Ho Chi Minh City (more commonly known as Saigon) is in the southern region of Vietnam, famous for its pivotal role in the Vietnam War. Ho Chi Minh is a noisy, hot, dynamic city that rarely sleeps with a complex history and plenty of culture to soak up.
GETTING AROUND HO CHI MINH CITY
The best way to explore the city is on a self-guided walking tour. There are a number of must-see locations all within 15-30 minutes walking distance from one and other. Ho Chi Minh City is a popular hub for travellers arriving in Vietnam and departing Vietnam.
MAP OF HO CHI MINH CITY
TOP 7 THINGS TO DO IN HO CHI MINH CITY – VIETNAM
1. WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM
The War Remnants Museum is an eye-opener experience, to say the least – a museum not to be missed and on of the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh. The War Remnants Museum contains exhibits relating to the Vietnam War, featuring historic photographs, military vehicles and weaponry.
It’s very rare to see exhibits, such as the ones inside the War Remnants Museum, that display the horrors of war so graphically and truthfully. It will honestly raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Entrance fee to the War Remnants Museum is 40,000 dong ($2) and the opening hours are Monday – Sunday from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm.
Military vehicles at the War Remnants Museum – Things to do in Ho Chi Minh
Historic photographs inside the War Remnants Museum – Places to visit in Ho Chi Minh
2. INDEPENDENCE PALACE
The Independence Palace, also known as the Reunification Palace, is a very iconic landmark and one of the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City. The Independence Palace was the home and workplace of the South Vietnam President during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon in April 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army Tank barged through the front gates.
Entrance fee to the Independence Palace is 40,000 dong ($2) and opening hours are Monday – Sunday from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm.
The Independence Palace – Places to visit in Ho Chi Minh
Independence Palace – What to do in Ho Chi Minh
3. SAIGON NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL
The Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in the city. Its incredible architecture surrounds the rich spirituality behind the thousands of red bricks. The Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral was built by French colonists in the late 1800’s and it is located in the most crowded district of Ho Chi Minh City – District 1. Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral was one of my favourite places to visit in Ho Chi Minh.
Entrance fee to the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is FREE and opening hours are Monday – Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral – Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City
4. SAIGON CENTRAL POST OFFICE
The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh is a remnant of French colonial times and it is one of the grandest post offices in all of Southeast Asia. Marvelling at the features of this beautiful building will take you back a step in time. As you step inside the Saigon Central Post Office, that was built in the late 1800’s, you can see looping arches, polished marble floors and old telephone boxes serving as a reminder of the importance the post office played before the days of email and mobile phones.
Fun Fact: The post office still uses old-fashioned glue pots for sticking stamps to letters!
Entrance fee to the Saigon Central Post Office is FREE and opening hours are Monday – Sunday from 7:00am to 7:00pm.
Outside the Saigon Central Post Office – Best places to visit in Ho Chi Minh
Inside the Saigon Central Post Office – Things to do in Ho Chi Minh
5. HO CHI MINH CITY HALL
The Ho Chi Minh City Hall is a beautiful piece of architecture surrounded by extremely well-kept gardens and smooth paved roads. Unfortunately, the Ho Chi Minh City Hall is not open to the public but it is a great spot for photo opportunities during the day and also at night when the building is colourfully lit. Be sure to add a visit to the city hall on your list of things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City Hall – What to do in Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh City Hall – Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City
6. BEN THANH MARKET
The Ben Tanh Market is the most popular market in Ho Chi Minh City and a great place to put your haggling skills to the test. You can shop for local handicrafts, artworks, souvenirs and various clothing. Inside Ben Tanh Market you can also find hawker-style Vietnamese food and fresh fruit juice stalls dotted throughout. Don’t be afraid to go deep and get lost as there are lots of interesting things to see and one of the best places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City.
Entrance fee to the Ben Thanh Market is FREE and opening hours are Monday – Sunday from 7:00am to 7:00pm.
The entrance to Ben Tanh Market
Local marketers awaiting their next customers
7. SAIGON SKYDECK
Last but not least is the Saigon Skydeck at the Bitexco Financial Tower, one of the main attractions in Ho Chi Minh City. The Saigon Skydeck on the 49th floor offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the entire city. The best time to visit is during sunset, this way you can catch a clear view of the distant buildings and landscapes during the golden hour before witnessing the colourful bright lights illuminate the city as the sky darkens.
Entrance fee to the Saigon Skydeck is 200,000 dong ($9) and opening hours are Monday – Sunday from 9:30am to 9:30pm.
District 1. is the best area to stay on your visit to Ho Chi Minh City, as it is walking distance to all of the locations mentioned above.
Ho Chi Minh has thousands of accommodations to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of my personal favourite places to stay in Ho Chi Minh that caters for luxury travellers to budget backpackers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Fusion Suites Saigon
Mid Range: Alagon Central Hotel
Budget: Giang Hotel
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST IN VIETNAM
Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions on things to do in Ho Chi Minh City, feel free to drop me a comment below and I will respond to you as soon as I can.
Happy Adventuring 🙂
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