Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is a vibrant and exciting city that offers something for everyone. As Vietnam's largest city, Saigon is packed full of Vietnamese history, culture, and the kind of crazy traffic you couldn't find anywhere else.

From delicious food to stunning architecture, there are plenty of things to see and do in this amazing city.

In this guide, we will explore 15 of the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City. Whether you're looking for cultural experiences or outdoor adventures, we have got you covered! So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Ho Chi Minh City right now!

1. Visit War Remnants Museum

 The War Remnants Museum
 The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City // Photo by DnDavis / Shutterstock 

The War Remnants Museum is a fascinating museum that provides a unique and eye-opening look at the Vietnam War. This museum is a must-see for anyone visiting Ho Chi Minh City. The exhibits provide detailed information about the war, as well as the current state of Vietnam.

What you can see at the War Remnants Museum:

  • Photographs and artifacts from the Vietnam War
  • Exhibits about the role of women during the war.
  • Information about Agent Orange and its effects on civilians and soldiers

Location: The War Remnants Museum is located at 28 Vo Van Tan, Ho Chi Minh City

War Remnants Museum
War Remnants Museum

The War Remnants Museum is an eye-opening and shocking experience that shows the cruelty of war in Vietnam which lasted for 2 decades and ended in 1975.

2. Explore the flora and fauna in Ho Chi Minh City Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Saigon Zoo has a number of things to do including a walk-in butterfly house.

The Ho Chi Minh City Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a great place to spend a day with the family. The zoo has a wide variety of animals, including elephants, tigers, and lions. The botanical gardens are home to beautiful plants and flowers from all over the world.

What you can see at Ho Chi Minh City Zoo and Botanical Gardens:

  • 590 animals of 125 species and 1,830 trees and plants of 260 species, some of which are over 100 years old
  • A variety of plants and flowers from all over the world

Location: 2 Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm, Bến Nghé, District 1

The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens
The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens

3. Tour the Reunification Palace

Independence Palace
Independence Palace in Ho Chi Minh City // Photo by Leonid Andronov / Shutterstock

The Reunification Palace (Independence palace) is a must-see for anyone visiting Ho Chi Minh City. This palace was the home of the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. This was also the place that marked the end of the Vietnam War when a North Vietnamese army tanker crashed through the main gate in 1975. It is now a museum that provides a fascinating look at life in South Vietnam during the war

What you can do at the Reunification Palace

  • Tour the palace and learn about how Southern people lived during the war
  • See exhibits about the fall of Saigon
  • Watch a short film about the reunification of Vietnam
  • Read some written documentation showing the horrific lengths that the American Army took in order to try and defeat the North Vietnamese Army.

Location: 141 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District Ho Chi Minh City

Reunification Palace
Reunification Palace

Famous for the events from 1975 that ended the Vietnam War, the palace has many spacious rooms and historical pieces worth a scrutiny.

4. Admire Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral landmark
Notre-Dame Cathedral landmark in Ho Chi Minh City // Photo by Take Photo / Shutterstock

Notre Dame Cathedral is a beautiful cathedral that was built in the late 1800s. This cathedral is one of Ho Chi Minh City's most famous landmarks and is a must-see for anyone visiting the city.

What you can see at Notre Dame Cathedral

  • The cathedral itself, which was built in the late 1800s
  • The interior of the cathedral, which is decorated with beautiful stained glass windows
  • The bell tower, which offers great views of Ho Chi Minh City

Location: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District One

Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral

A gothic-style cathedral originally built by the French using French material, now looked after by the Vietnamese and one of the centre points of Ho Chi Minh.

Do you know that Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most picturesque spots in Ho Chi Minh? Find out more of Saigon's most instagrammable spots!

5. Crawl through Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels
A guide demonstrating how a Vietcong hide into the Cu Chi Tunnel // Photo by Teo Boon Keng Alvin / Shutterstock

The Cu Chi Tunnels are a must-see for anyone visiting Ho Chi Minh City. These tunnels were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War as a way to move undetected around the city. Today, the tunnels have been turned into a museum that provides a fascinating look at life during the war.

What you can see at Cu Chi Tunnels

  • The tunnels themselves, which were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War
  • Exhibits about how the tunnels were used and their effects on the war
  • A firing range where you can try out different weapons from the period

Location: Cu Chi Tunnels are about 60 miles from Ho Chi Minh City and can be accessed by bus, taxi, or private car.

Cu Chi Tunnels
Cu Chi Tunnels

Hidden in the forest and spread underground for miles, Cu Chi tunnels are an engineering genius of historical importance that were used by Viet Cong to defeat the mighty USA army.

