constructed in the late nineteenth century. It is a must-see attraction for the visitors of Ho Chi Minh City and one of the most popular landmarks in the city.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – Notre Dame Cathedral)
The Central Post Office is a well-preserved 19th-century building. It is one of the most renowned tourist sites in the city. This gorgeously maintained remnant of French colonial architecture is an amazing structure for anyone interested in learning about Vietnamese culture.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – The Central Post Office)
Anyone visiting Ho Chi Minh City should go to the Reunification Palace (Freedom Palace). During the Vietnam War, this building served as a residence for South Vietnam’s president. When a North Vietnamese army tanker ploughed through the main entrance in 1975, it was kept there as a sign of the end of the Vietnam War. This building now serves as a museum that offers an intriguing glimpse into the life while South Vietnam war was happening.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – Reunification Palace)
- The Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta is only two hours away from the city. This is a perfect picture of rural Vietnam containing floating markets, rice paddies, canals, floating markets and many interesting things. You can have a very interesting and memorable day trip to the Mekong Delta.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – Mekong Delta)
What can you do in Ho Chi Minh?
There are a lot of things to do in the Ho Chi Minh City such as:
- Go Shopping in Ben Thanh marketing
Ben Thanh Market is one of the most interesting, unique and well-known markets in Ho Chi Minh City. You can buy a broad range of goods such as handicrafts, fresh fruits, vegetables, local snacks, or presents for friends and family. Always attempt to bargain when shopping in the Ben Thanh market, keep in mind that prices are negotiable.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – Ben Thanh Market)
- Get wet in Suoi Tien and Dam Sen theme park
Suoi Tien and Dam Sen amusement parks are the two major water parks in the City. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities such as swimming, a children’s play section, slides, and many more activities. This theme park is perfect to visit with family.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – Dam Sen theme park)
- Grab a drink at Bui Vien backpacker street
Bui Vien backpacker street is a well-known entertainment area in Ho Chi Minh City. This neighborhood is a place to party or enjoy many bars, clubs, and eateries. Bui Vien, which depicts a more contemporary Vietnam, is situated just minutes away from the notorious Pham Ngu Lao Street. Both neighborhoods are well-known for their excellent eateries and street cuisine.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – Bui Vien backpacker street)
- Relax with A Vietnamese Massage
After a long day of touring, a Vietnamese massage is a wonderful way to unwind. This type of massage employs relaxing pressure and stretching methods that are said to be very effective in alleviating tension migraines and other aches and pains. The massage price starts from 12 USD.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – A Vietnamese Massage)
- Crawl through Cu Chi Tunnels
Anyone touring Ho Chi Minh City should go to the Cu Chi Tunnels. During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong used these tunnels to travel around the city unnoticed. They were also used as shelters. The tunnels are now a museum that offers a fascinating glimpse at living during the conflict.
(Ho Chi Minh tour – Cu Chi Tunnels)
- Explore Binh Quoi tourist village
Binh Quoi tourist hamlet is a hidden treasure in Ho Chi Minh City. In reality, there are three towns situated along the Saigon River that provide tourists with a variety of activities such as picnics with barbeques, boat rides, and strolling around the beautifully manicured gardens. This part of Ho Chi Minh city is worth posting on social media.
(HoChiMinh city tour – Binh Quoi tourist village)
- Explore Ho Chi Minh City Zoo and Botanical Gardens
The Ho Chi Minh City Botanical Gardens and zoo are wonderful spots to enjoy a day with your family. Elephants, tigers, lions, and many other animal species are among the creatures housed at the zoo. Beautiful plants and flowers from around the globe can be found on the botanical grounds.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – Thao Cam Vien)
What can you eat in Ho Chi Minh?
Traveling in Ho Chi Minh City is not only about exploring places and sightseeing but also the greatest opportunity to enjoy traditional Vietnamese cuisine. If you are a food enthusiast, Ho Chi Minh City should be on your itinerary. The city has the most delectable range of foods and is the best location to try Vietnamese cuisine.
However, excellent food is available everywhere in the city. If you are a first-time visitor to the metropolis, it is a daunting job to find the best place to eat. You can imagine how many eateries and street cuisine options there are in Ho Chi Minh City. Following are some of the finest native dishes in the City.
- Minced Crab Noodle Soup (Bun Rieu Cua)
It is a popular delicacy in the city. This recipe is prepared with minced crab, fish, or snail. However, crab noodles are the most popular among all types of cuisine. Freshly caught crabs are pounded with a shell into a fine past, then they are cooked slowly together while mixing the ingredients such as fish sauce, tomatoes, and spices.
(Ho Chi Minh private city tour – Minced Crab Noodle Soup)
- Beef Noodles Soup (Pho Bo)
It is a Vietnamese noodle soup that contains meat, broth, rice noodle, spices, and herbs. rice noodles, greens and meat are added to the clear stock. In the southern region, soup is garnished with bean sprouts and fresh herbs. It is regarded as a national dish because it is one of the tastiest dishes among the traditional foods of Vietnam.
