Find the best Free Tours in Ho Chi Minh City and read more about the adventures that you will be able to take. Your definite guide to experience the best when travelling Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam, located in the south of the country. Renamed after the Vietnam War, some locals still refer to the city as Saigon, especially in relation to the tourist centre. This action packed city has all but let go of its war torn past only one generation ago, and is now a bustling metropolis, getting larger, more modern and more expensive every day.
Riverboat tour Nothing can compare with the charm of a river tour – to hear the waves lapping with a drink in hand and a cool breeze on your skin. Even if you’re on a budget, there are options, and if you have money to spend, this is one activity we highly recommend you splurge on.
The more reputable companies offer amazing dinner and drinks packages, and on boats you have to see to believe. We love the range of views you get from the river as well, from the skyscrapers of downtown to the lush jungle foliage mere minutes up the river.
This is a very cool way to see this city. If you only have one day in Ho Chi Minh City, make time to visit this building. The elegance of this area is something to see, especially next to the colossal trees in 30-4 Park and the colonial post office next door. The cathedral itself was built in the late 19th century, with materials imported from France, and offers a beautiful glimpse of a bygone era in this historic city. And since this cathedral is walking distance from the next item on this list, you can fit into one afternoon.
For history buffs, the Independence Palace, also known as the Reunification Palace, is an absolute must. This is the site of those famous images of tanks crashing through gates during the Fall of Saigon in 1975. Aside from the stunning grounds and impressive architecture, the inside of this building almost feels like you’ve gone back in time. You can see where the southern government operated the executive branch during the Vietnam War – even the bomb bunker in the basement, where the maps still hang on the walls.
Atmosphere: Touristy, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark Dine along the Saigon River When you set foot outside around lunchtime in this city, you’ll understand why most people do everything they can to avoid the midday sun. It’ll cook you in minutes, leaving you burnt and miserable. That’s why you should leave the best for dusk, when the sun glows orange on the smoggy horizon and the heat tapers off. For one of the best dining experiences in the city, head to in District 2 and dine along the river.
There are several excellent choices, including The Deck, The Boathouse and Villa Song Saigon. Trust us, they’re worth the trip. You probably won’t leave this museum feeling too good about humanity, but that’s the point.
This museum is there to remind us of the horrors of war. For most people around the world, the Vietnam War is something that happened in a faraway time and place – not for Vietnamese people, though. This museum takes an abstract conflict and shows us the real people it affected. It shows the struggles endured by the . This museum plays an important role in the healing process for Vietnam, by showing visitors from around the world how the war changed this nation.
Atmosphere: Quiet, Crowded Nguyen Hue Walking Street Alright, so you’ve had a somber visit to the War Remnants Museum, now it’s time to lift your spirits again. For one of the best looks at social and dating life in Ho Chi Minh City, head to Nguyen Hue Walking Street. Here you’ll see families enjoying time together and young couples chatting away, taking more selfies than you ever imagined possible. This is a scene to behold at night, when thousands of people come to mingle and enjoy a cool, downtown evening, surrounded by some impressive architecture: the looming , the wall of cafes at 42 Nguyen Hue, the statue of Ho Chi Minh and even the old colonial city hall.
Uncle Ho waving on Nguyen Hue Walking Street | Motorbike tour Despite the massive influx of new vehicles, Vietnam is still a motorbike nation – so get out of the taxi and onto two wheels. There’s no other way to really feel the manic vitality of this mega city – and no other feeling can quite match the raw adrenaline of flowing along in crazy traffic.
But driving in Saigon is also lethally dangerous, so let the professionals do it for you. There’s many tour companies with experienced drivers who are also fluent in English. You could head out on your own, but we highly recommend you let someone else drive until you understand how the traffic flows here.
Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | Visit New Japan Town Most of the items on this list are front and center in every travel guide, but not this one. New Japan Town in is a hip and upcoming area in one of this city’s coolest wards.
in District 1 is more famous, but we’re huge fans of Little Japan. It’s where Japanese entrepreneurs are setting up shop these days. There are so many interesting little bars and restaurants in this area, whether you’re looking for Japanese or Vietnamese. As development continues to change this city at a crazy rate, look no further than the nearby , this is one area that still feels like authentic Saigon.
