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Top 7 Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh . 2017 . Aug 9 - 13

This post is part of our Ho Chi Minh Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here

What can you expect when you visit Ho Chi Minh? Cheap eats, Spas, Scooters, French colonial buildings, War Memorials and Shopping are some of the things that you can expect...

1. Shop and Dine

The first thing to do when you are in Ho Chi Minh city is of course to experience the local cuisine and bring back some of the great souvenirs that this city has to offer.

The Vincom Centre Shopping Mall is a good starting point if you are new to Ho Chi Minh city.

Home to more than 250 shops, most of which are high-end ones, this is where you can find international products in the city.

Opposite the street is Parkson, a massive departmental store where you will be guaranteed to be engrossed for hours.

Vincom Centre Shopping Mall is the place to have a good dining experience - at its basement houses a fine selection of restaurants - many of which offers a hotpot or hotplate buffet experience.

If you have a sweet tooth, try the famous Fanny ice-cream or the Vietnamese version of Gong Cha.

For lovers of Japanese desserts, you will do well to try Morico, a restaurant cafe with mediocre food, but which serves one of the best kinds of Japanese desserts you can find.

For some great night time shopping, try Dong Khoi street.  Home to some grand colonial buildings, it is where photo-enthusiast can capture some stunning night views of Ho Chi Minh city.

Nguyen Hue Walking Street is where the heart of the action of Ho Chi Minh city is.   Just like our own Orchard Road,  it is a place of people and vibrancy.

For a local experience, try the Ben Thanh market - the equivalent of Singapore’s wet market and hawker centre.  The Ben Thanh market has unfortunately became a tourist trap over the years, but its still a fine place for browsing and checking out prices even if you have no intention to hand over your cash.   For a more authentic experience, be sure to speak to the locals and ask them for their preferred shopping place.   You may just be surprised at how much cheaper things are at the local markets.

2. Buy Lacquer Products

One of those things that you must not leave without are the lacquer products - be it a wine-holder, a plate, a jewellery box, or a small ornament.  These are cheap and well-made and are perfect for your home or as a gift - you can’t get them cheaper elsewhere in the world.

3. Enjoy a Relaxing Spa & Massage

Whether you are in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you shouldn’t leave without a Vietnamese massage and hot stone therapy to relax those muscles after the hard shopping.    At Ho Chi Minh city, choices are plenty as spas with several chains are all around the city. 

4. Have a Cuppa

Vietnam is one of the biggest producers of coffee beans in the world.  There is therefore a strong coffee culture in the country, with many local chain cafes around Ho Chi Minh city.

One of my favourite coffee places in Ho Chi Minh is Trung Nguyen Legend Coffee, available as many chains in the city.  I list this as one of the best places to chill in the city.  With a relaxing atmosphere, great ambience coupled with good coffee and food, it is the best place to read a book or people-watch.

For a more up-market experience, try The Workshop for some great coffee and food.

5. Visit the Cu Chi Tunnel

You are guaranteed to be wowed by the experience at Cu Chi Tunnel.   Used by the VietCong during the Vietnam war with America, the Cu Chi tunnels are the real deal and are still well-preserved to this day, with a few upgrades to make it a better experience for tourists.  Get to experience the life of the resistance soldiers living in these tunnels during the war and be amazed at the tenacity of these soldiers.

The Cu Chi tunnel is a 2-hr ride from Ho Chi Minh city, and it is best to take a day tour to bring you to the tunnels.   Try the half-day tour from KKDay for a hassle-free experience.

6. Take a Private City Tour

There’s plenty to see in Ho Chi Minh city for all its rich history and culture.   Although it is possible to do so on your own, having a tour operator bring you around saves you plenty of time and hassle.  For a customised experience, try a private tour as we did, and enjoy the flexibility of time at the places of interest. 

7. Experience the Mekong Delta by Speedboat

The Mekong River cuts through several countries - China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and is one of the most famous river in the world with several millions of people depending on the river for their livelihood.  The Mekong Delta is accessible by land, but why not take an unconventional option and explore it by speedboat.  You will be fascinated by the amount of biodiversity and the natural beauty of the delta.

We hope you have enjoyed our list of top 7 things to in Ho Chi Minh City.

Do share with us your favorites too if you have been to Ho Chi Minh!

Check out our next post on how to get around Ho Chi Minh City.

This post is part of our Ho Chi Minh Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here

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