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What To Do in Ho Chi Minh City in 3 Days

Wondering what to do in Ho Chi Minh City in 3 days?

Bustling, noisy, vibrant, Vietnam’s economic centre of the country, Ho Chi Minh City, is this and more! We fell in love with Ho Chi MInh City. We know you will too!

(Editor update 2021)

We had recently spent 3 weeks in Hanoi the political capital of Vietnam and we were keen to experience Ho Chi Minh City, the financial capital. Travellers we met on the road would smile when we asked them about their experiences in Ho Chi Minh. They always asked if we had been to Hanoi first. Most said exactly the same thing when we said ‘yes we had’ to them, ‘that Vietnam was one country, two big cities, people different.’

Now that we have visited both we understand what they meant. The people of Ho Chi Minh city did seem different at first, we could not put our finger on it, but after a few days we realised that they were friendlier, they had more time to chat and they were very welcoming to travellers.  They were also happy to know that we were spending more than just a few days in their city. They liked to show their city off and offered us many tips on things to do and see. Could be a little city rivalry going on here between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City don’t you think?

Bitexco Tower - 5 days in Saigon
Iconic Bitexco Tower now the 2nd tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City

We understand that you may have time constraints when you travel and that you can only allow yourself a weekend or a few days visiting Ho Chi Minh City, but if you can we recommend that you spend at least 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

Do you love Vietnamese cuisine?

You Can Read Our article on Vietnam: Best Vietnamese Restaurant Guide

Planning a trip to Vietnam read our ultimate travel guide here

Join our new Facebook Group – Vietnam Travel Planning Our group and our community is there to assist you in the planning of your next vacation to Vietnam.

We stayed at the  Pullman Saigon Centre Hotel, our preferred accommodation in the city, based on comfort, location and the facilities on offer.  Click below to check the prices on Booking.com for your dates of travel.

Our YouTube Video on the Pullman Saigon Centre Hotel

Read our review of the Pullman Saigon Centre here

Is it Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon? You will hear people say both but officially since 1976, it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate the reunification of Northern and Southern Vietnam after the end of the Vietnam War.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases (if applicable).

Our stay at the Pullman Saigon Centre Hotel was hosted.  As always our opinions are our own.

Do you need to book a transfer from the airport to your hotel? Check out the latest prices here

PRO-TIPs on Security when travelling around Ho Chi Minh City

In general Ho Chi Minh City is a safe city for travellers.  The concierge at the Pullman Hotel warned us to beware of our surroundings at all times.  There is a high incidence of ‘snatch and grab’ from motorcycle riders, so don’t flash your phone around in front of you and make sure that your handbag is securely fastened over your body. Keep your camera safe and close to you whilst sightseeing.

What Not To Wear in Ho Chi Minh City When Visiting Pagodas

Avoid wearing singlets, shorts and revealing clothes when visiting temples or pagodas.

Ho Chi Minh City Map

Pullman Saigon Centre Hotel Map
Location of Pullman Saigon Centre Hotel in District 1

We chose the Pullman Saigon Centre because of its location to the major tourist sites in District 1.

If walking is not your thing it is easy to travel around the city by taxi.  We use Grab in Vietnam which is the Asian version of Uber.  Download the Grab App before you arrive in Vietnam, and make sure you have a SIM card. Staying in District 1 puts you right in the heart of the hustle and bustle, close to restaurants and bars.

Accommodation at the Pullman Saigon Centre Hotel

With 306 available rooms at the Pullman Saigon Centre Hotel, you have so much choice depending on whether you are travelling solo or with family and friends. Imagine waking up with views over the city after a well-deserved sleep in their crisp luxury Egyptian cotton linen sheets and your chosen pillow from their pillow menu.  It does not get any better. Enjoy a swim in their pool after a day of sightseeing before enjoying dinner and views at Mad Cow Wine & Grill.

 

Deluxe Rooms at the Pullman Saigon Centre

Pullman Saigon Centre - 5 days in Saigon
Our very comfortable Deluxe Corner Room

 

 

Hot tip: Request a corner room for amazing views over the city from the bedroom and the bathroom

More Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City



Booking.com

 

What to do in Ho Chi Minh City in 3 Days

Our YouTube Video on What To Do in Saigon

Day One Itinerary in Ho Chi Minh

Visit the Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market - 5 days in Saigon
Ben Thanh Market the oldest in Ho Chi Minh City

Address: Chợ, Lê Lợi, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000

The Ben Thanh Market is the oldest in Ho Chi Minh City dating back to 1914 in its current location opposite the Saigon Bus Station.  You will be forgiven if you become lost as there are 4 entrances and 12 gates and over 13,000 square metres.

The market is open between 6 am and 6 pm. You can buy fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and flowers.  The wet market closes around midday. In other areas of the market, you can buy local handicrafts, souvenirs, Vietnamese art, branded goods and there is plenty of food stalls.

The night market on the east and west sides open from 6 pm to 10 pm. The same goods are sold and it is a great place for cheap eats. You must try the Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) Com Ga (chicken rice) and Ca Phe Sua Do (Vietnamese Iced Milk Coffee).

