The 15 best things to do in ho chi minh city


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I’ll be honest. For me, one of the best things to vì chưng in Ho chi Minh thành phố is to eat. There is so much good food in Saigon. In my opinion, Hanoi is the more liveable thành phố but Ho đưa ra Minh thành phố has the best street food in Vietnam.

But as much fun as it is to lớn eat street food, it isn’t the only thing to bởi vì in Saigon. Ho bỏ ra Minh đô thị is a bustling metropolis of about nine million people in south Vietnam. There are plenty of things in this massive đô thị to keep you busy.

If it’s your first time visiting, then I’ve put together this danh mục of twenty of the most fun things to vì chưng in Saigon to lớn help you plan your trip.

It’s made up of a good phối of attractions, activities, day tours, and delicious food experiences to lớn make your trip to lớn Ho bỏ ra Minh thành phố as well-rounded as possible.


To help you plan your trip khổng lồ Ho chi Minh City, I’ve compiled liên kết to hotels, tours, and other services here.


Top-rated hotels in Dictrict 1, the most convenient area to lớn stay for people on their first trip to Ho đưa ra Minh City.




Before you visit Ho bỏ ra Minh City, be sure to check out our detailed Saigon travel guide. It’ll have all the information you need – lượt thích when to go, how to lớn get around, where lớn eat, etc. – lớn help you plan your trip.

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1. Eat Pho

You can’t visit Vietnam without eating pho. It’s a Vietnamese national dish & one of the most recognizable foods in Vietnamese cuisine.

Variations exist between regions but at its core, pho is a noodle soup made with four basic ingredients – a clear stock, rice noodles, meat (typically beef or chicken), và herbs. The Vietnamese like to have it for breakfast but you can enjoy it at any time of the day.

I’ve had pho in many cities throughout Vietnam but the pho in Ho đưa ra Minh city is my favorite. I suggest trying it at Pho Le (Nguyen Trai branch | Vo Van tan branch) or Pho Mien Ga Ky Dong.


Where to Eat Pho: Pho Le, Pho Mien Ga Ky DongExpect to Spend: About VND 50,000-80,000 per bowl

2. Go on a city Tour

If it’s your first time in the city và want to vì chưng some sightseeing, then going on a city tour is one of the first things you should vị in Saigon. I don’t find Ho chi Minh city to be as walkable as Hanoi so it’s a little harder lớn tour the thành phố on your own.

Grab bike is a great and inexpensive way to visit one tourist attraction lớn the next lượt thích the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace (Independence Palace), và Notre Dame Cathedral. Pictured below is the stunning Saigon Central Post Office.

If you’d rather not vì it on your own, then an easier way would be to lớn book a guided tour. You won’t have lớn worry about getting from one place to the next and you’ll have the benefit of a guide explaining everything khổng lồ you. You can book a Saigon đô thị tour through Klook (Option 1 | Option 2) or Get Your Guide.


Tour Cost: Starts at USD 11Length of Tour: At least half a day

3. Explore Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market in District 1 is one of the đứng top tourist attractions in Saigon. It’s the most famous market in Ho bỏ ra Minh City & a great place to experience local Vietnamese culture. It’s one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon & a key symbol of the city.

Being as popular as it is, Ben Thanh Market can get pretty crowded but it’s definitely worth a visit, especially if it’s your first time in Ho bỏ ra Minh City. It has over 1,500 stalls selling everything from lacquerware, textiles, crafts, bags, spices, and shoes.

If you get hungry while exploring the market, then you may want to check out the Ben Thanh Street Food Market as well. It’s trendy food hall about a block away from Ben Thanh Market.


Photo by studiolaska via Shutterstock

Estimated Time lớn Spend: About 1 hr

4. Feast on Snails at Vinh Khanh Street

This is one of my favorite things to vì in Ho bỏ ra Minh City. Oc or snails are a popular delicacy in Vietnam và Vinh Khanh Street may be the best place to have them.

Nicknamed “Seafood Street”, Vinh Khanh Street is a strip in District 4 with street food stalls on either side selling all kinds of fresh seafood. It’s a lively environment with loads of people enjoying seafood and beer by the side of a busy road. For me, a meal at Vinh Khanh Street is one of the best Asian food experiences you can have in Saigon.

There are many restaurants khổng lồ choose from but we highly recommend Oc Oanh. It’s one of the best & most popular restaurants along Vinh Khanh Street.


