You are here: HomeAsia | Vietnam  | Ho Chi Minh

Top 15 Best Things to do in Ho Chi Minh - Full Day Activities 

If you want to know an authentic Ho Chi Minh city aka. Saigon, you'd better see it from day till night. According to , below are the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh city that no traveler should ever miss. Those activities are categorized with a perfect timing to explore. Take a look and pin up anything you like for your next Vietnam vacation.



1.1. Have An Authentic Breakfast

vietnamese breakfast

Good morning, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)! What to do first in this vibrant city? Go get yourself an authentic Saigon breakfast. Hu tieu, Pho, even Com Tam are popular as Saigonese breakfast dishes. Try to eat in a local restaurant with the local people, you not only get the perfect real flavor of the food but also get the chance to know how Saigonese live their daily lives. After breakfast, make it to the coffee shop nearby, any shop, to enjoy a glass of 'ca phe sua da' (Saigonese milk iced coffee) to get refreshed. You can sit on the sidewalk and watch the busy roads in the morning or just take a stroll around Saigon's best green parks if you like to stay away from the vehicle smoke.

1.2. Visit The Unification Palace

unification palace in ho chi minh

Formerly known as Norodom Palace, this place is more often known as the Independence Palace. In 1962, bombs caused extensive damage to this home. President Diem commissioned architect Ngo Viet Thu to manage the palace's rebuilding, and the work was completed in 1966.

The Unification Palace played a crucial role in Vietnamese history. It was the site where the Vietnam War officially ended in 1975 when a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the palace gates. This event marked the reunification of North and South Vietnam.

Visiting the palace, don't forget to look further into its design. The Reunification Palace is an impressive example of architecture from the 1960s, spanning a whopping 120,000 square meters across 4,500 square feet. The ground floor is where most of the meetings take place, while the top floor is home to a stunning array of reception rooms used to accommodate foreign and domestic dignitaries. The president's rooms are located in the building's rear, and it is highly recommended that you take the time to view the tiny boats, horse tails, and severed elephant tusks that adorn the walls. The bomb shelter and control room are located underneath.

1.3. Saigon Central Post Office

Be sure to spend some time touring the historic Saigon Central Post Office, which was constructed between 1886 and 1891 and is located just across the street from the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon. The beautiful Saigon Central Post Office is the largest post office in Vietnam and the oldest colonial edifice in Ho Chi Minh City. The Saigon Central Post Office has been open to the public for almost a century, yet its classic beauty has stood the test of time. It's a wonderful example of the unusual fusion of Asian art with French elegance in building. Capture stunning images of the green shutters that surround the majestic yellow structure. Under the arched ceiling, you may find several stores as you wander the internal corridors.

Vietnamese building

1.4. Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon

Notre Damn Cathedral of Saigon

Just a short distance away from the Saigon Central Post Office lies the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, as I described above.

The French constructed Saigon's Notre Dame Cathedral between 1877 and 1883, and it was inspired by the Paris cathedral's name and style. Red bricks were imported from France and utilized to build the cathedral's distinctive boxy front and twin bell towers on either side of the entrance door.

The building's Neo-Romanesque style is impressive on its own, and outside in the well-kept garden is a statue of the Virgin Mary. In the midst of modern, ever-changing Saigon, the French-inspired architecture of Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral nevertheless serves as a stop for those seeking peace and historical beauty. Visitors and locals alike go to the statue of the Virgin Mary each day to pray, but also to soak in the city's unique vibe.

1.5. Visit the War Remnants Museum

war remnants museum

Fans of historical attractions will find that a trip to the War Remnants Museum will change their perspective on the casualties of the Vietnam War in a very personal and moving way.

Horrifying and overwhelming images show the aftermath of Agent Orange's widespread use in Vietnam. There is a display of various battle machines and weapons in the open air. Disability is only one of the many side effects of chemical exposure that has been passed down through the generations. One of the highlights is a heartbreaking picture exhibit called Requiem, which memorializes journalists who were killed in the conflict.

A visit to the Museum of War Memorabilia will definitely be enlightening and profound. Despite the fact that it has almost no entertainment value, it is nevertheless among the best activities in Ho Chi Minh City.


After enjoying your lunch, we believe you have already recharged full energy for this afternoon's exciting discovery. Choosing one of these Vietnamese-styled restaurants in Ho Chi Minh city is a good option. Let’s see what to do in Ho Chi Minh city in the afternoon!

