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What to do in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in 3 Days Travel Guide

Ho Chi Minh City is one of the more developed and dynamic Metropolitans in Vietnam. This is not only an ideal city for people to come and take in the vibe but also a golden area for entertainment activities nationwide. If you have a chance to visit Ho Chi Minh City for 3 days, check out our recommended itinerary below to get the most out of one of the memorable trips of your life!

Find the best option to travel to Ho Chi Minh City below:

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Day 1: Our What to do in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) Travel Guide for your first day is exposure to the busy and lively city with a combination of visiting the historical attractions and tasting the Vietnamese foods.

Map of Saigon 3-day itinerary: Day 1

Morning:

Vietnamese coffee + Banh Mi

vietnamese coffee
saigon

 

In Vietnam, breakfast is usually eaten outside at communal plastic tables and chairs or on the way to work. Therefore, something portable like Banh Mi is best on-to-go. If you are wandering the streets in the early morning, you will see many people sitting and gathering along the streets and enjoying their cup of Vietnamese dripped coffee and Banh Mi. Try a Vietnamese Coffee and Banh Mi if you have a chance on your first morning in Vietnam. It promises a very local vibe! These vendors can be found almost anywhere.

Central Post Office
Duration: 20 minutes

Central post office

Constructed from the period from 1860 to 1891, the Saigon Central Post Office was a French building used to serve for the colonists’ telecommunication needs. Architect Gustave Eiffel was the leading man behind this neoclassical structure. The Central Post Office is one of the oldest working structures in Ho Chi Minh City today.

Hours: 7 AM – 7 PM (weekends: 8 AM – 6 PM)
Location: 2 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Entrance: Free

Notre Dame Cathedral
Duration: 20 minutes

notred dame cathedral

Located in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City and adjacent to the Central Post Office, Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is the most-visited attractions in the city. At the time it was constructed in 1880, the materials were all imported from France, and this Basilica still retains the gorgeous appearance until today. Its unique design is the most attractive point that tourists like to come and witness with their own eyes.

Note: The Notre Dame Cathedral is currently under renovation, but outside visit is still possible.

Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM
Location: 1 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Entrance: Free

Independence Palace
Duration: 2 hours

Independence palace

The Independence Palace is not only an attraction but also a symbolic representation of its strength that withstood great historical revolutions. Located not far on foot from the Notre Dame Cathedral, formerly, this

place was known as the Independence Palace. Today it continues to be a tourist hotspot. Travelers come to understand more about the Vietnam War and how the Vietnamese fought for their independence, as well as to know more about their culture.

Hours: 7:30 AM – 11 AM and 1 PM – 4 PM
Location: 135 Nam Ki Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1
Entrance: VND 30,000 ($1.5)

To have fun trips in Ho Chi Minh City, check out our authentic motorbike tours with professional local guides!

 LUNCH Recommendations:

saigon food tour
bun thit nuong

 

Bun Thit Nuong Chi Tuyen (Grilled Pork with Vermicelli)
Hours: 7 AM – 8 PM
Location: 195 Co Giang Street, District 1
Price: VND 30,000 – VND 66,000 ($1.5 – $3.5)

bun bo hue

Bun Bo Nhan Tri (Beef Noodle Soup)
Hours: 7 AM – 10 PM
Location: 295 Le Hong Phong Street, District 10
Price: VND 50,000 – VND 60,000 ($2.5 – $3)

vietnam fish cake

Bep Me In (Vietnamese Comfort Food)
Hours: 11 AM – 11 PM
Location: 136/9 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1
Price: VND 30,000 – VND 225,000 ($1.5 – $11) 

Afternoon:

Ben Thanh Market
Duration: 1 hour

One of the famous local markets in Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh Market has been situated for over 100 years in the center of District 1. The iconic image of the Clock tower in the Southern gate of the market is one of the symbols of Ho Chi Minh City.

Ben Thanh was built in 1914. It had been established before the French conquered Gia Dinh, the former name of Saigon in the 18th century. In the beginning, the location of the market was on the banks of the Ben Nghe River, next to the boat landing wharf in the citadel of Gia Dinh. This landing wharf was where the non-residents and servicemen came to the city to trade, so it was called Ben Thanh. The meaning of the market name is fascinating, Ben meaning “wharf” and Thanh meaning “citadel”.
If you decide to shop here, you must bargain.

