Ho Chi Minh City was once touted to be the Diamond of the East. With its dynamic business environment and the late night entertainment venues, Ho Chi Minh is now an icon for a booming Vietnam. Yet if you prefer something more reserved, you can always find a quiet corner for Vietnamese black coffee or a tea-room with live jazz.
Start your day off with a quick glance at Ben Thanh market, the symbol of the city. Continue your way to Reunification Palace where South Saigon once stands. The palace reminds many past tourists of Versailles in Paris, with similar royal interior deco. Not far from the Reunification Palace is War Remnants Museum, where house war trophies and photographs documenting the War’s atrocities.
For lunch time, return to Ben Thanh market where a maze of food can be found. Try com tam bi suon, a famous local fare. This rice dish can fill you up until dinner unless you get caught up in a mid-afternoon snack, which is plentiful in District 1 area. If you are into more history, get on a motor-taxi or call a cab to the Thi Nghe Channel, where the History Museum and Military Museum stands. You can also take a walk around the nearby Botanic Gardens if you want to avoid the smog from the traffic.
Another direction for more historical knowledge is Nha Rong Pier, where Ho Chi Minh left the country to find the way to liberate the country. For dinner choice, you have the world to you in Ho Chi Minh City. District 1 is the best place for dining, which has almost everything from sushi to ravioli. After treating yourself with the dinner, you can walk around the shopping area of the City Post Office and the Notre Dame- where shopping malls line up one after another.
Cu Chi Tunnel Complex cannot be missed if you spend more than 2 days in Ho Chi Minh City. There are day trips available from Pham Ngu Lao street- the backpacker area. Prepare plenty of water and camera battery for the trip. Here you will have the opportunity to finally understand why Vietnam won the battle, surviving underground with just salt and cassava. In the late afternoon, you can take a quick look at Cho Lon area- which resembles much of a China town found in most capital cities in the world.
For dinner, try banh xeo at “An la ghien” restaurant at 74 Suong Nguyet Anh. If you want more options, go for the famous Quan An Ngon. Chances are that you will need to book your table in advance since the latter is constantly packed with people. The line sometimes goes to the Reunification Palace!
If you are with your family with children, head to Suoi Tien or Dam Sen theme park. These entertainment centers are among the most modern in Vietnam. They can easily take up your whole day just by walking around the park. If you prefer something more cultural, go to one of the many pagodas in town, such as Giac Vien, Xa Loi and Jade of Emperor.
Near or inside these restaurants, you can help yourself with a delicious vegan lunch done in Vietnamese style. Other than these options, you can do more shopping in district 1 area or hop on a cab for more shopping malls. Ho Chi Minh City is undoubtedly the best place for shopping in Vietnam.
Do not know which district to stay in? Check out our hotel list of Ho Chi Minh City!
Have only 1 days to spend in Ho Chi Minh City? Read our Day trips ideas!
Have 1 whole week for Ho Chi Minh City? Here is our suggestion.