Ho Chi Minh City
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Plan Your Trip to Ho Chi Minh City: Best of Ho Chi Minh City Tourism

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Explore Ho Chi Minh City

As a major modern hub of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City offers a glimpse into both the future of the country and its past. Skyscrapers tower over French colonial buildings and ancient pagodas, while the streets buzz with the hustle of daily life. There are pieces of Vietnam’s history everywhere, from the architecture and culture to historic landmarks—head to the Independence Palace or the War Remnants Museum for a deep dive into the Vietnam War. Cruise down the Mekong Delta past the rows of houseboats and paddy fields for a true look at local life. By night, you’ll find one of the main draws of the city: the nightlife. Hit Bui Vien Street for cheap beer and all-night-long parties. Get even more recs and traveler faves below.

Travel Advice

Essential Ho Chi Minh City

How to do Ho Chi Minh City in 2 days

Colonial mansions, calming cafés, and fascinating history
Read on

The best markets in Ho Chi Minh City

Coming on strong with so many sights, smells, and tastes, Ho Chi Minh City makes an unforgettable first impression. And the best places to experience the city’s unique brand of sensory overload are its markets, of course. A few are geared toward travelers, but most are filled with locals buying spices, handicrafts, textiles, and more. These are my favorites.
Chawadee N, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Ben Thanh Market
    13,294
    More than 1,500 vendors set up shop at Ben Thanh, making it by far the area’s largest market. But it’s more than just a huge shopping center—locals consider it the soul of the city. Its detractors deride it as too touristy and say that its vendors can be rude, but I reply that it has the widest range of goods to be found anywhere, some fakes, some the real deal. Haggling is a must.
  • Saigon Square Shopping Mall
    929
    In a city where most of the markets are swelteringly hot, I love that Saigon Square lets you browse in air-cooled comfort. Another big plus: This upscale market has an unbeatable selection of designer knockoffs of the latest fashions. The quality of the items varies from vendor to vendor, so I recommend that you explore both floors before you decide. Bargaining is expected here. Don’t forget to bring cash, preferably Vietnamese dong.
  • Binh Tay Market
    512
    A fixture in Cho Lon—Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown—Bihn Tay Market has stood on this spot since the late 19th century. Vendors here sell everything from spices and produce to handicrafts and lacquerware. There are definitely bargains to be had at this wholesale market, especially if you’re buying in bulk. I’d say it’s more of a place for soaking up the atmosphere. It’s close to landmarks like the Quan Am Pagoda and many Chinese restaurants.
  • Ho Thi Ky Flower Market
    19
    Like a character in a superhero movie, Ho Thi Ky Flower Market starts out by showing its mild-mannered side. By day, it’s a quiet place where you’ll find orchids and other blooms on display in simple bouquets or spectacular arrangements. But by night, it transforms into a bustling destination for fans of street food. The market is close to the Independence Palace, making this a good stop for first-time visitors to Ho Chi Minh City.
  • An Dong Market
    89
    Not as well known as Ben Thanh or Binh Tay, Chinatown’s An Dong Market has an impressive range of textiles and handicrafts, with prices typically lower than those at larger markets. Even better, I heard a rumor that air-conditioning has been installed up to the second floor. If you only have time for one market and want to rub shoulders with the locals, this is the place to go.
  • Dan Sinh Market
    85
    History buffs should head over to Dan Sinh Market, known as the “American market” for its huge stash of Vietnam War memorabilia. After the end of that war, Dan Sinh became a hub for selling military supplies—uniforms, helmets, and other equipment—left behind by the U.S. I know that a lot of the goods sold here today are replicas, but I still think Dan Sinh is a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips or experiencing Ho Chi Minh City

EYP

Must Drink the Ice coffee with condensed milk there, so awesome, amazingly delicious!!! Can't say enough about it, wish I am having some now.

onefin11

I thoroughly enjoyed the downtown area of Saigon. Shopping, dining and just watching the people go by was a really enjoyable time. Go and enjoy.

stitch9599

I am really amazed by the number of motorcycles there is in HCM city. But one must be brave enough to cross the busy roads with the bikes from all angles passing you no to mention cars too. The trick in crossing those busy roads is to walk across slowly and do not run, as the motorcyclist will be confused as to where you are running to which sides of the road. Just walk calmly across the road and they will avoid you.

