Planning a Trip to Ho Chi Minh City
As the “most delicious city” in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is suitable for travel all year round. Two to four days is enough to include the most famous tourist spots in the city, and also a trip to the Mekong Delta.
As international flights, buses and cruises connect with the city, HCMC has become one of the most popular ports of entry and departure in Vietnam.
- The months November to April inclusive are the best months to visit.
- During festival times (especially Lunar New Year, Christmas and western New Year), the city is crowded and prices rise.
- Two to four days’ stay is enough for both a city tour and a trip to the Mekong Delta region.
- A foodie tour is one of the must-do things in HCMC.
- Guests from Australia, Europe and America will need at least one transit before arriving.
- There are many international flights from other popular Asian cities (such as Bangkok, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur).
- A guided tour to the Mekong Delta region is recommended, for public transport is not too convenient in the region.
- Most travelers will choose to stay in the 1st District or the 3rd District.
Best Time to Go
Ho Chi Minh City is suitable for a visit all year round. The months November to April are probably the most comfortable months to visit.
From November to April the weather is cool and dry, suitable for outdoor activities. This is the best time to visit.
From May to October it is hot and wet. Rainfall increases sharply but the showers do not last long, and the rain can help by cooling down the temperatures.
The peak travel season is in August, when all prices rise steeply. You are strongly recommended to book in advance for August.
Compared to other cities in Vietnam, HCMC is more inclined to embrace western holidays, not simply focusing on traditional holidays such as Lunar New Year and National Day.
During Christmas and western New Year, the city is busy and there will be a shortage of rooms and flight tickets, so booking in advance is necessary.
How Long to Stay
In one or two days, you can have a city tour and take a visit to My Tho (the gateway to the Mekong Delta).
If you stay for two to four days, we recommend you do the city tour, and later stay a night in the heart of the Mekong Delta, for you can explore the boisterous floating market early the next morning. For a better experience, we sincerely recommend that you stay one night in Can Tho.
If you have a week or more, you can extend your trip to Phu Quoc Island. As one of the best beach resorts in Vietnam, the Island will never let you down.
What to Expect
In the City
The Independence Palace, Central Post Office, Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral and War Remnants Museum are landmarks of the city.
The Saigon Opera House, also known as the Municipal Theatre, only offers three shows (Ao Show, the DAR and the Mist). Among these, the Ao Show is not only the most famous, but is also regarded as the best.
For the show timetables, you can refer to Saigon Opera House.
As a motorbike kingdom, a Vespa (Motorbike) Tour is the last thing you should miss in Vietnam. Not only can you join a city tour by motorbike, but you can also use the motorbike to negotiate the narrow streets and look for delicacies.
Saigon River Dinner Cruise
This is one of the most popular night activities in HCMC. Although the set menu is not that exceptional, the night views over the river really deserve a try.
Night View from the Financial Tower
The viewing deck is on the 49th story, but there is also a restaurant on the 51st floor and a cafe on the 52nd. Simultaneously tasting the delicious dishes and enjoying the stunning scenery will be one of the highlights of your stay in HCMC.
If you would like to taste the most authentic dishes, joining a Foodie Tour should do the job. Not only will you taste the delicious dishes, but you will also learn from your guide about them and about local life in general.
The street food culture in HCMC is popular, and eating street food should be one of the experiences you have here. In addition, there are also many fancy restaurants with both eastern and western menus, which will surely satisfy your stomach.
Special Restaurant Recommendation
Noir: ranked No. 1 on TripAdvisor
Have you ever eaten in an invisible environment? Have you ever imagined that those who serve you are blind?
Dining in Noir will revolutionize your dining experience. When your eyes cannot see, your sense of taste will be stimulated. It will be interesting to guess what food you are putting into your mouth!
Around the City
Cu Chi Tunnel
This will take you back into the time tunnels of the Vietnam War. Since the tunnels are short and it is damp and musty inside, some visitors will feel it is stuffy and uncomfortable as they walk through. But it is definitely an unusual and memorable experience.
The gateway to the Mekong Delta. The easiest way to reach the Mekong Delta area is by joining a day tour from HCMC. Compared to other parts of the Mekong Delta, this is the most commercial area.
Located between My Tho and Can Tho, Vinh Long has a lot of small islets awaiting your exploration.
At the heart of the Mekong Delta. We recommend our guests to stay one night in Can Tho, so they can visit the Cai Rang Floating Market, which is the highlight of Can Tho as well as the whole Mekong Delta area, early the next morning.
Chau DocFrom here, you can get to Phnom Penh (Cambodia) by boat./p>
How to Get There
The most popular international routes are to and from the capitals of some other Asian countries (such as Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur), and some other popular cities such as Hong Kong, or Shanghai, which can be transit stops for travelers departing from Australia, Europe and America, who need at least one transit before arriving in HCMC.
For more information, you can refer to How to Get to Vietnam by Air.
Trains or Buses
There are no international trains, but international buses run regularly to and from Cambodia.
There are regular cruises traveling along the Mekong River from other Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Laos, and even Myanmar.
Besides, many international cruises stop at Phu My Port, which is a two-hour drive from downtown HCMC. Shore excursions are very popular.
Choose a Tour Style
Inside the City: If you like to explore by yourself, renting a bike or a motorbike to travel round the city is a very good option. But doing so is not convenient or comfortable during the scorching summer or the rainy season .
Outside the City: Taking a guided tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels or the Mekong Delta will be more appropriate than going on your own, due to the inconvenience of public transport. You can either choose a private tour or a group tour. Both are well worth it.
Where to Stay
Most visitors choose to stay in the 1st District or the 3rd District. [Is this really true? This is the same as Hoi An! ]If your budget is adequate, however, choosing a hotel along the river is also a good option, for you can enjoy the serene environment there and the beautiful view over the river.
There are about 252 hotels in the Cho Ben Thanh Market area. The market is in the city center, so it is convenient to go from there to the main attractions by foot. There are also many high-end hotels nearby, but the area near the market is noisy.
There are about 193 hotels around the train station or Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral. You can reach the downtown area in about 30 minutes by foot, and it is very convenient.
You can choose from 109 hotels in the River District. But the price of the accommodation here is relatively high. It is more suitable for who prefer a quiet environment.
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