6. Visit Saigon Central Post Office

Saigon Central Post Office
Saigon Central Post Office on blue sky in Ho Chi Minh // Photo by Nguyen Quang Ngoc Tonkin / Shutterstock

The Central Post Office was built in the late 1800s. This beautifully preserved remnant of French colonial architecture is one of Ho Chi Minh City's most famous landmarks and is a must-see for anyone interested in Vietnamese culture.

What you can do at Central Post Office

  • Send postcards and packages from Ho Chi Minh City
  • Buy stamps and souvenirs
  • Take photos in front of the beautiful building

Location: Saigon Post Office is located at 2 Cong Xa Paris, next to Notre Dame Cathedral.

Central Post Office
Central Post Office

An iconic building with a 19th-century atmosphere and decors that provides modern days services.

7. Scale the Bitexco Financial Tower

Bitexco Financial Tower
Bitexco Financial Tower in Ho Chi Minh city // Photo by Spectral-Design / Shutterstock

The Bitexco Financial Tower is Ho Chi Minh City's 2nd tallest building at 269 m high and offers great views of the city from its helipad and observation deck on the 49th floor.

Consisting of 68 storeys, the Bitexco tower is also home to a number of restaurants and bars, making it the perfect place to spend an evening in Ho Chi Minh City.

What you can do at the Bitexco Financial Tower

  • Visit the observation deck and take in stunning views of Ho Chi Minh City
  • Eat delicious Vietnamese dishes at one of the restaurants or bars in the building
  • Shop at the ICON 68 mall located in the building
  • Watch the sunset on the 48th floor

Location: 68 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, District One.

Bitexco Financial Tower
Bitexco Financial Tower

With 68 floors, 262 meters high and a characteristic helipad Bitexco Tower is the most recognisable skyscraper in the center of Saigon.

8. Shopping in Ben Thanh market

Ben Thanh market is Ho Chi Minh City's most famous market and offers a wide variety of products for sale. This market is the perfect place to buy souvenirs or gifts for friends and family.

Be careful when shopping in Ben Thanh market as prices are negotiable, so always try to negotiate a lower price.

What you can find at Ben Thanh market

  • Souvenirs, including T-shirts, hats, and postcards
  • Gifts, including jewelry, paintings, and handicrafts
  • Electronics, including cameras, phones, and tablets
  • Clothes, including dresses, shirts, and pants

Location: Lê Lợi, Bến Thành ward, District 1

Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market

Located in District 1, this indoor market is an authentic shopping experience where you can find anything and everything.

9. Explore Binh Quoi tourist village - Saigon's hidden gem

Binh Quoi tourist village is one of Ho Chi Minh City's hidden gems. In fact, there are 3 villages located along the Saigon River that offer a number of activities for visitors, including picnics with barbeques, boat rides, and walking around the wonderfully manicured gardens.

For the best experience, we recommend Binh Quoi 2 as it is one of the most instagramable spots in Ho Chi Minh City.

What you can do at Binh Quoi tourist village

  • Hire a small rowing boat to paddle around parts of the Saigon River
  • Walk through the village
  • Enjoy a buffet meal of over 50 different dishes unique to the South of Vietnam.
  • Take photos of the giant Lilly pads and cute wooden bridges over the river.

Location: Binh Quoi 2, 1147 Binh Quoi, Ward 28, Binh Thanh District

Binh Quoi tourist village is located about 15 minutes from Ho Chi Minh City and can be accessed by taxi, motorbike, or private car.

Binh Quoi Tourist Village
Binh Quoi Tourist Village

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10. Travel to the Mekong Delta

Boat tour for tourists in the Mekong Delta near Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, Vietnam // Photo by Jochen Netzker / Shutterstock

The Mekong Delta is located about two hours from Ho Chi Minh City and offers a look at rural Vietnam. This area is known for its rice paddies, canals, and floating markets, which make for an interesting day trip from Ho Chi Minh City.

What you can do in the Mekong Delta

  • Take a boat ride through the canals
  • Visit a rice paddy and learn about how rice is grown
  • Sample local delicacies, including fresh fruit and seafood dishes
  • Shop at the floating markets

Location: The Mekong Delta is located about two hours from Ho Chi Minh City. There are a number of tour operators who offer day trips to the Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh City.

Cai Be Floating Market
Cai Be Floating Market

Cai Be market has shrunk significantly since it was first opened, but it is still a relaxing boat tour where you can shop for flowers and other goods, watch locals living by the river, and visit local orchards.

If you want a more adventurous trip, check out our articles on city parks and trekking destinations in Saigon!

11. Try a Vietnamese massage

Vietnamese young woman enjoying head massage
Vietnamese young woman enjoying head massage in spa salon // Photo by Dragon Images / Shutterstock

A Vietnamese massage is a great way to relax after a long day of sightseeing. This type of massage uses pressure and stretching techniques, which can be quite painful but are said to be very effective in relieving tension headaches and other aches and pains. Prices start from around US$12 per hour.

