How to Plan an Incredible Family Trip to Japan in 2024/2025. Learn more.
Top Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

Top Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Oct. 19, 2023

Ho Chi Minh City, named after revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, used to be known by the name Saigon. 'Saigon' is still used unofficially in some circles.

As the then capital of the Republic of Vietnam, the city went through a tough time during the Vietnamese War, from 1955 to 1975. You can still see the legacy of war here.

Today, Ho Chi Minh is the largest city in Vietnam. Although its economy is developing rapidly, it still feels full of French romanticism and influence, earning it the nickname, Paris of the Orient.

PS: Vietnam has eased its travel restrictions from March 16, 2022. All travelers are exempt from quarantine to visit Vietnam now as long as you're fully vaccinated

Witness a Twentieth-Century Miracle - the Cu Chi Tunnels

Recommended length of visit: half-a-day to a day

Even if you're not a history buff, the Cu Chi tunnels are interesting as a legacy of great significance for understanding the American war in Vietnam.

The tunnels stretch for about 200 km and incorporate water wells, barns, meeting rooms, hospitals and dormitories. They played an important role in resisting American invasion.

When you crawl through the tunnels, you'l be amazed by the intelligence of the Vietnamese. You'll also be enlightened as to how Vietnamese lived in the underground tunnels and survived the war.

China Highlights, Asia Highlights, and Global Highlights collaborate to provide families and couples with personalized and stress-free experiences in diverse destinations.

Meditate on the Importance of Peace - the War Remnants Museum

Recommended length of visit: a day

The War Remnants Museum, once known as the Museum of American War Crimes, opened to the public in 1975.

War machinery, including helicopters with rocket launchers, tanks, fighter planes, and bombs, is presented in the museum along with explanatory text. There are also many photographs: battlefield photos and post-war photos of victims.

The texts and pictures are silent, but after visiting, you may hear the cry of war echoing in your mind. Pictures of ruins scarring the land may also be etched in your memory.

On reflection, you may realize that such history is not just for the record, but serves as a stark warning about the importance of peace.

Walk Round the History of Modern Vietnam - Reunification Palace

Recommended length of visit: two to three hours

Reunification Palace was built between 1962 and 1966, during the period of French colonization. It served as the presidential palace of the regime of South Vietnam, from 1967 to 1975.

The palace is a white building with four floors, more than a hundred splendid and magnificent halls, a helicopter deck on the roof, and a basement. The total floor area is 120,000 square meters. The surrounding complex includes spacious gardens.

After a visit to the palace, you will know more about Vietnam's modern history.

Marvel at Some Great Architecture - Notre Dame Cathedral

Recommended length of visit: half-an-hour

Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the landmarks of Ho Chi Minh, is located in the center of the city near the Central Post Office. This 19th-century gothic building is a legacy of the days of French colonization.

The cathedral is modeled after Notre Dame in Paris. It's said that all its red bricks are from France. After more than a century, their color hasn't faded, loaning the building another name, Red Cathedral.

You will marvel at this gorgeous building with its four-ton statue of Mary between the spires, its two 40-meter-tall bell towers and its exquisite reliefs in the porch.

The church is a place of worship. It was sculpted and built so magnificently, however, that it makes everyone simply stand and marvel at the wonderful architecture.

Revert to the Letter-Writing Era - the Central Post Office

Recommended length of visit: half-an-hour to an hour

When did you last write a letter with pen and paper? Before humanity entered the digital age? When you walk into this hundred-year-old office, you can't help feeling like picking up your pen again.

The Central Post Office was designed by a French architect and built between 1886 and 1891. It is a grand and classic building.

Many details will impress: the carved wooden telephone booths, a magnificent tiled floor, fascinating historical maps of South Vietnam, Saigon and Cholon (a suburb of Saigon) on the walls, and barrel-vaulted halls.

Witness a Different Life - a Mekong Cruise

Recommended length of visit: half-a-day

If you would like to experience a different Ho Chi Minh, without traffic jams, magnificent French structures, or exquisite food, how about taking a boat-ride?

Try a Mekong cruise, with fleeting boats, floating houses, and traditional Vietnamese cuisine.

On the cruise, you will visit an early-morning floating market, and see a local temple, a rice factory, and a honey factory. Watch how people harvest fruit and observe the local way of life. Enjoy local music and cuisine.

Enjoy Vietnamese Culture - the Water Puppet Theatre

Recommended length of visit: half-a-day

The Water Puppet Theatre, with a history of a thousand years, is the quintessence of Vietnamese culture.

The stage is set on water and puppets are manipulated by people who stand in the water. The show comprises seventeen short stories, each three to five minutes long. The stories are from folklore, customs and tales of Vietnam. Through this show, you can learn more about Vietnamese culture.

Be a Vietnamese Chef - Saigon Cooking Class

Fancy a cooking course in Hoi An, a street-food walk in Hanoi and a scooter tour in Saigon? The Saigon Cooking Class has got you covered.

In the morning, your guide will show you round the local market, and teach you how to select the freshest vegetables and bargain with local people.

Back in the classroom, do as instructed and you can learn to be your very own Vietnamese chef.

Explore Asia with Asia Highlights

At Asia Highlights we offer tailor-made tours through Asia, where you can enjoy all highlights as well as amazing cultural experiences. To get started, send us an email.

Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)

  • Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
  • Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
  • Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
Popular tours
Make the most of your time
Choose the best time to visit

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create My Trip
4.9 ExcellentTrustPilot rating TrustPilot Logo

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

The Asia Highlights Experience

1-to-1 Expert Planning

1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made to suit you by a destination expert. Your personal travel advisor will always reply within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy having your own personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have as much flexibility as possible.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Go beyond the sightseeing. Understand the destinations by practicing the local culture and interacting with local people.

One-Stop Service

One-Stop Service

Leave all the booking work to us, including international and internal transportation, visas, hotels, meals, and activities.

Where Can We Take You Today?

About Us
At Asia Highlights, we are committed to providing you a premium, quality private tour, whether it's a milestone trip, family trip, or bucketlist trip — your planning will be made easy with just one specialist throughout. Know more ...
Rated 4.9 out of 5 | Excellent
China Highlights International Travel Service Co., LTD
Corporate Number: 914503003486045699
Featured on