Things to do in Saigon

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Things to do in Saigon

In this travel blog you will get to know about the attraction places in Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh, the capital of Vietnam, is also known as Ho Chi Minh City named after the father of Vietnam. The list of best attractions in Ho Chi Minh City is long and tiring. Stay with me as I take you to the most beautiful places in Ho Chi Minh City.

Here are the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City:

1. Saigon Opera House

Among the top things to do in hcmc is the Saigon Opera House. Perhaps the most striking building in the whole of Saigon, Opera house has to be on list of every architecture lover. Saigon Opera, also known as the Municipal Theater of Ho Chi Minh City, was built in 1897 by a French architect Ferret Eugene.

As a visitor you cannot take a tour of the inside (e.g. as a contrast, In Stockholm you can go to the building where Nobel Prize are held). And the only way to get inside the building is buying a ticket to watch a performance. Ho Chi Minh City sightseeing has to include Saigon Opera. Naturally, on my list it is one of the best places to visit in Ho Chi Minh.

2. Jade Emperor Pagoda

Clearly one of the top Ho Chi Minh City things to see and do! Also known as Tortoise Pagoda, Jade Emperor Pagoda was built in the year 1909. Inside the pagoda you will find the statue of the Jade Emperor and an idol of Kim Hua, the Taoist goddess of fertility.

While you are there, lookout for the pond in courtyard with tortoise. The fragrance of incense and the prayer here have a very calming effect on the mind. Jade Emperor Pagoda is a Ho Chi Minh must see! This serene pagoda has to be on your things to do in Ho Chi Minh in 2 days.

3. Bitexco Financial Tower

Surely one of the most interesting places to visit in Ho Chi Minh. What’s better to see the city of Ho Chi Minh than to be on the top of Bitexco Financial Tower. The 68-storied building at 262-meter or 859-foot of height stands tallest in Vietnam.

The ground floor of the Financial Tower houses a shopping center, which you can give a skip and the rest of the floors of the financial tower are being used as offices. Though entry to the tourist is not allowed all the way up to the top of the Bitexco tower but you can still go unrestricted to the 49th floor.

Head to Sky Deck bar and restaurant for the excellent views of the city and of the Saigon River.

You can visit Skydeck anytime between 9:30 am to 9:30 pm. The Skydeck has an entrance fee of 200,000 VND, but good thing is it is full cover. Another place to have a great view of the Ho Chi Minh City from the Bitexco Financial Tower is the Eon Cafe on the 50th floor. Watch out for the overpriced menu which can make your wallet really light should decide to indulge. If you are a couple, soaking in the views of the city is surely one of the best romantic things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.

You can get yourself a coffee (about 120,000 VND) which though expensive provides a good excuse to stay there and enjoy sweeping view over Saigon. The Eon cafe remains open from 11:30 am to 11 pm.

How to get to Bitexco Financial Tower: Bitexco Financial Tower is located in the city center and you can easily walk to it or grab a moto-taxi from nearby.

For the gorgeous views over the city, Bitexco is a must see in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam. For the same reason I’d recommend to put the Finance tower on the list of places to visit in Ho Chi Minh.

4. Ben Thanh Market

Another top things to do in Saigon city is the Ben Thanh Market. If you are a foodie I will recommend you to add Ben Thanh market to Saigon tourist attractions. Ben Thanh Market is what keep Saigon running, well sort of… Ben Thanh, built in 1870, is a huge centralized market frequented by tourists. and locals alike. This local market is my pick for best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City. There are large number of stalls selling everything from inexpensive souvenirs to local handicrafts, books and household items. Though be ready to haggle tough, in this bustling market.

And if you are hungry check out the cheap street food located right in the central location of the market. Undoubtedly, Ben Thanh is among the most interesting places in Saigon. And it has to be on your list of things to do in ho minh city.

5. Binh Tay Market

Another top things to see in Ho Chi Minh is the Binh Tay Market. The Binh Tay Market feels more local than its counterpart Ben Thanh market. So, no wonder it is on top of my Ho Chi Minh attractions guide. In-fact, in Binh Tay Market you will hardly see any tourists. Though most of the stuff, including the food is almost similar, you will feel see that Binh Tay Market is cheaper in comparison.

Binh Tay Market is located in the Cholon, the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City. The Binh Tay Market timings are from 6 in the morning to 7 in the evening. There is also wet market outside Binh Tay Market, which remains open from 5 am to 9 pm. The outdoor wet market is a must see in Saigaon for all the food lovers. With its local vibes, Binh Tay will feel little different from other regular Ho Chi Minh City main attractions. Do yourself a favor and add Binh Tay Market to your list of things to do in Ho Chi Minh in 2 days.