To , explore north of where Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh Street almost touches Trường Sa Street, near the canal. A delightful mish-mash of culture | © Sam Roth Drinks with a view If you find that the streets are too hectic for your liking, escape the madness by elevating your evening.
There are so many excellent rooftop bars, so you’ll probably have a hard time deciding. If you’re in the backpackers area and don’t want to stray too far, The View is exactly as advertised.
But if you have some extra money to spend and want one of the best experiences in the city, check out EON51 in the landmark Bitexco Tower. To see most of the better options, go to and check out the section on rooftop bars.
Evening View of District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | Bui Vien Street When the night is winding down and the respectable places are shoving you out the door, you’re just in time for the peak weirdness of . This notorious stretch of lewd behavior never shuts down, and even if you want nothing to do with the seedier aspects of Bui Vien, this street is a sensory overload that’s worth taking in at least once.
There are fire breathers, strange foods, sidewalk bars, dubious massage parlors, beady-eyed “friends”, gangsters and enough bars to keep you hopping all night long. Keep your phones and cameras in safe places, though, as this is also the petty crime capital of Vietnam.
best dating ho chi minh city tour guided walking - Saigon Free Walking Tous
101 Shares Known by locals by its former name, Saigon, the largest city in Vietnam became Ho Chi Minh City in 1976 following the country’s victory over the French colonial rulers (1954 – 1975). The city is named after their independence leader and the most famous and respected personality in Vietnam, . You will no doubt see his photograph thousands of times during your time spent in Vietnam, hanging over schools, businesses, streets and houses.
The city itself is an extreme juxtaposition between old and new, technology and tradition, rich and poor; a hectic blur of motorbike upon motorbike which makes crossing the road an extremely daring feat! With a booming nightlife and heaps of culture, the city is the perfect first stop on your Vietnamese adventure. It is also the ideal place to find travel buddies – as most backpackers from here will now be moving in the same direction, northward up the beautiful Vietnamese coastline and then west into Laos.
This journey is made easy by the cheap ‘open bus tickets’ that tour operators are keen to sell you, allowing you to travel through Vietnam stopping off wherever and whenever you like.
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh? Pham Ngu Lao: The Ho Chi Minh Backpacker District This district is Ho Chi Minh City’s busiest backpacker hub, with bars that stay open as long as you’re standing and hostels aplenty. The further you wander away from the main crossroads, (marked by the looming fluorescent sign of Crazy Buffalo Bar & Nightclub), the cheaper the room. Co Giang: For the Mature Traveller Southeast from Pham Ngu Lao a sleepy alley of guesthouses lie tucked away, undisturbed by the partying backpackers.
Head here if your budget is a little higher (approximately $10-$20 USD a night) and peace is what you are seeking. Ben Thanh Market: Flashpacker District! An even pricier option for the flashpackers amongst us, most rooms here are $25-30 USD but come with all conveniences such as air-con, satellite TV, hot shower and free WIFI.
Best Hostels in Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City has a plethora of fantastic hostels for the backpacker. Clean, sociable and most of all – super cheap! The average price of a dorm bed in HCMC is between $5-9 USD and that includes a basic breakfast and free social activities (often free beer!). If you’re travelling as a couple and prefer a private room, that will set you back $20-25 USD for a basic double room and upwards of $50 USD if you want more luxury.
There is plenty of choice for any budget in this city! Our pick of the 6 best budget backpacker hostels… 1. – Located right in the heart of the Ho Chi Minh Backpackpacker District, this hostel is a hugely popular choice for the young traveller. With free breakfast and free beers at the rooftop bar from 7-8 pm daily, the staff at this hostel really know how to make a backpacker feel welcome!
With a pool table, TV lounge area, clean AC dorms and plenty of social activities to get involved in, from bar crawls to tours, this is amazing value for money at $8 USD per night. 2. – Hangout hostel is a super friendly hostel that’s a big hit with backpackers. They offer lots of freebies to welcome you and help you to enjoy your stay in the city!
Dorm rooms start at just $6 USD (with occasional offers making them $4 USD!) and this includes free breakfast, two free beers, a free walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City, free pub crawl and free map! The life of a backpacker in Vietnam sure is tough… 3. – A little more expensive at $12 USD per night, Punto Hostel pitches itself more as a flashpacker hostel that also has private rooms from $40 USD per night.
