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Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam: A two-day guide

By Rose Munday 22 January 2020

As the only city in Vietnam to rival Hanoi in size, Ho Chi Minh is jam-packed with attractions. Not only is it the best place in the world to learn about the Vietnam War, but it’s alive with bustling local culture as well. Markets, temples, and diverse neighbourhoods characterise busy Ho Chi Minh, while Walking Street has some of the best nightlife in Asia. While you could spend weeks in Ho Chi Minh, don’t panic if you only have a couple of days—there’s plenty to do in a short time as well.

Day 1: Morning

Explore the city by foot or try out a motorbike tour. You'll discover that Ho Chi Minh is heavily influenced by its past colonial rulers when you explore the Catholic churches and French architecture.

Must-see attractions include the Jade Emperor Pagoda, the Reunification Palace, the City Palace, the Opera House, and the Central Post Office. To pack in as much as possible in a limited time frame, we’d highly recommend a scooter tour of Ho Chi Minh with a local guide. After all, no one knows Ho Chi Minh better than its residents!

Day 1: Evening 

Once the sun goes down, why not treat your tastebuds to a Ho Chi Minh food tour? There are so many delectable Vietnamese foods unique to southern Vietnam including com tam (sticky pork ribs with rice and a gooey fried egg), bun mam (seafood noodles with chilli and lime) and bánh xèo (prawn and pork omelette). Whether you decide to travel with a guide or roam the night markets yourself in search of sustenance, you can’t go wrong with fresh, flavoursome Vietnamese food.

Once you’ve lined your stomach with tasty Saigon cuisine, wander along Walking Street and see what bars take your fancy. From stylish cocktail bars and all-night clubs to cheap and cheerful student pubs, there’s something for all budgets. If you’re feeling flashy, head up to EON51 Bar at the top of the Bitexco Financial Tower. Here you can sip cocktails from VND220,000 while looking down at Ho Chi Minh lit up at night. What better way to end the day?

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Day 2: Morning

Get up early and take a tour of the Ho Chi Minh Cu Chi Tunnels. Since it is quite difficult to reach this countryside attraction by public transport; we recommend enlisting the help of a local tour guide to help navigate to the location and understand the history of the tunnels.

During the Vietnamese War, this complex underground labyrinth was a hideout for Vietnamese soldiers. You’ll be shocked by how tight the tunnels are, designed so that American soldiers were unable to infiltrate them. Of all the things to do in Ho Chi Minh, this is for sure the most eye-opening and humbling.

Day 2: Afternoon

After an emotional morning, unwind and have some fun at the Saigon Waterpark or Saigon Heritage Spa. Đầm Sen Water Park boasts slides, games, pools, lounges and cafés—everything you need for a sunny afternoon escaping the heat of the city. Alternatively, Saigon Heritage Spa is the best place for massages and pampering treatments. Right in the heart of the stylish Bến Nghé neighbourhood, this quiet and peaceful salon offers manis, pedis, facials, and massages at prices you’ll never find at home!

Optional: Day 3

One of the most popular Ho Chi Minh activities is visiting the Mekong Delta. This green and glorious region is home to wildlife and plant life only found in this part of the world. Getting from Ho Chi Minh to the Mekong Delta can be tricky on its own, which is why we recommend a day trip or overnight trip.

If you plan on journeying to Cambodia, you can choose to take a three-day boat trip on the Mekong, stopping at local homestays as you explore the beauty of the Delta. You can expect wild scenery and bustling floating markets on stilts all there to welcome you.

Rose Munday

Contributor

Rose is a 20-something traveller and blogger originally from the UK and now based around the world. One of the resident bloggers of TripGuru, she's been to more than 50 countries and loves sharing her tips and inspiration about all things travel.

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