Traveling to Ho Chi Minh? Being Vietnam’s famous Southern hub, this city, previously known as Saigon, is filled with so many gems any traveler would enjoy: rich history, cultural must-sees, art and fashion, cool new experiences, and – let’s not forget – a whole lot of great food. When in this magical city, make sure to try out these 15 things to do in Ho Chi Minh. Get ready to walk and have amazing coffee!

1. Underground food tour

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Ho Chi Minh is full of undiscovered gems that it’s hard to deny you definitely need to go on a food tour here. True, you can opt for restaurants and food parks – but if you really want to see what Ho Chi Minh is all about, it’s high time to explore the city’s best bites tucked away in unassuming city streets and stalls. Be ready to explore the different city districts.These tours can range from day to night tours, and depending on who you book with, you get different kinds of food to try too. We recommend going on a tour where you can get a bite out of the tastiest Banh Mi, Pho or Bun Bo Hue (beef noodle soup), scallops with beer, and different local desserts.

  • Address: (Saigon on Motorbike) 206/12, Nguyen Bieu Street, Ward 2, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Operating Hours: Morning tour (8 AM – 12 PM), Night tour (5:30 PM – 9:30 PM)
  • Budget: Around PHP 2000 per person

2. War Remnants Museum

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In 1955-1975, the US waged war on Vietnam in an effort to colonize their country, leading to astonishing disasters and the most heartbreaking of stories. This prompted a series of rallies in the US among citizens who wanted to put an end to the war – a movement that spread across different parts of the world. The War Remnants Museum pays tribute to this painful but important part of Vietnamese history, documenting snippets in the lives of the Vietnamese during that era as well as American soldiers, photographers, and journalists caught in the crossfire.

  • Address: 206/12, Nguyen Bieu Street, Ward 2, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Operating Hours: 7:30 AM – 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM
  • Budget: Around PHP 90 per person

3. Shopping at Hello Weekend Market

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If you’re looking for the trendiest fashion finds at prices that don’t hurt your wallet, pay a visit to the Hello Weekend Market. As the name suggests, this bazaar is only open on weekends, so you’re in luck if your trip to Ho Chi Minh falls on one. The Hello Weekend Market is full of Instagram shops lined with clothes of all styles, trinkets, jewelry, shoes, and bags, and there are also food stalls surrounding the area because we all know we like to snack while we shop!

  • Address: Varies
  • Operating Hours: Varies, typically 10 AM – 7 PM
  • Budget: Varies

4. Mekong Delta tour

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The Mekong Delta was a significant fixture in the history of Vietnam. It used to be part of Cambodia and became the last region to join today’s Vietnam after the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia invaded the village and massacred locals. Today, the Mekong Delta is a face of peacefulness (a quiet boat trip on the river would show you that), and you can go on a tour to explore the colorful villages there where you could get a taste of alcohol made with snake venom and sail through a narrow river filled with crocodiles.

  • Address: 220 De Tham Street, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Operating Hours: Meet up at around 7:45 AM, tour ends at around 5:30 PM
  • Budget: Around PHP 750 per person for a full-day tour

5. Catch a show at the Saigon Opera House

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The Saigon Opera House is one of the oldest fixtures in the Ho Chi Minh city skyline, aging gracefully at 115 years old. It was designed by three French architects in 1897 when Vietnam was still under the French rule. Now, the Saigon Opera House is home to the most exciting shows, where travelers can catch a glimpse of Vietnamese art and culture.

  • Address: 07 Công Trường Lam Sơn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
  • Operating Hours: 24 hours
  • Budget: Varies, depends on the show

6. Hunt for Instagram shops

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Fashion is a really big deal in Vietnam, so it’s no surprise that the city is peppered with buzzing entrepreneurs with a great taste for style.  In fact, we’d even bet that they’re a whole lot more stylish than your popular fashion chains – and at half the price! These shops are not located in your traditional high-rise malls: sometimes, they have their own boutiques on the streets of Ho Chi Minh, but you can also order online through the social media platform.

  • Address: Varies
  • Operating Hours: Varies
  • Budget: Varies

7. Visit a Trung Nguyen Cafe Legend cafe

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When you ask around where the best coffee is, Trung Nguyen seems to be the answer of most people. And it’s not just about great coffee – with various strength levels, flavors and methods of creation, no less – but it’s about the ambiance too. Imagine Vietnam’s own Starbucks, but better, and the coffee is named appropriately for how it affects your brain too (you can try out their Number 8: Break Through if you want a buzz that lasts you through the day).

  • Address: There are branches all over Ho Chi Minh City
  • Operating Hours: 6:30 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Budget: Starts at around PHP 300

8. Eat at Jollibee

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It’s easy to think that Jollibee is a thing of Pinoys – where there is Jollibee, there is most likely a community of Filipinos who try to get a taste of home through this fast-food chain.  But guess what: the Vietnamese love this fast food chain too, and in fact, they’ve put their own spin on our local favorites – like a spicier Chickenjoy and a zestier plate of JolliSpaghetti. If you find yourself craving for comfort food, head over to any of the Jollibee branches in Ho Chi Minh!

