In the vibrant heart of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) pulses with a unique energy. It’s a city that never sleeps, teeming with friendly locals, mouthwatering cuisine, rich history, and a lively cultural scene.
The best part of traveling in Ho Chi Minh City? Exploring the city is an unforgettable adventure in itself! (Especially when riding on a Vespa!). It’s an immersive, wind-in-your-hair, sights-and-sounds experience that brings you face-to-face with authentic Vietnamese culture.
The following guide will offer plenty of practical information and inspiration for those planning to visit Ho Chi Minh City, along with discussing some of our personal favorite things about the city.
And if we leave you feeling inspired and ready to embark on your journey, please be sure to check out our selection of Saigon Vespa Tours & Experiences.
Navigating the labyrinthine lanes and bustling boulevards of Ho Chi Minh City is quite an experience! But to do so, you have several options at your disposal.
For those who want to master the local transportation, buses and taxis are plentiful. Buses cover a wide network across the city and are an economical choice, while taxis offer door-to-door convenience. Remember to exercise standard traveling best practices: Opt for reputable taxi companies to avoid any potential discrepancies in fares.
Another ubiquitous mode of transport is the Grab service, functioning like Uber, which is both affordable and convenient. Users can choose between GrabCar and GrabBike, depending on preference and number of travelers.
Then there’s the “Xe Om” or motorcycle taxis, a quintessential Vietnamese experience. Fast and efficient, they make navigating the city’s traffic a breeze. Make sure to agree on the fare beforehand to avoid confusion later.
However, for a more immersive and thrilling way to experience Ho Chi Minh City, nothing beats a Vespa! Vespa Adventures offers you the chance to feel the city’s pulse in a way few other modes of transport can.
You’re not just moving through the cityoy, you’re a part of it. It allows you to access narrow alleys, interact with locals, and discover hidden gems while enjoying the ride. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly!
1. The Reunification Palace: Once the headquarters of the South Vietnamese government, the Reunification Palace stands as a powerful symbol of the country’s turbulent history. Tour its rooms to witness vintage interiors frozen in time – a silent storyteller bringing historic stories to life.
2. War Remnants Museum: The narratives of Vietnam’s past wars are laid bare in this deeply moving museum. It’s an unflinching gaze into the country’s resilience and the human spirit’s ability to endure, even when faced with extreme hardship.
3. The Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon: Rising majestically against the cityscape, this basilica is a testament to Gothic Revival architecture. The serenity of its interior contrasts with the city’s buzz, offering a refuge for quiet contemplation.
4. Saigon Central Post Office: Step into a world where time seems to have slowed. This functional post office, with its beautifully preserved French colonial design, lets you send a postcard while marveling at the grandeur of the past. A must-visit site for those passionate about history.
5. Ben Thanh Market: Dive into the colorful world of Ben Thanh Market, a treasure trove of local goods and food. From traditional silks to street food stalls serving up local delicacies, there’s something for everyone.
6. Bitexco Financial Tower: Take a swift elevator ride up to the Sky Deck of this modern architectural marvel for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.
Vietnamese cuisine is more than pho and spring rolls; it’s a sensory voyage. In Ho Chi Minh City, you’re invited to dine like a local and savor an array of dishes brimming with fresh ingredients, subtle flavors, and contrasting textures.
Must-try dishes include Bun Cha, a delicious bowl of grilled pork and noodles, and Banh Xeo, a crispy crepe filled with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts. As for beverages, don’t miss the local coffee – a robust brew sweetened with condensed milk, it is the fuel that powers the city.
And while we’re discussing delectable beverages, you don’t want to miss out on some quality beer during your Vietnam trip. Join Vespa Adventures for our Saigon Craft Beer Tour to explore five local bars and the refreshing craft beers they offer.
Beneath the urban bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, a rich tapestry of traditions and culture thrives. The city’s calendar is dotted with vibrant festivals, such as Tet (Lunar New Year) and the Mid-Autumn Festival, each steeped in folklore and communal spirit.
Equally enchanting is the city’s thriving art scene. From the stirring performances of classic works at the Saigon Opera House to the contemporary exhibitions at local galleries, the city encourages you to explore your creative side.
To truly connect with local life, consider taking our Saigon After Dark tour.
The spirit of discovery comes alive in Ho Chi Minh City when you wander off the beaten path. In addition to its famous landmarks, the city boasts hidden gems that charm and surprise.
One such delight is Cholon, or Chinatown. A melting pot of cultures, it’s a district bursting with markets, Chinese pagodas, and an array of food that mixes Vietnamese and Chinese flavors.
Another unexpected treasure is Can Gio Biosphere Reserve. Just outside the city’s concrete jungle, it’s a sanctuary where mangrove forests meet the sea, offering an idyllic retreat for nature lovers.
If you want to get out of the city and spend time in beautiful natural landscapes, you can join Vespa Adventures for our Glimpse of the Mekong tour from Saigon. We’ll take you from Saigon’s concrete jungle into the Mekong Delta to experience traditional rural ways of life and a plenty of rejuvenating natural serenity.
Ho Chi Minh City is not merely a destination; it’s a myriad of experiences waiting to be unfolded, a symphony of sounds and colors waiting to be heard and seen, a panorama of tastes waiting to be savored. It’s a city that invites you to participate, to learn, to enjoy, and to make plenty of unforgettable memories.
Whether you’re maneuvering through the city streets on a Vespa, sampling local delicacies, immersing in the local culture, or seeking out hidden gems, the city is sure to provide you with once-in-a-lifetime experiences.