An independent selection of the best things to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City. No paid placements, no advertorial.

Ho Chi Minh City
see and do guide

Introduction

| 06 Aug 2018
Last updated 06 Aug 2018

Our handpicked list of things to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City from museums, to walks, to cool cafes, streetfood and craft beer, will be your entree to Saigon’s most memorable attraction - the seemingly endless energy and optimism of the people. Take a few days and get to know this city. It’s not the prettiest place in Vietnam or South East Asia, but it’s bursting with character.

Our independent selection of the best things to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City (aka. Saigon), was updated in July 2018. Let us know if you have any suggestions.

Walking tour - Saigon, tales of the city

A heritage walking tour through Saigon’s historic streets capturing the city’s dramatic past and frenetic present - designed by... Read more

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Walking tour - Saigon, tales of the city
Old Compass Cafe Level 3, 63 Pasteur St (down the alley), District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

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AO Show Saigon

A O show fuses dance, circus and musical forms in a vibrant and light-hearted series of sketches that track Vietnam's transition... Read more

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AO Show Saigon
Opera House, Lam Son Square, Saigon

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Cu Chi Tunnels

The Viet Cong tunnel network at Cu Chi, 70kms from Saigon, was an important base in the communist guerilla campaign against US... Read more

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Cu Chi Tunnels
70kms northwest of Saigon
90,000 VND

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Vietnam History Museum - Saigon

Saigon’s Vietnamese History Museum covers the thousands of years of Vietnamese history the world doesn't know much about.... Read more

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Vietnam History Museum - Saigon
2 Nguyen Binh Khiem St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City - in botanic gardens
30000VND

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3A Station Saigon

3A STATION WAS DEMOLISHED IN MAY 2017 FOR A NEW COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT. Read more

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3A Station Saigon
3A Tôn Đức Thắng, P. Bến Nghé, Q.1 Ho Chi Minh City - on the riverfront

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Antique Street - Le Cong Kieu St, Saigon

Saigon’s antique market may not be the place for the most discerning collectors but there are plenty of nice finds be they... Read more

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Antique Street - Le Cong Kieu St, Saigon
Le Cong Kieu St, Dist. 1, Ho Chi Minh City - across from Ben Thanh Market

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Ben Thanh Market - Saigon

Saigon’s Central Market - Great for a look, shopping and a surprisingly good spot for tasty Vietnamese soup be it pho, bun bo... Read more

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Ben Thanh Market - Saigon
Cnr of Le Loi and Le Lai Sts' District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

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Bitexco Financial Tower, Saigon

This brand new Saigon building stands way above all others. Love it or hate it, it’s impossible to miss. And there’s a skydeck... Read more

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Bitexco Financial Tower, Saigon
Hai Trieu St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
200,000VND

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Cao Dai Temple - Tay Ninh

The Cao Dai Temple at Tay Ninh is the spectacularly gaudy Holy See for the Cao Dai sect - a homegrown religion with around 2... Read more

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Cao Dai Temple - Tay Ninh
Just under 100kms northwest or 3 hours from Saigon

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Cholon - Saigon's Chinatown

Cholon (Cho Lon) is Saigon’s heaving Chinatown district. It’s a great place to spend at least half a day. It’s hard to believe... Read more

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Cholon - Saigon's Chinatown
District 5, Ho Chi Minh City - around 15 mins by cab from downtown

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Cooking classes - Saigon

Cooking classes have become all the rage across Vietnam and they're very popular in Saigon too. Read more

Dong Khoi St - Saigon's French colonial architecture

Dong Khoi St has been at the centre of life in Saigon since French colonial times when it was known as Rue Catinat. In the 60s... Read more

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Dong Khoi St - Saigon's French colonial architecture
Dong Khoi St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

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Emperor Jade Pagoda, Saigon

Emperor Jade Pagoda (aka. Chua Phuoc Hai) was built at the beginning of the twentieth century, and may be the most atmospheric... Read more

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Emperor Jade Pagoda, Saigon
73 Mai Thi Luu Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Free