Where to Eat Snails: Oc OanhExpect to lớn Spend: About VND 150,000-200,000 per person for a seafood feast

5. Have Vietnamese Coffee at a cafe Apartment

Cafe culture is strong in Vietnam. You can have great coffee all throughout the country, but only in Ho chi Minh đô thị will you find these quirky & super cool apartment block cafes.

Popularized by the coffe Apartments on 42 Nguyen Hue Street, apartment block cafes are old & perhaps partially abandoned buildings that have been repurposed khổng lồ house the most interesting cafes & boutiques.

I went to lớn a few of these buildings & some of them don’t have any signs from the street clueing you in to lớn what’s inside. It added lớn their appeal because it felt lượt thích you were privy lớn something secret in Saigon, almost lượt thích a speakeasy.

You can kiểm tra out our Saigon coffee guide lớn learn where lớn find these apartment block cafes in Ho bỏ ra Minh City. If you have a taste for coffee and adventure, then exploring these old buildings is one of the coolest things you can vì in Saigon.


Where to Go: The coffe Apartments, 14 Ton That Dam Building

6. Crawl Through the Cu bỏ ra Tunnels

A visit khổng lồ Cu chi District is perhaps the most popular day trip you can make from Ho bỏ ra Minh City. You’ll find it on virtually every article listing the best things to vày in Saigon. You’ll be taken on a tour of the Cu chi jungle and be shown what life was lượt thích for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.

Having studied in the west, I always heard the American side of the story so it was nice lớn learn about it from a different perspective. It was fascinating lớn see the elaborate tunnel system the Viet Cong had built during the war. Crawling through the very tight Cu chi Tunnels was definitely a highlight.

You can book a Cu chi Tunnels tour through Klook or Get Your Guide.


Tour Cost: Start at USD 12Length of Tour: At least half a day

7. Have a Banh mi at “Lesbian Banh Mi”

Like pho, banh mày is a national dish và one of the most beloved foods in Vietnamese cuisine. You can find it pretty much anywhere in the country but the best banh mis I’ve had were in Hoi An and Ho chi Minh City.

Strictly speaking, “banh mi” refers khổng lồ bread but people use it to describe the sandwich made with a personal-sized baguette filled with a variety of ingredients like liver pate, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, & cilantro. I love it. For me, it’s one of the best sandwiches in the world.

Many shops serve great banh mày in Saigon but one of the best và most popular is Banh mi Huynh Hoa. It’s owned by a lesbian couple và often referred to lớn as Banh ngươi O Moi, meaning “lesbian banh mi”.

They serve the fattest banh mis I’ve had anywhere in Vietnam. They put so many ingredients in there it almost feels lượt thích you’re eating a fully loaded hoagie.


Address: 26 Lê Thị Riêng, P, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, VietnamOperating Hours: 2:30-11PM, dailyExpect khổng lồ Spend: About VND 35,000 per banh mi

8. Go on a Motorbike Tour

Motorbikes are a way of life in Vietnam. The Vietnamese learn to ride motorbikes at a young age so it’s second nature lớn them. They’re by far the best way of getting around Ho chi Minh City.

Grab xe đạp is our preferred means of transport in Saigon but motorbikes are also great for tours. I went on this motorbike tour & was amazed by how deftly my driver and tour guide would give me his monologue while weaving through Ho chi Minh City’s crazy traffic. It was insane!

Motorbikes are such an important part of Vietnamese life that I think going on a motorbike tour is one of the best & most fun things to bởi vì in Ho chi Minh City. Klook và Get Your Guide offer a good range of motorbike tours khổng lồ choose from.


Tour Cost: Around USD 25-30Length of Tour: About 4 hrs

9. Take a Day Trip lớn the Mekong Delta

Aside from the Cu bỏ ra Tunnels, a Mekong Delta tour is one of the most popular day trips you can make from Ho đưa ra Minh City. Known as Vietnam’s “rice bowl”, it’s a fertile agricultural area that produces over a third of the country’s annual food crop.

I spent a few days exploring the various towns along the Mekong River but you can easily visit the area on a day tour. Most if not all will take you khổng lồ Ben Tre which is one of the closest Mekong Delta cities from Saigon.

Klook & Get Your Guide offer a few Mekong Delta tours from Ho bỏ ra Minh City. Highlights include a sampan boat ride through the river’s murky channels.


Tour Cost: Starts at USD 16Length of Tour: Full day

10. Take a Cooking Class

Food tours are a great way of experiencing the local food but if you really want to learn about Vietnamese cuisine, then there’s no better way to bởi that than by taking a cooking class. It’s like looking under the cuisine’s hood.