Hours: 4 AM – 11 PM
Location: Le Loi Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1
Entrance: Free

Bitexco Financial Tower
Duration: 30 – 60 minutes

Completed in 2010 and spans 68 stories high with 262 meters in height, the Bitexco Financial Tower is currently the tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City.

It’s no secret that the best view of the city is to be had from the top of this tower! Choose a clear day and a time around sunset for optimal enjoyment.

Insider’s Tip: Go directly to Level 50 to get a drink from the restaurant and enjoy the 360 degrees view of the city.

Hours: 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Location: 36 Ho Tung Mau Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1

Nguyen Hue Walking Street/Ho Chi Minh Square
Duration: 30 – 60 minutes

During the evenings, Nguyen Hue Walking Street is a dynamic place gathering lots of young people walking on the Boulevard, playing collective activities, singing or chatting, and enjoying a beautiful moment under the lights. There is a water fountain show in the middle of the Boulevard, making a beautiful scene for posing for pictures. After a long day of travel, this place is a good stop to rest and observe the local vibe. There are many shops and restaurants on this streets as well.

Hours: All day
Location: Nguyen Hue Boulevard, District 1
Entrance: Free

War Remnant Museum
Duration: 2 hours

First opened in 1975, formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes, War Remnants Museum features exhibits and propaganda depicting the military conflicts, specifically during the Vietnam War and the first Indochina War, and how they affected the country and its citizens.
Visitors are offered a firsthand look at what life was like on the front lines.
Hours: Everyday (including holidays) 7:30 AM – 12 PM and 1:30 PM – 5 PM
Location: 28 Vo Van Tan Street, Ward 6, District 3
Entrance: VND 15,000 ($0.75)

Evening:

vietnamese pizza
quail egg cake

 

Ho Con Rua (Turtle Lake)

This is a gathering place for local students to socialize and buy cheap street foods. Each vendor sells different dishes from quail egg cake to Vietnamese pizza.

Hours: 5 PM – 11 PM
Location: Cong Truong Quoc Te, District 3
Price: VND 10,000 – VND 20,000 ($0.5 – $1)

BBQ

 


DAY 2: Our What to do in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) Travel Guide for your second day is an aim to give you a deeper understanding of the history, people, lifestyle, and some of the off-the-beath-path places in the city. We have listed out two options, a visit to the historical wartime Cu Chi Tunnels or a visit to the countryside at the Mekong Delta. A visit to the Cu Chi would take half a day, but a visit to the Mekong Delta would take a full day. Choose your itinerary and interests in whether you like history or the countryside more.

Map of Saigon 3-day itinerary: Day 2

Morning:

steamed rice rolls

Banh Cuon Hai Nam (Steamed Rice Rolls)

Hours: 7:30 AM – 10:45 PM
Location: 11A Cao Thang Street, District 3
Price: VND 40,000 – VND 88,000 ($2 – $4)

Option 1: The Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels Tour
Duration: 5 – 6 hours

cu chi tunnel model
cu chi tunnels tour

 

During the Vietnam War when Communist troops (known as the Viet Cong) sought ways to defeat better-equipped American and South Vietnamese soldiers, they spent over 20 years designing a sophisticated underground network in the Cu Chi territory. The tunnels reached 10 meters below ground and stretched more than 250 kilometers.
Despite massive bombings and aerial spraying of Agent Orange over the Cu Chi territory, the U.S. was never able to completely destroy the hiding places. Today, many tourists can visit parts of the tunnels and encounter rooms that were once utilized as hospitals, weapon caches, strategic military meetings, dormitories, and offensive shoot offs. There are two sites of the tunnels open to visitors. To visit the lesser-known tunnels with more original sights, check out this Cu Chi Tunnels tour program. This is located 2 hours away from Ho Chi Minh City.