The hostel is located close to the backpacker action of Pham Ngu Lao, but down a side street, away from the noise of the bars and traffic. Clean comfortable rooms, big bathrooms and a lovely rooftop chill out area with views across the whole city.
Thumbs up to this hostel. 4. – Located in the heart of the Ho Chi Minh backpacker district, this hostel adds a rooftop bar and swimming pool to its list of features to attract the traveller! With dorm beds in AC rooms from $8 USD and a very sociable vibe, all day long, it’s a great place for solo travellers to party and meet people.
5. – Laura, manager of TCRP told us “Our hostel tries to consistently break the norm when it comes to the culture of backpacking. Staying with us is not just another bunk bed experience but to cross the local living and a community we have been growing since a few years ago.” With plenty of communal spaces, community dinners and a shared kitchen and BBQ, this hostel aims to be a modern homestay rather than a backpacker hostel.
Clean, beautifully designed and unique. Dorm beds start at $12 USD, privates at $55 USD. 6. – A very simple hostel located in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh that has the cheapest dorm beds on this list (from $6.50 USD). Lily’s gets great reviews due to the friendly staff, great breakfast and the cleanliness of the rooms. For solo travellers who prefer a single room or couples who want a double, the private rooms are very reasonable at $17 USD for a single and $27 USD for a double.
Great choice for couples or more mature travellers. For flashpackers and couples… – Wow. Backpackers in Southeast Asia clearly no longer have to rough it with amazing boutique hostels like this. Della has to be seen to be believed. With a rooftop bar with amazing city views, clean, modern and stylish rooms, large bathrooms and power showers, this hostel is a cut above.
Dorm beds start at an incredible $10 USD and a private costs $58 USD. – For those who want to avoid the backpacker dorm room experience altogether, the Chill Suites is a great value for money hotel located in a great area. Delicious breakfast included as well as a free city tour. Bright, clean and super comfortable private rooms, some of them equipped with real coffee making machine and, wait for it… Netflix! This is the perfect place to chill. Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City Crawl along the Cu Chi Tunnels: This network of underground tunnels was home to the Viet Cong guerrillas during the 1960s.
The American’s job was made difficult by this hidden operations base, which supplied guerrilla fighters across Southern Vietnam with a hideout and a supply network, leading to America’s eventual withdrawal in 1972.
Visit any one of the Tour Agents in Ho Chi Minh and the Cu Chi Tunnels will be high on their list of trips to sell you! The best trips go via the multi-religious ‘Cao Dai Temple’, where you can watch a colourful ceremony taking place.
A booby trap with spikes at Cu Chi Tunnels Float along the Mekong Delta: The second most popular tour is perhaps a trip to the mighty Mekong Delta. This can be experienced in just one day… or you can take your time with an overnight stopover in a traditional homestay.
Pack your ‘nón lá’, the famous cone-shaped hat that is worn throughout Southeast Asia… or pick one up whilst you’re there – a day on the Delta can be a sunny one with little opportunity to seek shade! As you boat along the river, you’ll visit traditional river villages, sample coconut candy, watch rice paper being made and island hop between the magical named island’s of Tortoise, Phoenix, Dragon and Unicorn!
A boat trip on the mighty Mekong River is a must! Reunification Palace: Previously known as Independence Palace, the ‘American War’ (as it is called in Vietnam) is said to have ended as a tank crashed through its gates. A replica of that tank, number 843, can now be seen on the palace’s lawns. Tours can be arranged, but it’s easier just to wander and browse this 1960s time-warp at your own pace. The entry cost is 30,000 Vietnamese Dong.
Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City. War Remnants Museum: Pack your tissues if you’re visiting this Museum, which is home to devastating images of the American-Vietnamese war, taken by famous international photographers. A day here is an uncomfortable one and certain photos of innocent victims of war cannot fail to move you to tears. Perhaps the most shocking photos are those which portray the damage done by the American Weapon of War, the chemical known as ‘Agent Orange’. It is a must visit in Vietnam if you want to find out more about one of the most significant events of the twentieth century and see the story from the Vietnamese point of view.
The museum is closed for lunch 12pm-1:30 pm and last entry is 4:30 pm. Entry costs 15,000 Vietnamese Dong and it’s an easily walkable distance from Pham Ngu Lao (the backpacker hotel hub). Read more about the history of the Vietnam War . The devestating consequences of Agent Orange.
