Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam

Image for Opera House showing a city, a skyscraper and night scenes

Visit Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam’s biggest metropolis is a buzzing cosmopolitan destination where its French heritage is still on display alongside its traditional oriental charm.

Better known to past generations as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City has witnessed conflict and upheaval throughout its history. Its complex heritage is nowhere better seen today than on the city’s skyline. Look up and you’ll see newly-built skyscrapers towering over 19th century European-style architecture; Buddhist temples alongside cathedrals; even modern coffee shops next door to traditional tea houses.

The city’s most historic district, District 1, lies on the western bank of the Saigon River. It is here that you can walk around the Reunification Palace, the Central Post Office and the Ho Chi Minh Notre Dame Cathedral. When Saigon was a French colony, its occupiers made their mark on the city and the impressive 19th century architecture in this part of town is testament to that European influence. Nearby, you can enjoy a stroll through Tao Dan Park or head north to visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda. Visitors still flock here to this day, and you’ll find many fine hotels amid the attractions.

For a more relaxed atmosphere away from the centre of the city, spend some time at the Dam Sen Water Park and the surrounding park complex. Further afield, explore the Chi Chi Tunnels used in the Vietnam War. Modern-day Ho Chi Minh City may have transformed dramatically, but the scars of the war are still felt, evidenced at the War Remnants Museum which attracts more than half a million visitors each year and is among the most visited spots in the country.

When night falls, take advantage of the cooler conditions and explore the centre of the city. Around Districts 1 and 3 try a steaming bowl of pho (rice noodle soup) and enjoy a chilled Bia Hoi, the fresh local beer available in these parts. If you’re looking for bargains to take home with you, check out the Ben Thanh Night Market.

Getting around Ho Chi Minh City is easy and cheap, but take care when on the roads as visitors can find themselves overwhelmed by just how frantic the traffic – and especially the motorbikes – can be. By day the city is typically hot and humid, but many buildings have air conditioning and there are plenty of shady spots where you can escape and unwind.

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City

Bui Thi Xuan showing a city and street scenes

Bui Thi Xuan

4/5Very Good!(40 area reviews)

A very popular commercial hub in Ho Chi Minh City, this spot has a lively mix of technology stores, fancy bars and restaurants and luxurious hotels.

Bui Thi Xuan

Top hotels in Ho Chi Minh City

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hotel Nikko Saigon
Hotel Nikko Saigon
5 out of 5
235 Nguyen Van Cu Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
NZ$174
per night
Feb 1 - Feb 2

Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tu Du Hospital and Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area. Bui Vien Walking Street ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (2,055 reviews)

"service was very good, the building was clean. I enjoyed my time there."…"

Reviewed on 16 Jan. 2020

Hotel Nikko Saigon
ibis Saigon Airport
ibis Saigon Airport
4 out of 5
2 Hong Ha Street, Ward 2, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City
NZ$103
per night
Feb 11 - Feb 12

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace and Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica. Saigon Central Post ...

4.3/5Excellent! (959 reviews)

"Nice pool and bar area, comfortable beds with good tv choices. Close to airport and efficient transfer facilities."…"

Reviewed on 22 Jan. 2020

ibis Saigon Airport
Pullman Saigon Centre
Pullman Saigon Centre
5 out of 5
148 Tran Hung Dao St Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh City
NZ$169
per night
Feb 16 - Feb 17

Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, this luxury hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, Opera House and 30-4 Park. Saigon Zoo and Botanic ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (702 reviews)

"The great service of the bar and restraint staff downstairs! It was amazing!"…"

Reviewed on 26 Jan. 2020

Pullman Saigon Centre

Popular things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Ben Thanh Market
Image for Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market

4/5(237 reviews)

No trip to Ho Chi Minh City is complete without exploring this bustling market where you can enjoy a traditional Vietnamese dish or purchase souvenirs.

Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area
Image for Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area

Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area

3.5/5(77 reviews)

Known as the city’s main backpacker area, the streets of Pham Ngu Lao are lined with great value restaurants, colorful markets and lively bars.

War Remnants Museum
Image for War Remnants Museum

War Remnants Museum

4/5(192 reviews)

Find out about the history of the Vietnam war from a Vietnamese perspective in this interesting museum based in a former American administration office.

Opera House
Image for Opera House

Opera House

4/5(110 reviews)

This stunning theater, with its glistening white architecture and curved lines, makes it easy to forget that you are in Ho Chi Minh City and not in Paris.

