10 Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City if You Only Have One Day

10 Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City if You Only Have One Day

We've trimmed stuff down the places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City if you're short on time. Here are 10 attractions that cover history, food, shopping and nightlife.

Just one day in southern Vietnam’s busy Ho Chi Minh City is definitely not enough. But if you are short on time, you can still see many of the city’s unique and interesting landmarks. From museums to markets and bars, here are ten must-do activities to squeeze into your itinerary… Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City.

1. Enjoy a street-side breakfast

things to do in ho chi minh city

Image credit: Michelle Lee

With so much delicious food to choose from, it’s easy to start your day with a satisfying breakfast in the city. Have a hot bowl of pho or grab a banh mi on the go with a traditional coffee. At Banh Mi Hoa Ma, a little sandwich shop in District 3, Banh mi op la is the popular dish. A combination of fried eggs, meat and onions are served in a personal pan with a loaf of crispy baguette.

Also read: 5 Things to do in Ho Chi Minh Without Breaking the Bank

2. Delve into history at the War Remnants Museum

Image credit: Ross Huggett

Visit the War Remnants Museum for an eye-opening look at a very dark period of the country’s history. Relics of the Vietnam War can be seen here as well as photographs. Some images are confronting and not for the sensitive but nonetheless informative and moving.

3. Take a walk around the Independence Palace

Image credit: Garrett Ziegler

Also known as Reunification Palace, the rooms of this building offer another interesting glimpse into Vietnam’s past. Walk through the palace with a guide if you’d like to learn more about its history. Or simply have a quick look at this retro structure from the outside. The grounds of the building are pleasant to walk around too.

4. Drop by the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

things to do in ho chi minh city

Image credit: Polar

Head to another landmark structure in the city, Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception. Only a short walk from Independence Palace, the cathedral is a little bit of Paris right in the centre of Saigon.

5. Send a postcard from Saigon Central Post Office

things to do in ho chi minh city

Image credit: Paul Arps

Just opposite the cathedral, you can stop by the striking Saigon Central Post Office. A grand 19th-century building, its architecture is just as beautiful from the inside as it is from the outside. The building is a still a functioning post office so you could even send a postcard from here.

6. Hunt for hidden gems in Ben Thanh Street Food Market

Image credit: Alf Igel

Tuck into yummy snacks and drinks at this busy marketplace. There is lots of food to choose from and also many vendors selling local handicrafts, knick-knacks and souvenirs. Ben Thanh is a vibrant spot in the city and popular with tourists so it can get crowded. Prepare for lots of people, noise and come ready to bargain!

7. Visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda

things to do in ho chi minh city

Image credit: Glenn Forbes

Visit one of the most well-known temples in Ho Chi Minh City. The Taoist pagoda was built in 1909 by the Chinese community. Today, locals and tourist come here for a peaceful moment to pray or simply to see its colourful facade, unique statues and turtle pond.

8. Catch a performance in Saigon Opera House

things to do in ho chi minh city

Image credit: Keith Yahl

Ho Chi Minh’s Municipal Theatre is another example of beautiful French Colonial architecture in the city. If you have time, catch a performance here. The AO Show is especially popular, a captivating mix of bamboo cirque, dance, acrobatics and live music with folk instruments.

9. Marvel in the views from Bitexco Financial Tower Skydeck

things to do in ho chi minh city

Image credit: Anders Lejczak

For amazing views of Ho Chi Minh City, head to the Saigon Skydeck at Bitexco Financial Tower. The 68-storey high building was once the tallest in Vietnam and is still one of the most prominent landmarks in HCMC. You can watch the sun set over the busy city with a 360-degree panoramic view.

10. Wander along Bui Vien Street

Image credit: Nacho

Bui Vien is the famous backpacker street in Ho Chi Minh City. There are many shops, restaurants and drinking places to hang out at here and in the streets around this district. Bun Cha 145 is a popular restaurant along Bui Vien with delicious and cheap food!

Enjoy your time in Ho Chi Minh with history, shopping, food and nightlife. This bustling city has so much to offer!

About Author

Rebecca Mei Dook
Rebecca Mei Dook

Becca is a fan of impromptu travel, world cultures, ocean views and chocolate anything. When she's not travelling, you can find her either roaming the muddy paths of the English countryside or wandering around her favourite neighbourhoods in Singapore. After taking an AncestryDNA test, she now dreams about visiting all the places that make up her ethnicity.