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Cookly is a booking platform that offers hundreds of one-day cooking classes around the world. Follow the link to check out their list of cooking classes in Ho chi Minh City.


Photo by IRA_EVVA via Shutterstock

Cooking Class Cost: Around USD 30Length of Class: About 3-5 hrs

11. Ride a Cyclo

If you aren’t comfortable going on a motorbike tour, then perhaps a cyclo tour is a good alternative. Cyclos are three-wheeled bicycle taxis that became popular in Vietnam during the French colonial period.

With the rise in popularity of motorbikes, cyclos have all but vanished as a viable means of transportation in Ho bỏ ra Minh City. Today, they’re pretty much used only by tourists as a more relaxed way of seeing the city.

Check out Klook & Get Your Guide for a list of cyclo tours in Saigon.


Photo by Midori Photography via Shutterstock

Tour Cost: Starts at USD 12Length of Tour: About 2-3 hrs

12. Find the Snail Lady

There are snail street food stalls everywhere in Ho đưa ra Minh City. But if you’re a fan of Street Food on Netflix, then you’ll probably want khổng lồ go lớn this one.

Affectionately called the “Snail Lady”, Mrs. Truoc was the street food vendor featured on the Vietnam episode of Street Food. In fact, she was the episode’s main storyline.

We enjoyed her story so much that we made it a point khổng lồ find her stall on our most recent trip to lớn Saigon. It wasn’t easy so you can refer lớn this bản đồ for the exact location.

We had a snail feast with about four or five different types of snail. It was delicious. You can check out our YouTube video clip on Saigon’s Snail Lady for more information.


Tour Cost: Starts at USD 12Length of Tour: About 2-3 hrs

Address: 169 Cô Bắc, Phường Cô Giang, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam (map)Operating Hours: 10AM-2PM, Mon-Fri (closed Sat-Sun)Expect to lớn Spend: VND 25,000 per snail dish

13. Visit a Viet Cong Cafe

This was one of the coolest cafes I visited in Ho đưa ra Minh City. It was cool not because it was trendy or hip. It was cool because of its role in Vietnamese history.

To the casual observer, Ca Phe vày Phu just looks like an old coffe with vintage memorabilia but look closer and you’ll find something extraordinary.


I visited Ca Phe bởi Phu as part of a motorbike tour and my guide explained that it used khổng lồ be the trang chủ of a Viet Cong supporter. Through the trap door pictured below is a bunker with a cache of old weapons và uniforms. It’s the first of many secret hiding places in the cafe. Pretty interesting right? But it doesn’t over there.

My guide took me through ladders that opened under sinks và secret passageways that served as escape routes in case the Viet Cong’s meetings were discovered by the Americans. It’s a fascinating space that isn’t as well known khổng lồ tourists visiting Saigon.

If you have a keen interest in the Vietnam War and want to vì chưng something quality in Saigon, then I highly recommend enjoying a cup of coffee at Ca Phe bởi vì Phu. They’re known for their com tam suon nuong as well which is a dish of broken rice served with a grilled pork chop.


Address: 72 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, Phường 5, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOperating Hours: 7AM-10PM, dailyExpect lớn Spend: About VND 25,000 for Vietnamese coffee

14. Eat Your Way Through Saigon in a Vintage Citroen 2CV

We’ve been on many food tours in different cities around the world but this was one of the coolest we’ve experienced so far. You’ll be driven from food stop khổng lồ food stop in Ho đưa ra Minh đô thị in an open-top vintage Citroen 2CV.

If you’d like a fun and unique way of experiencing Saigon, then we highly recommend booking this tour. You can kiểm tra out my article and đoạn phim on this Citroen 2CV food tour for more information.

You can also kiểm tra out Klook for other food tour options in Ho chi Minh City.


Tour Cost: VND 1,400,000 (plus VAT)Length of Tour: About 3 hrs

15. Have Breakfast in an Alley

This is also one of our favorite things to bởi vì in Ho chi Minh City and something we look forward khổng lồ on every return visit. Banh mày Hoa Ma is a street food stall that serves breakfast in an alley.

Open daily from 6-11AM, Banh ngươi Hoa Ma specializes in banh mày op la which is a breakfast dish consisting of a baguette, two fried eggs, liver pate, an assortment of meats, & a side of pickled vegetables. It’s a delicious plate of food that exemplifies the Vietnamese street food experience.


Here’s a shot of Ren eagerly digging into her banh mi. It’s such a terrific experience eating breakfast in an alley lượt thích this at eight in the morning.

Try getting here as early as you can because they’ve been known lớn run out of food. Banh mày Hoa Ma is popular among locals so you’ll find plastic tables và stools all along either side of the alley.


