Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam

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!(43 area reviews)

Bui Thi Xuan is popular for its abundant dining options, and you can check out Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area, a top attraction in the neighbourhood.

Bui Thi Xuan

Top hotels in Ho Chi Minh City

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Rex Hotel
Rex Hotel
5 out of 5
141 Nguyen Hue Blvd, Ho Chi Minh City
The price is NZ$182 per night

This family-friendly Ho Chi Minh City hotel is located in the entertainment district, steps away from Dong Khoi Shopping Street, Ho Chi Minh City Hall and Saigon ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,143 reviews)

"Great location, beautiful building, rooms and plenty of amenities including a pool and workout room"…"

Reviewed on 25 Mar. 2020

Rex Hotel
Winsuites Saigon
Winsuites Saigon
4 out of 5
28-30-32 Le Lai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Free cancellation
The price is NZ$73 per night

Located in District 1, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Ben Thanh Market, Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area and Saigon Square. Bui Vien Walking Street and ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (66 reviews)

"Good hotel, currently have construction site in front so the view is not pretty"…"

Reviewed on 4 May 2020

Winsuites Saigon
Amura Hotel Thu Duc
Amura Hotel Thu Duc
3 out of 5
53 duong so 18, Phuong Hiep Binh Chanh, Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh City
The price is NZ$11 per night

Situated in Ho Chi Minh City, this hotel is 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Van Thanh Tourist Park and 3 mi (4.8 km) from Consulate Area. Saigon Square and Ben Thanh Market ...

2.6/5 (5 reviews)

"Bad experience shoudn't booked this hotel from photo look normal but actual onsite is terrible. Wifi not working well / fridge in the was not connected to power outle plug missing no one cares.Room are dirty floor full of stain mark."…"

Reviewed on 12 Mar. 2020

Amura Hotel Thu Duc

Popular places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City

Ben Thanh Market
Image for Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market

4/5(253 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(85 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(203 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(117 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.

Saigon Central Post Office
Image for Saigon Central Post Office

Saigon Central Post Office

4/5(186 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.

Independence Palace
Image for Independence Palace

Independence Palace

4/5(175 reviews)

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

Top activities in Ho Chi Minh City

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$28
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
Cu Chi Tunnels Half-day Tour by Luxury Speedboat
Image for Cu Chi Tunnels Half-day Tour by Luxury Speedboat

Cu Chi Tunnels Half-day Tour by Luxury Speedboat

NZ$129
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
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$30
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend
Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta VIP Tour from Ho Chi Minh city
Image for Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta VIP Tour from Ho Chi Minh city

Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta VIP Tour from Ho Chi Minh city

NZ$70
Per adult
92% of travellers recommend
Full Day Mekong Delta Cruise & Tour
Image for Full Day Mekong Delta Cruise & Tour

Full Day Mekong Delta Cruise & Tour

NZ$53
Per adult
84% of travellers recommend
Saigon to Dalat
Image for Saigon to Dalat

Saigon to Dalat

NZ$554
Per adult

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