What to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Activities, attractions and tours
Opera House which includes theatre scenes, a city and night scenes

Ho Chi Minh City Attractions

Vietnam’s largest and most energetic metropolis, Ho Chi Minh City is home to everything from chic designer malls and glass skyscrapers to ancient temples, pagodas and local markets. Boasting a vibrant nightlife, unbeatable food scene and great shopping, the city has more than enough to keep you busy during your stay in Vietnam. Explore Ho Chi Minh City’s museums, monuments and religious sites, party the night away in one of bars or clubs on Pham Ngu Lao Street or jump on a bike and experience this dazzling city on two wheels.

Areas & Neighbourhoods in Ho Chi Minh City

District 1 – District 1 is the most central and action packed area of Ho Chi Minh City. Full of bars, clubs, restaurants and shopping areas, the district is the perfect destination for an unforgettable night out. Explore the evocative streets of the French Quarter, shop for bargains in Ben Thanh Market or learn about the country’s recent past at Reunification Palace.

Cholon – Located in District 5, Cholon is Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown. Bursting with life and boasting a fantastic choice of authentic eateries, spend a day exploring the area’s traditional Chinese charm and sampling its many culinary delights.

District 3 – Young, vibrant and packed full of coffee shops, bars and independent shops, District three is popular with Ho Chi Minh City’s students and young professionals. Explore the district’s parks, people watch from one of the many cafes or shop for bargains in the area’s many fashion boutiques.

Cu Chi – The main reason to visit this outlying district of Ho Chi Minh City is the Cu Chi Tunnels. A vast network of underground chambers and passageways, the tunnels will give you a glimpse into what life was like in the city during the Vietnam War.

Things to See in Ho Chi Minh City

Most of Ho Chi Minh City’s sights and attractions are located in the centre of the city. In District 1 you’ll find the iconic Reunification Palace, the fascinating War Remnants Museum, the magnificent Saigon Post Office and the 19th century Notre Dame Cathedral. The atmospheric streets of the French Quarter are also well worth a few hours of your time during your stay in the city, while no trip to Vietnam’s capital would be complete without a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels.

Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

Whether you’re interested in history, food, nightlife or culture, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy in Ho Chi Minh City. Join a street food tour to learn more about Vietnam’s cuisine, explore the restaurants markets and alleyways of Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown, meet locals and travellers in the bars around Pham Ngu Lao Street or learn about the country’s history and culture in one of Ho Chi Minh City many excellent museums and galleries. If you’re feeling especially brave, rent a bike or moped and explore this high octane city like a local.

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Top places to visit

1. War Remnants Museum

Housed in a former American administration building, the War Remnants Museum contains exhibitions that are designed to show the effects of the Vietnam War on the Vietnamese people. It was opened only a few months after the end of the war and used to be known as the Museum of US and Puppet War Crimes. While many of the exhibits have an anti-American slant, the museum’s main goal is to show the horrors of war.
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War Remnants Museum showing interior views

2. Ben Thanh Market

Bến Thành Market is the oldest surviving market in Ho Chi Minh City and one of Vietnam’s top destinations. It is a must-see for anyone visiting this 300-year-old city. Explore the colorful stalls and buy food, souvenirs and clothing from the local vendors.
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Ben Thanh Market showing shopping and markets

3. Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area

Stroll along Pham Ngu Lao’s traditional streets and stop off at the small, local cafés, friendly backpacker bars and shops selling local treats like sugary coconut candies and tropical fruits. Stay at a welcoming guesthouse and swap tales and tips with other travelers and then head out in the evening to experience some of the city’s best nightlife.
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Pham Ngu Lao which includes a garden and street scenes

4. Saigon Zoo and Botanic Garden

Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden is Vietnam’s largest zoo and one of the oldest zoos in the world. The park is home to more than a hundred species of plants and animals. Visit the creatures that call this place home or enjoy a peaceful walk through the fragrant gardens.
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Saigon Zoo and Botanic Garden which includes a park and zoo animals

5. Opera House

Whether you are a cultural enthusiast or simply appreciate beautiful architecture, the Saigon Opera House is a sight not to be missed. Also known as The Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, this gleaming white landmark is a visual reminder that Saigon was the capital of French Indochina at the turn of the 20th century.
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Opera House showing theatre scenes, heritage architecture and street scenes

6. Saigon River

See the iconic houses on stilts on the banks of the Saigon River and enjoy views of some of the city’s most famous buildings from a boat cruise. Explore the villages and canals of the Mekong Delta where migratory birds live among the thick mangroves.
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Saigon River showing a river or creek, a city and boating

7. Ho Chi Minh City Hall

Stand back and admire the superb façade of the Ho Chi Minh City Hall with its high clock tower, arched windows and stylish engravings. Wander around the pretty gardens and get a photo beside the statue of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary leader.
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Dong Khoi Street showing a castle, a park and night scenes

8. Dong Khoi Street

Spend a day on busy Dong Khoi Street and hunt for luxury items in grand department stores, eat in classy cafés and marvel at beautiful examples of 19th-century architecture.
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Dong Khoi Street which includes heritage architecture and night scenes

Popular places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City

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