How to get to Binh Tay Market: You need to get to Cholon, which is located in District 5. Either grab a taxi which takes around 15 minutes to reach there from the Ben Thanh market. Ben Thanh market to Binh Tay Market taxi fare is around 120,000 VND.

6. Reunification Palace

If you are wondering what to see in Ho Chi Minh in 2 days, Reunification Palace is a natural choice. One of the most popular places to visit in Vietnam is the Reunification Palace. Independence Palace which was once a center of the storm stands calmly welcoming its visitors. Also known as Reunification palace, it is a historic landmark in the heart of the Ho Chi Minh City. The palace was the brainchild of the architect Ngô Viết Thụ. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most unique things to do in Ho Chi Minh

The palace became a symbol of freedom and victory for the South Vietnam as the palace fell and so did the South to the North. The victory marked the end of the gruesome American War. As Vietnamese call it, it was an American war imposed by the outsider and not a Vietnam War. Perspectives, huh?

As dramatic as it was North Vietnamese tanks crashed the gate of the palace, marking the victory of the North. Today, in the palace ground you can still see two of these tanks. While you are in this five-story building, check out the highlight of the tour – the tunnel, the bunker basement, which functioned as a communication hub.

The highlight of the Reunification Palace is the circular dragon carpet which can be seen on the 2nd floor of the building. The circular red carpet has beautiful dragon embrodied on to it in the center. The Vietnamese dragon represents the yang, a symbol for prosperity and the life itself. Next, head out to the basement of the Reunification Palace to see the control rooms, offices and the bunkers used during the Vietnam War.

Reunification palace opening hours: 7:30 am – 11 am; 1 pm – 4 pm daily.

The palace sometimes closes for official event, so make sure to check ahead of time before you visit. Reunification palace entrance fee: 30,000 Dong.

How to get to The Reunification Palace: The palace is conveniently located in the central area of District 1 and you can easily get here by motorbike taxi or by walk.

All in all, Reunification palace is among the best tourist attractions in Vietnam Ho Chi Minh. Hope, you now know where to visit in Ho Chi Minh City.

7. War Remnants Museum

Among the best places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City is the War Remnants Museum. Words can’t capture the feeling, the emotions and eventually the anger you’d be flooded with when you come to the war remnants museum. I’d say shocking is a very mild word to what you might experience.

The museum narrates the Northern’s perspective of the American War, and let me tell you it is not very pretty. On display inside the museum are mainly photographs depicting the atrocities of the war. This includes massacres at My Lai and My Khe, and the infamous Agent Orange, to name a few.

The museum was opened in 1975 and on the ground outside the main building you will find several American armored vehicles on exhibition. There is a cafe inside the compound but it’s bit on the higher side. Without second thought add it to places to see in Ho Chi Minh City.

8. Saigon Cathedral of Notre Dame

Saigon Cathedral of Notre Dame is one of the most beautiful example of French colonial architecture in Saigon. Notre Damne, a historical place in Saigon, has an ornate facade with two towers on the side (40 meters each). Have a look out in front lawn where there is also a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Saigon Cathedral of Notre Dame is a popular place for wedding among young Vietnamese couples, and watching the ceremony make it even more a must place to visit in Saigon. Now you know what to see in Ho Chi Minh City!

Saigon Cathedral of Notre Dame Opening Hours: 8 am – 11 am; 3 pm – 6 pm. On weekdays only.

How to reach Saigon Cathedral of Notre Dame: The church is located on Dong Khoi street, right next to the Old Post Office.

I can say confidently Notre Dame is among the best things to do in hcmc. An inseparable part of things to do in Ho Chi Minh City in one day.

9. Old Post office

Wondering where to visit in Saigon? There are so many old architectural heritage buildings in Saigon. Old Post Office is a must see in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam; included in things to do in Ho Chi Minh in 3 days. Another must visit place in Saigon is the old Post office. The heritage building of the Central Post Office reminds you of finest examples of French colonial architecture.

Constructed back in the 19th century, Central Post Office is truly an icon of Saigon and the place you must see in Saigon. Interestingly, what adds more to the authenticity to the building is the person who designed it. You might be surprised to know that the Post Office of Saigon was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the same person who designed the Eiffel Tower. One more reason to add this historical building to your list of places to visit in Saigon.

As the post office is still functional, you can simply walk in and send a postcard back home! Once inside, check out the beautiful murals depicting world maps on the walls.

Central Post office Saigon Opening hours: Weekdays: 7 am – 7 pm, Saturday: 7 am – 6 pm; Sunday: 8 am – 6 pm
Central Post office Saigon Entrance Fee: Free

How to get to Central Post office Saigon: The heritage building is located right across the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Hence, can be easily clubbed together in things to do in Saigon district 1.

