Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City! This city, formerly known as Saigon, is considered “the Pearl of the Far East”. It’s a great starting or ending point for any tour to Vietnam. If you plan to spend 5 days in Ho Chi Minh City, this article is designed to help you fully enjoy all the charms of the largest city and the economic and commercial center of Vietnam.

Beautiful sunshine in Ho Chi Minh City

Beautiful sunshine in Ho Chi Minh City

In this article, we provide you with useful information such as:

  • How to get to Ho Chi Minh City and its surroundings
  • How to get around Ho Chi Minh City
  • Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Destinations to visit in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Best dishes & drinks to savor in Ho Chi Minh City

Besides, we also suggest interesting itineraries for your 5 days in Ho Chi Minh City:

Suggested Itineraries for 5 Days in Ho Chi Minh City

Option 1: 5 days in Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta

  • D1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City
  • D2: City tour of Ho Chi Minh City
  • D3: Ho Chi Minh City – My Tho – Can Tho
  • D4: Cai Rang floating markets – Ba Cong – Saigon
  • D5: Departure from Saigon

Visit the bustling Ho Chi Minh City for the first two days of your stay, then go on an excursion in the Mekong Delta to discover the villages of My Tho, Can Tho, and the floating markets of Cai Rang and Ba Cong.

Vietnam Tours 2020

Discover the detailed itinerary: Ultimate Serenity in Saigon and Mekong Delta in 5 Days

Option 2: 5 days in Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau

  • D1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City
  • D2: City tour of Ho Chi Minh City
  • D3: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels
  • D4: Ho Chi Minh – Vung Tau
  • D5: Departure from Saigon

After discovering Ho Chi Minh City, set off to explore the Cu Chi tunnels – the underground network created during the war and finally spend a short seaside stay at Vung Tau.

A busy Ho Chi Minh City at night

A busy Ho Chi Minh City at night

How to Get to Ho Chi Minh and Its Surroundings?

It is easy to get to Ho Chi Minh City by any means from different parts of the country.

1. By plane

There are several daily flights between Ho Chi Minh City and the major cities of Vietnam, such as Hanoi, Hue, Danang, Nha Trang, Dalat, Phu Quoc,… There are also direct flights between this city and the major centers in the world such as the United States, Europe, Australia, Japan and other cities in Southeast Asia. Located 6 km from the city center, Ho Chi Minh City’s only airport in Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport – the largest airport in Vietnam. From the airport, you can reach the city center by taxi or bus.

2. By train

Trains run daily between Ho Chi Minh City and other cities in Vietnam (Hanoi, Nha Trang, Danang, Hue, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, etc.). The trains are of decent quality. And you will have the possibility of traveling according to different categories: hard seats, soft seats with or without air conditioning, hard beds, soft beds, with or without air conditioning. However, the train journey is quite long, resulting in fatigue and inconvenience. For example, the train journey between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City takes between 30 hours and 42 hours).

3. On road

The road network in Vietnam has improved considerably since the 2000s. There are daily buses between Ho Chi Minh City and most cities in Vietnam. You can also travel between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (Cambodia) by road.

Wandering around to admire Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of top highlights in Ho Chi Minh City

Wandering around to admire Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of top highlights in Ho Chi Minh City

How to Get Around Ho Chi Minh City?

1. Go on foot

Ho Chi Minh City is a big bustling city but in the city center, the streets are quite dense which is why you can explore the city on foot in 2-3 days at a relaxed pace. Ben Thanh market and Chinatown are good places to walk.

Also, there are 2 very well-known pedestrian streets in Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Nguyen Hue pedestrian street: This place offers you a spectacular view during the evening and at night when the locals gather here to dance, sing, socialize and ride hoverboards.
  • Bui Vien pedestrian street: By visiting this lively street, local Vietnamese and tourists have the chance to discover a more artistic side of Vietnam through many shows put on in the street.

2. By bike

Cycling is a good option to explore all corners of this city. You can contact your hotel to rent a bicycle. Remember to watch out for traffic.

3. By motorcycle taxi (Xe om)

There are many xe om on every street corner in Ho Chi Minh City. You should always remember that it is fun and a little adventurous to travel by motorbike and above all you have to negotiate the price before leaving.

4. By taxi

The motorcycle taxi is a quick and inexpensive way to get around Ho Chi Minh City. Motorcycle taxis park everywhere on the sidewalks and are recognizable by the fact that the driver is holding a second helmet in his hand.

