Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam

Image for Opera House showing a city, a skyscraper and night scenes

Vietnam's largest city, with its stunning French and Chinese architecture, is a fast-paced city, home to lively markets and motorbikes that throng the streets.

Ho Chi Minh City, often still referred to as Saigon, is a buzzing city of culture and commerce set against the backdrop of stunning 19-century colonial architecture. Wander through the streets to see how traditional and modern live side by side in this energetic urban environment. A difficult history of conflict from French colonisation through to the Vietnam War is clearly evident in the city's architecture and museums.

From spectacular temples in the Buddhist and Taoist tradition to magnificent cathedrals built entirely with materials sourced from France, Vietnam's largest city is rich in spiritual culture too.

Ho Chi Minh City is divided into districts with District 1, the most tourist-friendly, located on the western bank of the Saigon River. Explore the area, making sure to pay a visit to the Reunification Palace, the Central Post Office as well as Notre Dame Cathedral. The magnificent boulevards and elegant villas of District 1 in particular are evidence of an era of French colonisation. There a multitude of hotels to choose from here also, meaning that attractions such as Tao Dan Park and the Jade Emperor Pagoda are all within a reasonable distance.

If you'd like to escape the tropical heat for the day, a visit to the Dam Sen Water Park is a must with fun-filled rides and slides for all the family. Alternatively, leave the humidity and motorbike-filled boulevards behind for a while and venture outside the city to experience some of Vietnam's history. Visit the infamous Củ Chi Tunnels, an underground system used by the Viet Cong in the war, while the War Remnants Museum depicts the chilling barbarity of the Vietnam conflict.

At nightfall, temperatures drop to a more comfortable level, which makes it a great time to walk around the city centre. Explore the streets of districts 1 and 3 and their diverse selection of shops, restaurants and bars. This is the perfect time to try some shopping in Ben Thanh Night Market, followed by some top-notch pho (rice noodle soup) and a freshly chilled Bia Hoi, the local beer.

Temperatures can get pretty high in Ho Chi Minh City but many buildings are air-conditioned and there are plenty of shaded city parks where you can take refuge from the sun. It is cheap and easy to make your way around the city, although do be careful as motorbikes tend to whiz around literally everywhere!

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!(41 area reviews)

Bui Thi Xuan

Top hotels in Ho Chi Minh City

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hotel Nikko Saigon
Hotel Nikko Saigon
5 out of 5
235 Nguyen Van Cu Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
AU$195
per night
Feb 28 - Feb 29

Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tu Du Hospital and Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area. Bui Vien Walking Street ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (2,054 reviews)

"I had no idea how lovely this hotel was going to be when i booked it so it absolutely floored us from the minute we walked in the door and were greeted so warmly. We had a great time. The service is impeccable, the room was beautiful, clean, very comfortable and had a great city view. The pool was ..."…"

Reviewed on 11 Feb. 2020

Hotel Nikko Saigon
ibis Saigon Airport
ibis Saigon Airport
4 out of 5
2 Hong Ha Street, Ward 2, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City
AU$102
per night
Mar 10 - Mar 11

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace and Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica. Saigon Central Post ...

4.3/5Excellent! (982 reviews)

"Nice, clean and modern facilities. Could not hear a single plane from the room."…"

Reviewed on 19 Feb. 2020

ibis Saigon Airport
Liberty Central Saigon Riverside
Liberty Central Saigon Riverside
4 out of 5
17 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
AU$109
per night
Feb 29 - Mar 1

Located in Dong Khoi, this spa hotel is steps away from Dong Khoi Shopping Street and Saigon River. Bitexco Financial Tower and Opera House are also within 10 ...

4.4/5Excellent! (1,620 reviews)

"Great location, knowledgeable and helpful staff, room was comfortable and clean"…"

Reviewed on 20 Feb. 2020

Liberty Central Saigon Riverside

Popular activities in Ho Chi Minh City

Ben Thanh Market
Image for Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market

4/5(244 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(81 reviews)

Backpackers flock here for the hawker food stalls, the affordable cafes and hotels, cheap merchandise and handy bus connections.

War Remnants Museum
Image for War Remnants Museum

War Remnants Museum

4/5(196 reviews)

A sobering collection of artillery, documentation and graphic exhibitions depict the effects of the Vietnam War.

Opera House
Image for Opera House

Opera House

4/5(113 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.

Independence Palace
Image for Independence Palace

Independence Palace

4/5(170 reviews)

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

Saigon Central Post Office
Image for Saigon Central Post Office

Saigon Central Post Office

4/5(180 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.

Top activities in Ho Chi Minh City

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

90% of travellers recommend
AU$28
Per adult
Mekong Delta Tour W/ Vinh Trang Pagoda, Rowing-Boat & Lunch
Image for Mekong Delta Tour W/ Vinh Trang Pagoda, Rowing-Boat & Lunch

Mekong Delta Tour W/ Vinh Trang Pagoda, Rowing-Boat & Lunch

88% of travellers recommend
AU$37
Per adult
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

94% of travellers recommend
AU$31
Per adult
Small-Group Authentic Mekong Delta Tour by Luxury Speedboat
Image for Small-Group Authentic Mekong Delta Tour by Luxury Speedboat

Small-Group Authentic Mekong Delta Tour by Luxury Speedboat

94% of travellers recommend
AU$162
Per adult
Small Group Small Mekong Floating Market-Kayak-Cooking Class
Image for Small Group Small Mekong Floating Market-Kayak-Cooking Class

Small Group Small Mekong Floating Market-Kayak-Cooking Class

90% of travellers recommend
AU$60
Per adult
Saigon Airport Transfer
Image for Saigon Airport Transfer

Saigon Airport Transfer

AU$7
Per adult

Reviews of Ho Chi Minh City

4.1

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
180
5 - Excellent 35.85657370517928%
4 - Good
237
4 - Good 47.211155378486055%
3 - Okay
65
3 - Okay 12.94820717131474%
2 - Disappointing
15
2 - Disappointing 2.9880478087649402%
1 - Terrible
5
1 - Terrible 0.9960159362549801%

3/5 - Okay

Glenville

Feb 17, 2020

Shopping for imitation stuff were normally reasonable quality for the price. Enjoyed eating cheap and noodle soups esp were cheap and healthy. Enjoyed Mekong Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels. Its just like any other Asian Cities: dirty, poverty and manyshops

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 10, 2020

A very clean and reasonably priced version of Bangkok.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Jan 18, 2020

LOVED the local food!!! Give yourself enough time to be able to get out and explore around the city. Select tour's that suit you and your budget. Can be confusing with all the different Rates.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Jan 18, 2020

Busy busy busy but that's what we found exciting, very cheap to eat and drink and very friendly locals

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Jan 17, 2020

Bustling. Hot from late morning onwards. Great food. Don't miss the War Remnants Museum, grim but well done - most people there were in stunned silence.

4/5 - Good

Leo

Jan 16, 2020

Go on the XO food tour. It was exceptional.

Other places like Ho Chi Minh City

Hanoi
Image for Hanoi
Hanoi
Da Nang
Image for Da Nang
Da Nang
Osaka
Image for Osaka
Osaka
Delhi
Image for Delhi
Delhi