Independence Palace
Image for Independence Palace

Independence Palace

4/5(165 reviews)

Get an appreciation for the years of conflict and unrest that plagued Vietnam during the 20th century at this fascinating palace.

Saigon Central Post Office
Image for Saigon Central Post Office

Saigon Central Post Office

4/5(174 reviews)

Make sure you write your postcards in Ho Chi Minh City, as it’s a great excuse to visit the city’s stunning 19th-century post office.

Top activities in Ho Chi Minh City

Luxury-Group Half-Day Tour of Cu Chi Tunnels
Image for Luxury-Group Half-Day Tour of Cu Chi Tunnels

Luxury-Group Half-Day Tour of Cu Chi Tunnels

NZ$29

Escape the bustle of the city to explore rural scenery of Southern Vietnam and get an up-close look at the famous Cu Chi Tunnels in Southern Vietnam. Learn about the lives of Vietnamese soldiers by going for a subterranean stroll through the tunnels, and get the chance to fire guns from the Vietnam War era at a nearby shooting range.

Mekong Delta Tour W/ Vinh Trang Pagoda, Rowing-Boat & Lunch
Image for Mekong Delta Tour W/ Vinh Trang Pagoda, Rowing-Boat & Lunch

Mekong Delta Tour W/ Vinh Trang Pagoda, Rowing-Boat & Lunch

NZ$38

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking river wonderland of the Mekong Delta, located only 2 hours drive from Ho Chi Minh City. This experience is exclusively crafted by our guides who are native to the region, so that you will experience the true local vibes of the area, and be away from the crowds of tourists.

Cu Chi Tunnels: Morning or Afternoon Guided Small-Group Tour
Image for Cu Chi Tunnels: Morning or Afternoon Guided Small-Group Tour

Cu Chi Tunnels: Morning or Afternoon Guided Small-Group Tour

NZ$31

Imagine spending your days living in underground tunnels, only able to come out at night when the sun is down - that's what the people of Cu Chi did nearly 50 years ago during the Vietnam War.

Small-Group Authentic Mekong Delta Tour by Luxury Speedboat
Image for Small-Group Authentic Mekong Delta Tour by Luxury Speedboat

Small-Group Authentic Mekong Delta Tour by Luxury Speedboat

NZ$165

Nicknamed 'the rice bowl of Vietnam,' the fertile Mekong Delta provides work, food and shelter for much of Vietnam's population. On your full-day tour, you'll explore some of the delta's vast network of channels and canals by speedboat.

Small Group Small Mekong Floating Market-Kayak-Cooking Class
Image for Small Group Small Mekong Floating Market-Kayak-Cooking Class

Small Group Small Mekong Floating Market-Kayak-Cooking Class

NZ$60

Weave through scores of boats loaded with bright piles of freshly picked produce and neatly folded stacks of new clothes. Barter with vendors for unique souvenirs and watch the interactions between locals at this fascinating floating market.

Saigon Airport Transfer
Image for Saigon Airport Transfer

Saigon Airport Transfer

NZ$7

From Tan Son Nhat International Airport to city central in Ho Chi Minh takes about 30 minutes. Private 4 -seat car transfers is available with comfortable seats and experienced driver. All transfers are facilitated in comfortable seats with air conditioner.

Reviews of Ho Chi Minh City

4.1

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
179
5 - Excellent 36.08870967741935%
4 - Good
234
4 - Good 47.17741935483871%
3 - Okay
63
3 - Okay 12.701612903225806%
2 - Disappointing
15
2 - Disappointing 3.024193548387097%
1 - Terrible
5
1 - Terrible 1.0080645161290323%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 18, 2020

LOVED the local food!!! Give yourself enough time to be able to get out and explore around the city. Select tour's that suit you and your budget. Can be confusing with all the different Rates.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 18, 2020

Busy busy busy but that's what we found exciting, very cheap to eat and drink and very friendly locals

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jan 17, 2020

Bustling. Hot from late morning onwards. Great food. Don't miss the War Remnants Museum, grim but well done - most people there were in stunned silence.

4/5 - Good

Leo

Jan 16, 2020

Go on the XO food tour. It was exceptional.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jan 6, 2020

The old Saigon ( district 1 ) is an area where there are good, big hotels that cater for westeners. The streets have many people who want to shine your shoes, sell you a coconut or sunglasses. These people often will not take "no" for an answer.

5/5 - Excellent

Tom

Jan 5, 2020

This is a busy intense city with so much happening. The people are fantastic and I will vigorously recommending it to anyone visiting Vietnam

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