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Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Things to do in  Ho Chi Minh City

Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City hums with life. Packs of motorbikes zip along grand boulevards, whipping past colonial buildings left over from the days of French rule. Colorful markets overflow with flowers and fruit from the Mekong Delta, and vendors hawk cold Vietnamese coffee alongside steaming bowls of pho. Known as Saigon until the fall of the South Vietnamese government, Ho Chi Minh City is full of wartime history, from the War Remnants Museum to the nearby Cu Chi tunnels. And while there’s plenty to discover within city limits, for many, Ho Chi Minh City makes an ideal base for exploring southern Vietnam, where the Mekong River becomes a maze of canals and rivers flowing towards the South China Sea.

Top 15 attractions in Ho Chi Minh City

Cu Chi Tunnels

Built by the Viet Cong in the 1940s as protection from French air raids during the Indochina conflict, the Cu Chi Tunnels extend underground for more than 155 miles (250 km) in the vicinity of Ho Chi Minh City alone. This network of subterranean passageways later provided vital access to and strategic control over the rural areas surrounding the city during the Vietnam War (also known as the Second Indochina War or the American War), when the tunnels housed living quarters, hospitals, booby traps, and storage facilities for the Viet Cong.More

War Remnants Museum (Bao Tang Chung Tich Chien Tranh)

A must-visit when in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City’s War Remnants Museum (Bảo Tàng Chứng Tích Chiến Tranh) is a poignant reminder of the horrors of war. The grounds house American planes, tanks, helicopters, and weaponry captured during the Vietnam War. Pictorial displays cover everything from the My Lai Massacre to the traumas of Agent Orange and the work of war correspondents.More

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saïgon)

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saïgon) boasts a striking red façade and towering stone arches constructed with materials imported from France in the 1800s. But its architecture isn’t the only draw. In 2005, visitors reported seeing a tear flow from the eye of a statue of the Virgin Mary here, making it a destination for Catholics on a religious pilgrimage.More

Ben Thanh Market (Cho Ben Thanh)

Right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City is the Ben Thanh Market (Chợ Bến Thành). More than a place to go shopping, the market is also an architectural landmark, a center of local Vietnamese life and commerce, and a meeting point all rolled into one.More

Saigon Central Post Office

The design of Ho Chi Minh City’s Central Post Office, completed in 1891, mimics an old-world European railway station with soaring ceilings and a giant clock face. These rich details lead travelers to pause and soak up the brilliant interior of this architectural landmark, which includes hand-painted maps of the old city.More

Reunification Palace (Independence Palace)

Originally developed by the French in 1868 to commemorate the establishment of the colony of Indochina, the Reunification Palace (formerly Independence Palace) as it stands today was built during the 1960s. Known in Vietnamese as Dinh Độc Lập or Dinh Thống Nhất, it was most famously the symbolic site of the liberation of Saigon by communist forces that reunited the nation on April 30, 1975.More

Saigon Opera House (Opéra de Saïgon)

The Saigon Opera House (Opéra de Saïgon), aka Ho Chi Minh City Theater (Nhà Hát Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh), is a landmark piece of French colonial architecture. (Saigon was the colonial name for Ho Chi Minh City.) Built in 1897, it is home to the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet and Symphony Orchestra, but is best known for evening cultural shows, such as A O and Teh Dar.More

Saigon Skydeck

A high-speed elevator inside the Bitexco Financial Center zips travelers up 49 floors to a glass observation deck ribbed with neon lights. Visitors say views from Saigon Skydeck are some of the best in Ho Chi Minh, offering a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of Ben Thanh Market and Notre Dame Cathedral, among other city icons.More

Jade Emperor Pagoda

Ho Chi Minh City’s Jade Emperor Pagoda is considered to be one of the city’s finest temples. It’s dedicated to the Taoist Jade Emperor Chua Ngoc Hoang, but Buddhist elements can also be seen. Its nickname is the Tortoise Pagoda, because of the many tortoises that live in the grounds. It’s a must-see attraction in HCMC.More

Thien Hau Temple (Chua Ba Thien Hau)

Thien Hau Temple (Chùa Bà Thiên Hậu), built by Cantonese immigrants in the early 19th century, pays tribute to Thien Hau (sometimes called Mazu), goddess of the sea and protector of seafarers. Situated on a busy street in Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown, the active temple displays intricate porcelain dioramas from Chinese mythology both inside and out.More

