Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide
Ho Chi Minh, known also as Saigon, is in the south of Vietnam and it is the biggest city in the country. It’s a dynamic city with the vibrant atmosphere, complex history and local culture that is nice to walk through and feel by yourself. Check out this Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide and get prepared for your travel.
Hostel – Hostels are cheap, ranging from $8 above for a dorm room. Most hostels take USD as payment, so ask in advance if you need to change money or not. Some private rooms in hostels can cost around $20 a night.
Hotels- Budget hotels can go for around $30 above a night for your own room.
Food – A beer for less than $1, and a meal for that amount too (a sandwich or pho, which is a noodle soup dish, which others described as bland).
Transportation – While city buses are there, it is quite hard to figure out their routes. If you need to go somewhere fast and cheap, try a motorbike taxi, where you can just hop in the back of a motorbike. There are multiple sleeper buses and trains as well that take you to other destinations in Vietnam and the neighboring countries (Laos, Thailand, or Cambodia). The going rate for these rides is around $15 up, depending on where you’re going.
- Discuss the price before getting in the taxi. Do not ever get in a taxi (motorbike or otherwise) without negotiating a price in advance. Some of the normal taxis don’t even run their meters for you, so to avoid getting completely ripped off, negotiate and know the going rate.
- Try to use reputable taxi companies. If you use a taxi to move around, better to take a reputable taxi company in Vietnam, for example, Vinasun and Mai Linh.
- You can get a visa to Vietnam in other countries. If you’re from a country that requires a visa to enter Vietnam, you can also get it in Cambodia or Thailand. Usually, it’s less of a hassle rather than waiting to get a visa at the airport, where there may be a long queue of people waiting to get processed.
- Discover Ho Chi Minh at night. Some cities are incredibly beautiful at night and Saigon is one of them. Even though Vietnamese people usually go to sleep early, the city never falls asleep and there is a lot to discover and just admire of vibrant and full of lights Ho Chi Minh.
- Be careful crossing the road! The traffic in Saigon is absolutely crazy. It’s non-stop flow of scooters and cars that even won’t stop to let you cross the road. That’s why there are so many accidents on the road. So, before to cross try to find traffic lights for pedestrians. And even crossing on the green light always be aware and checking if there is no scooter going on the speed.
Top things to see and do in Ho Chi Minh
- Water Puppet Shows – While you may not be able to understand the narrative going on, it’s still fun to watch these water puppet shows. There are several places that you can see the show, and they’re mostly playing every night during the early evening.
- War Remnants Museum – A moving museum that informs people of the effects of Agent Orange, a substance that the Americans had dropped and used during the war and affected a lot of soldiers. You can actually see some helicopters, tanks, and other equipment used in the war displayed on the front lawn.
- Reunification Palace – What used to be a presidential palace, it is now a building that’s stuck in a time warp. There is a big tank outside, in the garden area, a remnant of the tank that was crashed in front of the palace during the war. Note that the palace closes for a few hours during lunch so plan your visit accordingly.
- Saigon Post Office – A beautiful building close to the cathedral. The inside’s architecture is just to die for, light all over the building and historic phone booths too. It is a working post office so you can actually send your postcards and other parcels home. There are stores inside that you can buy souvenirs from or historic stamps.
- Notre Dame Cathedral – An iconic and serene building in the middle of the chaos of Saigon.
- Ben Tanh Market – this market has all sorts of knick-knacks that you can think of. It’s a great place to go shopping (just mind your belongings and be aware of your surroundings at all times) and a place to get overruns of The North Face and other bags (research first what makes these bags overruns versus fakes, you’ll find both in this market so due diligence is required).
- Cu Chi Tunnels – Explore the tiny tunnels that were carved out by the Vietnamese during the war. It’s basically a mini city underground. You can try and see if you can fit in these tunnels but it is a tight fit! They also have tourist tunnels what means the same original tunnels that were just made bigger for everyone to fit. But be aware if you have a claustrophobia, better not to go through them. Cu Chi Tunnels is not exactly in Ho Chi Minh but is a good stop an hour or so away from the city. You can get here by a guided bus tour what can be a good option, or by your own using city buses and other public transport.