The 15 best things to do in ho chi minh city


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I’ll be honest. For me, one of the best things to vì chưng in Ho bỏ ra Minh đô thị is to lớn eat. There is so much good food in Saigon. In my opinion, Hanoi is the more liveable thành phố but Ho đưa ra Minh thành phố has the best street food in Vietnam.

But as much fun as it is to eat street food, it isn’t the only thing to vị in Saigon. Ho bỏ ra Minh city is a bustling metropolis of about nine million people in south Vietnam. There are plenty of things in this massive thành phố to keep you busy.

If it’s your first time visiting, then I’ve put together this menu of twenty of the most fun things to bởi vì in Saigon khổng lồ help you plan your trip.

It’s made up of a good mix of attractions, activities, day tours, và delicious food experiences to lớn make your trip lớn Ho chi Minh city as well-rounded as possible.


To help you plan your trip to lớn Ho chi Minh City, I’ve compiled liên kết to hotels, tours, & other services here.


Top-rated hotels in Dictrict 1, the most convenient area to lớn stay for people on their first trip lớn Ho bỏ ra Minh City.




Before you visit Ho chi Minh City, be sure to check out our detailed Saigon travel guide. It’ll have all the information you need – like when khổng lồ go, how lớn get around, where lớn eat, etc. – khổng lồ help you plan your trip.

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1. Eat Pho

You can’t visit Vietnam without eating pho. It’s a Vietnamese national dish and one of the most recognizable foods in Vietnamese cuisine.

Variations exist between regions but at its core, pho is a noodle soup made with four basic ingredients – a clear stock, rice noodles, meat (typically beef or chicken), và herbs. The Vietnamese like to have it for breakfast but you can enjoy it at any time of the day.

I’ve had pho in many cities throughout Vietnam but the pho in Ho chi Minh city is my favorite. I suggest trying it at Pho Le (Nguyen Trai branch | Vo Van rã branch) or Pho Mien Ga Ky Dong.


Where to Eat Pho: Pho Le, Pho Mien Ga Ky DongExpect to lớn Spend: About VND 50,000-80,000 per bowl

2. Go on a đô thị Tour

If it’s your first time in the city và want to vày some sightseeing, then going on a đô thị tour is one of the first things you should vày in Saigon. I don’t find Ho bỏ ra Minh city to be as walkable as Hanoi so it’s a little harder khổng lồ tour the thành phố on your own.

Grab xe đạp is a great and inexpensive way to lớn visit one tourist attraction to the next lượt thích the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace (Independence Palace), và Notre Dame Cathedral. Pictured below is the stunning Saigon Central Post Office.

If you’d rather not vày it on your own, then an easier way would be to book a guided tour. You won’t have lớn worry about getting from one place lớn the next and you’ll have the benefit of a guide explaining everything khổng lồ you. You can book a Saigon city tour through Klook (Option 1 | Option 2) or Get Your Guide.


Tour Cost: Starts at USD 11Length of Tour: At least half a day

3. Explore Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market in District 1 is one of the đứng đầu tourist attractions in Saigon. It’s the most famous market in Ho chi Minh City & a great place lớn experience local Vietnamese culture. It’s one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon và a key symbol of the city.

Being as popular as it is, Ben Thanh Market can get pretty crowded but it’s definitely worth a visit, especially if it’s your first time in Ho đưa ra Minh City. It has over 1,500 stalls selling everything from lacquerware, textiles, crafts, bags, spices, và shoes.

If you get hungry while exploring the market, then you may want to kiểm tra out the Ben Thanh Street Food Market as well. It’s trendy food hall about a block away from Ben Thanh Market.


Photo by studiolaska via Shutterstock

Estimated Time to lớn Spend: About 1 hr

4. Feast on Snails at Vinh Khanh Street

This is one of my favorite things to vị in Ho đưa ra Minh City. Oc or snails are a popular delicacy in Vietnam & Vinh Khanh Street may be the best place khổng lồ have them.

Nicknamed “Seafood Street”, Vinh Khanh Street is a strip in District 4 with street food stalls on either side selling all kinds of fresh seafood. It’s a lively environment with loads of people enjoying seafood và beer by the side of a busy road. For me, a meal at Vinh Khanh Street is one of the best Asian food experiences you can have in Saigon.

There are many restaurants to choose from but we highly recommend Oc Oanh. It’s one of the best & most popular restaurants along Vinh Khanh Street.