10. Water Puppet Show

Water puppet show is one of the best hings to do in Ho Chi Minh City. The Water Puppet Show (múa rối nước in Vietnamese) which has its origin in the north of Vietnam, is one of the best things to do in Saigon. The show has deep cultural value to the local people, as it has been entertaining Vietnamese since the 11th century. For the same reason, watching a Water Puppet remains one of the top things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.

The water puppet show usually revolves around life in rural Vietnam, folktales, and cultural values. If you are in the city for little longer, add it to things to do in saigon in 3 days. Water puppet show is also among fun things to do in saigon with kids.The show plays for about an hour and is accompanied with music played over traditional instruments. Add the puppet show to top attraction places in Ho Chi Minh City.

Where to watch Water Puppet Show in Saigon: Golden Dragon Water Puppet theater is one of the best places to see the Water Puppet show in Saigon. I will suggest you to buy the tickets for the puppet show a day before as they usually get sold out fast.

Golden Dragon Water Puppet Show Opening hours: 2 shows daily at – 5 pm and 6:30 pm. and you can go to the ticket office to buy your ticket from 8:30 am – 11:30 am and from 1:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Golden Dragon Water Puppet Show Entrance fee: 160,000 VND.

How to get to Golden Dragon Water Puppet Show: It is located a short walk away from Independence Palace. Take my advice and add it to things to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City.

11. Fine Arts Museum

Among the top things to see in Ho Chi Minh vietnam is the Fire Arts Museum. Opened to public in the year 1991, Fine Arts Museum is the center-point to understand the arts and culture of Saigon. The Fine Arts Museum building was residential building belonging to a wealthy Chinese, Mr. Hoa. The museum is painted in beautiful hues of yellow and white, resembling French and Chinese architectural styles.

What to see in Fine Arts Museum: The Highlights of the Fine Arts Museum include exquisitely sandstone sculptures and ceramics excavated from Óc Eo, a Khmer site, from the time of the Funan Kingdom. On the 3rd floor of the Fine Arts Museum, Saigon you will find the collection from 7th century to all the way up to 20th century.

Head to the the 2nd floor to check out the cool art works, paintings and sculptures, composed by Vietnamese and artists from other regions. Some of the top artists whose work are on display include: Nguyen Gia Tri, Trinh Cung, Diep Minh Chau, and Do Quang Em.

Fine Arts Museum Opening hours: 9 am – 5 pm; Monday closed.
Fine Arts Museum Entrance fee: 10,000 VND adult; 3000 VND child.
How to get to Fine Arts Museum: The Fine Arts Museum is located very close to Ben Thanh Market.

12. Museum of Vietnamese History

Among the top things to visit in Ho Chi Minh City is the Museum of Vietnamese History. The museum showcases the rich history of Vietnam through ages. The items on display range from pre-historic era to all the way to 20th century. The museum was founded by Auguste Delaval in the year 1926. The Collection includes pottery, porcelain and sculptures dating back to 2000 BC, the bronze age.

Artifacts from Metal Age up to 179 BC include traces from Dong Son, Northern Vietnam and the Sa Huynh culture, Central Vietnam. Bronze sculptures from two of the most influencing dynasties of Vietnam – Tran and Ho Dynasties (13th-15th Century) and the Champa Kingdom, are worth looking.

Interestingly, the Museum of Vietnamese History also includes sculptures and stone reliefs from Angkor Wat of Cambodia. But the highlight of the museum remains the ancient mummy which is surprisingly well preserved. The mummy was unearthed in District 5, Saigon!

If you haven’t catch up the water puppet show yet, you can also see it in Museum of Vietnamese History. Though you have to pay an extra entrance fee of 35k VND to watch the show. Museum of Vietnamese History is located just next doors to the Saigon Zoo, and is a popular place among domestic as well as foreign tourists to visit in Saigon. Museum of Vietnamese History is one of the 10 best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.

Museum of Vietnamese History Opening hours: 8 AM – 12 PM. 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM. Remains closed on first Mondays.

Museum of Vietnamese History Entrance Fee: 15,000 VND; 40,000 VND camera fee.

13. Thien Hau Temple

Thien Hau Temple is your answer if you are wondering what to see in and around Ho Chi Minh City. Surely, one of the top tourist attractions in Vietnam Ho Chi Minh. what to see in and around Ho Chi Minh City. Thien Hau Temple is situated in Cholon, District 5, which is also known as the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City. Dedicated to, Thien Hau (Sea Goddess), the Thien Hau Temple was constructed somewhere in the 19th century.


The list of best places to visit in ho chi minh city is really large and you need at least 4-5 days to cover the must see in ho chi minh city.

Posted by Vidyut Rautela - The Himalayan Tsunami

Travel Blog. Writer. Novel: The Himalayan Tsunami

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