Just like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as it was previously called is a crazy busy city filled with millions of people and millions of motorbikes! Ho Chi Minh is an incredibly historic city and this is clearly evident when exploring the region.
Things to do
Day trip to Mekong Delta
A full day trip departing Ho Chi Minh City at 8am and returning at 5pm can be booked through any tour operator in Vietnam. It is best to avoid Viator and the likes as they tend to charge extortionate prices compared to the local operators. Our trip included a trip to the Vinh Trang Pagoda and Happy Buddha monument, bike ride through the local areas, lunch at a homestay (really good!) , coconut candy tasting, traditional fruit tasting, traditional music show and typical Mekong delta boat ride. All in all, the whole day was amazing and I felt I learned quite a lot about the local culture.
Visit the War Remnants Museum
While extremely sad and quite disturbing, this museum was probably one of the most eye opening things I have ever seen. Filled with graphic images portraying the effects of the war on Vietnam people, housing, farmland and even children born many years after the war, this really weighed heavy on me. I couldn’t believe the devastating effects and left feeling very upset. For obvious reasons, we did not take any photos here.
Ben Thanh Market
Listed as one of the top markets in the world, this square in District 1 contains all of the touristy memorabilia you could ever want!
Cu Chi tunnels
A half day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels takes between 4-6 hours. This network of connecting underground tunnels were used by Viet Cong soldiers. They were hiding places along with communication and supply routes for North Vietnamese fighters. We didn’t get around to doing this but a few friends did it and said it was pretty cool. Not recommended for anyone a little claustrophobic though!
Day trip to Mui Ne
We only had enough time to visit Mui Ne for a day. Therefore, we organised a day trip with the tour operator beside our hotel. For just €30 each we we were dropped to the tourist bus in the morning that we rode for 5 hours to arrive at Mui Ne. Here we met our tour guide who took us on a private 4×4 jeep tour to a local fishing village, the fairy springs along with the red and white sand dunes that Mui Ne is famous for! Then it was back to the bus station where we had two hours to wander and get dinner before getting the bus back to Ho Chi Minh city for midnight! It was a really long day and if you have the time I would say spend the night here and take the bus back the following evening.
Ho Chi Minh City is home to many designer shops, but also all of the European retailers that we are used to too, including H&M and Zara. These are located in Vincom Centre mall which is HUGE. It was pretty handy for us picking up some bits and I even got to pick up an outfit to wear home!