Hours: 7 AM – 5 PM
Location: Ben Duoc, Phu Hiep, Phu My Hung, Cu Chi
Entrance: VND 90,000 ($4.5)

Afternoon:

Saigon’s Other Side Motorbike Tour (off-the-beaten-path tour) 
Duration: 3.5 hours

saigons other side motorbike tour
Saigon motorbike tour

 

With the famous historical sites aside, this Saigon’s Other Side motorbike tour is an interesting way to understand the most out of Ho Chi Minh City and to discover the unseen local areas that you cannot find in guide books. Places of visit include the city’s floating market, the hidden corner of Chinatown, a wet market tour, and a hidden pagoda.

Evening:

Bui Vien Walking Street is filled with exciting music and fun sights at night! After a long day, chill out in this area by grabbing cheap local beers and street foods. A vast number of tourists gather here to enjoy the music, walk around to sightsee and watch street performers put on entertaining acts.

Hours: All day but more lively after 8 PM
Location: Bui Vien Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1
Entrance: Free

Option 2: The Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta Tours
Duration: All day

mekong delta tour
making rice paper

 

Situated 2.5 hours away from Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta is worth a visit if you would like to go outside of the metropolitan vibe for a day trip to the Southwest of Vietnam. See the green paddy rice fields, restaurants on boats, floating markets, and fruit gardens. Unlike the crowded atmosphere of a modern city, a trip to the Mekong Delta brings a very different experience at the land of agriculture in Vietnam. In the evening, visit the Bui Vien Walking Street as depicted above.

Day 3: Our What to do in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) Travel Guide for your third day is a guide to give you some Ho Chi Minh shopping experience, visit cultural shows, and enjoy the city’s nightlife. And don’t forget to check out the Vietnamese food recommendations!

Map of Saigon 3-day itinerary: Day 3

Morning:

sticky rice
spring rolls1

  

Xoi Che Bui Thi Xuan (Sticky Rice and Snacks)

Hours: 6:30 AM – 6 PM
Location: 111 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1
Price: VND 25,000 – VND 55,000

Fito Museum of Traditional Medicine
Duration: 60 minutes

With nearly 3,000 items relevant to traditional Vietnamese medicine dating back to the Stone Age, Fito Museum is an excellent site to discover the Traditional Vietnamese Medicine and Pharmacy. At this place, you could find a lot of medical instruments, documentary films, and books related to traditional medicine in Vietnam. If your traveling plan is not only to have fun but also to learn about traditional cultures, Fito Museum is worth a visit.

Hours: 8:30 AM – 5 PM
Location: Hoang Du Khuong, Ward 12, District 10
Price: VND 120,000 ($6)

Southern Vietnam Women Museum
Duration: 60 minutes

Another insight into Vietnamese culture is the Southern Vietnam Women’s Museum. This place was formerly a traditional house of Southern Women before becoming an exhibition area from 1990.

Saving and displaying more than thousands of artifacts, documents, pictures and books, the museum is a place where you can look up the history of Vietnam Women’s movements in the past wars, traditional dresses, and the earlier time culture.

Hours: 7:30 AM – 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM – 5 PM
Location: 202 Vo Thi Sau Street, District 3
Entrance: VND 30,000 ($1.5)

Binh Tay Market
Duration: 60 minutes

Completed in 1930, Binh Tay is one of the biggest local markets in Ho Chi Minh City, and it is the leading wholesale market in District 6 in the last 80 years. With a broad range of selection, it is a familiar location for professional traders from the Southwest and the Mekong Delta region. The typical products here are electronics and foods.

It is interesting to note that Binh Tay was designed with the ancient architecture, indicating through the style of the roof, the sculptures, and a vacant yard for worship in the center area. The decoration, design, and liveliness of this market are the main factors attracting many visitors. This market is not to be missed in your Ho Chi Minh shopping destinations.

Note: Binh Tay is currently under renovation until the end of 2017. Shops have been moved outside.

Hours: 6 AM – 7 PM
Location: Thap Muoi, Ward 2, District 6
Entrance: Free

Thien Hau Temple 
Duration: 30 minutes

Known as one of the most beautiful Chinese temples in Ho Chi Minh City, Thien Hau Temple is a must-see for every tourist. Built in the characteristic style by the Chinese, this temple’s architecture brings a different color among the Vietnamese ones in the city. A visit to this temple will give you an insight not only into religious activities of the locals but also some stories of Vietnamese culture related to the influence of Chinese in the earlier time.

