Ho Chi Minh City travel guide

Once known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s southern powerhouse, filled with energy, innovation and a respectful nod to the past. Visit Notre Dame Cathedral (with all materials imported from France), the iconic Central Post Office and if you love your history, the War Remnants Museum will captivate you. If you’ve come to Vietnam to experience the culture, start with the food. Ho Chi Minh City has 5-star street food with a tasty mix of regional varieties. There are also temples to explore, fantastic shopping, day spas and of course, the warm and friendly Vietnamese people. If you’re planning a visit, explore our Ho Chi Minh City travel guide. We’ve collected the best tips from our travel experts, and have top suggestions for things to do, the best time to travel, where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City, getting around and more.

Where to stay

When considering where to stay in Ho Chi Minh, you'll need to think about your budget and the kind of experiences you want to have. If you want to stay somewhere that doesn't break the bank but doesn't cost you sleepless nights, hotels near Ben Thanh will likely be your best bet. Meanwhile, if you want easy access to landmarks, restaurants and shopping centres, stay at Nguyen Hue Boulevard. Here are some recommendations for the best areas to stay in Ho Chi Minh.

Things to do

Whether you're into history, culture, shopping or food, there are plenty of things to do in Ho Chi Minh. Vietnam's largest city has street food stalls and fine-dining restaurants, museums and markets, parks and gardens. You can explore all of these things and more when you book a Ho Chi Minh holiday.

Travel tips

The following Ho Chi Minh travel tips can help you navigate your way around Vietnam's largest city.  When in Ho Chi Minh, it’s recommended you get a prepaid SIM card from a convenience store so you can access affordable 3G data. This will then allow you to use your mobile's maps and contact emergency services by dialling 113. You should also note that the tap water isn't drinkable, so buy bottled water from convenience stores or supermarkets to stay hydrated. Here's some more Ho Chi Minh travel advice for you to keep in mind.

Getting Around

When you want to get around Vietnam's largest city, there are many Ho Chi Minh transport options to choose from. You can hail a taxi in car or motorbike form, take a bus or a cyclo, hire a bike, or simply just walk around the city.  Whichever way you choose, you'll need to be alert and to know where you're going. Be sure to have a maps app on your phone that tells you the best route. By doing these things, you'll be able to get to your destination safely, efficiently, and at a reasonable cost.

Where to eat

If there's one word to describe Ho Chi Minh's food and drink scene, it would be vibrant. From traditional Vietnamese cuisine to modern fusion dishes, you'll enjoy fresh ingredients, a variety of textures, and well-balanced flavours.  Eat at a street food stall or indulge in a fine-dining establishment. Drink a morning cup of Vietnamese coffee or a fresh beer in the evening. From Pham Ngu Lao Street to the Binh Dien Seafood Market, wherever you go, you'll find Ho Chi Minh dishes and drinks to suit your palate.


From bargaining with street vendors to purchasing designer items at high-end boutiques, a variety of Ho Chi Minh shopping experiences are on offer for you to enjoy. You'll need at least a few hours for the best retail therapy session, though!  Start your morning by visiting one of the city's open-air markets for fresh produce and handmade souvenirs. Then you can beat the heat at the historic Diamond Plaza Department Store or the modern Saigon Centre. When the sun goes down, drop by one of Ho Chi Minh's retail streets to score a bargain.

Best time to travel

As it’s only eight degrees north of the equator, the weather in Ho Chi Minh is often hot and humid. While the northern part of Vietnam enjoys a more temperate climate, the country's largest city has two main seasons: dry and wet.  The dry season starts around December and ends in April. Many tourists think this is the best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh, especially as the north-eastern winds bring about cooler temperatures. Meanwhile, the wet season starts in May and ends in November. However, the rain doesn't last that long, so you can still do some sightseeing during the off-peak season.


"If you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, then visit one of Ho Chi Minh's parks and gardens. The city has several pockets of greenery for locals and tourists to enjoy. In the mornings, drop by Le Van Tam Park to exercise with the locals. Alternatively, visit Van Thanh Park to see a recreation of a Vietnamese village. In the evening, stop by Hoang Van Thu Park for a breather after visiting nearby tourist attractions. The following Ho Chi Minh parks and gardens are some of the best in the city."