(tours from Ho Chi Minh – Beef Noodles Soup )
- Banh Mi Hoa Ma
It is a fresh crusty baguette filled with meat, sauces, vegetables, and herbs. It is one of the most famous cuisines of Vietnam. You can find it almost anywhere in the country.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – Banh Mi Hoa Ma)
- Vietnamese Steam Rice Cake (Banh Beo)
It is among the most famous Vietnamese meals, particularly among Saigon residents. BánhBèo is a type of Vietnamese steamed rice cake prepared with fluffy bouncy rice cakes topped with seasonings created with fresh local ingredients. At Da Nang, the Hu meal is covered with minced shrimp topped with a combination of pork, shrimp, and mushroom. BánhBèo is garnished with steamed mung bean in the Southern area metropolis.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – Vietnamese Steam Rice Cake)
- Vietnamese Spring Rolls (GoiCuon)
Traditionally, Shrimp, pork, vegetables, herbs, and other items are rolled in a layer of rice paper (bánhtráng) to make Goicuon. All of the ingredients are mixed into a well-balanced flavor and texture The spring roll serving contains a peanut or fish sauce to dip. It is a perfect appetizer or snack. You can also have this healthy snack as a light meal.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour – Vietnamese Spring Rolls)
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh?
- InterContinental Saigon
This well-known accommodation in central Ho Chi Minh City is the best option for a luxurious stay close to the city’s major sights, such as the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. It has three annexed eateries that combine Vietnamese wooden furnishings with industrial design. The menu contains a wide range of local and foreign cuisine. Spend a wonderful and relaxing day at the big outdoor pool, which is encircled by loungers and palm trees. Various shopping areas and clubs are close by. Hotel has a private gym and Spa which includes a whirlpool, sauna, and steam bath. Staying at intercontinental will give you a memorable experience.
(city Ho Chi Minh half day – InterContinental Saigon)
- Rex Hotel Saigon
Experience the early 20th-century history at this former French garage which has been preserved in vintage style It is a five-star hotel in central Ho Chi Minh City. The Rex Havana Cigar Club and fine-dining Hoang Sa Restaurant are the best combo to give you an unforgettable experience and luxury. Timeless and contemporary, the hotel is the ideal setting for you to interact with the city’s elite. The bar and outdoor swimming pools overlook the city. There is a spa, indoor tennis court, and private gym in the hotel.
(day tour Ho Chi Minh – Rex Hotel Saigon)
- Orchids Saigon Hotel
The Orchids Saigon Hotel is an amazing choice with spacious rooms. It is a combination of modern and traditional architectural grandeur. The swimming pool and contemporary poolside bar are surrounded by floor-to-ceiling carved wooden panels and glass. The in-house Orchids Restaurant serves a variety of traditional Vietnamese and Western cuisines with a combination of delicious drinks. Choose one of the more opulent rooms for sink-into-me recliners next to big windows offering stunning city views.
( Tour to Ho Chi Minh – Orchids Saigon Hotel)
- Hotel des Arts Saigon – MGallery
The Hôtel des Arts provide a blend of boutique experience with an old-fashioned Indochinese décor. It has hardwood floorboards and stylish contemporary fittings. Sip lattes with the local artistic elite at its Café des Beaux-Arts, and don’t miss a sundowner at the famous rooftop bar of the hotel known as the Social Club. There is a swimming area with the views of city’s major sights. You can visit them within strolling distance.
( Ho Chi Minh group tour – Hotel des Arts Saigon – MGallery)
- Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel
This hotel is a good option if you’re seeking something central with a contemporary design. Spacious rooms that play with a Zen-like contrast of vibrant colors and dark hues. A Rooftop infinity pool with a bar overlooks the Saigon River. unwind at the Soi Spa or socialize in the Executive Lounge. Liberty Central provides a peaceful and opulent space for getting away from the fast pace of Ho Chi Minh City.
(Ho Chi Minh Private tour – Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel)
- Villa Sông Saigon
If you immediately fall in love with the ocean, this whitewashed riverfront colonial house is the best place to stay. It has a big outdoor swimming pool. There are 23 rooms and each one of them is one-of-a-kind. The Interior is a combination of antique Indochina design with modern wooden furniture such as four-poster beds and dark floorboards. There is an in-house Villa Sông Spa where you can enjoy massages and relaxing treatments. It provides many riverboat excursions and tours to watch the city.
(Ho Chi Minh city tour full day – Villa Sông Saigon)
Note when traveling to Ho Chi Minh
While visiting Ho Chi Minh city, keep following things in mind to have a hassle free experience.
- Tan Son Nhat International Airport is the major airport where most travelers arrive. However, some other options depending on where you are.
- Banks and gold jewelry stores are the most authentic locations in Vietnam to exchange currency. Both places provide great service in Ho Chi Minh City. Gold stores are slightly better with a minor difference.
- You can exchange currency at a gold store near Ba Chieu Market whereas the best prices are offered at gold and jewelry stores located near Ben Thanh Market. However, you can also check the most convenient option for your accommodation.
- Take a cooking class during your trip to learn authentic traditional cuisines. Food tours are great for finding local hole-in-the-walls but cooking classes are the best way to learn about the local cuisine. It’s like looking under the cuisine’s hood.
- If something is quoted in VND, then pay for it in VND. Don’t pay in USD or any other currency because you won’t get a good rate. Hotels and restaurants may accept USD as payment but don’t do it. You’ll be losing money every time so only pay in VND. As described, banks and licensed money changers are the best places to exchange currency in Saigon.
- Discover local and hidden gems through food excursions. However, cooking lessons are the best option to learn and taste local food.
- You will not get a decent deal if you pay in USD or any other currency so always pay in VND if the price is mentioned in VND. Mostly Hotels and eateries charge the amount in VND but accept US dollars as payment, never do that. You will always lose money if you pay in USD. Banks and registered money changers are the reliable locations to get currency in Saigon.
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest metropolitan city in Vietnam. It offers a variety of vibrant bars, clubs, restaurants, natural areas, shopping places, and much more. You can enjoy delicious street food anywhere in the city.