Steve A

Saigon is a city that is steadily moving forward, albeit at a slow pace, whilst still retaining much of its history.

Kirsty S

Ho Chi Minh City is a large, busy and fascinating city. Formerly known as Saigon, this former capital is an eclectic blend of the traditional and the modern. With historic attractions, fascinating day trips and bustling streets lined with food stalls and pavement cafes, there’s certainly plenty to see and do in three days in Ho Chi Minh City.

piphoshin

I only ever travel to Saigon (yes it's called Saigon only Ho Chi Minh if with senior party officials) on business so I haven't done the usual tourist things (not even a museum), but I always have a great time in Saigon.

Michael L

Ho Chi Minh City becomes more vibrant, bright and exciting each time I arrive. Slowly but surely the city grows more modern and western while holding true to its historical and cultural roots.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) is the usual destination for those coming to the south of Vietnam.

Do I need a visa?

Most visitors will need a visa to enter Vietnam. People in many African countries and parts of Asia are exempt from Vietnam visa requirements. Citizens of North American and European countries will need to obtain a visa. Check out this website to find out if you need to apply for a visa.

When is the best time to visit?

The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is during the drier months of December to March when temperatures range between 70 Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) and 93 Fahrenheit (34 Celsius). Many like to visit during the Tet Festival (Vietnamese New Year) in late January or early February. The whole country joins in the festivities and it's a colorful spectacle, but prices are higher and getting around may be difficult due to the large numbers of people traveling.

See more about the weather in Ho Chi Minh City here.

Get around

walking

Crossing the road in Saigon can be a nightmare. The trick is to disconnect the part of your brain that processes fear. Be Moses. Walk slowly and confidently — the sea of motor scooters will part every time.

motorcycle taxi

This is the absolute most fun way to see this town. Note that your moto driver will be getting a kickback from some places he’s recommending. He needs it to live, so if you get a good moto, tip well.

motorbike rental

If you decide that you want to experience riding around the city yourself, you can hire a motorbike for about 10$/day. Riding a motorbike requires a Vietnamese driving license, if you get a visa longer than 3 months, you are eligible for one.

Read more about getting around Ho Chi Minh City here.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Indochina Time.

What are the voltage/plug types?

220V at 50Hz. Plugs are type A (two flat vertical pins), type C, and type F (two round pins).

What is the currency?

Vietnamese Dong (VND).

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Only usually accepted at hotels and restaurants.

Is it easy to find a bank?

Yes.

How much do I tip?

Tipping is not part of the culture in Vietnam, and you are not required to tip anywhere. There will be a service charge for more upscale restaurants. People more accustomed to receiving tips are tour guides and in Western-style hotels.

Are there local customs I should know?

Friendliness

Vietnamese people for long have been famed worldwide for their grace, politeness, generosity, and hospitality. When coming to the country, the locals are so friendly that you can rest assured that they will make every possible effort to make your trip as enjoyable as possible. And expatriates who reside in Vietnam for study or work are normally not so astonished when they are invited to visit and dine with a local family with whom they have just become acquainted. That’s simply the inherent hospitality of the Vietnamese.

Dress well

Generally speaking, Vietnamese people are careful in their dress, especially in public areas. In order to avoid this culturally sensitive matter, foreign travelers are strongly advised to put on proper dress when they are out. For example, when visiting a local temple or pagoda, you should never wear a short-sleeved shirt or shorts. Instead, a long-sleeved and shoulder-covered shirt and long pants will be much more appreciated. Do keep in mind that, no matter how open-minded and care-free you are, others around you may be judgmental.

Read more about the culture in Vietnam here.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ho Chi Minh City

We recommend staying at one of the most popular hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, which include:

Some of the most popular restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City include:

Ho Chi Minh City is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:


If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Ho Chi Minh City between September and November, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between March and May.