What you can expect from a Vietnamese massage

  • You will be covered with a sheet and the therapist will use oil to massage your body
  • The therapist will use pressure and stretching techniques on your body
  • The massage usually lasts for one hour

Location: There are a number of massage parlours in Ho Chi Minh City which offer Vietnamese massages.

12. Get wet in Suoi Tien and Dam Sen theme park

 Suoi Tien
People in outdoor swimming pool in children water park and historical theme amusement park Suoi Tien // Photo by Denis Moskvinov / Shutterstock

Suoi Tien and Dam Sen theme park are Ho Chi Minh City's two main water parks. These parks offer a number of activities for visitors, including swimming, sliding down the slides, and playing in the children's area.

What you can do at Suoi Tien and Dam Sen theme park

  • Slide down the water slides
  • Take pictures of Vietnam's legendary figures and staff dressing up for entertainment
  • Ride on the amusement park rides and roller coasters
  • Enjoy 4D short films and aquariums

Location

Suoi Tien theme park: 120 XL Hà Nội, Thủ Đức city (formerly District 9, HCMC).

Suoi Tien Theme Park
Suoi Tien Theme Park

Dam Sen theme park: 262 Lạc Long Quân, Ward 5, District 11.

Dam Sen Water Park
Dam Sen Water Park

13. Walk on Nguyen Hue walking street

Nguyen Hue walking street
Nguyen Hue walking street and flower street during Lunar New Year at downtown of Ho Chi Minh City // Photo by Sing Studio / Shutterstock

Nguyen Hue street is Ho Chi Minh City's most popular walking street. Located just in front of the Saigon Opera House, this avenue is closed to traffic on weekend nights and offers a range of activities for visitors, including live music performances, food stalls that sell street food, and shopping.

What you can do on Nguyen Hue street

  • Enjoy live music performances
  • Sample Vietnamese cuisine from the street food stalls
  • Shop for souvenirs at the many stores and boutiques

Location: Nguyen Hue street is located in Ben Nghe ward, District One.

Nguyen Hue Promenade
Nguyen Hue Promenade

Nguyen Hue Street is a lively pedestrian-only place with elegant colonial architecture and a famous "cafe apartment" building.

If you like street food, use our guide to find the best traditional Vietnamese noodle soup.

14. Grab a drink at Bui Vien backpacker street

 Bui Vien Walking Street is popular among tourists and backpackers with numerous restaurants and bars // Photo by Simon Poon / Shutterstock

Bui Vien backpacker street is Ho Chi Minh City's most famous nightlife district. This area is home to a number of bars, clubs, and restaurants and is the place to go if you're looking for a party. Showcasing a more modern Vietnam, Bui Vien is conveniently located just minutes away from the infamous Pham Ngu Lao Street. Both areas are known for great restaurants and street food.

Into food? Try our roundup of the best restaurants and street food in HCMC.

What you can expect on Bui Vien street

  • An excellent culinary experience of Vietnamese food and drinks in a wide range of bars, clubs, and restaurants
  • Lots of people looking to have a good time
  • Prices for drinks and food are usually more expensive than in other parts of the city

Location: Bui Vien backpacker street is located in Pham Ngu Lao ward, District One.

Bui Vien Backpacker Street
Bui Vien Backpacker Street

Bui Vien backpacker street in the center of Saigon, packed with bars and clubs with loud music is loved equally by locals and foreigners.

15. Invite friends to rooftop bars

Rooftop bar in Ho Chi Minh City // Photo by Lukas Bischoff Photograph / Shutterstock

Ho Chi Minh City has a number of trendy rooftop bars that offer great views of the city. These bars are usually expensive but can be a fun place to spend an evening with friends.

What you can expect at Ho Chi Minh City's rooftop bars

  • A relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere
  • Great views of the cityscape
  • Expensive drinks and food

Location: Some of Ho Chi Minh City's most popular rooftop bars include The lighthouse, Glow Skybar Saigon, Skyxx Garden & Lounge

Related article: 10 best rooftop bars in Ho Chi Minh City

Where should I stay when I visit Ho Chi Minh City?

There are many amazing hotels to stay at while in Ho Chi Minh City, see our roundup of the best Saigon hotels, from luxury to budget.

Conclusion

There are plenty of things to do in Ho Chi Minh City, from exploring the city's sights and sounds to relaxing with a massage or enjoying a drink at one of the city's many bars and clubs. So whatever type of holiday you're looking for, Ho Chi Minh City is sure to have something to offer.

Survival Guide To Ho Cho Minh City

If you're wondering how to get around the city, our guide to Saigon transport has you covered.

If you're looking for accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City, check out these awesome rooftop pools for some great ideas on where to drink, stay, and party with friends.

In case Hanoi capital is your next destination, be sure to check out things to do in Hanoi to plan your trip to perfection!