On the Southern side of Vietnam lies this booming city, Ho Chi Minh. There are a number of things to do in this highly energetic and buzzing city of Vietnam. Once a French Colony, Ho Chi Minh is studded with many French colonial landmarks that let tourists live the interesting history of Vietnam. Like any other city, this too has a past which still remains in the memories of the people of Vietnam. Here, life is fast but lifestyle moves at its own pace. This city will teach you to find peace even in the middle of hustle – bustle. Now, let’s have a look at the interesting things to do in Ho Chin Minh for a satisfying vacation.
You’ll be amazed to learn the countless things to do in Ho Chi Minh
1. Explore the Mekong River & Delta on a boat
What’s better than starting your tour by exploring the scenic beauty of Ho Chin Minh City. Start from the city on a minivan or a bus and head to the Mekong Delta and My Tho & Ben Tre Islands. You’ll be mesmerized by the views you come across on the way: the green rice fields and picturesque rural setup are sure to leave you speechless. Sail over the mighty Mekong river on a motorboat. Walk or cycle around the Island village. In short, get closer to nature on the very first go!
Charges: INR 1700
Timings: Booked tours start from 8:00 am
2. Get down under the city in the Cu Chi Tunnels tour
This is literally what we call going down to the roots. Have you ever toured a city through a tunnel? Cu Chi Tunnel tour is an exclusive chance for you to be in a space which was extremely relevant during the American War. You will be awestruck to see how these tunnels are interconnected to each other. This is something you won’t get to do in many tourist places.
Charges: INR 400
Timings: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
3. Engage in local entertainment at Saigon Opera House
If you are the kind who love to add that extra spice to your tour with art and entertainment, head straight to the historic Saigon Opera House. Enjoy Vietnamese style of performing art mixed with acrobatics, theatre, and music. Vietnamese folk music played with 17 traditional instruments in the AO Show and The Dar Show, which is a live performance of energetic rhythm with tribe instruments are just brilliant.
Charges: INR 2000 – 3000
Timings: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
4. Close encounter with the war days at The War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum documents the brutality of the Vietnam War. Taking a tour of this museum is one of the top things to do in Ho Chi Minh for history lovers. On display are the retired military vehicles such as “Huey” helicopters, attack bombers, and M48 Patton tank in the front yard. There is a horrific collection of texts and photographs relating to the war. There are few other interesting museums in the city that you can visit including Ho Chi Minh City Museum, Museum of Fine Arts and The Museum of Traditional Medicine.
Charges: INR 40
Timings: 7.30 am – 6:00 pm
5. Shop till you drop at Ben Thanh Markets
Ho Chi Minh is a city in action. The more you explore, the more you will appreciate the balance it strikes between ancient and modern. Markets are the best place to experience this fusion. A tour to the buzzing and vibrant Ben Thanh market is among the top things to do in the Ho Chi Minh City District 1. The market comes alive at night with more than 3000 stalls selling just about everything right from grocery, glassware, fresh meat, vegetables, clothes, etc. If Ben Thanh is not enough for you, also check out Cai Rang River Market – a huge wholesale floating market and Cho Lon – the Chinese Market too.
Timings: Opens at 7:00 am
6. Try some tasty – crazy street food
The best way to taste the city left-right-and-center is on a motorbike or on foot. This way you can explore the local, famous and not much-known street food restaurants. Dong Khoi is a lively stretch of shops and bars where you can find a wide variety of street food. One of the best things to do in Ho Chin Minh City is trying the local dishes including Vietnamese pancakes, Pho, Broken rice, Vietnamese baguette, steamed rice roll, duck noodles, Vietnamese coffee and coconut juice. You may also get to taste some daring dishes like fertilized duck eggs, fermented scorpion wine, and deep-fried snake dishes.
Suggested Read: Top Things To Do On An Adventure Trip To Vietnam With Friends
7. View the city from the top of Bitexco Saigon Skydeck
If you want to view the city from an altogether different angle, climb up to the 49th floor of Bitexco Financial Tower. You will get an astonishing panoramic view of Ho Chi Minh city from Saigon Skydeck. Also, get a chance to experience the city’s fastest elevator taking you up at a speed of 7 meters per second to a height of 262-meter.
Charges: INR 600
Timings: 9.30 am – 9.30 pm
8. Architecturally rich Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral
Built by a French colonist between 1863 – 1880, Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral, is located in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh city. The church is an architectural masterpiece with two bell towers reaching a height of 190 feet. Interestingly, in October 2005, the Virgin Mary statue placed in front of the cathedral was reported to shed tears which attracts a massive number of tourists to the site. Another architecturally explicit place in the city is the nearby Saigon Central Post Office. This huge building looks nothing less than an ancient ballroom from inside.
Timings: 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Suggested Read: A Romantic Trip Relishing The Scenic Beauty Of Vietnam
9. Engage in a visual treat of Water Puppet show
The 45-minute-long Water Puppet Shows tell stories of Vietnam in an absolutely fascinating way. Stories that are closely associated with the spiritual life of Vietnamese is performed on the surface of a water pool. The puppets are handles by skilled artists through bamboo sticks and strings under the water. A traditional Vietnamese orchestra gives the musical support. Do not miss the water puppet show at the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre.
Charges: INR 500
Timings: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
10. Bottoms up with fresh local Beer
Ho Chi Minh has a number local bars at the street corners where you can sip some fresh beer or “bia hoi”. First introduced by the Czech’s, “bia hoi” is a beer free of preservatives and thus should be consumed immediately. This will also not hurt your pocket. Look out for the hand-scrawled Bia Hoi signs.
11. Revamp your wardrobe with tailored clothing
Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s top spot for quality tailoring. You can get any kind of fabric from either the local shops or any high end store of the city. Take cutouts of you desired designs and style and get them tailored here at a much cheaper cost. You’ll be surprised with quality and fineness of the work done by these professionals.
12. Try a hand in cooking at Vietnamese Cookery Centre
Established in 1999, Vietnamese Cooking Centre is the country’s first professional cooking centre that offers lessons to tourists and professional chefs. Located in the French Colonial-era building on Dong Khoi, the morning classes start with chef-instructor guiding and taking the participants through Ben Thanh Market guiding then about the local ingredients required for the day’s menu. The cooking lessons take about 3 hours, during which you can learn to create classic Vietnamese dishes like fresh spring rolls, caramel pork in a clay pot, lotus-stem salad, etc. Take a cookery lesson as a souvenir before leaving the city.
Charges: INR 3000
Timings: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
How to reach Ho Chi Minh from India?:
Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh serves as both International and Domestic airport. Various flights companies like Malindo Airways, Air India, Malaysia Airlines, Thai AirAsia connect this city with the major Indian cities including – Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, etc.
How to travel within the city?
Rapidly developing the public transport within Ho Chi Minh is making mobility easy. The best way to travel here is taking a bus with over 150 routes across the city. Just buy a map from the Ben Tanh Bus Station and purchase a single side ticket. Apart from this, there are metered taxis and motorbike taxis for tourists.
You are surely going to fall in love with the food, music, art, buildings, streets and everything about Ho Chin Minh City. The best time to be here is during the dry season, roughly between December to April. Come, discover this city above and below the ground. Hen Som Gap Lai (‘See you soon’ in Vietnamese)!!