Photo: Burning incense at a Cholon pagoda.

Things to see and do

Use the quick links below to jump to a particular section of our sights and activities coverage for Ho Chi Minh City.


No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
Lac Long Quan St, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City

Although just down the road from Giac Lam, Giac Vien is hard to find, tucked way back off the main drag down a pot-holed road. To find it, come out of Giac Lam and turn right onto Lac Long Quan St. Go straight on at the roundabout and the entrance is about 200m further down on the right. It seems that few tourists are visiting these days, as the pagoda gardens were only full of local children ... Read more about Giac Vien Pagoda .

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
264 DL Hai Thuong Lan Ong, District 5

Built by the Fukien Chinese just after World War II, Ong Bon Pagoda is dedicated to Ong Bon, the guardian of wealth, happiness and virtue. Being the god of wealth many worshippers come here to burn paper money in the temple's furnace, which is said to bring financial blessings to participants. The centrepiece of the pagoda is a delicately crafted wood and gold altar with a statue of Ong Bon. ... Read more about Ong Bac Pagoda .

Jade Emperor Pagoda
73 Mai Thi Luu, District 3

Saigon is a city filled with places of worship; it seems that every street has at least one pagoda or church — from the roof of my old house in District 3 I could see at least seven. Most of these spots are nothing particularly special in terms of architectural or historical significance but Saigon does boast a number of pagodas and churches steeped in history and charm. One such place is the ... Read more about Jade Emperor Pagoda .

Tomb of Le Van Duyet

Lately I’ve been talking about a few of the more popular pagodas in Saigon. All of these temples are revered places of worship where people actively go to pray and ask for guidance. Each one has had something unique: turtles, incense, or being the oldest temple in town. One thing that they all have in common is that they are tied to a religion or a religious symbol; most pagodas are, which is ... Read more about Tomb of Le Van Duyet .

Thien Hau Pagoda
710 D Nguyen Trai, District 5

As I have mentioned before, Saigon has no shortage of places to worship. There are churches, pagodas and mosques sprinkled throughout the city. While most are of the newer variety, there are some pagodas that have stood the test of time for hundreds of years. Although older pagodas are spread throughout the city, a high concentration of them can be found in Cholon, which is the city’s Chinatown ... Read more about Thien Hau Pagoda .

Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda
184 Hung Vuong St, District 5

The pagoda is especially well known for its vast collection of figurines, carvings and hanging lanterns. Dedicated to Quan Cong, many Vietnamese visit this pagoda before embarking on a journey as a visit here is believed to bring good luck for the ... Read more about Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda .

Quoc Tu Pagoda
244 Ba Thang Hai, District 10

The main complex of the pagoda spans seven storeys, with the first two open to the public. Visitors are given access to view the beautiful Buddha statue that is the centrepiece of the pagoda and allowed to walk the grounds. Although the outside area is usually dominated by street peddlers, as the temple is situated next to a children's amusement park, the interior is quite clean and the ... Read more about Quoc Tu Pagoda .

Xa Loi Pagoda
89 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, District 3

During the Diem regime, this pagoda was attacked by ARVN soldiers and more than 400 monks were imprisoned, some of whom were killed. This action helped to strengthen the opposition to the Diem regime and was crucial in the US decision to back the coup against him three months later. Given the pagoda's proximity to other points of interest, this is worth a visit but we'd say it isn't worth ... Read more about Xa Loi Pagoda .

Giac Lam Pagoda
118 Lac Long Quan St, Tan Binh District

I’ve recently covered a few of Saigon’s many pagodas — here and here — and you may have noticed a common theme emerging: they are small and are being chocked out by surrounding buildings. But there is a pagoda that staked its claim early enough, and far enough out of downtown, that it has still actually got some land to spare. I’m talking about Saigon’s oldest place of worship: Giac ... Read more about Giac Lam Pagoda .

Quan Am Pagoda
12 Lao Tu St, District 5

The roof of the pagoda tells fantastic tales taken from traditional Chinese lore, while the walls are covered with lacquer paintings of various spirits and deities. This pagoda is best visited when there are a lot of worshippers present as the goings on and heavy incense smoke spirals create a memorable ... Read more about Quan Am Pagoda .

An Quang Pagoda
Su Van Hanh, District 10

Since the pagoda was founded in 1948, it has been the training ground for thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns as well as teachers of Dharma. The temple gained some notoriety during the war for being the home of Thich Tri Quang, a monk who led protests during the 1960s against the South Vietnamese government, championing freedom of expression and religion. After being placed under house ... Read more about An Quang Pagoda .