If you enjoy cooking you can take a tour of Ben Thanh Market with a local chef, purchase your produce and return back to the kitchen for a hands-on cooking class.

Book your cooking class here

Fine Arts Museum

Location: 97A Phó Đức Chính, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh

The Fine Arts Museum of Ho Chi Minh City is one of the major art museums in Vietnam showing over 20,000 works of art.  It is housed in a French Colonial period building.

Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm and it is closed on Mondays.

Entrance Fee;  VND30,000 (USD 1.30).

Bitexco Tower

Address: Bitexco Financial Tower, 7, 2 Hải Triều, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh

The view from Bitexco Tower at sunset - 5 days in Saigon
Time your visit for sunset at the Bitexco Tower

The Bitexco Tower, when completed in 2010, was the tallest building in Vietnam, but not for long. In 2011 the Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower took the honour. It stands at 262.5 m tall and is now the 5th tallest in Vietnam and the 2nd in Ho Chi Minh.

You can visit the Skydeck on the 49th floor for 360-degree views of the city. If you are arriving by helicopter you will land on the 52nd floor. On the Skydeck level there is a gift shop as well as an Ao Dai Museum showcasing traditional Vietnamese costumes.

You can purchase online before you visit a Skip The Line Ticket for the 7 seconds per metre journey to the 49th Floor.

Prebook your Skip The Lines ticket here

You can now enjoy a Heineken Experience Interactive Tour, Games, Beer Tasting & Gift as well as a visit to the Skydeck .

This tour is very popular and we would recommend booking in advance.

Book your Heinken Experience Tickets here

Day Two in Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City Hall (People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh)

Address: Số 86 Lê Thánh Tôn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 710212

Peoples Committee Hall - 5 days in Saigon
The People’s Committee Hall

Built between 1902 and 1908 it is a fine example of French Colonial Architecture. Since 1975 it has been the home of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh. It is not open to the public.

Walking Street

In front of the Ho Chi Minh City Hall is Nguyen Hue Walking Street which has been closed off to traffic. It used to be a canal but since 2014 it is a pedestrian-only walking street which is used for music shows. During Chinese New Year flower exhibitions are held along Walking Street for a week. The street runs for 900 m down to the Saigon River.

5 days in Saigon Cafe Apartment Ho Chi Minh - 9 floors of coffee shops and stores
9 floors of cafes, restaurants, shops and more at the Cafe Apartment

The famous Cafe Apartment is along Nguyen Hue Walking Street. A 9 storey former apartment block that has been turned into cafes, restaurants, bookshops, co-working spaces and boutiques.

All shops face over the square.  There is a lift at a small fee of VND3,000 per person (USD0.15) which is reimbursed if you buy something at one of the shops.

Open from 8 am to 10 pm.

The Opera House

Address: 07 Công Trường Lam Sơn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh

The Opera House in Saigon - 5 days in Saigon
The Opera House of Ho Chi Minh City

The Opera House is located in a rather impressive French Colonial building. Its first performance was on January 17th 1900. It was closed during World War 2 and reopened again in 1955. The original location was 2 blocks away.

A popular way of visiting the Opera House is to book a show and enjoy dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant after.

Purchase tickets here for the Opera House and dinner

Notre Dame Cathedral

Address: 01 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh,

Built by the French in the late 1880s the Notre Dame Cathedral stands proudly on Paris Square in downtown Ho Chi Minh opposite the iconic Post Office.  The cathedral stands 60m tall. It was the first catholic church in Vietnam. It took 3 years to build from 1877 to 1880.  The brick and stone came from Marseille in France which took 2 months by sea to reach Ho Chi Minh.

The best time to visit is Sunday Mass at 09.30.

Post Office Central

Address: 2 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 710009

Inside the Central Post Office - 5 days in Saigon
Central Post Office designed by Eiffel downtown Ho Chi Minh

The Post Office took 5 years to build from 1886 to 1891.  The tiles came from France.  Eiffel who designed the Eiffel Tower also designed the Post Office. Each window is dedicated to a famous scientist or physicist e.g. Volta, Faraday, Franklin etc. The original tiles are still on the floor.

The Post Office is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm.

War Remnants Museum

Address: 28 Võ Văn Tần, Phường 6, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh 700000

Tanks stationed outside the War Remnants Museum - 5 days in Saigon
Tanks, helicopters and fighters take poll position outside the War Remnants Museum

The War Remnants Museum is located in District 3.

Opening Hours: 7.30 am to 5.00 pm.

Entrance Fee: VND15,000  (USD$0.75)

The Museum was originally named the Museum of American War Crimes. It is spread over 3 floors.  Our tip is to start from the top floor on the left and work your way down. The last visit should be outside viewing the Tiger Cages which would hold up to 14 prisoners at a time.

There is a F 5A fighter jet at the entrance as well as an American Huey Helicopter and M48 tank.

Warning:

We found the Agent Orange section with vivid photos very disturbing.  This section is not suitable for children. You may want to miss this part out if you think you may also find it disturbing.