  • Address: There are branches all over Ho Chi Minh City
  • Operating Hours: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Budget: Same as the price range in the Philippines

9. Burning Monk Memorial

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Have you seen the photo of a monk burning himself in the middle of a road, with people watching on? That was Thich Quang Duc, who burned himself alive in June 1963 to protest government oppression. During this time, Vietnam’s people experienced having their villages ransacked, their property stolen and their families suffering from extreme starvation. In Ho Chi Minh, there’s a monument erected in honor of the monk right on the very spot where he set himself on fire. Any visit here is worthwhile, and you’re sure to be amazed by the sacrifice he’s shown for his people.

  • Address: Intersection of “Cach Mang Thang Tam” Street and “Nguyen Dinh Chieu” Street
  • Operating Hours: 24 hours
  • Budget: N/A

10. Cu Chi Tunnels

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During the US-Vietnam War, the Vietnamese had to find a way to outsmart the numerous bombs and assault rifles that peppered their lands. So they hid in plain sight: underneath the ground. The Cu Chi tunnels is a vast network of underground tunnels that the Vietnamese created as a safe hideaway from US soldiers. It runs pretty long, and feels like a city underneath a city: it has its own medical stations, kitchens, dining areas, meeting rooms and so forth. Luckily, the tunnels were preserved, and tourists can get a glimpse of Vietnamese ingenuity at its finest.

  • Address: Meet up at 220 De Tham Street
  • Operating Hours: Starts at 7:45 AM for the meet-up, tour ends at around 2:00 PM
  • Budget: Around PHP 700 for a half-day tour

11. Party at Bui Vien Street

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Bui Vien Street is an area of Ho Chi Minh that lives and thrives in the night, where laughter and music fly through the starry night sky. It’s lined with bars and clubs, all with various themes, menus, and music, no matter your mood. The main street turns into a club filled with lots of people looking to unwind and dance the night away, and an experience in Ho Chi Minh’s party district is a must for any traveler.

  • Address: Bùi Viện, Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
  • Operating Hours: 24 hours
  • Budget: Varies

12. Sample their Banh Mi

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You might have heard of Vietnam’s famous Banh Mi – next to Pho, it’s one of their most popular dishes. But while this glorious sandwich made of baguettes, jalapeno, pate, and vegetables – is served in restaurants here in the Philippines, it’s served in unassuming street-parked stalls in Vietnam, which adds to its charm. It comes pretty cheaply too – something around PHP 30 for one huge sandwich – and makes for a filling treat after a long day.

  • Address: Any street food stalls along Ho Chi Minh!
  • Operating Hours: N/A
  • Budget: Around PHP 30 and above

13. Reunification Palace

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This Palace in Ho Chi Minh has seen many wars, much like the country on which it stands. It used to be the seat of power back when France conquered Vietnam and became the seat of power in World War II when Japan defeated France and took over Vietnam. In 1945, Japan returned the palace to the French, until in 1954 the French surrendered the Palace to Vietnam after their defeat. During this time, Vietnam was divided: the North was run by communists, while the South was run by anti-communists. When the South state took over all of Vietnam, two pilots of the air force rebelled against the government’s order to attack the North, starting the Vietnam War. The war only ended in 1975, when negotiations started between the two regions, which prompted the name “Reunification Palace”. We wish we could tell you the rest, but long history short: explore this palace for an afternoon filled with Vietnamese history!

  • Address: 135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
  • Operating Hours: 7:30 – 11:00 AM, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
  • Budget: Around PHP 70 per perosn

14. Ben Thanh Market

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The Ben Thanh Market is a must-see for any traveler who wants to explore local commerce in Vietnam. It’s a huge hall filled with rows upon rows of shops selling various items – from trinkets to street food to clothes and bags. You can also get your Vietnamese coffee from here as well as other souvenir items, and you can even bet that you’d here a vendor call out “Bili na!” (“Buy your things here!”) when they see a Pinoy pass by! Get ready to haggle too – vendors here are armed to give you the best deals.

  • Address: Ben Thanh Market, Lê Lợi, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
  • Operating Hours: 7AM – 7PM (but there’s a night market, don’t worry)
  • Budget: Varies

15. Street dinner at Turtle Lake

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Turtle Lake isn’t actually a lake, but a huge fountain in the middle of a rotunda in Ho Chi Minh. It’s lined with benches and a bridge where people from all walks of life hang out in the late afternoon well into the night, just relaxing, talking with each other and listening to the cars pass by. There are also a lot of street food stalls in the area selling a variety of great food at low prices, and we must say taking a bite out of these dishes while sitting still and relaxing amidst passing cars is a must-do for a chill night in the city.

  • Address: Turtle Lake, phường 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Operating Hours: N/A
  • Budget: Varies

Saigon will surprise you

We know it’s a pretty packed itinerary, and you may be wondering about the budget you will need to cover all these unforgettable things to do in Ho Chi Minh. Not to worry – you can snag some of the best travel deals out there with ShopBack. Save on flight tickets and even accommodations so you can focus your budget on what you’re looking forward to for your trip: actually experiencing the destination!

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