With two days in Ho Chi Minh City, you can check off the city’s signature sights, take a street-food tour, and explore the claustrophobic wartime tunnel network at Cu Chi, but you’ll also have time to get out into the countryside and discover life on the water aboard a Mekong Delta cruise. Here is a typical itinerary.
Day 1: Tunnels, Food, and Touring
Morning: Start the day by visiting some of Ho Chi Minh City’s star attractions. History fans will love the War Remnants Museum with its military hardware and evocative displays; shoppers will thrill to Ben Thanh Market; while sightseers won’t want to miss signature city sights such as the Central Post Office and Reunification Palace.
Afternoon: The Cu Chi Tunnels, an underground labyrinth of cramped tunnels excavated during the war against the Americans, are No. 1 on most visitors’ Ho Chi Minh City must-see lists. Consider taking a tour by speedboat for insight into rural life on the Saigon River, not to mention less time spent in traffic.
Night: Follow in the footsteps of the late, great Anthony Bourdain on a Saigon street-food tour. Whether you’re walking or riding shotgun on a scooter, Ho Chi Minh City’s brightly lit eateries deliver. Be sure to wrap up the night with a chilled bia hoi draft beer.
Day 2: Delta Exploration
Morning: With two days in Ho Chi Minh City, most visitors will want to spend a full day exploring the canals and calm waterways of the Mekong Delta. Start the morning bright and early with a trip to one of the river’s signature floating markets, perhaps Cai Rang, the delta’s largest, or the ever-popular Cai Be.
Afternoon: Continue your Mekong Delta cruise in the afternoon. Many tours include stops at orchards, workshops, restaurants, and islands, where you can watch craftspeople at work, cycle through quiet backwaters, or even learn to cook simple fare such as spring rolls.
Evening: For your last night in Ho Chi Minh City, push the boat out with a little luxury. Marvel at the spectacular bamboo cirque of the A O Show at the 120-year-old Saigon Opera House or enjoy a traditional Vietnamese art form: water puppetry. Toast the city with a fresh-fruit cocktail at a rooftop bar.