Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)


Ho Chi Minh City attractions are a vibrant mix of old and new, with well-preserved colonial structures and war relics from the devastating Vietnam War as well as sleek skyscrapers, elegant sports clubs, and expansive shopping malls against a metropolis backdrop. Great for immersing in the local culture, no two districts are the same in Ho Chi Minh City and there are plenty of ornate pagodas and Buddhist temples to visit and photograph as well.


Drawing millions of tourists each year, Ho Chi Minh City is also fitted with a wide array of accommodation options of varying price range and styles while unique modes of transportation such as motorcycle taxis and cyclos make it relatively easy to explore the city centre and beyond. From the ornate Mariamman Hindu Temple to the informational War Remnants Museum, there seems to be an endless list of what to see in Ho Chi Minh City.


Sights and Activities

Independence (Royal) Palace - Independence (Royal) Palace - Distinctly 1970s architecture and fine grounds make this at least worth a walk by. The iconic Vietnam war picture of a tank crushing its way through the iron gates of the palace on liberation day was taken here. Across from the entrance to the palace on Huyen Tran Cong chua is a local swimming pool. For a dollar go take a dip. edit


Museum of History houses, amongst others, the mummy of Ms Tran Thi Hieu, who died in 1869. Admission is under one dollar.


War Remnants Museum - This moving if one sided view of the "American war" is well worth visiting.


Daytrip to Cu Chi Tunnels - These amazing tunnels cover an area of 150 square kilometres. They were a major thorn in the side of the US during the war, considering they were so close to Saigon. Even with heavy B52 bombing the tunnels remained a major Viet Cong defensive system. All travel agents can sell you a half day trip for $5, entrance not included which is 75,000 Dong. But a far better trip can be had by taking the local bus #13 from Ben Thanh market station, which costs 5,000 dong. The bus takes you to Cu Chi town bus station in about 1.30 hours. Change to bus #79 (5,000 Dong) which takes you right to the tunnels (13 kilometres). You are not allowed to enter the tunnels unaccompanied. Guides included in your entrance fee will show you around the park. edit


Daytrip to Tay Ninh


Pho Binh cafe - Pho Binh cafe is not really a cafe. It's a Pho (noodle) shop. Seems like this place is a bit of an unofficial tourist place now. The owner will take you up to 3rd floor to show you relics and pictures from Viet Cong meeting place. An interesting bit of trivia is that this was a major meeting place for Viet Cong officials, but at ground level oblivious American GIs were enjoying the noodles. Slip your man 10,000 dong and he is happy. Address: 7 Lo Ching Thang, at the intersection of Hai Ba trung edit



Ben Thanh Market (Le Lai Street), one of the city's most famous landmarks. Bustling with activity at night with vendors selling everything from snacks to souvenirs and cheap clothing.


Saigon Trade Tax Centre (39 Le Loi), the ideal place to find gold jewelry and gems.


Khai Silk - Khai Silk (Dong Khoi street) is a lovely shop for purchasing good quality silk shawls - both the Kashmiri pashmina shawls as well as the Vietnamese raw silk (Anh silk) shawls. There is a tailor's shop close by Khai silk shop that makes custom-specific ao dai as well as lovely evening wear. The Dong Khoi street shops are a tad expensive than shops elsewhere in Ho Chi Minh city but the quality is much better. edit


Events and Festivals


Tet Festival - The Tet Festival is the Vietnamese New Year, which is the same time as Chinese New Year (January/February). Visitors to Ho Chi Minh during this can can expect to see decorations all over the city, parades, food stands, and beautiful fireworks displays. It is believed that during this time of year, those who start a new business or project will have good luck. edit


Independence Day (02 Sep 2013) - September 2nd marks Vietnam's Independence Day. During this national holiday, thousands gather to celebrate and throw parties together. Concerts are held throughout the day, and during the evening celebrations, the city puts on an extravagant fireworks display. edit


Reunification Day - Sometimes referred to as Liberation day, this holiday, celebrated each year on April 30th, commemorates the moment the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops captured Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1975. On this day, festivals, concerts, and special film screenings can be seen around the city. edit

This event is celebrated to commemorate the life and death of Le Van Duyet, a national hero of Vietnam. This anniversary festival is usually celebrated on the 1st day of the 8th lunar month. Traditional Southern Vietnamese rituals are performed and incense is burned on this day. Visitors can also expect to see opera performances, and it is also a popular practice on this day to meet with a fortune teller or oracle.

Fisherman's Festival - Also known as Nghinh Ong Festival, this event is celebrated annually in the Can Gio District on the 16th day of the eighth lunar month. The history of this festival comes from Vietnamese folklore - where ancient fisherman were saved from a terrible storm by a whale. This festival celebrates that story, and mainly, the whales. It is customary that fishermen take this day off to attend the festival. Shrines are erected around town, and fishing harbors and boats are beautifully decorated for the event. Traditional meals of roast white pork and colorful steamed sticky-rice are served. edit


Wandering Souls Day - Primarily a Buddhist holiday, this event is intended to celebrate the souls of the dead that are thought to visit the city during this time (the 15th day of the 7th lunar month). During this holiday, religious ceremonies are performed, and traditional food is prepared as offerings to the wandering dead. Visitors will find local delicacies like boiled chicken, roast pork, sticky rice cakes, and meat rolls served from food stands all over the city. 




Weatherwise, the best time to visit Ho Chi Minh is in the dry season which runs from December to April. In the dry season the humidity is at a level which is easier to handle. As this is common knowledge it also means the crowds are bigger this time of year, so to avoid the crowds you'll need to tolerate the extra humidity. Temperatures average 31 °C during the day year round, and drops to just a little below 25 °C at night. Most of the rain falls from June to September.