Moreover, you can save money and time thanks to the technological taxi like Grab, Go Viet or Be. This is inexpensive and tourists can use the apps to book them.

5. By private car

Our car rental service in Vietnam offers you very attractive prices for always comfortable journeys. Our vehicles are all equipped with air-conditioning and are always adapted to the number of people and the volume of luggage transported.

6. By bus

Bus No. 19 - Ho Chi Minh City

Bus No. 19 – Ho Chi Minh City

The bus is a cheap alternative to get to the center of Ho Chi Minh City. There are 2 bus stations in Ho Chi Minh City: Mien Tay station (10 km southwest of the city center) which provides access to the cities of the Mekong Delta and Mien Dong station (5 km to the southeast of Ho Chi Minh City) which links Ho Chi Minh City to the northern and central regions of Vietnam.

The Ho Chi Minh City bus system will take you to many of the city’s famous tourist attractions. Depending on the different bus routes and different distances, the price may vary (between 3,000 and 10,000 VND).

Read more: Bus in Vietnam: Types, Important Routes & How to Book Tickets

Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City

There are many types of accommodation with different levels of comfort throughout the city. However, it is advisable to book a hotel in District 1 so that it is more convenient to travel between attractions.

Here are the hotels are most chosen by tourists:

  • Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon (5-star)

Address: 8-15 Ton Duc Thang Street, Ben Nghe District, HCMC

  • Sofitel Saigon Plaza (5-star)

Address: 17 Le Duan Street, Ben Nghe District, HCMC

  • Hotel Continental Saigon (4-star)

Address: 132-134 Dong Khoi Street, Ben Nghe District, HCMC

  • Lavender Boutique Hotel (3-star)

Address: 200-204 Ly Tu Trong Street, Ben Nghe District, HCMC

  • Le Duy Hotel (3-star)

Address: 20 Nguyen Thi Nghia Street, Ben Thanh District, HCMC

  • Signature Saigon Hotel (3-star)

Address: 65-69 Nguyen Thai Binh Street, Nguyen Thai Binh District, HCMC

See more: Best Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City for Your Vietnam Tour

Top Destinations to Visit in Ho Chi Minh City and Its Surroundings

Always lively, Ho Chi Minh City is carrying a more active image compared to the ancient capital of Hanoi. The rhythm of the city is constantly evolving, making visitors pass through numerous impressive destinations, each of which has its specificity! This is why this city is always one of the favorite destinations of tourists on a trip to South Vietnam.

Discover the sites not to be missed during your 5 days in Ho Chi Minh City and its surroundings:

1. Attractions to Explore in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City Markets

  • Ben Thanh market is not only a place where people sell and buy products, but it has become the symbol of Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Binh Tay Market: Designed by a French architect, this market has retained its style with its roofs in the shape of a lotus flower, its belfry, and its clocks.
Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market

Next to these 2 big markets, there are 7 most unusual markets in Saigon for the passion for shopping and the new night markets in Saigon for food enthusiasts.

Museums

  • Ho Chi Minh City Museum: This museum also houses many Buddhist antiquities, archaeological artifacts and marriage rituals from different ethnicities.
  • Vietnam History Museum: This museum displays artifacts from ancient Asian countries and objects related to the history of Vietnam and Vietnamese culture.
  • Museum of Fine Arts: It is a small museum dedicated to paintings and sculptures made by Vietnamese artists.
  • War Remnants Museum: The museum contains a large number of photos and documents relating to war crimes. With the Vietnam History Museum, it is a must for lovers of history and research/discovery of the Vietnam War

Discover more: Top Must-visit Museums in Ho Chi Minh City

Pagodas and Temples

  • Jade Emperor Pagoda: Built-in 1909, the Jade Emperor Pagoda is a beautiful Chinese temple.
  • Giac Vien Pagoda: Erected in 1798 next to Dam Sen lake, the Giac Vien pagoda has many architectural similarities to that of Giac Lam.
  • Giac Lam Pagoda: It is one of the oldest temples in the city, classified as a historic site by the Vietnamese Department of Culture
  • Tran Hung Dao Temple: This temple is dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, our national hero during the Tran dynasty.
Buu Long Pagoda - Ho Chi Minh City

Buu Long Pagoda – Ho Chi Minh City

See more: Most Famous Temples in Vietnam

Monuments of colonial architecture

  • Notre Dame Cathedral: Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most typically “deep France” monuments in Saigon.
  • Saigon Opera House: Like the Hanoi Opera House, this site is largely inspired by the Opera Garnier in Paris.
  • Central Post Office: This is a building housing the main post office in downtown Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
  • Reunification Palace: formerly known as the Palace of Independence (Dinh Dôc Lâp) or Norodom Palace, it is a historic building in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam.