Cholon (Saigon Chinatown)

Cholon (Saigon Chinatown) is Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinese quarter, and the largest in Vietnam. It’s full of Chinese Buddhist temples, as well as other religious buildings and markets. It contrasts with much of the rest of the city, with its narrow streets and varied architectural styles. This is a great place to come to see a different side of Ho Chi Minh City.More

Dong Khoi Street (Duong Dong Khoi)

Dong Khoi Street (Đường Đồng Khởi), with its elite boutiques, French architecture, and trendy cafés, is the premier commercial center of the city andthe place to see and be seen. Stores range from high-quality silk sellers to high-end luxury brands. City highlights such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office are both within easy walking distance.More

Bitexco Financial Tower

One of Vietnam’s tallest buildings, the Bitexco Financial Tower dominates Ho Chi Minh City’s skyline—its unusual tapering structure pierced by a circular observation deck and helipad. Designed by the American architect Carlos Zapata, the 68-floor building offers sweeping views across the city.More

Saigon River (Song Sai Gon)

The Saigon River (Sông Sài Gòn), the fast-flowing main artery of Ho Chi Minh City, is flanked by both modern skyscrapers and rural villages that give insight into old Vietnamese traditions. Used by locals to escape the urban bustle, the riverbanks are dotted with picnic benches and greenery, making for a pleasant refuge from the metropolitan mania of Saigon.More

Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve

Located southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, close to where the Saigon River meets the South China Sea, the low-lying Can Gio island houses a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This is an important natural wetland with attractions like Monkey Island, Rung Sac Military Base, Vam Sat Salt-Marsh Forest Ecological Tourist Center, and a crocodile farm.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Ho Chi Minh City

How to Spend 2 Days in Ho Chi Minh City

Mekong River Cruises from Ho Chi Minh City

Mekong River Cruises from Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam War History Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam War History Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

Top activities in Ho Chi Minh City

Small-Group Day Trip in Mekong Delta - My Tho & Ben Tre
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Private Arrival Transfer: Tan Son Nhat Airport to Ho Chi Minh City Hotels
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Recent reviews from experiences in Ho Chi Minh City

