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As the capital of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh city (formally known as Saigon) is full of bustling life, my top places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City will ensure you see the best it has to offer.
How to get to Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh is accessible by plane or bus, due to expensive plane fares many travellers coming from Cambodia choose to get a sleeper bus from Phnom Penh which takes around 5 hours including stops.
Alternatively you can fly into Ho Chi Minh from most international airports around the world, have a look at Skyscanner to check how much it would be for you.
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh
Top Tip: If you arrive at the airport and do not have prebooked transport then do not use the counters located in the Airport as these are extremely overpriced. Follow the signs to the taxi rank or download the Grab app on your mobile. To give you an example a 250,000 VND (£9) ride we took from the counter cost us 40,000 VND (£1.50) when we used a taxi with a meter.
Ho Chi Minh is a huge city with many different districts, I would recommend heading straight to the district 1 area (known as the backpacker district) as this is where most of the sight seeing activities are as well as accommodation and restaurants.
If you are looking for a lively hostel and want to have some good nightlife then head to Hideout Hostel, Saigon, it’s right in the heart of the action and you’re guaranteed to find some drinking buddies there!
If that’s not quite your scene then check out Friday Homestay for a comfortable and relaxing time, Friday Homestay is a little further from the action so it’s nice and quiet but everything is still only a 10 minute walk away.
Alternatively if you are arriving late or have an early flight and would like to be close to the airport then Prague Airport Hotel is a great choice. With cheap clean rooms and extremely helpful staff its the perfect place to crash before moving on.
Banh Mi Huynh Hoa
When in Vietnam you have to try their speciality Banh Mi. Banh Mi in Vietnamese means bread and that’s exactly what is it, it’s bread very similar to a French baguette that’s traditionally filled with pork however they do offer chicken, cheese or beef as well.
A Banh Mi is filled with meat, pate, cucumber, cabbage, carrot, coriander and usually a secret sauce.
We had so many good ones while travelling through Vietnam but the best we tried in Ho Chi Minh was from Banh Mi Huynh Hoa.
It opens at 1.30pm and we arrived on the dot along with about 8 others and 4 food delivery drivers waiting to collect orders, so that’s always a good sign to know you’re eating at the best place in town.
Tao Dan Park
Just up the road from Banh Mi Huynh Hoa you will find Tao Dan Park.
This was the perfect spot to find a bench and eat our Banh Mi while doing some people watching.
Known as the lungs of the city providing an escape from the busy streets into some open green spaces.
Tao Dan Park is a popular destination with locals and there are often exercise classes going on or Vietnamese women speed walking to music. Once you’re done people watching make sure you wander round to visit the historical sculptures.
War Remnants Museum
The War remnants museum was a real eye opener. Outside you can find some old tanks, helicopters, planes and guns. I believe it’s worth going even to just check these out.
Located to the left of the main building are remodels of the prisons that were used during the Vietnamese War by South Vietnam and in the shipping container is information of some of the ways these Vietnamese prisoners were treated.
Inside the main building there are 3 floors with very detailed and graphic outlines of the Vietnamese War. Heavily focused on the American war and the french colonial period while conflicts with china are also covered.
I will warn you that it’s not for the faint hearted the higher up you go in floors, the information gets more detailed and there are many images in both black and white and colour. Some of the images and text displayed can be quite disturbing
If you do want to explore then it’s very interesting and was a good insight into what happened here during the war.
Bui Vien Walking Street
Bui Vien or more commonly known as Walking Street has to be one of the craziest places I have ever been.
Picture this, there are bars pumping, and I mean pumping, songs from both sides of the street, reps for each bar trying to entice you in and get you to have a seat, every colour of neon light you could ever imagine, street performers going around throwing or swallowing fire and the occasional scooter driving through the crowd!
It was utter madness that I had no idea we were walking into!
We decided to sit at one of the bars for a couple of drinks just to experience some of the crazy and I highly recommend visiting, even if you don’t stop for a drink then just go and have a look because it really is out of this world.
Sushi Tei has to be up there with some of the best Sushi we have ever eaten. There are 3 located in Ho Chi Minh so there’s plenty of locations to choose from.
Located on the top floor above Cafe Hem Bui Vien Sushi Tei transports you right back to Japan. Boasting an authentic menu, excellent service and high quality ingredients it is definitely worth a visit if you are a fellow Sushi lover.
We ordered a few of our favourites such as the rainbow roll, sashimi and gyozas as well as some other dishes we hadn’t tried before and they were all superb.
They also use real wasabi which is something we had never tried before!
The prices here are extremely reasonable for the standard delivered so we did not hesitate ordering more sushi as we ate.
Cu Chi Tunnels
The Cu Chi tunnels were extremely interesting and our guide, with all of his in depth knowledge, made it even better.
Going to the tunnels was a good balancing act for the War Remnants Museum, it shows you what the Americans were up against.
The Viet Cong who occupied the tunnels during the Vietnamese war created whole living systems under ground with kilometres and kilometres of tunnels it is a pretty incredible place to witness and see what the Viet Cong had to sacrifice in order to win the war.
Check out my Guide to the Cu Chi Tunnels for more information and how to book the perfect day for you.
The Hungry Pig Cafe
Located just around the corner from Hideout Hostel The Hungry Pig Cafe was the perfect find!
Jack had been missing a full english breakfast with some decent bacon and The Hungry Pig sorted his cravings right out.
If you like bacon then you have to check it out here for breakfast or lunch, I was instantly transported back to English with my bacon & egg muffin.
Do you have longer in Ho Chi Minh than we did? Here are some other great things you can do while exploring the city:
- Visit the Reunification Palace
- Send a letter at the Central Post Office
- Shop till you drop at the Binh Than market
- Try the Vietnamese coffee
- Sample Saigons craft beer
- Visit the Ho Chi Minh city museum
- Take a stroll to Turtle Lake
- Arrange a day trip to the Mekong Delta
Should you visit Ho Chi Minh? In all honesty it was not my favourite place in Vietnam but just because of the pure hustle and bustle of the city, I am a country lover so the busyness was not for me! Despite this I still recommend visiting Ho Chi Minh, formally known as Saigon and I would go back to see more of the sites if I had the chance. The city is steeped in history, filled with incredible restaurants and you can see beautiful French architecture all around it. You will find no lack of things to do here!
Let me know in the comments below what you got up to and where you are headed next?
With love, Izzy ✨💛
Looking for more things to do during your stay in Vietnam? Then you’ll want to check out these posts: