Ho Chi Minh City

Adventure in Vietnam: Best Time in Ho Chi Minh City

I had an AMAZING 7 days in Ho Chi Minh City.

Originally known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City has become a international hub in southern Vietnam. You will find it filled with a rich history, exciting culture, and a variety of diverse attractions. It offers many different kinds of experiences for any visitor to enjoy. Exploring the top attractions in Ho Chi Minh City is a must for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the city’s uniqueness.

In this simple itinerary from my trip, I will take you through some of the best things I was able to do in Ho Chi Minh City. These include several historical sites and landmarks to the cultural experiences Vietnam offers. Don’t forget about the culinary Vietnamese delights, some nature and outdoor activities, and of course shopping and entertainment.

There is something for every type of international traveler to enjoy in this vibrant city. So let’s get started!

Best Sites to See in Ho Chi Minh City

War Remnants Museum

Located in Ho Chi Minh City, the War Remnants Museum is a must-visit historical site.

As part of your Ho Chi Minh City itinerary, this museum provides a powerful and sobering experience, showcasing the impact of the Vietnam War.

The museum’s exhibits and displays offer a comprehensive overview of the war and its aftermath, immersing visitors in the history and emotions of the time. From photographs and artefacts to personal stories and accounts, the War Remnants Museum serves as a reminder of the resilience and strength of the Vietnamese people. It is an essential stop on your journey to gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s past.

Independence Palace

Independence Palace Vietnam
Photo Credit: James Fahey

The Independence Palace, also known as the Reunification Palace, is an iconic landmark in Ho Chi Minh City.

It holds great historical significance as it was the former presidential palace during the Vietnam War. Exploring the Independence Palace is like stepping back in time and being transported to an era of political turmoil and transformation.

As you walk through its rooms and corridors, you can imagine the events that took place here and get a sense of the country’s political history. The palace’s architecture and interiors showcase a blend of traditional Vietnamese elements and modernist design, making it an architectural marvel. Including a visit to the Independence Palace in your Ho Chi Minh City itinerary allows you to fully appreciate its grandeur and historical importance.

Ho Chi Minh Statue

Ho Chi Minh Statue
Photo Credit: James Fahey

The Ho Chi Minh Statue is a prominent symbol in Ho Chi Minh City, representing the revered leader of Vietnam’s struggle for independence.

Located in front of the City Hall, this statue pays tribute to Ho Chi Minh’s contributions to the nation and serves as a reminder of his legacy. As you admire the statue, take a moment to reflect on the city’s history and the significance of Ho Chi Minh’s leadership.

The statue stands tall and proud, embodying the spirit of the Vietnamese people and their journey to independence. Including a visit to this statue in your itinerary is a meaningful way to honor Vietnam’s past and show respect for its national hero.

Cu Chi Tunnels

A visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels is an unforgettable experience that offers a unique insight into the Vietnam War.

Though not technically in Ho Chi Minh City you can get a half day tour for about 25 euros which collects you at your residence and takes you there and back.

These underground tunnels served as a crucial base for the Viet Cong during the conflict, showcasing their resourcefulness and determination. Exploring the Cu Chi Tunnels allows you to witness firsthand the ingenuity and resilience of the Vietnamese people.

Crawling through the narrow tunnels and learning about the guerrilla warfare tactics employed by the Viet Cong provides a deeper understanding of the war and the challenges faced by those involved.

The tunnels are a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people and their unwavering commitment to their cause. Include a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels in your Ho Chi Minh City itinerary to immerse yourself in Vietnam’s history and pay tribute to those who fought for their country’s freedom.

You can watch my vlog on the half day tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels here.

Bitexco Tower

Bitexco Tower
Photo Credit: James Fahey

For stunning views of Ho Chi Minh City’s skyline, a visit to the Bitexco Tower is a must.

This iconic skyscraper stands tall in the city center and offers a panoramic view of the bustling streets below. Take an elevator ride to the observation deck and marvel at the cityscape, with its mix of modern and traditional architecture.

From the top of the Bitexco Tower, you can see the city’s landmarks and landmarks, including the Saigon River and the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a perfect spot to capture memorable photos of Ho Chi Minh City and appreciate the city from a different perspective. Including a visit to the Bitexco Tower in your itinerary allows you to admire the city’s growth and development while enjoying breathtaking views.

Remember to plan your visit to these sites in advance and check for any updated information or restrictions. Including these attractions in your Ho Chi Minh City itinerary ensures a well-rounded exploration of the city’s history, culture, and architectural marvels.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral is a stunning example of French colonial architecture in Vietnam.

The cathedral, officially known as the Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception, was constructed between 1863 and 1880. Its design was influenced by the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, featuring intricate stained glass windows, towering spires, and a distinct red-brick fa├žade.

The architectural beauty of Notre-Dame Cathedral is a testament to the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. The cathedral’s twin bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters, dominate the city skyline and serve as an iconic symbol of Ho Chi Minh City. The interior of the cathedral is equally impressive, with high arched ceilings, elegant columns, and detailed religious artworks.

Notre-Dame Cathedral holds great historical significance in Vietnam. It has witnessed the country’s tumultuous past and remains a symbol of resilience and faith. The cathedral played a significant role in religious life during the French colonial era and continues to be an active place of worship for the Catholic community in Ho Chi Minh City. Its historical and architectural importance attracts visitors from around the world, who come to admire its grandeur and experience its tranquil atmosphere.

Though I never managed to get inside due to reconstruction works, this only means I can go back to see the interior which is said to be beautiful.

It is said that as you step inside, you are transported to a place of serenity and beauty. The soft glow of sunlight filtering through the stained glass windows creates a mesmerizing ambience. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply seeking a moment of peace and reflection, Notre-Dame Cathedral offers a fascinating glimpse into the past and showcases the harmonious blend of French and Vietnamese influences.

Other Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh

Culinary Delights

Vietnamese cuisine is renowned worldwide, and Ho Chi Minh City is a food lover’s paradise. Start your culinary adventure at Ben Thanh Night Market, where you can sample a wide array of local street food. From savory banh mi sandwiches to flavorful grilled meats and refreshing tropical fruits, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

No visit to Ho Chi Minh City is complete without trying a bowl of pho, the iconic Vietnamese noodle soup. Head to one of the city’s renowned pho stalls and savor the aromatic broth, tender meat, and fresh herbs. And don’t forget to indulge in traditional Vietnamese coffee, known for its strong flavor and unique brewing method, at a local cafe.

Nature and Outdoor Activities

Vietnam River Boat
Photo Credit: James Fahey

While Ho Chi Minh City is known for its urban hustle and bustle, there are also opportunities to enjoy nature and outdoor activities.

Take a boat tour along the Mekong Delta, a vast network of rivers and canals that offers a glimpse into the rural life of southern Vietnam. Visit the serene Giac Lam Pagoda, one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in the city, and admire its beautiful architecture and tranquil surroundings.

For a moment of relaxation, head to Tao Dan Park, a green oasis in the heart of the city. Take a leisurely stroll, admire the vibrant flowers and lush trees, or simply find a quiet spot to unwind and escape the urban chaos.

Shopping and Entertainment

Ho Chi Minh City offers a fantastic shopping experience, with a mix of traditional markets and modern shopping malls. Explore Vincom Center and Takashimaya, two of the city’s premier shopping destinations, where you can find international brands, local designer boutiques, and a wide range of dining options.

When the sun sets, Bui Vien Street comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. This popular backpacker area is filled with bars, clubs, and street vendors, creating a lively atmosphere. Join the crowd, grab a drink, and immerse yourself in the energy of the city.

For a unique cultural experience, don’t miss the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre. Watch in awe as intricately designed puppets perform traditional Vietnamese stories on a water stage. It’s a captivating and entertaining show that offers a glimpse into the country’s folklore.

Whether you’re interested in delving into the country’s past, immersing yourself in its political history, diving into it’s culinary delights, or admiring its modern skyline, these sites offer a rich and diverse experience that will leave you with lasting memories of your time in Ho Chi Minh City.

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