Hours: 7:30 AM – 5 PM
Location: 710 Nguyen Trai Street, District 5
Entrance: Free

Lunch Recommendations:

pho beef noodle soup

Pho Le (Beef Noodle Soup)

Hours: 6 AM – 1 AM
Location: 413 – 415 Nguyen Trai Street, District 5
Price: VND 65,000 ($.3.2)

Com Tam Thuan Kieu (Broken Rice)

Hours: 6 AM – 2 PM
Location: 114 Yersin Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1
Price: VND 40,000 – VND 110,000 ($2 – $5)

Afternoon: We have listed some museums and cultural choices for you to choose from.

Fine Art Museum
Duration: 60 minutes

Located near the Ben Thanh Market, the Fine Arts Museum is one of the largest fine arts centers in Vietnam. At this place, there are various collections of paintings and sculptures of Vietnam and some of the other countries. It is a valuable experience to explore Vietnamese culture through the historic and modern artworks displayed throughout the 3 floors of this building.

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9 AM – 5 PM
Location: 97 A- Pho Duc Chinh, District 1
Price: VND 10,000/adult ($0.44); VND 3,000/child ($0.13)

Ho Chi Minh Museum at Nha Rong Wharf
Duration: 2 hours

In 1911, Nha Rong Wharf was the place where the patriotic man Nguyen Tat Thanh, also known as the late President Ho Chi Minh, left to seek ways to save Vietnam from the French colonial rule. After his learning journey throughout the world, Mr. Ho Chi Minh and his leadership helped Vietnam won independence. To remember his great contribution, the Wharf is now a historical relic dedicated for President Ho Chi Minh and it has been turned into the Ho Chi Minh Museum since 1982.

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday
• Morning: 7:30 AM – 11:30 AM
• Afternoon: 1:30 PM – 5 PM
Location: 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh street, 12 Ward, District 4
Price: VND 20,000/person ($1). Children under 14 are free

Water Puppet Show
Duration: 60 minutes

In the evening, enjoy a cultural Water Puppet Show at the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater. This is traditional Vietnamese art, which shows are performed in the water with live music. The puppets are controlled by the people hiding behind a blanket with bamboo sticks. 

Starting time of the shows: 5 PM, 6:30 PM and 7:45 PM and last about 50 minutes

Location: 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1
Entrance: from VND 150,000 ($7.5)

AO Show at Saigon Opera House
Duration: 60+ minutes

A live performance by Vietnamese acrobats may be an interesting stop to enjoy in the evening. If this is your vibe, book an AO Show at the Saigon Opera House or from their site. 

Hours: 6 PM
Location: 7 Cong Truong Lam Son, District 1
Price: from VND 565,000 ($25)

Ho Chi Minh Shopping

Apart from the luxurious shopping malls with a variety of Western brands, you can visit these top local shopping streets to seek out some bargaining items. 

Evening:

Hum Vegetarian (Assorted Vegetarian Cuisines)

Hours: 10 AM – 10 PM
Location: 32 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3
Price: VND 100,000 – VND 300,000 ($5 – $15)

vietnamese pancake
mini pancakes

  

vietnamese salad
Nightlife

When the sun goes down, Ho Chi Minh City is busier and far intriguing. Speaking of joining the excitement, it could be the right time for you to quench your thirst and have some fun at one of the famous Vietnamese bars with local beers and live music. 

Summary on What to do in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in 3 Days Travel Guide

Traveling without any proper comprehensions about what to do in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) can be a bit of a struggle and lead to more stressful situations. We hope that this travel guide will help you make the most out of your time by guiding you on where to visit and places to eat in Ho Chi Minh City. Got questions? Contact us or leave a comment below.

Other Vietnam Travel Information: a guide to the Vietnamese Currency and Travel Time and Taxi Fares from Tan Son Nhat’s Airport to the City Center.

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