Where to Eat Snails: Oc OanhExpect to lớn Spend: About VND 150,000-200,000 per person for a seafood feast

5. Have Vietnamese Coffee at a cafe Apartment

Cafe culture is strong in Vietnam. You can have great coffee all throughout the country, but only in Ho chi Minh thành phố will you find these quirky và super cool apartment block cafes.

Popularized by the cafe Apartments on 42 Nguyen Hue Street, apartment block cafes are old và perhaps partially abandoned buildings that have been repurposed khổng lồ house the most interesting cafes & boutiques.

I went to a few of these buildings & some of them don’t have any signs from the street clueing you in to lớn what’s inside. It added khổng lồ their appeal because it felt lượt thích you were privy to something secret in Saigon, almost like a speakeasy.

You can check out our Saigon coffee guide khổng lồ learn where to find these apartment block cafes in Ho bỏ ra Minh City. If you have a taste for coffee and adventure, then exploring these old buildings is one of the coolest things you can vì in Saigon.


Where khổng lồ Go: The coffe Apartments, 14 Ton That Dam Building

6. Crawl Through the Cu bỏ ra Tunnels

A visit to lớn Cu chi District is perhaps the most popular day trip you can make from Ho đưa ra Minh City. You’ll find it on virtually every article listing the best things to vị in Saigon. You’ll be taken on a tour of the Cu đưa ra jungle and be shown what life was lượt thích for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.

Having studied in the west, I always heard the American side of the story so it was nice to lớn learn about it from a different perspective. It was fascinating to lớn see the elaborate tunnel system the Viet Cong had built during the war. Crawling through the very tight Cu bỏ ra Tunnels was definitely a highlight.

You can book a Cu chi Tunnels tour through Klook or Get Your Guide.


Tour Cost: Start at USD 12Length of Tour: At least half a day

7. Have a Banh mi at “Lesbian Banh Mi”

Like pho, banh mi is a national dish và one of the most beloved foods in Vietnamese cuisine. You can find it pretty much anywhere in the country but the best banh mis I’ve had were in Hoi An and Ho chi Minh City.

Strictly speaking, “banh mi” refers to lớn bread but people use it to describe the sandwich made with a personal-sized baguette filled with a variety of ingredients like liver pate, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, and cilantro. I love it. For me, it’s one of the best sandwiches in the world.

Many shops serve great banh mi in Saigon but one of the best & most popular is Banh mày Huynh Hoa. It’s owned by a lesbian couple & often referred to as Banh ngươi O Moi, meaning “lesbian banh mi”.

They serve the fattest banh mis I’ve had anywhere in Vietnam. They put so many ingredients in there it almost feels like you’re eating a fully loaded hoagie.


Address: 26 Lê Thị Riêng, P, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, VietnamOperating Hours: 2:30-11PM, dailyExpect khổng lồ Spend: About VND 35,000 per banh mi

8. Go on a Motorbike Tour

Motorbikes are a way of life in Vietnam. The Vietnamese learn lớn ride motorbikes at a young age so it’s second nature lớn them. They’re by far the best way of getting around Ho chi Minh City.

Grab xe đạp is our preferred means of transport in Saigon but motorbikes are also great for tours. I went on this motorbike tour and was amazed by how deftly my driver & tour guide would give me his monologue while weaving through Ho chi Minh City’s crazy traffic. It was insane!

Motorbikes are such an important part of Vietnamese life that I think going on a motorbike tour is one of the best & most fun things to vị in Ho đưa ra Minh City. Klook & Get Your Guide offer a good range of motorbike tours to lớn choose from.


Tour Cost: Around USD 25-30Length of Tour: About 4 hrs

9. Take a Day Trip lớn the Mekong Delta

Aside from the Cu bỏ ra Tunnels, a Mekong Delta tour is one of the most popular day trips you can make from Ho đưa ra Minh City. Known as Vietnam’s “rice bowl”, it’s a fertile agricultural area that produces over a third of the country’s annual food crop.

I spent a few days exploring the various towns along the Mekong River but you can easily visit the area on a day tour. Most if not all will take you to Ben Tre which is one of the closest Mekong Delta cities from Saigon.

Klook và Get Your Guide offer a few Mekong Delta tours from Ho đưa ra Minh City. Highlights include a sampan boat ride through the river’s murky channels.


Tour Cost: Starts at USD 16Length of Tour: Full day

10. Take a Cooking Class

Food tours are a great way of experiencing the local food but if you really want to lớn learn about Vietnamese cuisine, then there’s no better way to vì that than by taking a cooking class. It’s like looking under the cuisine’s hood.