2.1. Go shopping in Ben Thanh Market


Do you know why the afternoon is the perfect time to go shopping? Because there is a local belief that if the first guests come, ask for the price and not buy, it is an unlucky day for the merchant. You'll be more pressured to make a decision as the merchants will try to sell it to you. Ben Thanh Market is okay to go in the morning to buy groceries but if you are a first-timer, it's better to go in the afternoon.

Located in the middle of District One, this large market complex has everything you could possibly need under one roof. This market is full of interesting things to see and buy, from cheap food and clothes to knockoffs of high-end brands.

The indoor Ben Thanh market transforms into an outdoor night market every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. You may see locals going about their day, as well as pick up a few necessities, at this market. Can you haggle about the cost? You may expect the price to be greater than usual, of course, because this is a popular tourist spot. Please note, however, that this does not apply to the food court! Ben Thanh Market is a safe site to visit; but, like with any crowded area, it is important to watch your possessions. 


2.2. Visit Cho Lon - Ho Chi Minh's China Town 

Cho Lon Pagoda

Any mention of Cho Lon may immediately bring to mind Ho Chi Minh City's Chinatown. You'll find it on the opposite side of the Saigon River from the city center, and it should definitely be on your itinerary if you want to experience the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh city.

The Hoa, a tiny community of Chinese Vietnamese residents, fled to this distinctive area of Bien Hoa in 1778. This is why you will notice many Chinese influences in the area's architecture and cuisine.

During the day, Cho Lon is bustling with people buying and selling goods. Like Ben Thanh Market, you can get just about whatever you're looking for here at a reasonable price, but be prepared to deal with a lot of people, a lot of noise, and a lot of shops selling exactly the same things. This is how things usually go around here, so try to relax and take it all in at your own leisure. 

2.3. Visit Thien Hau Pagoda

Thien Hau Pagoda

There are so many temples, shrines, and communal houses in Cho Lon area that you are guaranteed to encounter a couple of them on your travels. The majestic Thien Hau Pagoda, however, is the one you really must see. The incense coils in the central yard provide a secluded space, seemingly insulated from the rest of the world, where people may come to worship, reflect, and unwind in peace.

Built in 1760 and reconstructed multiple times since then, this pagoda nonetheless exudes an aura of peaceful antiquity despite its age.

This temple has a reputation for being very sacred. Here, individuals pray for the fulfillment of their wishes or for the protection of their loved ones.

2.4. Sunset Boat Trip on Saigon River

Late afternoon is the time Saigon gets busy the most. Get away from the noise and bustle of Saigon city by taking a late afternoon luxury speedboat ride along the Saigon River and taking in the breathtaking sunset. Many visitors to Saigon miss out on these incredible opportunities for fun and adventure. This is the place to be if you value your privacy and prefer to explore the city with a different view. 

When the sun goes down, you'll be able to see Saigon in a whole new light. If you take your time over dinner with your significant other and savor the experience, you will get fond of this stunning metropolis.

2.5. Craft beer in Saigon

beer on a table

Nothing can go wrong for a couple glasses of beer - this is Saigonese socialization culture which officers often have after the shift. Some Saigon artisan beers and breweries are similar to those you could get at home, while others are entirely different. The tasting rooms are large, modern, lively, and crowded with both visitors and locals. The lively rooftop patios and tasty bar snacks at many of them make them perfect for a day spent sampling beers.

Because of the rapid development of the craft beer industry in Ho Chi Minh City, the sheer number of options might be overwhelming. The following local Vietnamese craft beer venues are great for beer newcomers and aficionados alike: There's the Pasteur Street Brewery, the East West Brewery, the Tê Tê Taphouse, the Heart of Darkness, and the Malt.


3.1. Admire the city view from Bitexco Tower

skyline of ho chih minh

Ho Chi Minh city's growth, vigor, and unity are all represented by the Bitexco Tower in District 1. The 6,000 curved glass panels that make up the building's front are organized in the form of leaning pillars to produce a pattern evocative of the unfolding of a lotus flower.

The Saigon Skydeck, located atop the city's highest structure, is a great spot to obtain a panoramic view of the city below. The Ben Thanh Market, Thu Thiem Tunnel, and Ho Chi Minh city's central business sector are just a few of the sights on show. Getting to the 49th floor requires a ticket, which can only be purchased on the ground floor. Saigon Skydeck is available daily from 9:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. For a mere ten dollars, you may visit the Skydeck on the 49th floor. Alternatively, you may have a cup of coffee on the 53rd level.

