Ho Chi Minh City Vacations
Also known as Saigon, this historic city is home to over 10 million. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd here, but that’s not a bad thing. There’s always something to see and do, even if it’s just grabbing a banh mi and watching the city pass by.
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What To Do
Hunt for souvenirs at Ben Thanh Market – In Ho Chi Minh City’s oldest and largest market, you’ll find yourself choosing among thousands of stalls offering traditional clothing, accessories, dishes and food to take home. Even if your luggage is sadly full, the street food is tasty and the sightseeing second to none.
Grab a bite at the Café Apartment – As the name suggests, this uninspiring concrete building was once an apartment complex. Now it’s been transformed, the weathered façade hiding a warren of tiny cafes and offbeat indie shops.
Revisit history – Nowhere is the city’s wartime history more tangible than in the Chu Chi tunnels. During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong army used this massive underground network to communicate and move forces throughout the area. Now, visitors can learn more about the local conflict through educational exhibits, and even squeeze through restored tunnels themselves.
Have a late night on Pham Ngu Lao Street – The “Backpacker’s Street” draws visitors all day long with cheap eats and attractions, but at night, the party begins. Locals and travelers alike pack the area for sizzling snacks and cold beer. (Try hometown favorite banh xeo, a savory crepe filled with shrimp and pork.)
Experience a Buddhist theme park – Waterpark, roller coaster, depiction of Buddhist afterlife - Suoi Tien may be the most unique theme park you ever visit. Towering temples and fantastic sculptures cover the sprawling grounds, where familiar carnival rides are tucked behind larger-than-life scenes from traditional stories.
What To See
Saigon Skydeck – Ho Chi Minh City is as impressive from above as it is from street level. Located in the Bitexco Financial Tower, the Saigon Skydeck gives a panoramic view from over 800 feet in the air.
Buu Long Pagoda – This magnificent Buddhist temple is intricately carved, capped with golden spires that reach for the sky. You can lose hours here wandering the peaceful gardens.
Reunification Palace – A tour of this well-preserved palace is a must for those interested in Vietnam War history. Comfortably decorated banquet halls and living areas clash with the communications center and war room of the reinforced basement bunker.
Giac Lam Pagoda – Believed to be the oldest temple in the city, Giac Lam’s iconic pagoda rises seven stories above grounds filled with statues and colorful artwork.
Binh Quoi Tourist Village – If the lively pace of Ho Chi Minh City gets to be overwhelming, escape to nearby Binh Quoi. This green oasis is a cultural attraction as well as a natural retreat, with traditional architecture and activities such as games and cooking classes. You can even try your hand at river boating.
When to Go
Winter to spring is the most popular time to visit Ho Chi Minh City, with dry skies and (relatively) mild temperatures. As the weather moves towards summer it gets more humid, hotter and rainier. Be aware - the New Year’s festival of Tet is in late January and early February and many attractions close as residents leave the city.