Phung Son Pagoda
1408 3 Thang 2 Blvd, District 5

It has been rebuilt a number of times, but was originally erected on what are thought to have been Funan ruins. At one time, plans were made to move the pagoda to another site. To facilitate this move, a large white elephant was loaded up with all the valuable items and was to be led to the new site but the beast stumbled more or less where it was loaded, dropping all the valuables into the ... Read more about Phung Son Pagoda .

Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda
118 D Trieu Quang Phuc, District 5

Also known as Tam Son Temple, it is dedicated to Me Sanh, the Goddess of Fertility, making the pagoda a favourite of Vietnamese women praying for children. You'll see the majority of these women praying, and making offerings, to the altar in the back of the temple. One of the older pagodas in the city, it has been changed little and retains much of its 19th century design. While it is ... Read more about Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda .

Ha Chuong Hoi Quan Pagoda
802 D Nguyen Trai, District 5

Along with Thien Hau Pagoda and Quan Am Pagoda, worshippers here come to give offerings to the lady of the sea, Thien Hau. The centrepieces of the pagoda are four ornately designed pillars decorated with dragons. The pillars are unique as they were crafted in China, then brought to the temple by boat. Not the most unique pagoda in Cholon, it's worth a quick visit if you're touring the ... Read more about Ha Chuong Hoi Quan Pagoda .

Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 3, Saigon

Although there are plenty of pagodas in Saigon, as I’ve mentioned a few times recently, most of them are pretty quiet; which could lead to inner peace, or you might just get sleepy from boredom. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy my temples as much as the next guy but I can only watch turtles play and incense burn for so long. If you could use some adventure in your pagoda life, it might be time for ... Read more about Vinh Nghiem Pagoda .

Mariamman Hindu Temple
45 Truong Dinh St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

If it were not for the beggars hassling you throughout your visit, it would be quite an enjoyable place — it's believed the temple has the power to heal the ill. After 1975 the Vietnamese government converted it into a factory for making joss sticks, but it's now used solely for worship. This popular spot boasts ornate carvings and various shrines and is located only three blocks west of ... Read more about Mariamman Hindu Temple .

Khanh Van Nam Vien Pagoda
46/5 D Lo Sieu, District 5

The pagoda was built in the early 1940s by Cantonese immigrants and is one of the few, if not only, Taoist pagodas in the city. The focal point here is a statue of Laoste, one of the three pure ones in Taoist culture, who has a halo made from florescent lights. Although not the most historic of temples, the pagoda should be commended for its philanthropic efforts, which include a home for the ... Read more about Khanh Van Nam Vien Pagoda .

Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda
678 Nguyen Trai St, District 5

This pagoda is dedicated to a famous Chinese general, Quan Cong, who is highly revered for his morality and loyalty. As you enter, on your left is a larger-than-life representation of the man's horse and its groom. The figures behind the main altar in the glass case are Quan Cong and his ... Read more about Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda .

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Museum of Ho Chi Minh City
65 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3829 8250

While some of Saigon’s more popular museums can draw big crowds, a few museums around town that are worth at least a quick stop seem to fall to the wayside. The Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, housed in a fine example of French colonial building prowess, is one such oft-overlooked ... Read more about Museum of Ho Chi Minh City .

Saigon for museum-goers

HCMC has a fair share of museums giving the city’s, and the Vietnamese government’s, side of its historical story. Here are a handful of museums you’ll find around town which are worth a ... Read more about Saigon for museum-goers .

Reunification Palace
135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

The Reunification Palace is one of the holy triumvirate of attractions in Ho Chi Minh City’s downtown District 1. Just like the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post Office, it sits as a time capsule of the city’s turbulent ... Read more about Reunification Palace .

War Remnants Museum
28 Vo Van Tan St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 930 5587

Just few blocks from the entrance to the Reunification Palace, Saigon’s War Remnants Museum offers a narrative of the war from the North Vietnamese ... Read more about War Remnants Museum .

History Museum
Nguyen Binh Khiem St, District 1
T: (08) 3829 8146

The museum traces Vietnamese history from prehistoric times till the period of French occupation and carries an impressive range of artefacts. Displays include Funan pieces found at Oc-Eo and a small selection of Cham sculpture (a more comprehensive range of Cham art can be found at the Cham Museum in Da Nang). Photos are allowed but you must purchase a 30,000 VND photo ... Read more about History Museum .

Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum
97A Pho Duc Chinh
T: (08) 3829 4441

Just on the other side of the Troung Tran Nguyen Han roundabout from Ben Thanh market, behind the bus centre down Pho Duc Chinh, the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum sits in a flamboyantly yellow colonial ... Read more about Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum .

Ho Chi Minh Museum
1 Nguyen Tat Thanh, District 4
T: (08) 3825 574

Ho Chi Minh, affectionately referred to as Uncle Ho, spent his life fighting for Vietnamese independence and, for this, he is still the country’s most celebrated figure. His images are found nearly everywhere — on signs, in schools, on money and of course it’s the official name of the commercial capital, Ho Chi Minh City — but most casual visitors to Vietnam know little about the man. If ... Read more about Ho Chi Minh Museum .

Ton Duc Thang Museum
5 Ton Duc Thang St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3829 7542

Imprisoned on Con Dao for his part in rebellion against French rule, Ton Duc Thang succeeded Uncle Ho as president of Vietnam, and remained in office until his death in 1980. Spread over four rooms on the first floor, the museum has numerous artefacts belonging to the patriot in question. Perhaps more interesting are the collection of photographs taken in and around Saigon of various party ... Read more about Ton Duc Thang Museum .

South East Armed Forces Museum
247 Hoang Thu, Tan Banh District

Unlike the War Remnants Museum, which primarily focuses on the American War, this museum also covers the early Indochina wars with France as well as national defence practices through to the 1990s. On the outside grounds of the museum several restored pieces of military equipment sit, including tanks and large guns. Inside you'll find dioramas of Vietnamese military engagements as well as ... Read more about South East Armed Forces Museum .

Geological Museum
Nguyen Binh Khiem, District 1
T: (08) 3829 8146

A small building, it still houses more than 20,000 samples of stones and minerals as well as a small collection of fossils. The collection is split between two floors and presented in well-lit display cases. Besides displays of rocks, the museum also explains Vietnamese geology and the geological evolution of the world. There are tours ... Read more about Geological Museum .

Southern Women's Museum
202 Vo Thi Sau, District 3
T: (08) 3932 5519

A large building, it displays thousands of rare photos and artefacts of Southern Vietnamese women's contribution to the foundation and defence of South Vietnam. Particular importance is given to women who worked to preserve the country's culture and heritage. Besides the museum the building also contains a conference room and library. A short trip out of the centre of Saigon, it's worth a ... Read more about Southern Women's Museum .

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Public parks and zoos

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
Nguyen Binh Khiem St, District 1

Set in the middle of the city, it is a bicycle-free zone with neatly landscaped lawns and benches to enjoy life as it goes by. Go early morning to see the park full of tai chi practitioners and badminton enthusiasts, or early evening for the biggest open-air no-fee aerobics class you'll ever witness. The park is also home to a modest sculpture garden that features several pieces of ... Read more about Cong Vien Van Hoa Park .

Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden
2B Nguyen Binh Khiem, D1
T: (08) 829 3728

Established in 1864, making it one of the oldest zoos in world, the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden is one of the best and largest recreational areas in Saigon. Known as Thao Cam Vien locally, it is home to more than 500 animals of more than 100 species and more than 1,800 trees and plants of more than 250 species. This creates a great setting for an afternoon stroll, however there are some areas ... Read more about Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden .

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
33/2 Cao Lo, District 8
T: (08) 3850 7009

Although it is a popular picnic site, it's even more popular as a spot to fly kites, especially on the weekend. Here you can see many different shapes of kites, including dragons and lobsters, flying free of the higher buildings of downtown. If you do come on the weekend you may play witness to members of the Saigon Kite Club showing off their skills. ... Read more about Dong Dieu Entertainment Area .

Suoi Tien Cultural Amusement Park
Hanoi Highway, District 9
T: (08) 3896 0260

Saigon isn’t the most kid-friendly city in the world. There are certainly lots of kids in the city but very few places seem to cater to them. Most theme parks and water parks in the city, or country for that matter, have dangerous elements. So I was surprised to find a safe and kid-friendly park in a visit to a theme park on the outskirts of the city, the Buddhist-themed Suoi Tien Cultural ... Read more about Suoi Tien Cultural Amusement Park .

Khanh Hoi Park, Hoang Dieu, District 4
T: (08) 3825 3868

Saigon isn’t the most kid-friendly spot in world; but you can find a few parks plus one place worth checking out is entirely for kids, and it’s within walking distance from Pham Ngu Lao: District 4’s ... Read more about Kizciti .

Saigon parks: part 2

Though Saigon’s streets can feel grey and congested, scattered throughout the city are green spaces worth seeking out. We’ve highlight some parks around HCMC before, but really barely scratched the surface of what there is to find. If you’re looking for some green places to relax, here are a few more to choose ... Read more about Saigon parks: part 2 .

Parks in Saigon

To outsiders, Saigon is a sprawling, concrete metropolis, but the city does have its share of green spaces scattered about that are very popular with locals. If you happen to be in the mood for a shaded sit, or a quiet stroll, here are a few parks to enjoy free of charge in Ho Chi Minh ... Read more about Parks in Saigon .

