When you finally decide to explore the vibrant hidden wonders of Vietnam, you are bound to find yourself in the midst of the intriguing city of Saigon. Before you get overwhelmed by the plethora of options before you to explore this whirlwind city, here are some handy recommendations for things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.
While Ho Chi Minh City is one of the best places to sample Vietnam’s famed street food, the morning of your first day in town is probably not the best time to dive headlong into the frenzied scene. Instead, head to The Deck, a lovely, serene riverside restaurant, set on the banks of the Mekong. Enjoy marvellous river views as you tuck into delectable Pan Asian cuisine.
It is time to take a bird’s eye view of this bustling city. In this case, the bird is a nifty motorcycle that swerves expertly through the city’s narrow alleyways and hectic traffic. Motorcycle tours are one of the most exhilarating ways to see Ho Chi Minh City like a local. Most tours include a guide as well as lunch and will take you to all the important landmarks of the city while also providing you with a commentary on history and facts.
Head to one of the most iconic and stunning sites of Ho Chi Minh City, the 19th century Notre Dame Cathedral. Built by the French, just like its more popular namesake, the Notre Dame Cathedral boasts a beautiful red brick façade, brought in from Marseille, and stunning stained glass windows.
Conclude your eventful day at the very stylish Saigon Opera, also known as the Municipal Theatre and only a short walk from the Notre Dame Cathedral. From ballet to opera, the stage here sees a wide range of performances and showcases Vietnamese dance and music in all its glory.
If you’re a caffeineoholic, you’ll be pleased to know, Vietnam is the second largest coffee exporter of the world. Prepare to be spoiled with some of the most delicious coffee you’ve tasted. Ho Chi Minh is home to several cool and quirky coffee shops and we recommend the one that is the highest in the city – Café Eon. Apart from the delicious array of coffee, the views here are spectacular and the menu so inviting, you might just stay for lunch.
Step into your time machine, a local travel operator’s coach, and travel back to the time of the Vietnam War with a visit to Cu Chi tunnels. This incredible 250 km labyrinth of tunnels was used by the Viet Cong soldiers in 1948 in their campaign against the American military.
After squeezing through the tight spaces of the tunnels, it is time to revive your body with a soul soothing massage. Ho Chi Minh City’s streets are filled with massage spas that stay open late into the night. Most spas will offer you a choice of traditional Vietnamese, Thai or Japanese massages ranging from 45, 60 or 90 minutes. The really good ones will even serve you a glass of wine as your tired muscles are being worked on.
Conclude your trip with a visit to the colourful and dazzling night markets of Vietnam. At the vibrant Ben Thanh Market, you’ll find everything from fragrant coffee beans to fashionable apparels on offer. However, the arresting aroma of the flavourful Vietnamese cuisine will let you do little else. Enjoy steaming hot wok-fried fried noodles, delicious bao, barbequed fish, banh mi sandwiches, and of course, some good ol’ pho. When you’ve had your fill of the Vietnamese fare, you can try other global cuisine like middle-eastern kebabs, Mexican tacos or Indian butter chicken.