Going to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam? In this installment of our Vietnam Travel Guide Series, we bring you the best  activities to do in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

Best Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

What can you expect when you visit Ho Chi Minh? Cheap eats, spas, scooters, french colonial buildings, war memorials and shopping are some of the things that you can expect…

1. Shop and Dine

The first thing to do when you are in Ho Chi Minh city is of course to experience the local cuisine and bring back some of the great souvenirs that this city has to offer.

Shopping Malls – Vincom Centre and Parkson

The Vincom Centre Shopping Mall is a good starting point if you are new to Ho Chi Minh city.

Home to more than 250 shops, most of which are high-end ones, this is where you can find international products in the city.

Opposite the street is Parkson, a massive departmental store where you will be guaranteed to be engrossed for hours.

Vincom Centre Shopping Mall is the place to have a good dining experience – at its basement houses a fine selection of restaurants – many of which offers a hotpot or hotplate buffet experience.

For the Sweet Tooth – Fanny Ice Cream and Gong Cha

If you have a sweet tooth, try the famous Fanny ice-cream or the Vietnamese version of Gong Cha.

Morico – Japanese Desserts

For lovers of Japanese desserts, you will do well to try Morico, a restaurant cafe with mediocre food, but which serves one of the best kinds of Japanese desserts you can find.

Night Time Shopping at Dong Khoi Street and Nguyen Hue Walking Street

For some great night time shopping, try Dong Khoi street.  Home to some grand colonial buildings, it is where photo-enthusiast can capture some stunning night views of Ho Chi Minh city.

Nguyen Hue Walking Street is where the heart of the action of Ho Chi Minh city is.   Just like our own Orchard Road,  it is a place of people and vibrancy.

Local Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

For a local experience, try the Ben Thanh market – the equivalent of Singapore’s wet market and hawker centre.  The Ben Thanh market has unfortunately became a tourist trap over the years, but its still a fine place for browsing and checking out prices even if you have no intention to hand over your cash.   For a more authentic experience, be sure to speak to the locals and ask them for their preferred shopping place.   You may just be surprised at how much cheaper things are at the local markets.

2. Buy Lacquer Products

One of those things that you must not leave without are the lacquer products – be it a wine-holder, a plate, a jewellery box, or a small ornament.  These are cheap and well-made and are perfect for your home or as a gift – you can’t get them cheaper elsewhere in the world.

3. Enjoy a Relaxing Spa & Massage

Whether you are in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you shouldn’t leave without a Vietnamese massage and hot stone therapy to relax those muscles after the hard shopping.  At Ho Chi Minh city, choices are plenty as spas with several chains are all around the city.

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Indochine Spa Experience @ Ho Chi Minh City

4. Have a Cuppa

Vietnam is one of the biggest producers of coffee beans in the world.  There is therefore a strong coffee culture in the country, with many local chain cafes around Ho Chi Minh city.

One of the best places in Ho Chi Minh is Trung Nguyen Legend Coffee, a coffee chain in the city.  With a relaxing atmosphere and good coffee, it is perfect for people-watching.

For a more up-market experience, try The Workshop for some great coffee and food.

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Visit the Workshop for Great Coffee!

5. Visit the Cu Chi Tunnel

You are guaranteed to be wowed by the experience at Cu Chi Tunnel.   Used by the VietCong during the Vietnam war with America, the Cu Chi tunnels are the real deal and are still well-preserved to this day, with a few upgrades to make it a better experience for tourists.  Get to experience the life of the resistance soldiers living in these tunnels during the war and be amazed at the tenacity of these soldiers.

Discover Book Travel Recommends:

Embark on a Cu Chi Tunnel and Saigon City 1 Day Private Trip, where you get to visit Cu Chi Tunnel, the location of several military campaigns and famous for being used as a hideout for surprise attacks against the American and their allied troops in the Vietnam War. Click here for more details.

6. Take a Private City Tour

There’s plenty to see in Ho Chi Minh city for all its rich history and culture.   Although it is possible to do so on your own, having a tour operator bring you around saves you plenty of time and hassle.  For a customised experience, try a private tour as we did, and enjoy the flexibility of time at the places of interest.

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Explore Beauty of Saigon with Half-Day Private City Tour

7. Experience the Mekong Delta by Speedboat

The Mekong River cuts through several countries.  Among them are China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.  It is one of the most famous river in the world with millions of people depending on it for their livelihood.  The Mekong Delta is accessible by land, but why not take an unconventional option and explore it by speedboat.  You will be fascinated by the amount of biodiversity and the natural beauty of the delta.

Discover Book Travel Recommends:

Journey through Mekong Delta by speedboat and wander through its cultural attractions. Witness epic views of the Vietnamese countryside at Cai Dao Temple and Tuong Van Pagoda. Click here for more details.

We hope you have enjoyed our list of top 7 things to in Ho Chi Minh City.

Do share with us your favorites too if you have been to Ho Chi Minh!

Read More:

Ho Chi Minh 5 Days 4 Nights Trip Itinerary

Check out our next post on how to get around Ho Chi Minh City.

First published 15 Oct 2017
Last Updated 22 Dec 2018

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