Turtle Lake or Ho Con Rua
Intersection of Pham Ngoc Thach and Vo Van Tan, Ho Chi Minh City

Nestled inside a traffic roundabout at Pham Ngoc Thach and Vo Van Tan, distinctive Ho Con Rua or Turtle Lake is a popular destination for young Saigonese looking to escape the heat and grab some tasty street snacks. While the location is serene enough, the history behind the area is filled with ... Read more about Turtle Lake or Ho Con Rua .

Van Thanh Park
48/10 Dien Bien Phu, Ben Thanh District
T: (08) 3512 3026

Sitting on the banks of the Thi Nghe River, a branch of the Saigon River, and just three kilometres from downtown, the park is a popular spot for tour groups, who commonly drop guests off for breakfast. You can quietly walk along the green lawns as you look at the stone sculptures, or just sit and enjoy the river. On clear days the park offers great views, allowing you to see all the way ... Read more about Van Thanh Park .

Dai The Gioi Water Park
600 Ben Ham Tu, District 5
T: (08) 3853 7867

The park is home to a few slides as well as a lazy river and an indoor complex. Inside you'll find a large pool, male and female wet saunas, and massage centres. Expect the park, the closest of its kind to the centre of the city, to be busy, especially on the weekend. Not the most exciting water park in the city, it is safer than other water parks and definitely worth a stop if you need ... Read more about Dai The Gioi Water Park .

Dam Sen Water Park
03 Hoa Binh, District 11
T: (08) 3858 8418

It can get hot in Ho Chi Minh City. With average highs of over 30 degrees Celsius every month of the year, plus an average humidity of 75%, just a quick walk down the block have you ready to call it a day. So, if the Saigon heat has you feeling a little trapped, but you don’t have the time to sneak to the beaches of Mui Ne or Nha Trang, then head over to District 11 where you will find one of ... Read more about Dam Sen Water Park .

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Saigon Sky Deck Observatory
36 Ho Tung Mau St, District 1
T: (08) 3822 7802

As soon as you hit the ground in Saigon you can’t help but notice the large building that anchors the city’s skyline. Bitexco Financial Tower stands at 68 storeys, or 262 metres high, and was designed to look like a lotus flower sprouting out of the city and in an abstract way it kind of does. After you figure out what the large deck sticking out of the side is — it’s a helicopter pad — ... Read more about Saigon Sky Deck Observatory .

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Binh Tay Market
57A Thap Moui, District 6

If you’re going to visit Ho Chi Minh City, or Vietnam for that matter, your visit will not be complete without visiting a local market. When people talk about markets in Saigon though, all of the love goes to the Ben Thanh market. Don’t get me wrong; Ben Thanh is a great place to go if you want to get knockoff designer goods or swarmed by people trying to sell you hammocks. Personally, I ... Read more about Binh Tay Market .

Ben Thanh Night Market

Have you ever wondered how fast a 100m-long street can become an outdoor night market? If so, head down to Phan Boi Chau or Phan Chu Trinh at around 18:00 to watch the literal mad dash of vendors setting up their stalls for the Ben Thanh night market. Starting at 19:00, the night market is popular with locals and one of my favourite places to spend an evening in ... Read more about Ben Thanh Night Market .

Navigating Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City

While a visit to Saigon wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the popular Ben Thanh Market, it’s by no means an easy place to navigate. Here’s a guide to help you find what you’re looking for, from T-shirts to pho to fresh ... Read more about Navigating Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City .

Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market is one of Saigon’s icons and forms the heart of downtown District 1, bustling with activity from early morning until late at ... Read more about Ben Thanh Market .

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General activities

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

Try the one in District Five called Lam Son, at Tran Binh Trong — it's open 08:00-20:00 and costs 5,000 VND an hour. A more centrally located pool is at 258 Tran Hung Dao in District One, where entry will cost 80,000 VND and allow you to swim all day. For a cheaper downtown pool try the Workers Club at 55B Nugyen Thi Minh Khai St, District Three (T: (08) 3930 1819) for 10,000 VND per ... Read more about Swimming pools .

Cooking Classes

Saigon Culinary Art Centre runs quite a packaged product, where customers are met at their hotel by a SCAC chef who leads an ingredients buying tour to Ben Thanh market. Customers then travel to a villa on the city outskirts where classes take place. The venue can host up to 80 people, with three professional chefs employed to take on the masses, one on a central raised platform and two ... Read more about Cooking Classes .

Fishing in Saigon

Recently I was driving to a friend’s house on my motorbike when I caught something out of the corner of my eye that nearly made me lock the brakes: a fishing pond! I come from a family of fishermen and, since I have fishing in my veins, it was something I had to investigate. I had wanted to fish ever since the fishing part of my recent snorkelling tour produced nothing in the excitement ... Read more about Fishing in Saigon .