A recommended tour is a visit to the War Remnants Museum and a journey out to the Cu Chi Tunnels.  This is a full day tour that also includes the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office and lunch at a local restaurant.

Book your tour here

Reunification Palace (or Independence Palace)

Reunification Palace - one of the things to do 5 days in Saigon
The Reunification Palace aka the Independence Palace

Address: 135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000

The Palace was built on the site of the original Norodom Palace. During the Vietnam War, it was the home and office of the President. On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the main gate of the Palace.  Saigon had fallen to the communists.

Tickets are available at the gate.  We would recommend hiring an Audio Guide to visit the 5 levels.  The basement houses tunnels, the war room and the telecommunications centre with original maps still on the wall.

Opening Hours: 8 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm.

Entrance Fee: VND40,000 (USD$1.80) Audio Guide extra.

Day Three in Saigon

Cu Chi Tunnels

Address: TL15, Phú Hiệp, Củ Chi, Hồ Chí Minh 733814,

5 days in Saigon - Cu Chi Tunnels
Our Vietnamese Guide showing us how small the tunnels were at the Cu Chi Tunnels complex

The top day trip from Ho Chi Minh City is the Cu Chi Tunnels. We would recommend organising a tour to the Cu Chi tunnels for a hassle-free experience.  The tunnels are located 50 km from Ho Chi Minh and the traffic can be a nightmare. The tunnels are a network of tunnels around 75 miles in length.

We visited the Cu Chi Tunnels on a tour with Get Your Guide.  We opted for the 6 hour morning tour which turned into 7 hours because of the traffic.  Our guide was excellent, providing us with information on the drive to the tunnels.  He accompanied us throughout and was very knowledgeable on the subject. There is an opportunity for you to shoot machine guns on the site at a small fee.

5 days in Saigon - Cu Chi Tunnels
The first and largest part of one of the tunnels

After a full explanation from our guide as we ventured around the site, we headed towards the tunnels.  The tunnels start wide and then progressively become smaller in height and width forcing you on your knees, ending with you crawling on your stomach.  At different areas throughout you do have the opportunity to abandon, we did after the first section. The heat became unbearable and the claustrophobic feelings started.  Not many of our group managed to last the distance.

 

Book your tour here

 

More Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh

To save time you can pre-book your tickets to the Ho Chi Minh Water Puppet Show and have them delivered to the Pullman Saigon Centre Hotel. The traditional Vietnamese show is 45 minutes in length. The stories told are related to the spiritual life of the Vietnamese in the country side.

Click here to book a performance and have your tickets delivered to your hotel

 

One of the top Ho Chi Minh City Tour is a Saigon Flavours Private Walking Tour. Learn more about Vietnamese cuisine and have the opportunity to sample some tasty dishes from the local night market and other locations.

Click here to book

Essential Visitor Information for Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

Getting In

Flight Deals

Find the cheapest flights with Skyscanner who then directs you to the airline’s website with no extra fees to pay.

Prebook Your Transfers from the Airport to the City Here

Travelling around Vietnam

To book our train, bus and ferry tickets around Vietnam and South East Asia we use 12goAsia.

Powered by 12Go Asia system

 

Visa for Vietnam

Do you require a Visa for Vietnam? It is an easy process to apply for your e-visa online.

 

Travel Insurance

We recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your flights and pay deposits on any cruises, tours or hotels.

If you are located in Australia or New Zealand click here for the latest quotes.

If you are located in the rest of the world click below for the latest quotes.

Ho Chi Minh Weather

When is the best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City?

Between May and November, it is the monsoon season, and you can expect showers most day.

April and May are the hottest months with temperatures reaching to 40 degrees.

The driest and most pleasant months to visit is between December and March. Temperatures during these months hover between 21 and 34 degrees.

Need Some Travel Advice

If you have any questions or would like some advice on our travels throughout Vietnam we would love to hear from you. You can reach us via our Facebook page or email us here.

Some more articles to inspire your travels around Vietnam

2 Night Cruise on Halong Bay With Emeraude Cruises

A Hanoi Weekend staying at the Pullman Hanoi Hotel

A Luxury Stay at the Pullman Danang Hotel

Walking Tour of Hoi An Ancient Town

Pinterest

Are you on Pinterest? We are at To Travel Too and we have many travel-related boards check us out at Pinterest.  If you enjoyed our article why not pin it to your board.

 

Pinterest 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City

 

Pinterest 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City

 

Pinterest 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City

To Travel Too Travel Shop

Visit our Travel Shop for guide books and maps on Ho Chi Minh City and the rest of Vietnam. We also have a range of travel clothes, guide books, camera equipment, technology to make your travel adventures more comfortable.  Have you tried packing cubes? They have revolutionized our travel packing time and has given us more space in our luggage.

 

Travel Shop

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed our article on what to do in Ho Chi Minh City in 3 days.  If you have managed to fit in all that we have shared with you, you would have experienced the best of Ho Chi Minh City.  Did you enjoy the local cuisine? We would love to hear your thoughts on visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

Feel free to share our article with family and friends and if you want more information on Vietnam join our Vietnam Travel Planning Facebook Group here.

 

 

 

 

totraveltoo

Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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