A bit altered from the conventional tourist guidebook to dive into the new experience is a great thing to do once in a while on your travel. If you are looking for exciting and unusual activities to do in the biggest city in South Vietnam, check out our list of ways to get adventurous in Saigon. They are both great for first-time and repeat visitors as Saigon is an ever-changing city of Vietnam.
Get a Ride on a Motorcycle Tour in Saigon
You may have heard about motorcycle madness in Saigon; there are as many as 7 million registered motorbikes (2017) for the approximate 8.3 million people in the whole city (2016).
Get a ride on a motorcycle tour in Saigon
Weaving through narrow streets where motorcycles and cars are mixed in the lanes might be something exciting for you to try. To get adventurous in Saigon on the back of a bike is one of the fun experiences for travelers to do in Saigon.
Get into the Hidden Alleyways in Saigon
Besides the motorcycle madness, thousands of small alleyways are another specialty of Saigon. These alleys are not only where experience motorcycle drivers will get in to avoid the traffic jam but also places for you to experience the wonderful hidden gems and different cultural aspects of this city.
Get into hidden alleyways in Saigon
You can find alleys with hip trends like graffiti and indie cafes, or more traditional ones where there are a lot of pagodas and Buddhist statues-making shops. There are alleyways connecting with the big streets and even smaller alleys, or running to dead-ends. But behind the tall, fancy building and overcrowded streets, the locals can enjoy some quiet and peaceful time here in the not so well maintained and old alleyways.
Check out how to get adventurous in Saigon in hidden alleyways.
Cross the Streets in Saigon by Yourself
In the crazy traffic of Saigon, the pedestrians will have to find their paths on the tiny, full-of-vehicle sidewalks and learn to harmonize in the ballets of motorcycles moving in arches to avoid them instead of stopping. For most foreigners and some locals as well, this is a nightmare for them to wander around on foot.
Face your fear and cross the streets in Saigon
But no worries, it can be a great challenge to overcome once you know how to get through them safely. Remember to keep your pace steady, and you can go with a local if you are not confident in your first few tries.
Try Exotic Foods and Street Foods in Saigon
In the paradise of street foods in Saigon, you can easily find to satisfy your appetite, may it be your signature hometown foods, or Vietnamese traditional dishes. Among those things, there are also things for you to try as a challenge. Dishes like insects, worms, and Vietnamese smelly foods could be your extreme challenge, but just trying something new like the fish mints, bitter melons, and sweet soups, or weird food combinations such as pineapple in a savory dishes would already be how you get adventurous in Saigon with foods.
Insects and durian are considered food dares in Saigon
Have Cheap Beers in Saigon’s Red-light District
The red-light district in Saigon, Bui Vien streets, and the nearby area is where most youth and backpackers love to hang out at night because of the vivid atmosphere, and varied entertainment from clubs, and bars, to massage salons and street foods. All of the things are at an affordable price which is another plus for this place. But be mindful of scams, and pickpockets, and stay out of hazardous fun.
Read more about Bui Vien Street – the backpacker district in Saigon.
Find budget hotels at Saigon Backpackers’ Street here:
Bargain at Saigon’s Local Markets
The local market is another amazing destination to explore while in Saigon. These markets are where the daily life of locals is described most accurately. You can hear the noise of sellers trying to get the attention of customers, of transporters finding their way in the ocean of people, and of customers trying to get the best deals among the hundred vendors.
Remember to bargain for a good price in Saigon local markets
The busiest time is in the morning (7 AM – 10 AM) and in the evening for the night markets (6 PM – 10 PM). So make sure you come at the right time to enjoy the most of this exciting atmosphere. And as there are no clear price quotes in these markets, you can bargain with the sellers to get the best deals. It is usually how things work in the Saigon local markets, so don’t be afraid to show your skills.
Read more on how to bargain in Vietnam.
Go Fishing in Saigon
There are many canals in Saigon with fish, but you are not allowed to fish for them and take them home as these fishes are the agent to clean the water environment in a metropolitan like Saigon. For leisure fishing, there are many man-made ponds open with restaurants for you to enjoy. The area famous for a bunch of these businesses are in Thanh Da Ward, Binh Thanh District, but you can find other ponds for fishing in District 8 and District 12.
Relaxing time when fishing in Saigon
At these places, you can enjoy the fish after you have caught them. The decoration of these places will also give you a glimpse of what the Vietnamese countryside feels like with details like small tents made from bamboo, straw or coconut leaves, still water in the ponds, “cầu khỉ” – the bamboo bridge, and hammocks.
See our article on Fishing in Vietnam for more information.
Go off The Tourist Trails in Saigon
Besides famous tourist attractions in the city center, Saigon has many other sides to discover. On this land of 2,095 sq km, the places in the suburbs are not as developed as in the downtown, but they reveal the potential for eco-tourism and destinations for adventurous explorers like old pagodas, churches, monuments, kite fields, cultural and eco-parks.
Read more on districts in Saigon and its attractions to find out how to get adventurous in Saigon.
Discover new things when going off the tourist trails in Saigon
Explore Cu Chi Tunnels
One of the most famous places out of Saigon’s center is the historical site Cu Chi Tunnels. This underground system of commanders’ bunkers, kitchens, storage, and surgeon rooms was constructed over 60 years ago as a hideout in combat with the French and US armies. The replicas of traps and reinforced tunnels, together with bomb craters and some original remnants, will let you have a glimpse and experience a part of this harsh living conditions of Vietnamese soldiers in the past.
Crawling through dim-lighted tunnels will be an interesting way to get adventurous in Saigon. Learn more about What to see at Cu Chi Tunnels.
Explore Cu Chi Tunnels
Try Shooting at Firing Ranges at Cu Chi Tunnels
While you visit Cu Chi Tunnels, another thing you can experience here besides the history lessons is shooting at firing ranges. There are more than five kinds of bullets for you to choose and a guide to show you how to use the guns if it is your first try. A paintball gun playground nearby is also an interesting place for an outdoor activity when you travel in groups.
If it sparks your interest, check out the details of our tour to Cu Chi Tunnels.
Test your gun skill at the firing ranges at Cu Chi Tunnels
Hang out with Monkeys in Saigon
At the only beach in Saigon, Can Gio Districts, you will have a fun time in nature. If you look for something other than a peaceful day trip out of the city center like going to the beach and enjoying seafood, you should look at these two options to get adventurous in Saigon.
The first one is Monkey Island with many mischievous buddies welcoming you; you can interact with them but make sure you have an eye on your belongings because these little thieves are faster and bolder than you think. In Vam Sat Eco-tourism Park, you will have no less thrilling moments when cruising down a stream and fishing alligators.
Check out more details for a day trip to Can Gio District.
Play with the monkeys in Can Gio District
Sightsee Saigon with the River Bus
A new way to sightsee Saigon is by cruising down the Saigon River on the water bus. This is a pilot for a new kind of public transportation in Saigon. There are still many stations under construction with limited routes to the east of the city. Getting off from Bach Dang Port in the city center, the views you see on the cruise will slowly change from grandiose buildings to small houses and quieter areas in the suburbs. A 1-hour two-way trip can be a fun experience to see Saigon with different eyes.
Read more about a trip to Thu Duc with the Saigon river bus.
Enjoy the view of Saigon from the river bus
Ready to Get Adventurous in Saigon?
It is not difficult to have a fun adventure in Saigon if you know where to look for it. From blending in the bustling life in Saigon’s center on a motorbike to exploring the outskirts on a cruise, you will find each experience new and exciting.
Join us on i Tour Vietnam’s motorbike tours in Saigon to have a thrilling time discovering another side of the city!