Things to do in Cholon

Most travellers visiting Saigon stick only to the main points of interest in the city’s downtown District 1, but just a short taxi ride outside of District 1 lays one of HCMC’s most interesting areas: Cholon, or Chinatown. If you’re in Saigon, and have the time to spare, spending a day in Cholon is ... Read more about Things to do in Cholon .

Fixing a Mac in Saigon
384 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 3834 1323

Having computer problems while travelling through a foreign city can be a heartbreaker, taking away both a means of communication and a source of entertainment. While several shops service computers around Ho Chi Minh City, only a few repair Macs. If you’re passing through here and your Apple laptop is on the fritz, here’s where you can go to get it ... Read more about Fixing a Mac in Saigon .

Phu Tho Racetrack
219 Ly Thuong Kiet, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City
T: (08) 866 5587

Still, it can be an interesting excursion - play dumb and the locals may give you some tips though of course you'll have to learn some Vietnamese numbers first. Bets can be placed in multiples of 10,000 VND and races are usually 30 minutes ... Read more about Phu Tho Racetrack .

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Saigon's must-see places of worship

Saigon has no shortage of places of worship; some of these temples, pagodas, and churches are among the oldest sites in the city while others are worth a stop for a quick shot of local culture. If you have time to spare, when you’re not running off to Cu Chi or the Mekong, here are some of the city’s must-see places of ... Read more about Saigon's must-see places of worship .

Notre Dame Cathedral
Nguyen Du St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

The past few weeks I have written a few posts about some of the city’s more popular pagodas and temples; these focused mostly on Buddhist temples, but HCMC happens to be home to a large Catholic community and it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t talk about another popular religious destination in Saigon, the Notre Dame ... Read more about Notre Dame Cathedral .

Cha Tam Church
25 Hoc Lac St, District 5
T: (08) 3829 8914

Following a coup on November 1, 1963, President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother fled their palace through a tunnel network and eventually sought safety here. They spent the night within the church's grounds and the following morning were captured by coup loyalists. En route to military headquarters, both Diem and his brother were murdered. Diem was subsequently buried in an unmarked grave not ... Read more about Cha Tam Church .

Cho Quan Church
120 Tran Binh Trong, District 5

While the existing church, built by one Father Nicolas Ham who is now buried under the foundation, is more than a century old, it was built on the site of two earlier churches destroyed in wars - the original was constructed in 1720. The current church has been repeatedly upgraded and much of its turn-of-the-century charm has gone with it and its neon lit Jesus Crucifix. The proper upkeep ... Read more about Cho Quan Church .

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Cholon Mosque
641 Nguyen Trai, District 5

With its blue gates, pastel details and white walls the mosque stands in quiet contrast to the surrounding busy area. A pool in the courtyard is used for ablutions, and prayers are held several times a day. While Ho Chi Minh City once had a vibrant Muslim community, many fled post 1975, and, as is the case in with Saigon's other mosques, even on Friday prayers, things are never too busy. ... Read more about Cholon Mosque .

Saigon Central Mosque
66 Dong Du, District 1

Constructed in the 1930s by South Indian Muslims, the mosque is one of around a dozen that serve the city's Muslims and it stands on the site of an earlier mosque. Home to four minarets, tall spires typical of Indo-Islamic mosques, they're not used for the call to prayer. Across the street are several restaurants catering to the Muslim crowd by serving halal food. Remember to dress ... Read more about Saigon Central Mosque .

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Shopping in Saigon

Saigon offers plenty of great reasons to visit: every corner you turn on the street can lead you to great food, there are some cool pagodas and theme parks, and it’s a great spot to start a new adventure into other parts of the country. Decent shopping can also be done in my city — here’s a round up of the key spots for a spot of mainstream market shopping for things like clothes, watches, ... Read more about Shopping in Saigon .

Vincom Centre
72 Le Thanh Ton, District 1

Unlike the small boutique stalls found in Diamond Plaza or Hung Vuong, here the Centre has actual stores. This is the place to come if you're looking for a real Gucci handbag or outfit from Armani. The downstairs food floor is one of the better areas in the city to look for your favourite Western foods, as it is home to a Carl's Jr burger shop, one of the only Western burger locations in ... Read more about Vincom Centre .

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
126 Hung Vuong, District 5

The first three levels consist of Parkson boutique stalls selling a variety of name brand apparel and accessories. You can find the food court and Powerbowl bowling alley on the fourth level, while the California Way Gym dominates the fifth. Capping off the top level is the Megastar Cineplex, one of the largest and most modern cinemas in the city, where you can see new Hollywood releases ... Read more about Hung Vuong Plaza .

