Top Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh: A 3D2N Guide to The City Formerly Known as Saigon

Top Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh: A 3D2N Guide to The City Formerly Known as Saigon

Famously known for being Vietnam’s biggest city and business capital, Ho Chi Minh City is a dizzying spectacle of modern hustle and bustle and traditional sights.

Known for being Vietnam’s biggest city and business capital, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is a dizzying spectacle of modern development, flashy neon signs, busy districts and towering skyscrapers, with attractions that centre around 20th-century events of war and conquest.

With elements of the past like restored French architecture and American warplanes, expect surprises just around the corner.

This 3D2N guide is here to help take you through the dynamic streets of Saigon as you venture forth in search of prominent attractions.


Day 1 – A cultural experience

 Image credit: Bgabel

Travellers in Saigon might commonly be directed towards the Binh Tay Market, one of the most frequently visited attractions. Constructed by the French in the 1880s, this huge hotspot is located in the heart of Vietnam’s largest Chinatown district (Thap Muoi, District 6). With an extensive range of fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat and seafood from regions across Vietnam, it’s a local experience that gets you up close with everyday life in Saigon. This spot is open daily from 8 am to 9 pm.

 Image credit: Christopher

Thien Hau Temple (Pagoda), which is also located in the Chinatown area (District 5) of Ho Chi Minh City is a remnant of culture and heritage which was built back in the 19th century and is dedicated to the Lady of the Sea. The exterior of the pagoda might not look like much but the interior contains intricate details as well as carvings and colourful but weathered sculpture reliefs are carved on the upper roof section of the temple. Entrance is free and it opens from 8 am to 4.30 pm daily.

 Image credit: Atlas Dining

Up for some grub? Bột Chiên Đạt Thành offers some of the best-known dishes in the area of Võ Văn Tần. The local favourite is known as bot chien (VND 26,000), a crispy fried rice flour dish made with egg and green papaya. It’s reminiscent of Malaysian or Singaporean style food, with a texture that’s quite similar to fried carrot cake.   

Day 2 – Past and Present

 Image credit: Prenn

Head over to the War Remnants Museum for a sobering look at history. Details within this attraction focus mainly on the 30-year-long war between America and Vietnam, featuring immaculately preserved tanks, planes and other war machines. Inside, written documentation and exhibits portray atrocities that were committed during the war. Think of them as, among other things, a lesson for mankind. The museum can be found at 28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, and is open daily from 7.30 am to 9 pm.

 Image credit: Tri Nguyen

Let’s move on to the Bitexco Financial Tower, a glimmering structure that is probably Ho Chi Minh’s most recognisable building, standing out amidst the city’s skyline due to its sheer length and modern design. There’s plenty to do here but what most visitors likely drop by for is a preview of the amazing views at the top. The Saigon Skydeck is located on the 49th floor and features an observation deck, while Eon Café on the 50th floor also offers a fantastic view of the city skyline. The Skydeck entrance fee is 200,000 VND.

 Image credit: Leezeats

Next, stop by Cơm gà xối mỡ Su Su (located at 1067 Hoàng Sa, phường 11) and check out some “waterfall chicken” which gets its name from the way it’s cooked. Hot oil (around 180°C) is showered down from the top of an innovative machine onto poached chicken wings or thighs, which creates a supremely crispy layer of skin. Expect to pay about 42,000 VND per order. It’s open from 10.30 am to 9.30 pm daily.

Day 3 – Grand Landmarks

 Image credit: William Cho


Let’s go through some of the most historically significant attractions in Saigon, starting with the Notre Dame Cathedral which was built in the late 1880s by French colonists. It’s one of the few remaining strongholds of Catholicism in a largely Buddhist Vietnam. The landmark is located in Paris Square and bears the glorious architecture of its era. This spot is open daily from 8 am to 9 pm.

 Image credit: TomW712


Another attraction that’s in line with the era of French colonialism is the Opera House theatre built in 1897. This structure (located on the prestigious Dong Khoi street) has been beautifully preserved. The Opera House also hosts performances of traditional Vietnamese dances using bamboo. Prices range from 504,000 VND – 1,176,000 VND for show tickets.

 Image credit: Stu_spivack

Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa is a super-popular banh mi stall which features the Vietnamese version of the French baguette, a sandwich that you might find is often hailed as being one of the best in the world. It’s so popular that you should head over rather early in order to avoid long queues. You can find this place at 26 Lê Thị Riêng, Bến Thành, and it opens daily from 2,30 pm to 11 pm. Expect to pay 35,000 VND per banh mi.

In HCMC, look forward to intriguing experiences, glimpses of rich culture and an insight into some of history’s darker moments (you must have heard of the Vietnam war). Use this 3D2N guide as a reference for seeing and doing as much as you can while you’re visiting this destination.

About Author


Trying to get Rauf’s attention? Just say one word…roadtrip! Coming from an international background, he’s always felt at home in the midst of different people and cultures. Whether discovering historical gems or indulging in awesome food, he feels out of place if he’s not ‘out of place’ at least once a month. With a broad array of interest, Rauf likes to bask in knowledge, read, write, box, cook, look at art and have deep deep discussions on mind-altering topics.


Related Posts