Great tour of Ho Chi Minh
Aneta_L, Jul 2022
Ho Chi Minh City Private Half-Day Tour by U.S Army Jeep
This tour is a good way to see most of Ho Chi Minh City in one day.
Catherine_L, Jul 2022
Private Motorbike Night Tour With Rooftop Bar And Street Food
Excellent way to see Ho Chi Minh city, can't really express g how fun/novel the scooter ride was, too, but absolutely worth it!
Whizz around Saigon
Jane_B, Nov 2022
Ho Chi Minh City Private Half-Day Tour by U.S Army Jeep
With limited time in Ho Chi Minh city this 4 hour tour was an excellent way to see this vibrant and chaotic city.
Definitely Recommend
Ane_A, Oct 2022
Private Street Food Evening Walking Tour in Ho Chi Minh City
The food was amazing, but the real bonus was to see a part of the city we would also not have done otherwise.
Awesome visit to Vietnam
bpapanton, Feb 2020
Private Ho Chi Minh City Shore Excursion from Phu My Port
Met was very knowledgeable about all of the important sights to see in Ho Chi Minh City.
My wife and I really appreciated...
JeanFrederic_H, Dec 2016
Private Hồ Chí Minh on a Cyclo Adventure: History, Culture, and Daily Life
I believe that this tour is a must if you plan to visit Ho Chi Minh City.
I thought this was a relatively good...
Hannah S, Jan 2017
War Remnants Museum - City and Cu Chi Tunnels Day Tours
The tour guide I think his name was MT had great English and was really funny.
Highly informative tour. A small...
Jayne D, Aug 2015
Cu Chi Tunnels Experience from Ho Chi Minh City
He had great local and historical knowledge and was extremely helpful on the tour and with giving us recommendations for other activities, places to go to, eat, shop etc for the rest of our stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
I had a good time with my guide Duc...
George A, Oct 2015
He also speaks pretty good English.
This tour was a very good...
Bill, Apr 2015
Private Tour: Ho Chi Minh City Half-Day Sightseeing
Our guide was very knowledgeable and had very good English language skills.
The tour was informative about the...
Chuck S, Mar 2016
Cu Chi Tunnels Half Day by DeluxeGroupTours
The tour was informative about the war and village life in Vietnam, and provided a great escape from Ho Chi Minh City to see the surrounding environs.
Our tour guide speaks English...
Ana Marie R, Sep 2011
Private Hồ Chí Minh on a Cyclo Adventure: History, Culture, and Daily Life
Our tour guide speaks English articulately.
Great tour, tour guide was...
Karen K, Jan 2012
Cu Chi Tunnels Experience from Ho Chi Minh City
Great tour, tour guide was excellent, spoke very good english and had good knowledge about a wide variety of thing in Vietnam.
This trip was very interesting, and it...
Dean D, May 2010
Mekong Delta River Cruise Adventure Tour from Ho Chi Minh
This trip was very interesting, and it was a nice change to see some of the countryside after being in the chaos of the city.
It was probably the highlight of our...
Daryll H, Nov 2009
Mekong Delta River Cruise Adventure Tour from Ho Chi Minh
A variety of activities was enjoyed by all.
Shore Excursion in Ho Chi Minh City
twoo, Feb 2020
Make Your Own Full Day Shore Excursion in Ho Chi Minh City
We took a shore excursion with this company to visit the highlights of Ho Chi Minh City.
Wonderful Experience
Frederick_W, Nov 2019
Private Ho Chi Minh City Shore Excursion from Phu My Port
He was a great guide and it was hard to believe that this was his first tour with English speaking clients.
Enjoyable day out with knowledge guide
Peter_G, Apr 2019
Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta VIP Day Tour from HCM city Transfers by Limo
This aspect is important as by combining the two attractions (Cu Chi tunnels and Mekong Delta), there is quite a distance to travel, and because Ho Chi Minh City is so congested, getting in and out of the city takes some time!
Ho Chi Minh City Excellent Excursion
Gregory M, Sep 2018
Ho Chi Minh City Shore Excursion: Private City Tour Including Cyclo Ride
During the drive our guide was so excellent in telling us about the countryside and things that we were passing and the history of the city we were to visit.
Wonderful way to see the city
Swaroop_U, Jan 2019
Private Street Food Tour by Motorbike/Car with Local Students
Our student guides, Callie, Kwen and Raymond, were all very friendly, smart and nice, and showed great enthusiasm for spending some time with us and showing us around some awesome local spots that we wouldnt have known to visit otherwise!
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People Also Ask

What is special about Ho Chi Minh City?

Formerly Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s commercial capital. Amid the hubbub, pagodas and temples provide pockets of calm, while the food scene runs from street eats to international fine dining via craft beer. Popular day trips include the Cu Chi Tunnels, the floating markets, and the Mekong Delta.

How many days do you need in Ho Chi Minh?

Ho Chi Minh City has fairly few must-see sights, although the War Remnants Museum is world class. If you are short on time and not into food or nightlife, two days in Ho Chi Minh City should be enough, including a side trip to the tunnels, although it’s easy to spend longer.

Is Ho Chi Minh City safe for tourists?

Yes. Pickpocketing, taxi scams, and bag snatching are not uncommon, but violent crime is rare. Many tourists die or are injured while riding motorbikes. Only rent a scooter if you have a valid license and medical insurance, and always wear a helmet. It is illegal to drive with any alcohol in your blood.

Should I call it Saigon or Ho Chi Minh?

Both are fine. Saigon was founded in 1698. After North Vietnamese forces reunified Vietnam in 1975, it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City to honor the deceased wartime leader, Ho Chi Minh. It is called Ho Chi Minh City in all official contexts but the name Saigon is still commonly used.

Is Ho Chi Minh City worth visiting?

If you are exploring southern Vietnam or are on a long trip in Vietnam then, yes, Ho Chi Minh City is worth visiting. But it takes at least a week to scratch the surface of each of Vietnam’s three main regions (northern, central, and southern), so many travelers choose to focus on just one.

What city is better Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh?

For most travelers, Hanoi is better than Ho Chi Minh City. It is better preserved and more walkable with a UNESCO World Heritage Site, although it can be very cool in winter. Ho Chi Minh City is the best choice for fans of high-end and high-energy nightlife, and has a tropical climate.

Frequently Asked Questions
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