Chinese Temples in Cholon: Here in Vietnam’s largest Chinatown, there are dozens of colourful Chinese Temples to be visited. Wander around, soak up the distinctive atmosphere and sample the delicious Chinese inspired street food. Quan Am Pagoda, Chinatown. Jade Emporer Pagoda: Arguably one of the city’s most beautiful pieces of architecture, this Pagoda, locally known as ‘Phuoc Hai’, is definitely worth a look, for the intricate paintwork and clever detail.
Built by the Cantonese in the 20th Century, the air is heavy with incense and the grounds are alive with worshippers. Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica: Another religious building of particular interest is the impressive Notre-Dame Basilica.
Unsurprisingly enough, the cathedral was built by French colonists in the late 19th century. The facade of the building echoes quite closely its world-renowned namesake in Paris, though the Vietnamese twist features red-brick and two pointed bell towers perched on top of the familiar front. Notre-Dame Basilica Traditional Vietnamese Massage: Soothe those aching limbs after all that exploring of Ho Cho Minh City with a relaxing massage, performed by a professional blind masseur.
The cost is around $15 USD for a full body massage. Ride on a Xe Om: Struggling to cross the road in Ho Chi Minh City? Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Hop on a ‘xe om’ (a motorbike to you and me) and whizz through the streets with the locals. The name translates roughly as ‘hugging machine’ and that’s certainly apt as you cling on to your driver for dear life, weaving through traffic, bicycles and pedestrians.
Recommended Day Trips & Tours from Ho Chi Minh City… $1,327.00 $1,221.00 How to get to Ho Chi Minh City? If you’re travelling to Vietnam then remember that unlike most other Southeast Asian countries, you will need to arrange a visa before you arrive. See our for more information about the Vietnam visa. By Bicycle(!): Our partners offer a series of cycling adventures for responsible travellers including two options to cycle from Ho Chi Minh from Cambodia!
Both the & options will be a challenge for many of us. But then, life should be full of challenges! For those of you who aren’t quite up for this kind of adventure, I guess you could always travel… By Plane: can be found via AirAsia and other budget Asian airlines from neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia. The airport, Tan Son Nhat, is Vietnam’s largest and has a regular bus service (the No.
152) which will drop you to Pham Ngu Lao or at the bus station close to Ben Thanh Market for a mere 4,000 Dong. Expect to pay another 4,000 VND for a seat for your bag! By Train: If you are already exploring Vietnam, then an ‘express’ train can be caught from , with five departures daily.
Though this calls itself an ‘express’ service, it takes a minimum of 30 hours, so be sure to pick up a (Or better, still stop at various places along the way!) Powered by system Where to go next? If your Vietnamese adventure has run its course, then Cambodia’s capital is just a 6-hour bus ride away. This will set you back around 250,000 Dong. If you’re craving a beach on which to lounge having survived the traffic of Ho Chi Minh, then Mui Ne is the next logical step.
Grab yourself a bus ticket which allows you to hop-on and hop-off wherever and whenever then travel the approx. 5 hours North to Mui Ne. (The bus ticket when we last checked cost $30 USD from north to south/south to north). Located in the mountains and dubbed by the French as the ‘Alps of Vietnam’, this peaceful town is the ideal location to test out an Easy Rider tour or rent yourself a bicycle and explore the nearby hills and waterfalls.
It’s the perfect city break to escape the fumes of the city. Read more about the Easy Rider tour here in our article: Did you like this guide? Pin it to your Pinterest board for others to see!
Very intensive tour program you must do in HCMC I heard district 3 is quite famous for eateries but it was impossible for short-time travelers like me to discover its charms because it's too local!!! I took a tour with Gina who served us very well. Within 4 hours I felt like I became more aware of variety of Vietnamese food and their life.
But mind you, you should control the amount of food you have at each stops otherwise it would make you too full. Walking street tour was a great introduction to Vietnamese food. Linh Chi aka Chili and Tanya were friendly, knowledgeable and good fun.
They showed us places we wouldn't have visited and foods we would never have tried. They looked after us, gave us waterproofs when it rained and delivered us full happy and overfed. Thoroughly recommended.
Vietnam Nightlife 2018 - Saigon VLOG 71