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Hidden Gems and Bustling Streets: Unveiling Ho Chi Minh City’s Top Tourist Places

9 mins. read

Nestled in the Southern part of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is one of the country’s most captivating destinations that offer a plethora of things to do and see. Formerly known as Saigon, this vibrant city has been through its fair share of history, making it a melting pot of heritage, culture, and unique experiences. A former French Colony, which has witnessed an eventful past, some of the top tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City include timeless French architecture, opulent temples and historic museums weaving a unique story around Vietnam’s history.  If that is not enough, the city also flawlessly blends the old and the new, with its buzzing nightlife, delicious street food, and shopping that never seems to end.

Best Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

There are so many things to do in Ho Chi Minh that the city is well worth a 2 or 3-day trip as well as a week-long trip. The ideal time to visit Vietnam is between December and March when the weather is pleasant enough during the day for one to enjoy outdoor activities. One of the best ways to plan your holiday would be to book a Vietnam tour package and that includes all the major tourist places of Ho Chi Minh City. Here is a comprehensive list of all the best things to see in Ho Chi Minh City that you can consider adding to your package:

  • Visit the War Remnants Museum
  • Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Enjoy Authentic Vietnamese Street Food
  • Pay your respects at the Jade Emperor Pagoda Temple
  • Discover the Nightlife at one of the famous Rooftop Bars
  • Wander through the Shopping streets of Dhong Khoi
  • Get a bird’s eye view at Saigon Sky deck at Bitexco Financial
  • Take a day trip to Can Gio Mangrove Forests
  • Take part in local entertainment at the Saigon Opera House
  • Bonus: Stock up on literary gems at the Nguyen Van Binh Book Street

vietnam ho chi minh

Visit the War Remnants Museum:

One of the most important tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City is the War Remnants Museum. The museum showcases exhibits and photographs that depict the devastating consequences of war and its impact on the Vietnamese people. The Museum has about 20,000 well-preserved artefacts, including the infamous “Tiger Cages” that were used to detain prisoners of war. To lighten the mood a little, there are other museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Ho Chi Minh City Museum which you can include in your to-do list as well.

Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels:

Located about 40 kilometres northwest of the city, the Cu Chi Tunnels are amongst some of the most well-known attractions in Ho Chi Minh City. They are an extensive network of interconnected tunnels that served as a base for soldiers during the Vietnam War and were primarily used for taking cover, as communication routes, supply quarters, and even hospitals. Although the tunnels have been enlarged to accommodate a larger number of people now, a visit to the Cu Chi tunnels is often categorised as one of the more unconventional things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.

Enjoy Authentic Street Food:

No trip to Ho Chi Minh City is complete without trying out the exquisite flavours of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Since the city is famous for its wide variety of street food, planning an extensive food walk is one of the most rewarding things to do in Ho Chi Minh and can take up a good part of your day. You can find vendors selling their specialities on almost any street you turn into. However, District 4 is a popular place among tourists in Ho Chi Minh City for trying out all kinds of street food in one place. Do not miss the famous flavourful noodle soup of Vietnam, called Pho, and the iconic sandwich, called Banh Mi.

Pay Your Respects at the Jade Emperor Pagoda Temple:

When compared to the more adventurous things to do in Ho Chi Minh, visiting a temple may not sound as appealing to some. However, Vietnam is home to some of the most beautiful Buddhist Temples, thanks to the strong Buddhist influence in the country. The Jade Emperor Pagoda Temple, located in Ho Chi Minh, is one of the most prominent Buddhist temples. It is filled with elaborate tilework and intricate woodcarvings and its Statue of the Jade Emperor steals the show.

Discover the Nightlife at the Famous Rooftop Bars:

The city is replete with quintessential rooftop bars, which play lively music and are extravagantly lit up each night, ready to host locals and tourists alike. The nightlife is typically elaborate and may be a little heavy on the pocket. Another important thing to keep in mind is that most of the bars follow a strict dress code, which you should be aware of before heading out. Some of the best rooftop bars include the Chill Skybar, Skyloft by Glow, and the Breeze Skybar.

Wander through the Shopping Streets at Ben Thanh Market:

Ho Chi Minh has many things to do but shopping at Ben Thanh Market is one activity that tourists simply adore. The fusion of the ancient with the modern can be clearly seen in this market, with almost 3000 stalls propping up every evening. The market is a shopaholic’s paradise with vendors selling just about everything - from clothes, tableware, and traditional décor to groceries, fresh meat, and vegetables. Another market worth checking out is the Cai Lang River Market - the city’s famous floating market.

Get a Bird’s Eye View from the Saigon Sky Deck at Bitexco Financial:

When it comes to sightseeing, Ho Chi Minh City is truly a treasure trove with stunning architecture, serene parks, and majestic high-rises. After spending the day closely observing the city, going up to the Saigon Sky Deck is a must-do for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city. The Sky deck is located on the 49th floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower, which is the 4th tallest building in the world. The tower in itself is an impressive tourist attraction in Ho Chi Minh City and houses many offices, entertainment centres and retail stores.

Take a Day Trip to Can Gio Mangrove Forest:

Another experience that should be on your list of things to do in Ho Chi Minh is a day trip to the Can Gio Mangrove Forest. Known as the “Green Lungs of the City”, the forest is essentially a biosphere reserve that is home to rare flora and fauna. A peaceful boat ride under the shelter of the lush mangrove trees is highly recommended. While you’re there, be sure to check out Monkey Island and Can Gio Beach as well.

Witness Local Entertainment at the Saigon Opera House:

Also known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, the Saigon Opera House was built in the late 19th century, during the French colonial period, and stands as one of the most iconic cultural landmarks in the city. The Opera House is a primary go-to for art and entertainment enthusiasts as it regularly hosts artistic performances steeped in Vietnamese tradition and culture.

Bonus: Stock up on Literary Gems at the Nguyen Van Binh Book Street

Spanning about 100 metres, the Nguyen Van Binh Book Street is a book lover’s paradise and offers a diverse collection of books, from local literature to international titles. The entire street is lined with quaint bookstores and cosy cafés, and you will often find people immersed in books and conversations over a cup of Vietnamese coffee. Apart from this, many literary events and book launches are also held here regularly.

Ho Chi Minh City, with its fascinating history, diverse culture, and spectacular attractions, boasts of an unforgettable travel experience. From the sombre War Remnants Museum to the bustling markets and rich flavours of Vietnamese cuisine, the city has something for every traveller.  Out of the many things to do in Vietnam - whether as an adventurous backpacker or a relaxed vacationer - visiting Ho Chi Minh City should definitely be on your list.

July 16, 2023


Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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