Address: 53 Cao Thắng, Phường 3, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOperating Hours: 6-11AM, dailyExpect khổng lồ Spend: About VND 52,000 for banh mi op la

16. Enjoy the View from Saigon Skydeck at tập đoàn bitexco Financial Tower

Saigon Skydeck is literally one of the đứng đầu attractions in Saigon. It’s an observations deck that offers 360° panoramic views of Ho bỏ ra Minh city from the 49th floor of bitexco Financial Tower.

Bitexco Financial Tower is a chất lượng lotus-shaped skyscraper in District 1 that was once recognized as Vietnam’s tallest building. You can purchase tickets to lớn the observation deck at the gate or in advance through Klook.


Photo by saiko3p via Shutterstock

Operating Hours: 9:30AM-9:30PM, dailyAdmission: VND 200,000Estimated Time lớn Spend: About 1 hr

17. Watch a Show at Saigon Opera House

The Municipal Theatre is one of the top cultural attractions in Ho đưa ra Minh City. Also known as the Saigon Opera House, it’s a lovely 500-seat theater that hosts ballets, concerts, and other artistic performances.

You can purchase tickets to lớn shows at the opera house on Klook.


Photo by Arif Areeman via Shutterstock

18. Eat Waterfall Chicken

This is one of our favorite dishes khổng lồ eat in Ho bỏ ra Minh City and something we look forward khổng lồ on every return visit. “Waterfall chicken” refers to lớn a crispy fried chicken dish served at Com Ga xuyên Mo Su Su.

The owner of Com Ga xuyên Mo Su Su is some type of mad tinkering genius that built this machine himself. What it does is send a stream of hot oil (around 180°C) showering down onto poached chicken and into a pool below before being sent up again.

The chicken’s already cooked so it’s left under the waterfall of oil for just a few minutes lớn crisp up the skin.


The result is this supremely crispy chicken served with red rice và the most delicious secret dark sauce. It’s so damn good.


Address: 1067 Hoàng Sa, phường 11, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOperating Hours: 10:30AM-9:30PM, dailyExpect khổng lồ Spend: About VND 42,000 per order of com ga (chicken rice)

19. Go Bird Watching at Tao Dan Park

We learned about Tao Dan Park on the Ho chi Minh thành phố episode of Somebody Feed Phil. It’s a green space in District 1 with gardens, a Buddhist temple, và a bird cafe.

We learned on the show that bird keeping is a popular hobby among men in Saigon. They lượt thích to bring their pet birds to lớn this coffe every morning to lớn chat over Vietnamese coffee.

Even if you don’t have an interest in birds, it’s an interesting place lớn have coffee và mingle with the locals. You can go on your own or visit the bird coffe on a guided tour.


Photo by Bui Minh nhì via Shutterstock

Park Hours: 7AM-10PM, dailyAdmission: FREEEstimated Time to lớn Spend: About 30 mins – 1 hr

20. Try Elevated Vietnamese Food at Vietnam House Restaurant

We’re fans of Luke Nguyen. He’s a Vietnamese-Australian chef and restaurateur who had a television series called Street Food Asia. We learned about many of the places we visited in Ho bỏ ra Minh thành phố from him, including Banh mi Huynh Hoa, Banh ngươi Hoa Ma, và Com Ga xoi Mo Su Su.

Vietnam House Restaurant is Luke’s upscale restaurant in District 1 which serves elevated interpretations of classic Vietnamese street food dishes like banh xeo, goi cuon, and thân phụ gio. If you’re interested in having a special meal in Ho đưa ra Minh City, then Vietnam House Restaurant is a good place to go.

Pictured below is Luke’s version of banh xeo made with crab and Iberico pork.

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Address: 93-95, 97 Đồng Khởi, Street, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOperating Hours: 11:30AM-3PM, 5:30-11PM, dailyWhat We Paid: VND 1,500,000 for two people


Saigon is a big & exciting thành phố with much to see & do. Personally, it isn’t my favorite thành phố in Vietnam as I find it to lớn be a little too hectic và fast-paced. Motorcycle traffic is insane and I find it harder to lớn get around on foot.

But if you’re drawn lớn the excitement of big cities, then you’ll probably enjoy Ho chi Minh City. You won’t run out of things to do và from what I’ve heard, the nightlife is pretty good as well. Và you already know how I feel about the food.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this article on the best things to vì in Saigon. If you have any questions or suggestions, then please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading và enjoy your time in Ho bỏ ra Minh City!


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