Custom made shoes in Saigon
97 Le Thanh Ton, District 1
T: (08) 3829 5453

Finding shoes that fit a Westerners feet in Saigon can be a tough proposition. We’ve covered shopping for shoes in Vietnams’ commercial capital, mentioning some spots where you can find bigger shoes, but the town also has cobblers who can make you a shiny new pair of tailor-made ... Read more about Custom made shoes in Saigon .

Shopping for shoes in Saigon

Shoes are among the most difficult thing I have managed to find during the fair amount of shopping I have done during my time in HCMC — those of us from the Western world have big feet, much bigger than your average local’s. If you’re on the lookout for a pair of shoes in Saigon, here are a few places you can ... Read more about Shopping for shoes in Saigon .

Saigon 24-hour stores

While Saigon is an easy place to enjoy a good walking tour, it may by no means be an easy walk; things can get hot and you may end up frantically searching for something to drink. If you happen to be in one of the tourist areas of the city you’ll find no shortage of drink ladies who have set up shop right on the side of the road. But buying a drink from one of these vendors is likely to start a ... Read more about Saigon 24-hour stores .

Saigon Flea Market

Saigon is a city where you can shop till you drop; plenty of markets, stores and boutiques are eager to help you part with your cash. Many of these places however have become a little too focused on tourists and visiting them may give you little in the way of a cultural experience. Add that to the fact that many places basically sell the same copies of popular Western brands and things can get ... Read more about Saigon Flea Market .

Saigon's The Crescent

Sometimes the noise and grind from the constant busyness of Saigon can get you in a funk. Even if you’re only in the city for a few days, a quick break can help you keep your sanity. For a break from the city, I like to take a trip out to District 7’s Phu My Hung area to hang out at the Crescent, a pedestrian-friendly complex of apartments, restaurants, and shopping built along the bend of a ... Read more about Saigon's The Crescent .

Saigon tailors

When I travel I pack light. This helps me breeze through airports and carry fewer pieces of luggage up the stairs in my elevator-less hostel. But packing light has its drawbacks, and sometimes I don’t have room for all the outfits I may need, say for a fun night out or a fancy dinner. That’s why I love living in Saigon, because a seemingly endless number of tailor shops are eager to help meet ... Read more about Saigon tailors .

Saigon market shopping etiquette

Shopping and bargaining in markets is one of my favourite pastimes in Saigon. Here are my pointers for hunting down good deals and to make sure you don’t offend ... Read more about Saigon market shopping etiquette .

Weekend markets

When you think of shopping in Ho Chi Minh City, heading to places like Ben Thanh Market and Vincom might first spring to mind. However, a few flea markets now give up and coming designers their chance to shine and are worth a browse for those looking to unearth something a bit ... Read more about Weekend markets .

Saigon Square 2
7-9 Ton Duc Thang, District 1

It is a two-storey boutique shopping centre selling similar, but slightly higher quality, products as those you'd find in the more famous Ben Thanh market. Unlike Ben Thanh, which is dark and packed tight, Saigon Square 2 is well lit and open, making for an easy stroll from stall to stall, looking at everything from designer knock-off clothing to electronic accessories. Also unusual for a ... Read more about Saigon Square 2 .

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Day trips

Vung Tau day trip
1A Tran Phu, Vung Tau

Southern Vietnam’s coastal city of Vung Tau makes for an interesting, easy and cheap daytrip from Saigon — go by hydrofoil, see the sights, have a splash at the beach and enjoy the food. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do ... Read more about Vung Tau day trip .

Saigon Day Tour

A quick walk through Saigon’s backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao will lead you past several locations selling tours. While most feature longer tours to popular areas around the city, like tours of the Mekong Delta and the Cu Chi Tunnels, most also sell a generic five-hour day-tour of Ho Chi Minh City. If you find yourself considering one of these tours here’s what you can ... Read more about Saigon Day Tour .

Touring a Saigon lacquer factory
664 Vo Van Kiet, District 5
T: (08) 3923 1166

If you find yourself shopping in Saigon, a walk through any market or mall will inevitably lead you, sooner or later, past a souvenir stand selling lacquer art. Lacquer can be very impressive to look at but the process of making it is also quite interesting. If you have time to spare while visiting the city, taking a tour of a lacquer factory can be an educational way to spend an hour or ... Read more about Touring a Saigon lacquer factory .

Mekong Delta Day Tour

If you take a stroll through Saigon’s backpacker district of Pham Ngu Lao you’ll notice that the landscape is full of travel agents. They are everywhere. Although they all offer tours that will take you throughout Vietnam, their specialties are trips to the Cu Chi Tunnels and tours of the Mekong Delta. When you’re looking at tours of the delta most guides will push an overnight one, and ... Read more about Mekong Delta Day Tour .