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Exploring Saigon's colonial era apartment buildings

Saigon is racing ahead with the demolition of its past with regrettable fury. Meanwhile, the city’s young are increasingly... Read more
Exploring Saigon's colonial era apartment buildings
Around District 1

Fine Arts Museum, Saigon

Saigon’s Fine Arts Museum is changing for the better - but change comes slowly. It houses the city’s most important collection... Read more

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Fine Arts Museum, Saigon
97A Pho Ðuc Chinh St., Dist. 1, Ho Chi Minh City
+84838294441
10,000 VND

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Ho Chi Minh City Museum, Saigon

The grand downtown mansion that was the former French Governor’s Residence and the final residence of assassinated South... Read more

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Ho Chi Minh City Museum, Saigon
65 Ly Tu Trong St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
15,000VND

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Mekong Delta for a day - Ben Tre

The best option for a Mekong Delta day trip from Saigon, Ben Tre retains an authenticity lost in nearby My Tho. The recent... Read more

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Mekong Delta for a day - Ben Tre
Under 2 hours - around 86kms from Saigon - past My Tho.

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Mekong Delta for a day - My Tho

Day trips to the Mekong Delta from Saigon are popular for travellers that don’t have time to make a longer journey into... Read more

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Mekong Delta for a day - My Tho
72 kms or 90 minutes SW of Saigon along Route 1

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Motorbike tours in Saigon

The ubiquitous motorbike is the way most Vietnamese weave their way around Saigon. In recent years, tour companies have sprung... Read more

Museums - the best of Saigon's museums

A guide to Saigon's best museums - as well as some of the quirky less-visited places. We list three for those with limited time... Read more
Museums - the best of Saigon's museums
All within easy reach of downtown

Nguyen Hue Walking Street, Saigon

In 2015, Nguyen Hue St, one of Saigon’s main streets, became a “walking street” - a rare concession by city leaders to the idea... Read more

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Nguyen Hue Walking Street, Saigon
Nguyen Hue St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

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Nui Dat, Long Tan Cross Memorial and Vung Tau day trip

A visit to the former Australian military base at Nui Dat, the Long Tan Cross and Vung Tau, can be covered in a day from Saigon... Read more

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Nui Dat, Long Tan Cross Memorial and Vung Tau day trip
Baria Vung Tau

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Pittman Apartments rooftop - The Saigon helicopter evacuation of 1975

The Pittman Apartments rooftop featured in Hugh van Es’s iconic image of the helicopter evacuation of Saigon in April 1975 at... Read more

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Pittman Apartments rooftop - The Saigon helicopter evacuation of 1975
22 Ly Tu Trong St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (near corner of Dong Khoi St)

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Reunification Palace - Saigon

The former Presidential Palace of the US backed South Vietnamese government, is now known as the Reunification Palace. It’s... Read more

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Reunification Palace - Saigon
135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street - District 1 - Ho Chi Minh City
40,000VND

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River Life - Exploring the Saigon River

The Saigon River is the lifeblood of the city. It’s the reason for its existence. Until recently it’s tended not to figure... Read more

Saigon River walk

An early morning or late afternoon walk along the Saigon riverfront gives an interesting perspective on the changing city - from... Read more

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Saigon River walk
Ton Duc Thang St - 3A Station starting point

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Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Saigon’s Zoo and Botanical Gardens is the largest green space in the city centre. It’s a pleasant place for an early morning or... Read more

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Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens
2B Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
50,000VND

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Saigon's Art Galleries

Saigon's art scene runs deeper than the decorative art conspicuously scattered around Dong Khoi and nearby streets. Uncovering... Read more

Sophie's Art Tour, Saigon

Sophie's Art Tour is a journey through Vietnamese art and history from 1850 to the present, with British art lover, Sophie Hughes. Read more

War Remnants Museum

The War Remnants Museum is Saigon's most visited museum. It provides a graphic account of the horrors of the Vietnam War from... Read more

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War Remnants Museum
28 Vo Van Tan, in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
40000VND

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