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Cookly is a booking platform that offers hundreds of one-day cooking classes around the world. Follow the liên kết to kiểm tra out their danh mục of cooking classes in Ho chi Minh City.


Photo by IRA_EVVA via Shutterstock

Cooking Class Cost: Around USD 30Length of Class: About 3-5 hrs

11. Ride a Cyclo

If you aren’t comfortable going on a motorbike tour, then perhaps a cyclo tour is a good alternative. Cyclos are three-wheeled bicycle taxis that became popular in Vietnam during the French colonial period.

With the rise in popularity of motorbikes, cyclos have all but vanished as a viable means of transportation in Ho chi Minh City. Today, they’re pretty much used only by tourists as a more relaxed way of seeing the city.

Check out Klook and Get Your Guide for a danh mục of cyclo tours in Saigon.


Photo by Midori Photography via Shutterstock

Tour Cost: Starts at USD 12Length of Tour: About 2-3 hrs

12. Find the Snail Lady

There are snail street food stalls everywhere in Ho đưa ra Minh City. But if you’re a tín đồ of Street Food on Netflix, then you’ll probably want to lớn go lớn this one.

Affectionately called the “Snail Lady”, Mrs. Truoc was the street food vendor featured on the Vietnam episode of Street Food. In fact, she was the episode’s main storyline.

We enjoyed her story so much that we made it a point lớn find her stall on our most recent trip lớn Saigon. It wasn’t easy so you can refer to lớn this map for the exact location.

We had a snail feast with about four or five different types of snail. It was delicious. You can kiểm tra out our YouTube đoạn phim on Saigon’s Snail Lady for more information.


Tour Cost: Starts at USD 12Length of Tour: About 2-3 hrs

Address: 169 Cô Bắc, Phường Cô Giang, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam (map)Operating Hours: 10AM-2PM, Mon-Fri (closed Sat-Sun)Expect lớn Spend: VND 25,000 per snail dish

13. Visit a Viet Cong Cafe

This was one of the coolest cafes I visited in Ho bỏ ra Minh City. It was cool not because it was trendy or hip. It was cool because of its role in Vietnamese history.

To the casual observer, Ca Phe vì Phu just looks lượt thích an old cafe with vintage memorabilia but look closer and you’ll find something extraordinary.


I visited Ca Phe bởi Phu as part of a motorbike tour and my guide explained that it used to be the home of a Viet Cong supporter. Through the trap door pictured below is a bunker with a cache of old weapons và uniforms. It’s the first of many secret hiding places in the cafe. Pretty interesting right? But it doesn’t kết thúc there.

My guide took me through ladders that opened under sinks & secret passageways that served as escape routes in case the Viet Cong’s meetings were discovered by the Americans. It’s a fascinating space that isn’t as well known lớn tourists visiting Saigon.

If you have a keen interest in the Vietnam War & want to bởi something quality in Saigon, then I highly recommend enjoying a cup of coffee at Ca Phe vì Phu. They’re known for their com tam suon nuong as well which is a dish of broken rice served with a grilled pork chop.


Address: 72 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, Phường 5, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOperating Hours: 7AM-10PM, dailyExpect to lớn Spend: About VND 25,000 for Vietnamese coffee

14. Eat Your Way Through Saigon in a Vintage Citroen 2CV

We’ve been on many food tours in different cities around the world but this was one of the coolest we’ve experienced so far. You’ll be driven from food stop to lớn food stop in Ho bỏ ra Minh thành phố in an open-top vintage Citroen 2CV.

If you’d like a fun và unique way of experiencing Saigon, then we highly recommend booking this tour. You can check out my article and đoạn clip on this Citroen 2CV food tour for more information.

You can also kiểm tra out Klook for other food tour options in Ho bỏ ra Minh City.


Tour Cost: VND 1,400,000 (plus VAT)Length of Tour: About 3 hrs

15. Have Breakfast in an Alley

This is also one of our favorite things to vày in Ho chi Minh City and something we look forward khổng lồ on every return visit. Banh ngươi Hoa Ma is a street food stall that serves breakfast in an alley.

Open daily from 6-11AM, Banh mi Hoa Ma specializes in banh mi op la which is a breakfast dish consisting of a baguette, two fried eggs, liver pate, an assortment of meats, and a side of pickled vegetables. It’s a delicious plate of food that exemplifies the Vietnamese street food experience.


Here’s a shot of Ren eagerly digging into her banh mi. It’s such a terrific experience eating breakfast in an alley like this at eight in the morning.

Try getting here as early as you can because they’ve been known khổng lồ run out of food. Banh mi Hoa Ma is popular among locals so you’ll find plastic tables & stools all along either side of the alley.