Saigon's Thu Thiem Ferry

Riding on a ferry in Southeast Asia is quite an experience and unlike any boat ride you’ll go on back home. The ferries are small, a little old, and they have to fight for space on busy waterways. It’s not that I feel particularly in danger during a ride, but I don’t always feel 100% safe; it’s exhilarating! Plus, there are times when they are the only way to go, like if you’re going to ... Read more about Saigon's Thu Thiem Ferry .

Saigon’s Monkey Island
T: (08) 3874 3069

Roughly 60km from the centre of Saigon — a beautiful two-hour trip by motorbike and ferry away — sits Can Gio, an island formed where the Saigon River hits the sea. Over the last few years this island has become a popular getaway day trip for savvy locals. Tourists to Can Gio don’t come for the beaches, which are packed mud, but rather to experience the vast mangrove forest and their chief ... Read more about Saigon’s Monkey Island .

Cu Chi Cricket Farm
Ben Do 2 Block, Tan Phu Ward, Cu Chi County
T: (08) 3796 1753

A trip to Ho Chi Minh City isn’t complete without a quick visit to the Cu Chi district, where the city’s big buildings melt away and morph into rural countryside. While the area is most famous for its tunnels and war history, Cu Chi has something else worth a visit: a Cu Chi cricket farm. A stop here will show you the process, and give you a taste, of the popular culinary ... Read more about Cu Chi Cricket Farm .

Cu Chi Tunnels day tour
246-248 De Tham, District 1
T: (08) 3838 9597

As one of the most popular daytrips from HCMC, finding a way to get to the Cu Chi Tunnels is as easy as a walking through the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker district. Almost every travel agent in Saigon offers a one-day tour of the tunnels but some are light on the details. If you’re considering a Cu Chi Tunnels tour, here’s what you can ... Read more about Cu Chi Tunnels day tour .

The Cao Dai Holy See at Tay Ninh

Tay Ninh province sits to the northwest of Ho Chi Minh City and is bordered by Cambodia to the west and north, with its eastern border formed by the Saigon River as it empties out of Dai Tieng lake. As with pretty much all the surrounds, the landscape is primarily flat farmland with just the occasional hillock here and there. The exception is Nui Ba Den which reaches almost 1,000m and sits around ... Read more about The Cao Dai Holy See at Tay Ninh .

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Interesting buildings

Saigon Central Post Office
2 Cong Xa Paris, District 1

Just across the street from the Notre Dame Cathedral, and a short walk from the Reunification Palace, the Saigon Central Post Office is one of the most recognisable landmarks in ... Read more about Saigon Central Post Office .

Ho Chi Minh People's Committee
Le Thanh Ton St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Following the end of the war though, the building was converted and is now home to the rather more stoic Ho Chi Minh People's Committee. The building stands out in the Ho Chi Minh City landscape and the area in front is a popular place for Vietnamese to sit around and ... Read more about Ho Chi Minh People's Committee .

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Hiking, walking tours and itineraries

Back of the Bike Tours
T: 906 711 309

In a few weeks, my parents and brother are visiting Saigon, and Vietnam as a whole, for the first time. As I’m being a good daughter and helping with them plan their trip, I thought it would be a good idea for them to go on a tour of the city. Although I found a pretty good night tour, I wanted to give someone else a try on the dayside so I booked a trip with Back of the Bike Tours. A newer ... Read more about Back of the Bike Tours .

Bicycle tour of Saigon
51/1 Sky Garden 2, Phuong Tan Phuong, Phu My Hung, Distrct 7
T: (08) 5410 3114

I’ve always been a fan of a good bike ride, but Saigon never seemed like a great place to peddle around. Sure, plenty of locals gingerly roll up and down the busy streets, dodging traffic as they go; it’s just not my cup of tea. Little did I know, however, that within Ho Chi Minh City’s limit there are several places that are perfect for a good, long ride. And, being someone who is always ... Read more about Bicycle tour of Saigon .

Vietnam Vespa Adventures
169a De Tham St, D.1, Pham Ngu Lao, Saigon
T: (012) 2299 3585

For many travellers, Saigon is a short stop on a long itinerary with many stops in Vietnam. While you can walk around, or hire a cyclo to cruise you about, it’s hard to see the city without a little help. Many companies offer short tours of the city, including Vietnam Vespa Adventures, which takes guests off the beaten path and shows them, I think, a more authentic side of the city with their ... Read more about Vietnam Vespa Adventures .

Saigon Walking Tour

I’m a walker. When I travel, if there is any reasonable chance for me to walk to my destination, I will. When I walk I feel like I get a better feel for a city, and I see the everyday life that I would miss from the back seat of a taxi. My love of walking is one of the many reasons I enjoy Saigon, as all of the city’s top attractions are within easy walking distance. Here’s a suggested ... Read more about Saigon Walking Tour .