3.2. Art performance

dancers in art performance

The Saigon Opera House (also known as the Municipal Theatre) is one of the city's top attractions for art lovers. 

From operas and ballets to traditional Vietnamese performances, the Saigon Opera House hosts a broad variety of shows. One of the best ways to take in Saigon's rich cultural scene is by taking in a performance at the city's Opera House. Performers from all over the world, from Western opera and theater to traditional Vietnamese opera and ballet, have graced the stage at this venue.

The theater is designed by French architect Eugène Ferret, opened in 1900 and is regarded as one of the city's greatest examples of French colonial design.

3.3. Nightclub

Saigon's bars, pubs, and beer clubs are great places for young people to spend the night. Each bar has its own distinct personality and style. But the main focus of each venue will be a dance floor complete with cutting-edge sound and lighting systems. Pubs that put an emphasis on class and openness in their design typically include comfortable couches where patrons may relax and chat with one another. The energetic atmosphere and pleasant moments are sometimes emphasized by blasting music at high volumes at bars. Beer, wine, cocktails, and other alcoholic beverages may all be obtained here at reasonable prices. Isn't it worth a shot to experience the finest Saigon nightlife ever?

night club


3.4. Explore Nguyen Hue walking street

building with shops

The cultural heart of Ho Chi Minh City is located in Central District, namely on Nguyen Hue Walking Street. It's perfect for night owls because there's a vast range of exciting eateries, bars, and other nightlife establishments to choose from.

Music and joyful conversation may be heard at various points along this route. With so many options for nightlife on Nguyen Hue Street, you may spend the evening doing whatever makes you happy. For more retro charm and a dazzling array of restaurants, nightclubs, and other nightlife hotspots, explore Apartment 42. 


3.5. Vespa tour after dark

father and daughter on a vespa

 Take a Vespa ride around town, that'd be fun. Why? It's real, enjoyable, and convenient to use on the go. We'll show you the finest of Saigon's dining and entertainment scene on one of our vintage Vespas before dropping you off at your hotel.

The Vespa drivers will give you a tour of the city, navigating the hectic streets and narrow passageways of Saigon. You may relax on our Vespas and take in the city at your own pace, taking in everything from the smells of the street sellers to the glow of the city's architecture. Eat and drink like a native. As you take in Saigon's sites, be sure to cheer on your tour guide and fellow visitors.

Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) has an array of fascinating activities, waiting for you to uncover each one of them. Save this article and plan your trip to Vietnam.

Back to overview

Hi there! 

We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest. 

Latest articles Taiwan's food highlights
  Want to feature your business? Get in touch at [...]
Where to stay in Taiwan
  Want to feature your business? Get in touch at [...]
Vietnamese Cuisine
Vietnamese cuisine is made of a delicate blend of spices and ingredients. The culinary art o[...]
Planning a Wellness Vacation with Ayurveda in Kerala
You are here: Home | India | Planning a Wellness Vacation with Ayurveda in Kerala   [...]
Most Famous Historical Monuments Of India
You are here: Home | India | Most Famous Historical Monuments of India  [...]
Top 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
You are here: Home | India | Top 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India  [...]
10 Day Culturally Immersive Thailand Itinerary
You are here: Home | Asia  | Thailand  | 10 Day Culturally Immersive Thailand Itinerary [...]
The 10 Most Beautiful Places to See in Indonesia
You are here: Home | Asia | Indonesia | Top 10 Most Beautiful Places to See   Ind[...]
3 Day El Nido Itinerary
You are here: Home | Asia | Philippines | 3 Day El Nido Itinerary   June 25, 202[...]
Traveling to Northeast India: 10 Things to Anticipate
You are here: Home | Asia | India | Traveling to Northeast India: 10 Things to Anticipate [...]
The Ultimate Guide to Bali
You are here: Home | Asia | Indonesia | The Ultimate Guide to Bali   August 3, 2020 |[...]
12 Best Things to do in Koh Samui
You are here: Home | Asia | Thailand | 12 Best Things to do in Koh Samui   August 21,[...]
The Ultimate Guide to a Culinary Journey through Northeast India
You are here: Home | Asia | India | The Ultimate Guide to a Culinary Journey through Northeast [...]
The Terraced Rice Fields of Sapa
You are here: Home | Asia | Vietnam | The Terraced Rice Fields of Sapa [...]
Things to Do in the Exotic Island of Nusa Penida
You are here: Home | Asia | Indonesia | Things to Do in the Exotic Island of Nusa Penida [...]