Address: 53 Cao Thắng, Phường 3, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOperating Hours: 6-11AM, dailyExpect to Spend: About VND 52,000 for banh mày op la

16. Enjoy the View from Saigon Skydeck at tập đoàn bitexco Financial Tower

Saigon Skydeck is literally one of the top attractions in Saigon. It’s an observations deck that offers 360° panoramic views of Ho bỏ ra Minh thành phố from the 49th floor of tập đoàn bitexco Financial Tower.

Bitexco Financial Tower is a chất lượng lotus-shaped skyscraper in District 1 that was once recognized as Vietnam’s tallest building. You can purchase tickets to the observation deck at the gate or in advance through Klook.


Photo by saiko3p via Shutterstock

Operating Hours: 9:30AM-9:30PM, dailyAdmission: VND 200,000Estimated Time to Spend: About 1 hr

17. Watch a Show at Saigon Opera House

The Municipal Theatre is one of the đứng top cultural attractions in Ho chi Minh City. Also known as the Saigon Opera House, it’s a lovely 500-seat theater that hosts ballets, concerts, and other artistic performances.

You can purchase tickets lớn shows at the opera house on Klook.


Photo by Arif Areeman via Shutterstock

18. Eat Waterfall Chicken

This is one of our favorite dishes lớn eat in Ho chi Minh City và something we look forward lớn on every return visit. “Waterfall chicken” refers to lớn a crispy fried chicken dish served at Com Ga xoi Mo Su Su.

The owner of Com Ga xuyên Mo Su Su is some type of mad tinkering genius that built this machine himself. What it does is send a stream of hot oil (around 180°C) showering down onto poached chicken and into a pool below before being sent up again.

The chicken’s already cooked so it’s left under the waterfall of oil for just a few minutes khổng lồ crisp up the skin.


The result is this supremely crispy chicken served with red rice và the most delicious secret dark sauce. It’s so damn good.


Address: 1067 Hoàng Sa, phường 11, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOperating Hours: 10:30AM-9:30PM, dailyExpect to Spend: About VND 42,000 per order of com ga (chicken rice)

19. Go Bird Watching at Tao Dan Park

We learned about Tao Dan Park on the Ho đưa ra Minh thành phố episode of Somebody Feed Phil. It’s a green space in District 1 with gardens, a Buddhist temple, và a bird cafe.

We learned on the show that bird keeping is a popular hobby among men in Saigon. They like to bring their pet birds khổng lồ this cafe every morning to lớn chat over Vietnamese coffee.

Even if you don’t have an interest in birds, it’s an interesting place to have coffee và mingle with the locals. You can go on your own or visit the bird coffe on a guided tour.


Photo by Bui Minh hai via Shutterstock

Park Hours: 7AM-10PM, dailyAdmission: FREEEstimated Time khổng lồ Spend: About 30 mins – 1 hr

20. Try Elevated Vietnamese Food at Vietnam House Restaurant

We’re fans of Luke Nguyen. He’s a Vietnamese-Australian chef and restaurateur who had a television series called Street Food Asia. We learned about many of the places we visited in Ho chi Minh thành phố from him, including Banh ngươi Huynh Hoa, Banh ngươi Hoa Ma, and Com Ga xuyên Mo Su Su.

Vietnam House Restaurant is Luke’s upscale restaurant in District 1 which serves elevated interpretations of classic Vietnamese street food dishes lượt thích banh xeo, goi cuon, and cha gio. If you’re interested in having a special meal in Ho bỏ ra Minh City, then Vietnam House Restaurant is a good place khổng lồ go.

Pictured below is Luke’s version of banh xeo made with crab và Iberico pork.

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Address: 93-95, 97 Đồng Khởi, Street, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, VietnamOperating Hours: 11:30AM-3PM, 5:30-11PM, dailyWhat We Paid: VND 1,500,000 for two people


Saigon is a big and exciting city with much khổng lồ see and do. Personally, it isn’t my favorite thành phố in Vietnam as I find it lớn be a little too hectic and fast-paced. Motorcycle traffic is insane & I find it harder khổng lồ get around on foot.

But if you’re drawn to the excitement of big cities, then you’ll probably enjoy Ho bỏ ra Minh City. You won’t run out of things to do and from what I’ve heard, the nightlife is pretty good as well. Và you already know how I feel about the food.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this article on the best things to vì in Saigon. If you have any questions or suggestions, then please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading và enjoy your time in Ho đưa ra Minh City!


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