Hiring a cyclo in Saigon
T: (09) 5876 0273

If you are anything like me when you travel you always tend to be in a hurry, trying to check all of the sights off your to-do list. It can get especially bad here because Ho Chi Minh City is such a fast-paced place. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of neon lights and crowded streets. So, when I get tired of the city’s bustle and want to slow things down, my favourite thing to do ... Read more about Hiring a cyclo in Saigon .

Cu Chi Tunnel in a half-day

The Cu Chi tunnels are a site worth seeing if you are visiting Saigon. However, since they are roughly 70km round trip from the city centre, visiting them on a tour can take the majority of a day. When time in the city is limited they may seem unreachable, but fear not: you can get there and back and still have half a day to ... Read more about Cu Chi Tunnel in a half-day .

Historic Vietnam tours
T: (0128) 579 4800

Ho Chi Minh City is a city on the go and can feel like it’s constantly looking forward. With new developments springing up almost daily, it’s hard to take stock of what the city used to look like. Tim Doling, a writer and local historian who has been in Vietnam since 1990 and worked with the Ministry of Culture and Information, looks to shed light on the city’s past through his ... Read more about Historic Vietnam tours .

A weekend in Saigon

What with the ever-growing options for budget flights in Southeast Asia, with a bit of planning and a bit of cash, there's no real reason why you can't jet off to another city for a weekend, and where better than ... Read more about A weekend in Saigon .

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A O Show Saigon
7 Lam Son Square, District 1
T: (08) 6281 6893

Vietnamese “cultural” shows, whether a traditional water puppet show or a song and dance performance, can sometimes be disappointing. However, the A O Show Saigon offers something new and completely different — it’s worth checking ... Read more about A O Show Saigon .

Saigon Opera House
7 Lam Son Square, District 1
T: (08) 3823 7419

A fine example of turn of the century French colonial architecture, the Saigon Opera House, also known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, makes for decent picture on a stop during a tour of the city, or for a cultural experience for those interested in seeing a ... Read more about Saigon Opera House .

Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre
55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St., D.1
T: (08) 3827-2653

Once you arrive in Saigon, especially in the Pham Ngu Lao area, you are bombarded with pamphlets and advertisements for various tourist activities in the city. Among the claims of seeing the country’s beauty, the best proclamation, and maybe the most outlandish, is that you “haven’t really been to Vietnam until you’ve seen a water puppet show”. This is what the folks at the Golden ... Read more about Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre .

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Art galleries or venues

Ho Chi Minh City's Dong Khoi art galleries

Art is sold almost everywhere in Saigon, but much of what you will find is paint-by-the-number reproductions. If you want to see quality original pieces by local artists, there are a few places to go besides the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum; to see the latest and greatest in local art, take a walk down Dong ... Read more about Ho Chi Minh City's Dong Khoi art galleries .

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Saigon movie theatres

Seeing a movie at a Saigon theatre is a cheap and easy way to spend a few hours and, since they play both Hollywood blockbusters and Vietnamese movies, you don’t have to understand Vietnamese to enjoy ... Read more about Saigon movie theatres .

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Festivals and events

Saigon's Reunification Day

Everyone knows that travelling to Saigon during Tet can be a bit of a headache, with many restaurants and shops closed and transportation is limited. Tet, however, isn’t Vietnam’s only celebrated holiday that can throw you for a loop: Reunification Day on April 30 (followed a day later by May Day on May 1) marks the rejoining of North and South Vietnam under one government. Like a major ... Read more about Saigon's Reunification Day .

Tet in Saigon

Now that Christmas and New Year are all wrapped up most of the world tidies up and gets on with their lives. This isn’t quite the case in HCMC, where the start of a New Year on the Gregorian calendar signifies a soon-to-come even bigger celebration: Tet, the Lunar New Year, celebrated this year between January 22 and ... Read more about Tet in Saigon .

Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes

The Mid-Autumn Festival, or Tet Trung Thu, occurs on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar year. In 2016, that's September 15. Preparation for the celebration starts early and every year, about a month before the Mid-Autumn Festival begins, colourful shops pop up selling the traditional gift of mooncakes, which are small pastries with various delicious fillings. Here’s a quick rundown ... Read more about Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes .

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Historic attractions

22 Ly Tu Trong
22 Ly Tu Trong, Ho Chi Minh City

Set on the northeast corner of the busy intersection of Ly Tu Trong and Dong Khoi sits a nondescript five-storey building that houses a historic past as well as a new wave of cafes, lounges and retail ... Read more about 22 Ly Tu Trong .

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ho Chi Minh City? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.

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