2. Destinations to Visit around Ho Chi Minh City

Cu Chi tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi tunnel complex played a big role in the Vietnam War. They are located northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, about forty kilometers. If you want to better understand the development and history of Vietnam, Cu Chi tunnels are a better choice for you.

Mekong Delta

Discover: Best Cruises on Saigon and Mekong Rivers

The Mekong Delta (or “Nine Dragons Delta”) is formed by the sediments deposited by the river and the process continues until today provides silt deposits allowing to extend the delta by almost 79 m per year.

Mekong highlights:

  • Cai Rang Floating Market is considered to be the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta. This market is lively early until 9 a.m. If you wish to observe the nightlife of the market, it is advisable to arrive early.
  • Chau Doc Floating Market: Visitors can find many types of tropical fruit in this market. The best time to visit the Chau Doc floating market is from 6 am to 7 am, when the market is busiest.
  • Sam mountain: This mountain is covered with shade trees all year round. It is also a gathering place for numerous temples, ancient pagodas, and caves which create a magnificent landscape.
  • Ba Chua Xu Temple: The Ba Chua Xu Temple is a famous religious site in the Mekong Delta.
  • Hang Pagoda: (also known as Phuoc Dien Pagoda) is a religious destination that houses a statue of Guan Yin with 1,000 arms and 1,000 eyes.
  • Ong Pagoda: Previously, this place was home to various cultural and religious activities of the Chinese community living in Can Tho. Ong Pagoda was built in 1894 and its unique architecture has remained intact to this day.
  • Cam Mountain (Mountain prohibited): It is the highest mountain in the Mekong Delta. This place is also known as the Thien Cam Son mountain, which is home to the largest Maitreya statue in Asia.

Vung Tau

125 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau is the perfect getaway for those who want to leave the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City behind. Vung Tau is nicknamed “A seaside town” because of its elegant and romantic seascapes.

Sunrise on Vung Tau beach

Sunrise on Vung Tau beach

Sau Beach (Bai Sau) is the most beautiful beach in Vung Tau and the only beach suitable for swimming. Other beaches such as Dau Beach (Bai Dau), Dua Beach (Bai Dua) ​​and Truoc Beach (Bai Truoc) are dangerous enough to swim with a lot of rocks; so instead of swimming, tourists can take pictures or walk along these beaches to watch the sunset.

Reception services are highly developed in Vung Tau. You can find there many restaurants, hotels, holiday clubs, bars, and clubs. The seafood at Vung Tau such as lobster, squid, and crab is fresh and delicious. It is the place to be for swimmers with ideal depth and gentle waves.

Best Food & Drinks to Enjoy in Ho Chi Minh City

With its tremendous variety of gastronomic specialties, Saigon cuisine is so tasty with different types of dishes and drinks.

  • Com tam, rice with three treasures.
  • Banh mi, Vietnamese sandwich.
  • The dog bot, rice flour cake fried with eggs.
  • Snails.
  • Le hu tieu, saigonnaise soup.
  • Goi kho bo, green papaya salad with dried beef
  • Banh trang tron, rice leaf salad.

Best Local Drink in Ho Chi Minh City: Iced Coffee

Speaking of Ho Chi Minh City, we cannot miss Vietnamese coffee. It is one of the most popular drinks among the favorites of many generations of Vietnamese and foreigners in the region.

Enjoying a cup of iced coffee and chatting with local vendors are activities to experience in Ho Chi Minh City.

Saigon's iced coffee

Saigon’s iced coffee

Discover: Vietnamese Coffee: where to go for the best flavor

Hopefully, our article helped bring you 5 unforgettable days in Ho Chi Minh City. Customize your tour now <here>!

 

Start planning your tailor-made Vietnam tour by contacting one of our specialists…

Bich Ngoc

As a true Vietnamese enthusiast of music, books and coffee, Bich Ngoc loves researching into those typical cultural characteristics of Vietnam as well as exploring further destinations in the country of thousand years of civilization.

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