Traveling in Ho Chi Minh City can be one of the most exciting experiences in your life. Ho Chi Minh is a vibrant, busy city with many dynamic cultures. You may discover this city’s extraordinary beauty and unique style from your journey.
How to Get to and around Ho Chi Minh City
If you plan to visit Ho Chi Minh City, it is better to find low-cost flights. Particularly, airlines such as Jetstar Pacific, Vietjet Air, and Air Asia offer great flight deals when you hunt tickets in advance. If possible, sign up for email alerts from these airline websites to get deal alerts.
Cruising on a motorbike is the best way to travel once you arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. Therefore, we recommend you book private tours with local guides, especially if you are new to the city, to save time planning and enjoy a stress-free local experience.
Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City offers a wide range of luxury hotels from which you can choose. Most of these hotels provide the most exceptional services and the best location in the central city. Prices can range from $50 to $85 per night. Some top hotels are New World Saigon, InterContinental Saigon, M Gallery, Nikko Hotel, Park Hyatt, Le Meridiem, Reverie, and Caravelle Saigon.
You can stay at small hotels and hostels if you travel on a budget. Most of these are situated in Pham Ngu Lao, De Tham, and Bui Vien Street, otherwise known as the “backpackers’ area” of Ho Chi Minh City. Prices can range from $15 to $30 per night.
An even better budgeted choice is a bed in an air-conditioned dorm room in a hostel. It costs just from $6 to $10 for each bed here. This kind of room is similar to the one in the university dormitory. You will have a chance to meet and stay with backpackers from many countries who are traveling to Ho Chi Minh City. However, the most notable downside to staying in this area is the loud music and crowd noise from the nearby bars that come to life at night, especially on weekends.
Find the most suitable stay in Ho Chi Minh for you:
A Weekend in Ho Chi Minh City
- Banh Mi for breakfast (USD 0,5 – 2/piece)
- Shopping in Ben Thanh Market – remember to bargain!
- Lunch at Ben Thanh Foodcourt(USD 0,5 – 2/dish)
- Take a Walk at Nguyen Hue Boulevard – visit the Nguyen Hue apartment
- Dinner at the Cocochin Foodcourt (USD 5 – 15/dish)
- Grab a drink at Bui Vien Walking Street (USD 5 – 10/drink)
Just checked in to your accommodation and feeling hungry? Why not try a Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette), a popular breakfast among the locals and one of the best street foods in the world? Check out famous stores like Banh Mi Nhu Lan (64 Ham Nghi, District 1) or Banh Mi Huynh Hoa (26 Le Thi Rieng, District 1) for a taste of this delicious treat. After that, you can explore the city by walking around Ben Thanh Market to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
For lunch, you can enjoy a wide variety of dishes inside the Ben Thanh Market Foodcourt, where they offer everything from noodles, rice, to fresh fruits and desserts. In the evening, take a leisure walk down Nguyen Hue Walking Street for a look into Ho Chi Minh City’s fast-paced, metropolitan lifestyle.
After dinner, walk around Bui Vien Street to enjoy an authentic Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) nightlife style. There are plenty of bars and pubs located on this street. Check out some of the most popular nightclubs in Ho Chi Minh City for more details.
- Pho (beef noodle soup) for breakfast (USD 2 for a heart-warming bowl of goodness)
- Have some Vietnamese coffee (USD 0.5 – 1/cup)
- Visit attractions in District 1: Independence Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office,… (USD 2/entrance ticket)
- Visit the War Remnants Museum in District 3 (USD 2/entrance ticket)
Unlike the often busy and crowded weekday atmosphere, weekends in Ho Chi Minh City start slowly and leisurely. The locals often spend their weekend mornings enjoying a hearty bowl of Pho and a cup of Vietnamese coffee to start the day. You can enjoy a delicious bowl of Pho at Pho Quynh (323 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1, opens 24 hours) or Pho Hung (241 Nguyen Trai, District 1, opens from 6 AM). To learn more about breakfast and lunch options, check out our guide to Ho Chi Minh’s two-day itineraries.
A must-visit location for all tourists coming to Ho Chi Minh City is District 1, where many of the city’s attractions are located, from historical destinations and landmarks to galleries and museums. One of the places where you can start your adventure is the Independence Palace (also known as the Reunification Palace). Within walking distance from the Palace are the Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Central Post Office. The Notre Dame Cathedral has been closed since 2017 for renovation, so you can see it outside or go in during mass hours. The Saigon Central Post Office is open from morning to early evening for you to admire the French architecture in the city and buy some postcards and stamps to send home.
After visiting these locations, you can also check out the War Remnants Museum, where many valuable historical artifacts and evidence of Vietnamese war history are preserved and exhibited.
- Com Tam (broken rice) for breakfast (USD 2/dish)
- A day tour to Cu Chi Tunnel (more details here)
Tour duration: 6 hours
Traveling time: 1.5 – 2 hours
Starting a new day in Ho Chi Minh City with a plate of Com Tam (Broken Rice) is a habit of most locals in the south. Com Tam is known as an iconic dish of Ho Chi Minh City. Com Tam Cali (32 Nguyen Trai, District 1) and Com Tam Moc (85 Ly Tu Trong) open early in the morning (around 7 AM). On the other hand, Com Tam Thuan Kieu (26 Ton That Tung, District 1, from 10 AM) is more familiar with the locals and still has high quality and quick service. Locals also enjoy Broken Rice from street vendors because it is cheaper and could be just as delicious. However, the food hygiene of these stalls is not ensured.
Bun Bo Hue or Hu Tieu Nam Vang is another choice if you prefer to eat something with soup. Quynh Nam Vang Noodle Soup (A65 Nguyen Trai, District 1, 24 hours) is one of the most recommended stores in the central district to enjoy this tasty dish. You may also want to look at other options in our three-day itineraries in Ho Chi Minh City guide.
A good way to spend your Sunday is going on a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City, and the most favorite place is the Cu Chi Tunnels. The prominent historical site is where many military campaigns occurred during the Vietnam War and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning about the history of Vietnam. We recommend you book a guided Cu Chi Tunnels tour because while the entrance ticket to the Tunnels sometimes includes a guide, the groups are usually very crowded, making it harder to follow. The tour usually takes about 6 hours, so we recommend you set off early in the morning
Summary of How to Spend a Long Weekend in Ho Chi Minh City
Traveling to Ho Chi Minh City is a good choice for your long weekend if you do not know what to do on your day off. There are plenty of things to enjoy, like eating delicious Vietnamese food, shopping, sightseeing, and riding on the back of a motorcycle.